10 SEO Details Your Small Business Can’t Afford To Ignore

Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about putting a bunch of keywords on your site and getting other people to link to you, right? While there is some truth to that commonly-held notion of SEO success, it falls short in a couple of important ways.

The first is that Google’s search algorithm has become increasingly complex over the last several years. Matching content to search patterns isn’t as straightforward as it used to be; simply repeating a search phrase again and again won’t do the trick.

The second detail has to do with all the other factors that go beyond content and inbound links. While many business owners don’t realize it, Google actually incorporates more than 200 different factors into its search rankings. Some of these are well-known, and others we learn about through simple trial and error. The world’s largest search engine doesn’t publish the details of its proprietary algorithm, and specific weightings can be changed at any time.

As a result, marketers can’t rely on the simple rules and notions that applied to SEO in the past. Savvy business owners are still using content to attract search visits, of course, but they’re also paying attention to smaller details that can make or break their online marketing campaigns.

Today, we want to point out ten that can make a huge difference in the results you get from your search engine optimization efforts…

#1 Domain Age and Relevance

It’s generally assumed that on the internet newer is always better. That’s not the way Google sees things, though. Its algorithm is designed to prioritize older, more established websites over newer ones.

That doesn’t mean you can’t achieve a great search ranking with a relatively new website, of course, but it does mean you shouldn’t necessarily switch to a new domain name without thinking about the long-term implications first. And, in some instances it can make it worth it to purchase a domain name held by another person or business if it has been “aged” and you want to get your SEO campaign off to a fast start.

#2 Mobile Compatibility

Mobile functionality hardly qualifies as a “detail” in a world where more web users are using phones and tablets than traditional computers, but is still worth mentioning. At a time when some business owners are still fighting the trend towards responsive web designs, Google does factor mobile usage into its algorithm.

So, if you haven’t taken our advice and upgraded your pages to a design that looks good on a smaller screen, know that you’re effectively going to disappear from the mobile search results (if you haven’t already). That’s a big hit to your business to put off a relatively small change.

#3 Location and Geographic Keywords

A few years ago, Google’s programming team recognized what the rest of us were seeing – that the world’s most popular search engine was killing off (and then replacing) the Yellow Pages and other print directories. Furthermore, they realized that while more than a quarter of all searches had some geographic component, many more searchers were obviously looking for a local business.

As a result, geography now factors heavily into Google’s search algorithm. If it isn’t obvious from the content on your site where your business is located, and which areas you operate in, then you are very likely missing out on customers who would otherwise be working with you.

#4 Menus and Internal Links

Business owners tend to think of “search engine optimization” as only involving things like titles, headings, and meta descriptions. However, the structure of a website – and in particular, navigation bars and internal links – can all make pages easier or harder for search spiders to read.

It’s very difficult for search engines to find pages or elements within your site that don’t have any links pointing at them. And, the way you link to a specific resource (for example, the anchor text you use) can help Google to index your content by topic.

#5 Hosting Speed and Reliability

For a long time, business owners essentially ignored web hosting. They would purchase the cheapest package available and then forget about it, figuring that all disk space was more or less equal.

Now, many are waking up to the fact that page loading speed and reliability are important search signals. The faster your content comes online, and the less often it’s unavailable, the better your pages are as a search destination. This is an area where spending a few extra dollars a month can give you a stealthy advantage over your competitors who aren’t paying attention.

#6 Technical Website Errors

Google’s spiders like websites that are clear, focused, and well-linked. They hate sites with broken links, missing images, or outdated resources. These tell search engines, and real-world customers, that the content found on a site isn’t relevant or frequently updated.

Unfortunately, the kinds of small technical errors that can impact your search visibility also tend to be hard to find. That’s why a website audit can be so valuable at the beginning of an SEO campaign. It gives your web designer a chance to “look under the hood” of your site and determine if there are any issues that need to be cleared up before other work begins.

#7 Content Strength

The old rule of thumb used to be that more content was better than less when it came to search engine optimization. That’s still true, of course, but content quality and strength now factor into the mix as well.

Content strength, in this context, refers to whether the messaging on a website is unique and relevant to the overall topic, industry, or theme. It also involves the presence of typos, obvious grammatical errors, or other signs that the work might not be well researched or edited. As a result, having lots of great content is a bigger advantage than ever, but posting junk articles to your website or blog won’t help you.

#8 Content Length

While this ties into our previous point about content strength, it’s worth mentioning that Google is showing a clear preference towards longer articles these days. Posts of 1000 to 1500 words (like this one) are more valuable because they allow for more searchable content and indicate a depth of knowledge that it’s hard to cram into a shorter piece.

Certainly, you don’t want to stretch out your pages or blog posts to be longer than they should simply for SEO purposes. But at the same time, if you have plenty to say, take the time to develop informative ideas and updates that readers and search spiders will enjoy.

#9 Update Frequency

If you want to improve your Google ranking, it’s a good idea to ensure all your content stays up-to-date. That’s because Google spiders will crawl your site to see how often changes and improvements are being made.

You don’t need us to tell you that searchers like to find information that is current and relevant. Google even offers features that let users sort results by date. To maximize your search visibility, make a point of adding new content regularly and ensuring your existing articles are updated as new thoughts and ideas come to light.

#10 Visitor Engagement

As Google and the other search engines rely more and more on artificial intelligence to determine quality and relevance within search results, they are using real-life engagement as a benchmark. If one live person likes your website enough to click through several pages, or comment on your blog, that’s a pretty good sign other real people will, too.

Of course, to maximize engagement on your website you need to give users what they want. That’s clear content, easy navigation, and a site that’s built to help them find the information or answers they are looking for. That principle has always been at the core of good SEO. It’s only getting more valuable with time.

Looking for Help With Your Web Design and SEO Efforts?

Does looking at this list of 10 search engine optimization details make you realize that your online marketing strategy isn’t as comprehensive or well thought out as it could be? If so, we don’t want you to fret. Instead, take this opportunity to contact WebWize in Houston today to set up a free consultation with our creative team.

In one short visit we can show you how to put your business on a whole new trajectory using smart, efficient, and affordable strategies. Don’t let this chance pass you by – reach out today so we can put our team to work for you!

About Glenn Brooks

Glenn Brooks is the founder of WebWize, Inc. WebWize has provided web design, development, hosting, SEO and email services since 1994. Glenn graduated from SWTSU with a degree in Commercial Art and worked in the advertising, marketing, and printing industries for 18 years before starting WebWize.