Here is a helpful article for novice small business operators looking to understand the impact of SEO on their sales as written by my guest, Jennifer Tanzi of Buydomains.com:
Using SEO to Court Search Engines
Ever since Google became a verb, small business owners have wondered about guaranteeing prime placement when prospective clients go a-typing in their search engines. Times have changed since you simply added “AAA” to your business name and scored first place in the yellow page listings. Marketing yourself is more complicated in the digital age, but with a little bit of insight and a few simple steps, you can catch the eyes of those search engines, and propel your businesses name up those prospective clients’ lists of results.
You know how people use name repetition (sometimes relentlessly) to remember yours? (“Hi, Sandra, so good to meet you, Sandra. Can I get you a beverage, Sandra? Sandra, let me take your coat.”) Search Engine Optimization — SEO — works kind of the same way. Repeating key phrases in your domain name and throughout your website pages makes your business more appealing to the search engines. Once they find you, so will all those new clients. You just need to put some thought into choosing the right keywords, and some craft into your copy so your message sounds fresh, and not repetitive.
First, figure out your key keywords. Let’s say you sell organic lavender, tended and harvested on your own pristine acres of New England farmland. You’ve done your homework on choosing domain names that attract type-in traffic and landed one that screams “organic lavender” right there in the URL. Now, how can you ensure that every person looking for your product sees your business name in lights when they go Metacrawling?
Perhaps your website boasts glorious photos of lavender plants so vivid you can smell them through the screen, and describes memorably the many attributes of your farm — the perfectly tended soil, the soothing scents of the lavender as you coax the shoots from the earth. But when Elinor the Florist needs a supplier for her tremendously successful hand-tied organic bouquets, what words will she type into her search engine? Organic lavender. And, since she wants to go local, maybe also, “New England.”
So there you have ‘em. New England. Organic. Lavender.
Your new SEO keywords, New England organic lavender, should appear five or six times on each page of 500 – 600 words of copy. So your site needs to describe the perfectly tended soil of your New England organic lavender farm, the soothing scents of your New England organic lavender plants as you coax the shoots from the soil. Placement of the keywords is critical, too. You should include them in <H1> header tags, in your first paragraph and in links throughout the site.
As you master SEO, there are a few pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. Vary the titles and meta data of your pages, so that if several different pages of your site pop up in the search results, customers see difference slices of information about your business from your site.
When you’ve mastered the SEO strategies, test your efforts. Cruise the web yourself to see which sites your keywords bring up, and what your competitors are doing differently to place high in the results. And be sure to use web analytics on your site so you know exactly how your visitors are finding you.
To small business owners, those search engines might at first seem a fickle bunch. But once they get to know you — through SEO — they are really going to love you.