Small businesses are started everyday and many are becoming increasingly aware of the important role search engines play in the growth and success of their business. With the competition for search terms ever increasing, businesses now need to ensure they start on the right foot and make their websites search engine friendly from the beginning.
Here is my 5 point SEO checklist for developing a new website:
1. Do keyword research
Keyword research is an absolute must before you start developing a website. You need to decide which keywords to target and base the rest of the website around them. Use these keywords throughout your content in a natural way to give yourself a great head start. If you’re having trouble selecting the right keywords, why not try a professional service.
2. Have analytics in place from the beginning
There’s no use performing SEO if you don’t know how it’s going! Analytics are important to refine your optimization and determine which changes provide the best results. Make sure to install a quality analytics program such as Hitslink or Google Analytics.
3. Make SEO friendly URLs
Using keywords in your URLs and filenames is a great way to show search engines your content is relevant to a particular topic. For example if you run an online candle store, one of your URLs could be candlestore.com/red-candles.html. Keep it to less than 3 hyphens as anymore can tend to look spammy and remember to always use hyphens in your URLs as they are treated as spaces, while underscores are not.
4. Include a sitemap
A sitemap is a great way to help search engine spiders find all the pages in your website and determine their relationship to each other. Create an XML sitemap and submit it to major search engines to provide a clear structure to your site. A simple search on Google will provide you with a range of free XML Sitemap generators.
5. Stay in for the long haul
Search engine optimization isn’t about instant gratification. Results often take months to see, and tactics that worked last year may not work as well this year, so be prepared to stick with it.
Bonus Tip: Build a great website
While this tip might seem like a no-brainer, you need to make a website that really offers internet users some value. Ask yourself: “Is my website really the number 1 website for information on this topic?” If not, improve your site to the point where it is.
Use these basic SEO tips when starting a small business to help pave the way to search engine success. Next week, I’ll cover some more advanced SEO techniques for existing small business owners.