I know why you’re here.
Your website traffic stinks. Or, at least, you don’t have as many visitors as you think you should.
You’ve heard the term “SEO” before and believe that if you implement just a few SEO tricks, customers will flock to your website in droves.
The truth is, it’s not that simple.
Worse yet, it’s downright difficult.
Search engine optimization requires considerable time experimenting, tracking, measuring, and adjusting the smallest website parameters.
Additionally, every business is different. Some small business websites are aimed at selling products, others services and digital goods. Properly optimizing search engine results for a specific site with particular goals will be wildly different, and I’m going to guess your small business just doesn’t have time to fiddle with it.
Yet you know it’s important, and that’s why you’re here.
You’re here because you are looking for a few simple tips that will give your website a traffic boost and land you more customers.
So we’ve built this article with five things you can do immediately to improve traffic to your website—fundamental tips any small business can implement to get an immediate SEO boost.
What is SEO?
So you know SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” but what is it? You can read definitions on Wikipedia and other blogs all day long and only get more confused.
To me, very simply, SEO is putting my website at the top of my customers’ search results. If a potential client searches Google or Bing or Yahoo for help with their small business growth, I want to be number one in the list.
And I’m not talking about those paid advertisements above my search results. Nobody clicks those (at least only 10% of people do).
I’m talking about the regular, “organic” links that show up when you search for something. This is what your customers are looking for. And this is where you want your website to be.
There are thousands of techniques to do it, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s get back to those five quick things you can do to get your website ranked higher and drive more traffic to your site:
1. Register Your Business Page on Google+
But does anybody actually use Google+? Isn’t everyone on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and everywhere except Google+?
Yes, and no…
Over 500 million people are registered on Google+. Of those who use it, they are typically more engaged than Facebook or Twitter, which means more comments and more sharing.
Regardless, I’m not asking you to register your business on Google+ to hang out with friends. Google is the largest search engine in the world and adding a business page to Google+ is a way to tell them your business exists.
Furthermore, once your Google+ page is up and running, you can post interesting articles with links back to your site, product sales and other deals, etc. All of these will show up higher in search results for other Google+ members in your circle (i.e., people who “follow” your account), and anyone who shares or +1’s (likes) your content will bump up the search rankings for people in their circles.
2. Create a Blog
When was the last time you changed your website?
Not just a little tweak here or there… but significantly improved your site with entirely new content… enough to attract new visitors and excite old customers?
I’m guessing it’s been a while. And it’s not hard to understand why. Updating a website is something that requires careful planning and thought.
But what if you could get all the benefits of attracting new customers and increasing organic search traffic without modifying your website? What if you could add completely new content on a weekly or daily basis to target new customers? That’s what a blog is for, and it really works.
Your web pages are mostly static, unchanging, and targeting the same keywords and phrases every day. Therefore, after a search engine like Google “crawls” your website for key phrases and terms, it has no reason to update those terms and phrases unless your site changes again in the future.
A blog is your chance to make your business website more dynamic while growing a list of terms search engines will associate with your site.
At Modern da Vinci, we use Squarespace.com to host our website… adding a blog can be done in (literally) two clicks. From there, we just need to create content that our readers love.
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3. Seek Out Backlinks
Backlinks are links from other websites pointing back to your site. The more backlinks you have, the more people can find you, and the higher search engines will rank you.
It makes sense. If your website is floating out in the worldwide web all by itself, it is only as valuable as the people that stumble into it.
But if your website has thousands of bridges (links) connecting it to other websites, there are that many more chances for someone to find their way to it.
And so search engines reward sites that make those connections, or backlinks, accordingly. The more relevant and high-quality backlinks your website has, the higher it will rank. If you have more backlinks than your competitors for a given web page, there’s a good chance your page will show ahead of them in potential customers search results.
So how do you get backlinks? That’s a topic for another post, but here are a few simple ideas:
- Guest write a blog post on another website and link it back to your website.
- Answer a question on Quora with a link back to your site.
- Establish new partners and ask existing partners to post your link on their website on a “Partners Page.”
- Do some viral marketing to get people excited and talking about your product, thereby sharing links back to your website.
4. Speed Up Your Website
The average person gives a website less than 2.5 seconds to load before clicking the back button.
2.5 seconds! It takes that long to take a sip of coffee.
So what does that mean?
It means your website needs to be fast. Not only to keep your visitors from leaving but to get them to visit in the first place.
You see, if your website has giant pictures or too much content, it’s going to load slowly. If it loads slowly, visitors will leave quickly. Search engines know this, so they test your website for speed when they consider how your website ranks against others.
The bottom line is this: If search engines find your site is slower than your competition, it’s going to be ranked lower than your competition, and your competitor's website will show up higher in your customers search results. That’s a big problem.
- Less than 10% of people advance to page 2 of search results, so you’ve got to get on the first page.
- 33% of people click on the first link in their search results.
- 17% click on the second link, 11% click on the third link, and clicks drop off significantly from there.
In other words, if your competition takes the first slot on a search results page and you are runner up, he’ll be landing 16% more clicks than you!
Make your website as fast as possible to ensure this doesn’t happen. Here’s a great article from Moz to help you test and tweak your site's loading speed.
5. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
The majority of users visit websites using their mobile device nowadays. Not just a small majority. Over 65%.
Thus, having a mobile optimized site isn't only necessary to make your users happy, it's something search engines take into account when ranking your website against others.
What does having a mobile website mean?
It means your content is automatically scaled to a smaller screen. It means buttons are optimized for touch. It means scaled-down images that load faster over cellular networks and on smaller screens.
Take a look at the difference between our mobile-optimized site (left) and our desktop site (right). We’ve made it easy to navigate by pushing all the content into one column. We’ve made it easy to navigate with a large menu button in the upper right. And behind the scenes, images are smaller so they load faster:
Many website hosting platforms, like the one Modern da Vinci uses, auto-optimize for mobile. If yours doesn’t, spend some time looking at competitive websites that are mobile optimized. You’ll get some ideas on how to simplify your own. Then take the time to implement those changes ASAP.
Web Page Ranking in a Nutshell
SEO is an incredibly broad and complex topic that requires years to master. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore it.
Instead, we can focus on a few key factors at a time to increase your ranking in search engines and get your content, products, services, and other offerings ahead of your competition.
What SEO optimizations have you made on your website with measurable success? Tell us in the comments below!