SEO search engine optimization for small business

SEO 101 for Small Business — Search Engine Optimization Part 1

What is SEO and why do I care!? We hear about Search Engine Optimization all the time. SEO is very important, but that it’s not an exact science. That’s true, it’s not exact, but there is some science to it. It’s not the same science for everyone. If you’re a small business owner, especially a Service Area Business (going to people’s houses to conduct business) then this series is specifically targeted to help you.

WE PROMISE WE’LL GET YOU ON PAGE ONE OF GOOGLE ON DAY 1!! Sounds nice, doesn’t it? There are marketing agencies out there who will promise things like this. They’ll take your money, use “black hat” methods to get you on page one, and then disappear. You might even stay there for a bit, but when Google (or any of the other guys) catches you not playing by the rules, you get penalized hard.

This is the most important thing I can tell you about SEO:

Find an agency that uses “white hat” SEO methods and offers long-term success plans for your business. Of course I want you to do business with RTS Consulting and Web Design. Whomever you choose, make sure they’re not making empty promises like putting you on page 1 of Google right away.

OK, now that’s out of the way, what is “white hat” SEO? Many people believe that if they just put up a website and say what they do, then Google will find them. This is definitely not true. As a small business owner, you know nothing just happens without putting some time and effort into it. The same is true with your website. These days, most of your new clients are going to find you through web searches. That means that (aside from doing good work) having a long-term plan for your website is your most important marketing investment.

Let’s start with the basics of SEO

These basics are something my old boss call “greens fees”. These are the parts of SEO that ARE an exact science:

  • Pagespeed — Your website needs to load in under 2 seconds. If it doesn’t, people will abandon your site and go elsewhere. Part of the issue here is that you aren’t going to know what device people are on. You won’t know what kind of connection speed they are going to have. That means that you need to do everything you can to optimize your site so that it loads as quickly as possible. Using tools like Google Pagespeed Insights can tell you how fast your site loads and what you can change to fix the issues.
  • Mobile Friendliness — If your site isn’t mobile friendly, Google will penalize you in search results. Approximately 70% of the time, new visitors to your site are going to find you on their mobile device. That means if your site doesn’t look as good or better on an iPhone or Android, then people will leave and go elsewhere. That means you need a site that is adaptive and responsive. Your web developer should test your site on several different screen sizes and verify that the page looks good from the smallest smartphone to the largest display.
  • https — Securing your page used to only be important if you were taking credit cards. In the last few years, Google has made it clear that it will start showing sites with secure pages more favorably than sites which are not secure. When you go to your website, if you don’t see a green padlock (or an https) next to your URL, then your site is not secure.
  • Reviews — One of the best things the internet has done for us is give us a platform to tell everyone our experiences. This power has been harnessed and put to good use through places like Yelp, Google Reviews, HomeAdvisor, Houzz, and many more. Google recognizes this value and shows businesses more favorably when they have good reviews. As a business owner for a Service Area Business, it is super important to ask your customers for reviews. Having these reviews lends your company credibility. It shows stability over time. It highlights times in your service when you shine. Most importantly, it provides an opportunity to respond constructively when there is a negative review. Showing that you support your customers and find a solution to fix an issue can be just as valuable as a 5-star review.

So what do I do?

This post is just part one. We’re just scratching the surface here. As you can see, there are a lot of considerations to getting your website and your SEO plan in order. When I need a plumber, electrician, contractor, or handyman, I hire someone I know will do the job right. If you want your website design and SEO done right, reach out to RTS Consulting and Web Design.

Questions? Ready to Get Started?

If you have questions or would like to get started, please give us a call at (312) 834-7787 or visit our website to request a free quote and consultation.