Small businesses need to understand how to make the web work for them-and it can, in ways unimagined even 10 years ago. You think you're okay because you have an effective and well-designed web site, but it takes more than that. Employing search engine optimization (SEO) can increase the number of visitors your site snares and boost your bottom line.
The purpose of SEO-a form of search engine marketing-is to increase the quantity and quality of online users who find your site by doing a simple search engine query. SEO uses algorithms to increase search engine relevance by improving the site's position in the search results. It is often used in conjunction with other marketing techniques and strategic plans. Unlike pay-per-click advertisements, SEO is essentially free, and works by changing your site's code-positioning your site to work better with search engines-and by acquiring links from other sites.
Without question, the key to SEO for any business large or small is very simple-content, according to Matthew Wilson and Cord Silverstein, web developer, and director of engagement marketing, respectively, at Capstrat, a strategic marketing firm. The search engines do not care if you are a Fortune 100 business or a guy working out of his garage; the search engines' algorithms are designed to recognize the sites that are offering the best information to their searchers. In the eyes of the search engines, their customers are the people searching, so they want to display the best results possible.
Wilson and Silverstein suggest these tips on implementing SEO:
"It is not about meta tags and HTML anymore," Wilson and Silverstein say. "It is about content, links and relationships."