Having your website get found in searches is a major priority for small businesses today. Ranking high in search results can be the difference between a business being successful and one failing.
To be successful online and improve your chances of being found, businesses need to engage in search engine optimization (SEO), creating and posting content and social media. On the surface, these all seem to be separate practices that require separate strategies.
In reality, though, strategies for each of these separate components can actually tie into each other to improve your website’s search rankings.
Search optimizing your site should be considered as the foundation for getting better search rankings.
Simply put, SEO practices prepare your website to work well with the Google search engine. Software robots or spiders crawl your site and index it. When all of your website attributes are set up correctly, it will result in better search rankings, helping your site get found. Generally, what you optimize for Google works for Yahoo, Bing and other engines, as well.
However, if your website has not been search optimized, then it will be penalized with reduced search rankings.
But search optimizing your pages is not the only thing that the Google algorithm is looking for from your site. The algorithm is quite complex, and it looks at many factors before deciding where your website will be listed in search rankings.
How and Why Google Does What It Does
Google does this because it wants those who use its search engine to have a good experience. As people search for information on the internet, they want to see search results that match their search criteria. If they are pleased by the results, then they will use the Google search engine again. This is the whole idea behind what Google does: Its mission is to supply helpful information to its searchers and present results in order of relevance.
Understanding Google’s mission better explains why it ranks some websites higher than others. Google ranks those sites that, 1) Work well with its search engine (are search optimized and, 2) Provide relevant and helpful content.
In fact, content has become much more important in recent years. The Penguin and Panda updates in 2014 shifted the focus of the algorithm away from keywords and put it on the actual content of the web page. This refocus means that businesses can now write about what they do. There are still some SEO needs but they are not as involved as they were in the past.
Focusing on the Content
So, to receive better search rankings to get found, websites need to have content that matches what they say they do. It should be helpful in nature and it needs to be regularly updated, as well. Adding a weekly blog post with helpful topics that surround your product, service or industry is a great way to do this.
Having a variety of content on your site is also a plus. Consider producing and adding podcasts, videos and photos to your site. Make sure each has a corresponding description.
This is where your content strategy ties into your search engine optimization strategy.
For small businesses, creating and adding content is one of their best courses of action. It’s relatively simple and is within your power to control. Additionally, each business has a wealth of knowledge about what they do. The biggest challenge is often recognizing the content opportunities and organizing that content for creation.
Social media broke into the business consciousness just a few short years ago. While they have only been around for a short time, they represent a huge opportunity for businesses to reach and win new customers.
To be successful on social you need to post helpful and useful information that your target market will find interesting. Assuming that your blog content is useful as we discussed above, then one of the social posts you can make each week would be one that promotes your most recent blog. This is where your content strategy and your social media strategy tie together by amplifying your messaging.
Having an active presence on social media has other benefits for your business, as well. They include building awareness for your brand (much the same way a t-shirt or hat does, except online), and demonstrating the expertise of your business (by the content you share and promote).
Social Media Can Help Your Website
But that’s not all that social media can do. It can also help with website traffic and search rankings. When you use social to promote your blog post or other website information, for example, you can drive traffic back to your website.
Being active on certain social sites can also help with your search rankings. Google Plus, LinkedIn and SlideShare are all sites indexed by Google’s search engine. Having an active presence on these sites will reward your website with better search results.
This is where your social media strategy ties into your SEO strategy to help you get found.
Tying it All Together to Get Found
As one can see, SEO, content and social media should not be considered as isolated practices, being carried out in separate silos. They are, in fact, components of a larger system that, when coordinated correctly, can help your website get found in searches.
And isn’t that what really matters?
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Bob Turner is a Small Business Online Marketing Consultant with Social Flair in Cincinnati, Ohio.