If you are working to improve the SEO for your small business website and have sorted through fact vs fiction when it comes to keyword phrases, conducting keyword research, and implementing strong title tags, meta descriptions, and all of the other good SEO stuff on your website pages and blog posts, the next step is learn more about the facts of SEO as it relates to your small business website overall.
Yes, there’s more to good website SEO than just choosing the right keywords to try to organically rank for!
Small Business SEO Fact vs Fiction: Website Edition
- SEO Fiction: All website platforms are equal when it comes to SEO The technical name for a website platform is content management system (CMS), and not all content management systems are created equal when it comes to SEO (or most any other feature). I’ve worked in more CMSes than I can count, and each one has its own combination of SEO capabilities. WordPress is by far the most complete and comprehensive, and just about anything else is a bit of a mixed bad. For example, I’ve worked in CMSes that allow for title tags, but not meta descriptions. Or meta descriptions but not title tags. Or title tags and meta descriptions, but no permalinks or ALT tags for images or any other SEO features like a sitemap and social meta data. The important thing here is to read beyond the bullet point that says, “SEO-friendly!” when shopping for a new website platform. There’s pretty broad use with that term.
- SEO Fact: The content on your page needs to correspond to the SEO work done on the back end of your site A lot of your SEO work is implemented from the website admin or dashboard area, but that doesn’t mean the words a visitor reads on your website pages don’t matter. Google wants to serve up high-quality content that answers the question a searcher entered into the Google search bar. To be part of that, you need relevant, original, solid content on your website pages that lines up with the keyword phrases you are optimizing for. This is a very extreme example, but for example, if your page content is talking about cat health, you shouldn’t be optimizing that page for a keyword phrase like popular dog breeds. If you did, that would mean your SEO isn’t aligned with your page content, and it would hurt your organic rankings. You also need to have a good amount of quality content on each page. Think about it this way…if you were Googling to learn how to do something, do you think you’d be more likely to get an answer you find value in from a page that has a single paragraph of text, or one that has four or five paragraphs of text?
- SEO Fiction: Repeat the same keyword phrase over and over in your website copy This is a very outdated SEO best practice, and hasn’t been a recommended practice for many years. Google wants you to write for readers and not robots. Plus, Google crawlers have gotten a lot more sophisticated, and understand things like kids are children, and vehicles are cars and SUVs, and that phrases like: “small business social media consultant” and “social media consultant for small businesses” are saying the same thing. Natural, conversational variations in text are the way to go with your website content.
- SEO Fact: Organization of your website content impacts your SEO ranking possibilities Of course, you want logical organization of your website content to make things as easy as possible for a website visitor, but there are different kinds of SEO considerations for how you organize your content to give you the chances you need to rank for different keywords phrases. What I mean by this is: each new page or blog published on your small business website is a new and additional chance to rank for a relevant keyword phrase. So, if you have a one-page website where someone simply scrolls (and scrolls and scrolls) to read about your small business, its services, and how to contact you, you are giving yourself only one shot at being found in search. Or if you have, let’s say, five different services and you place them all on a single Services page, that means you only have one shot at ranking for a phrase about the services you offer. To use my own business as an example, I offer social media management, SEO, business blogging, and Facebook ads services. By having individual pages for each of these, I can use one keyword phrase in the SEO for my social media management service page that’s relevant to the content to that page, and a different keyword phrase for my business blogging service that pairs with the content on the business blogging service page. This also happens to benefit a website visitor because if they are interested in my social media services, they don’t want to be reading content about business blogging.
- SEO Fiction: Create a new page for every keyword phrase variation you want to rank for At first glance, this might seem like it’s in direct contrast to the point above. However, it’s really about making sure you have high-quality content on your website pages. What SEOs used to do many years ago is suggest creating new pages for every single variation of keyword phrase you wanted to be found for. So, if you were a BBQ restaurant in Memphis, TN, for example, you would have one page on your website that was optimized with the phrase: BBQ restaurant in Memphis, and then a different page on your website that was optimized with the phrase: Memphis BBQ restaurant. As you can imagine as a reader, the content on those pages is going to be almost identical and there really isn’t added value in having 2 pages of content like that when one will do. Trust in Google’s goal to deliver high-quality content to searchers and desire to see those natural, conversational keyword variations in text.
- SEO Fact: Factors like site speed and SSL certificate effect your organic ranking These may seem less important because they aren’t top of mind SEO factors like keyword phrases and title tags are, but you want to make sure your website loads pretty fast, you have your SSL (even if you don’t transact business on your small business website), and have a sitemap on your site. Google’s ranking algorithm is a complex beast, with many, many factors that come into play. It’s important to do all that you can.
Hopefully this clears up a lot of myths surrounding important website SEO factors, and helps you to focus on the things that make a difference in getting you better ranked in Google search.