Jan 272011
 

High search rankings are key to generating more leads.

When it comes to Canadian small business marketing, the internet can be perhaps one of the most effective, yet also cost-efficient, marketing channels out there. This is especially the case when it comes to small business search engine optimisation – whereas radio or newspaper ads stop generating leads once entrepreneurs cease to devote more money to them, SEO will help websites stay highly ranked in search engines long after the initial work has been done.

Proper search engine optimisation is a two-step process. First, Canadian small business owners must take care of on-page optimisation – this often refers to aspects they can specifically control on their websites. Then, they need to focus on off-page elements – items that they can’t directly control. While off-site portions contribute more significantly to their search engine rankings, entrepreneurs need to perform both processes if they want to give their websites the best chance of achieving the highest rankings.

On-site SEO

On-site search engine optimisation requires that business owners first be familiar with their own keyword strategy. Keywords are the terms that entrepreneurs want to appear for when users type them in. For example, an electronics retailer might want to focus on the key words “Apple iPod” because it’s such a high-volume phrase. Entrepreneurs can determine which keywords they should target through Google’s AdWords tools. The key is to pick niche phrases – ones business owners think their customers are searching for, yet won’t be hard to rank in.

Once keywords are identified, Canadian small business owners will need to implement these phrases into several areas of their websites, advises Search Engine Journal. The three places that keywords should be used are in the website’s title field, the meta tags and the h1 heading tag. When search engines index a website, they do it primarily based on these three fields – if all three contain the keywords that business owners are targeting, then that website will place more highly on that search engine. If entrepreneurs are unfamiliar with HTML, they may want to consult a professional web designer.

While this is a great start to search engine optimisation, these keywords also need to appear heavily in the actual content of the page before rankings will really take off. This means that product pages should be rewritten to contain the keywords that are most relevant to that item. The key is to balance using keywords while maintaining readability – if the same words keep popping up, it looks unnatural and may deter potential customers.

Keyword-rich blog posts will also help build search rankings. Google and the other search engines weigh websites more heavily if they produce fresh and new content. Relevant blog posts will not only help entrepreneurs to improve their search rankings, but they will also engage readers, especially if they are engaging and unique.

Off-site SEO

Once Canadian small business owners have their on-page SEO done, they need to work on off-site optimisation. This consists mainly in collecting backlinks (Get massive backlinks) from other reputable sites on the web.

The best place to start is with online directories, such as DMOZ.org. Google and other search engines use these directories to help index pages, so having a link from these websites can boost rankings significantly. Some directories cost money to display links, but many don’t. While these directories won’t often send a lot of direct traffic (Get 10000 free hits) to websites, they will influence search rankings.

Another strategy includes getting in touch with like-minded entrepreneurs and exchanging links. This will help both parties boost their search rankings, asserts internet marketer Zac Johnson. If this isn’t possible, entrepreneurs may want to consider leaving a comment on a blog post with their links attached – this will achieve the same effect, assuming that comments get posted.

With a growing number of consumers turning to search engines for product research, high rankings are vital to small business success. According to a recent study conducted by Pew Research Center, 78 percent of consumers use search engines to find product reviews and conduct comparisons. 

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