A Plain Easy To Understand SEO Guide To Help New And Small Businesses Drive Traffic To Their Websites.

I was recently chatting to the owner of a well established bricks and mortar store who was concerned that although he had a website, it was positioned so far down in the search engine rankings, that he wasn’t getting any traffic. He’d done some digging around on the internet and realised that he needed to do more than just host a site and hope for visitors, he needed to put search engine optimization into play.

Although he’d read numerous articles on countless websites, he remained baffled as to where he should begin. The unfamiliar words and jargon terrified him, and left him believing that internet marketing was for the “new kids on the block” and not for the likes of him. I figure that he must be one of many, and so here are what I consider to be the top 5 essential search engine optimization tips, written in a plain and easy to understand way, which should help drive traffic to your website.

1. Keyword and Keyphrases. These are the heart of every page on your website and without them, your site will die! Your keywords and keyphrases need to be relevant to your product or service. They should be those which are typed into the search engine to enable it to find your webpage. Use them in the title and in your paragraphs to attract the attention of the reader and encourage them to read your article. This will also allow search engine optimization. Think like your customer. You know the name of the product you sell, but they don’t. Help them to find it.

2. Check Out What Your Competitors Are Up To. So, you’ve decided on your keywords and phrases. Type them into the search engine box and see what comes up. The result will be those websites who already rank the highest for your chosen keywords. Notice how and where these are used. The more popular the keyword or keyphrase, the more competition it will have. Don’t despair though! Remember that you are trying to get your page to rank for a particular subject and not your entire website. Let’s say you have a home baking website, any site on home baking will be your competition, but if you a have a webpage is about low calorie chocolate cake recipes, by being more specific with your keywords, it will enable your page to rank more highly than those using just the phrase home baking, for instance. Doing this will drive traffic to your website.

3. Links. Stop! Before you quit reading because you think this is getting too technical, bear with me a little longer. Basically, there are two types of link that you need to be aware of. Internal links: These are where the pages of your site link to each other, making your site easy to navigate. If this happens, Google recognises that your site is user friendly and, in turn, your site will rank higher. If you have your website built for you, your webmaster will take care of this. If you are building your own site, in all honesty, the tutorials, forums and helpdesks which are integral part of any website building service these days, are generally second to none if you get stuck. Backlinks: In a nutshell, if a website links back to yours, then Google sees this as a recommendation, and your site gains importance. Contact website owners of sites which compliment your own and are relevant to your product or service and ask them if they will add a link to your website. If they agree, you add a link on your site back to theirs.

4. Content. The search engines absolutely love any site which adds new information regularly. Start a blog and make an effort to add to it at least every week. (Sorry, there is no push the button once and make your fortune solution here). Even as a new and small business, you should write articles about the products you sell, a funny incident whilst out on site – anything! People are interested in reading what you have to say. Don’t forget those keywords which will make sure those people find your blog.

5. Social Networks. Not just for the kids! If you’re serious about your business, then you need to be using social media sites. Apart from being free to sign up to, someone simply clicking the “like” button on your page, will create those valuable backlinks and drive traffic to your website. Now, you’ve got to admit, that’s pretty cool! Twitter is great way to announce product launches and great for keeping in contact with your customers with quick updates too.

My bricks and mortar store owner was so convinced that using SEO was far too complicated for anyone who had the minimum of computer knowledge, but by using these 5 essential search engine optimization tips, he is increasing the number of his online customers. Some have even travelled quite some distance to visit his store and ended up spending even more money with him.