When operating any home-based business, it is vital to establish an effective Internet presence. This takes more than merely building a website. Before a customer can view a highly informative and well-coded site, the customer must reach that site. One of the best ways to achieve unique views and generate leads is to maintain the top position for a relevant search engine result. Driving business becomes much more difficult as the site decreases in its rankings.
When a search engine crawler gathers information about a site, the site owner wants that crawler to tell the search engine that that site best matches a particular set of keywords. Optimizing a site for search engine results is called search engine optimization (SEO). If you own a home-based business and you want to optimize your own website, there are several things to keep in mind.
1. Seek professional help to optimize success
SEO is an industry in itself. Countless service providers ranging from sole proprietors to dedicated professional enterprises like www.eversparkinteractive.com will ensure that a site obtains and maintains a high site ranking. Unfortunately, marketing budgets for home-based businesses are often nonexistent. Hiring a qualified expert in SEO can cost thousands of dollars. As a result, many business owners will attempt to go it alone.
This is usually a mistake. SEO requires a fine touch with respect to keyword densities and relevant content. The ideal techniques for optimizing a site for search engine results can vary between search engines; for example, different sites will respond to different keywords densities and content levels. To the crawlers, sites with too few relevant keywords appear to be irrelevant while sites with too many appear to be spammy. Hitting these narrow ranges is a job for a professional, as is structuring the site.
2. Not all “experts” are created equal
There are a variety of techniques that some SEO professionals use to improve their clients ratings. Some of these techniques can lead to short-term gains at the expense of long-term placement. Link building networks and software that can instantly produce thousands or millions of new links can raise a site to the top position quickly; usually, this is long enough for the “expert” to cash the client’s check.
However, without quality connections, the purported gains will not last. The site may actually be penalized for attempts to “bomb” the engine, reducing its ranking further than had nothing occurred. Most crawlers will look for quality links and only maintain sites with those results. Any professional organization that you choose to do business with should have a history of maintaining and optimizing successful web sites.
3. Optimized sites require maintenance
Search engines periodically change how their crawlers operate. Even without an update, SEO experts often discover new techniques to improve a site’s ranking, which can push down sites using older techniques. Additionally, site owners routinely move around content or discover that certain wording resonates with their customers more effectively, which can negate prior work or make the site effectively invisible to crawlers.
4. Target the SEO focus
The Internet is a worldwide phenomenon and anyone can look at any site from any location. Unfortunately, a homeowner in Miami is unlikely to require the services of a plumber from Seattle. For a service business targeting specific markets, optimizing the site for customers looking for relevant businesses in that location can save money and trouble. Targeting based upon location improves the relevance of the results, leading to improved rankings and a higher likelihood of greater traffic.
5. Uncommon keywords are key
Specific keywords are less competitive than generalized keywords. This will usually mean a higher success rate and an improved chance of achieving a high ranking if the site is properly optimized. Spending the same money to obtain a high ranking with a slightly less common search phrase is much more likely to drive business than spending money to achieve a second-page result for a more generic phrase.
Whether your business involves international shipping or localized services, having a website is necessary in the modern world. Any site that exists to drive business should be optimized for search engine crawlers looking for results relevant to specific search phrases. What those phrases are will vary between industries; blue-collar businesses may target searchers looking for “24 hour” service in that particular industry in that particular location, while white-collar businesses may target customers looking for “cost-effective” solutions. As with any other marketing activity, SEO requires business owners to understand their customers and their market.
Author Bio: As a home-based business owner, writer LaGeris Underwood Bell can attest to both the importance of establishing a strong online presence and to the vital need for SEO-savvy professional help as keys to entrepreneurial success.