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Search engine optimization is an important thing for any business based in Sarasota, Florida to pay attention to. It is what will make all the difference between a company that is relegated to the bottom of the SERPS, invisible, and one that people can find easily and that they trust.
SEO is something that is important not just for businesses that operate internationally, but for local ones as well. Have you ever pulled out your smartphone and searched for a company? If so, did you then click to call or to get directions to the first company that showed in the results? That’s the fruits of SEO! Local search is why even if the only people you are interested in are the ones from Sarasota SEO & Web Design, it’s still important to care about what the search engines think of you.
So, how can you make sure that your site ranks well? There are many things that you can do. The first starting point should be looking at the technical side of your site.
If you aren’t already working with a hosting company based in the USA, focus on that first of all. Get your site moved to a web host that is fast and that perform well for people in the USA. You cannot afford to have your site hosted in Europe if it takes a long time to load because people will hit the back button if they don’t get what they want within a few seconds – and losing traffic means losing rankings too.
Secondly, make sure that your site is mobile friendly. If you had it built relatively recently, then it probably is. If you had it built a few years ago, then it may not be. If your site is not mobile-friendly, then Google will probably be penalizing it heavily for this. You need to make sure that the site can be used by everyone, whether they are on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. That means no (or few) redirects, easy to use, responsive layouts, easy to click links, no broken links, no missing images, and no images that have huge file sizes and take ages to load.
The last technical thing is meta information. Make sure that your titles and descriptions are unique for each page, and that they accurately reflect the content. Not all search engines rely on those things these days, but it’s still important that they are up to date and accurate for the ones that do.
Once you have all of that stuff up to date, the next thing to look at is your content. Is your content unique? Is it accurate? If not, then you will be in a difficult position regarding the search engines – in fact, Google could have given you an algorithmic penalty for low quality or duplicate content.
One thing that catches a lot of store owners out is the risk of duplicate content because they have the same navigation on every page, and then really short product descriptions. Another thing that catches people out is the product descriptions themselves. If you have an online store and you uploaded a lot of content to it – an XML feed from the merchant that supplies most of your stock, for example – but you didn’t change that content – it’s probably duplicate! How many other store owners have access to the same feed?
If you sell products, take the time to have unique descriptions written for each product. Also, consider having a blog on your site as well so that you have some interesting and engaging content for your users that is not purely trying to sell things.
Make sure that you write posts for your blog regularly. Those posts should present people with information about your company, tips for the sort of services that you provide, and entertaining or informative content. The search engines love fresh content, and you can use it to link to other companies and build up a reputation within your industry.
After that, the challenge is getting people to link back to you. Don’t think about this until you have all the other things worked out. Many companies make the mistake of worrying about incoming links before they have their “house in order” so to speak, and this is a mistake. An incoming link is an important part of SEO, but only once you have a high-quality website.
You should never, ever buy links. Instead, focus on finding people that would be interested in you, and reaching out to them. Alternatively, run awards, sponsor local football teams, and try to build up a reputation that way. That’s how you will reach people who you can get links from – without it looking like you are just paying cash for Page Rank.
Send out press releases. Make infographics and send those to bloggers that might be interested in the work you are doing. Provide products for review, but make sure that the bloggers are ethical enough to disclose that yes, they got the product given to them so that they could write about it.
This is something that lots of people will be willing to do – they love getting free stuff, and they will be happy to generate buzz for you.
SEO should be an ongoing effort. You can’t just acquire a bunch of links then forget about it. It’s really important that you put the time in now to build up a good base, yes, but then you need to keep on promoting your site and keep on updating your blog. A slow, steady trickle of links and incoming mentions will do you much more good in the long run than a short blast. Indeed, if you spam lots of links in the short term, there is a chance that you will get penalized for unethical link building, while if you get links in a slower and more sustainable way that will be less likely to be frowned upon.
Install Google Analytics code on your website, and set up an account with Google Webmaster Tools as well. These are both free, and they will be invaluable regarding helping you to build up a strong presence in the search engines. They will help you to identify potential problems with your site and make sure that you know what is going on regarding links gained and lost, your top traffic referrers, and any problems that you might be having.
If you’re lost at any point, or just don’t have the time to do this stuff, then you will find that it could be very helpful to hire an SEO agency to work with you. Be sure to find one that is local to Sarasota, Florida, because they will be able to give you the benefit of their local knowledge when it comes to online marketing, SEO, blogger outreach and press releases. There are plenty of inexpensive, foreign companies that you could work with but it is often not worth the effort because they cannot do as efficient a job if they do not understand your business, your area, and your target audience. Even though we live in a global economy, there are many areas where local knowledge matters and SEO remains one of those to this day. So, give a local company a call, support the economy of the area, and benefit from their special expertise.