In today’s technologically savvy society, a strong web presence is vital to the success of small and local businesses. While the owners of these businesses typically launch websites, oftentimes the pages are difficult for customers to locate without a direct link. Through the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), however, web traffic can drastically increase. For those unfamiliar with SEO, there are five key terms to learn before using these methods to increase web traffic:
The term “keywords” refers to a set of words or phrases that users enter into search engines to find what they are seeking on the web. Those who use SEO tactics need to research keywords (Google, for one, offers a free keyword search tool) to determine which ones are the best fit for their business. Once optimal keywords are determined, they should be incorporated into website content.
“SERP” is the abbreviation for search engine results page. The SERP is the page that is presented to users after they perform a search using a search engine. Multiple studies have shown that most users (approximately 90 percent) never look beyond the first page of results; therefore, it is the ultimate goal of businesses to have their websites land on the first page.
“White hat” and “black hat” are two diametrically opposed approaches to SEO. Black hat SEO includes aggressive, often deceptive, tactics, such as keyword stuffing. It goes against search engine guidelines, which often results in websites being banned from turning up at all on the SERPs. White hat SEO, on the other hand, involves ethical SEO practices that follow the rules outlined by search engines and provide long-lasting results.
When users land on a SERP, they are able to view the title of the webpage, as well as a short description of the page contents. This description is known as the “meta description.” To increase the chances of ranking highly, website owners should include keywords when creating this description; however, the description should remain helpful for users.
Like regular SEO, local SEO uses the SERPs to display search results, but it uses location-based keywords to identify businesses that are local to the searcher. For instance, a person in San Francisco enters keywords, such as “Chinese food San Francisco”, to locate a local restaurant. Websites for Chinese restaurants in San Francisco that include location-based keywords appear in the search results, making it easy for prospects to find it.