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As a small business owner, you understand the importance of getting noticed online and making sure you stand out against the competition. Whether it’s through social media posts about your products or services or a cleverly worded blog, promoting your business can almost seem like a full-time job in its own right (and it is).

How can you possibly spare more time for your business online when running your business takes all of your time already?

Don’t work harder. Work smarter. That’s where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in.

Today, we’ll discuss what search engine optimization is, some good and bad practices, and why it’s crucial to the future of your business.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is one of the essential components for any business website. SEO uses online search best practices to push your website higher in the rankings on the search engines (mainly Google) in the hopes of being found when potential customers search for words and phrases related to your business or niche.

By making sure your site contains relevant, targeted keywords and phrases that have high search volume (and low difficulty) on the most prominent search engines, you have a better chance of your ideal clientele visiting your website and ultimately purchasing your services or buying your products over those of your competitors.

Good SEO Practices

The best way to make sure your SEO is working for you and get you ranked online is to make sure your website text is related not only to your products or services, but phrased in a way related to what people are typing into the search bar. These are known as keywords and key phrases.

Another way to do this is by writing a blog for your website. Blogs give you a long form way to highlight topics your audience is interested in and to include additional keywords and long-tail phrases related to your industry. This is also a great way to show search engines that you update your site regularly by providing new content and staying up-to-date, a ranking factor in itself.

However, while it sounds easy in concept to pump out blogs and pack in keywords to boost you on the search engines, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about doing it. Doing it the wrong way can hold severe consequences for your website. These steps are known as white hat and black hat SEO.

White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO

White Hat SEO techniques are generally considered best practices for ranking higher on the search engines. White Hat SEO usually consists of:

  • Relevant content on your website
  • Relevant links on your website
  • Complete sentences with correct grammar services, but
  • No “keyword stuffing
  • Pages with unique and relevant titles
  • Images that are well labeled

Black Hat SEO is considered the underhanded tactics used to rank higher on search engines. Black Hat might gain you an advantage early on, getting you found on the search engines and allowing you to climb at a faster than average rate. Be warned, however, as continued use of Black Hat tactics will not go unnoticed by search engines and will end up getting your website penalized so it’s harder to be found or, even worse, blacklisted and unable to be found at all.

Some examples of Black Hat SEO include:

  • Duplicated Content
  • Being directed to another website
  • Invisible Text
  • Keyword Stuffing
  • Links with no connection or context to your website

Why Do Small Businesses Need SEO?

As a small business owner, you likely understand how hard it is to compete with larger businesses and your local competition. This fierce competition is just another reason why SEO is an essential part of your business. With effective SEO practices, you can effectively benefit your business in the following ways:

  • A higher ROI (return on investment) for your website design and marketing efforts
  • Increased traffic to your website with more warm leads
  • Keep up to date with your competition and compete based on quality of offerings and differentiation

The internet is the first place customers go to when looking for new products. With more focus on online shopping than ever before, it is essential to be online where your customers can easily find you.

Future Proof Your Business With The Best SEO Portland Has To Offer

Your local competition and global chains are working to one-up their competition and gain new customers. To survive in a more competitive online world, making sure you utilize the very best SEO practices is essential to find success.

It’s important to remember that SEO is not a one-and-done process. SEO is always ongoing and the search algorithm constantly changing. With all of the responsibilities required with running your own business, you might not have the time to manage this all on your own.

That is where we come in.

At Stoute Web Solutions, we specialize in creating custom website care plans, managed WordPress hosting, SEO, and web design services. Based in Portland, Oregon, we are ready to help your business grow and specialize in working with small and medium-sized businesses with affordable SEO services and web design.

If you would like to take your business to the next level, please reach out to us to schedule a consultation today.

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