As a small-business owner, you know that in order to compete in today's market, a website is a must. Once that website is up, you can just let it coast, right?
Well, if you want it to shrivel up and die in Google's no-man's land of last-page search results, sure. But if you want to attract visitors, you might want to take a different approach to your website. Just like you need to occasionally water a succulent, your website needs occasional adjustments to make sure it keeps performing.
Watering Your Business Website
For this analogy, let's establish that your website is a succulent, mainly because you don't need a green thumb to keep this plant alive. Give it sunlight and water it once every two weeks, and your succulent will adorn your desk indefinitely. (Gardenista has some good indoor growing tips if you have yet to experience the joy and productivity office plants spur.)
Similarly, you don't have to be a SEO whiz or web developer to keep your website kicking. Instead of watering it (please don't pour literal water on your computer screen), you need to:
- Check in on Google's algorithm updates.
- Make the necessary tweaks to ensure your website isn't forgotten on a windowsill and dying of thirst (i.e., not showing up in search results).
For example, The Washington Post reports 60 percent of web traffic is mobile now, and small business websites that can't be accessed on a smartphone or tablet will be left in the dirt. The report also states that Google's latest algorithm favors mobile-friendly sites, meaning they will fare better in search results.
The downside: 80 percent of small businesses don't have a mobile-friendly website, according to the National Small Business Administration's 2013 Small Business Technology Survey [PDF]. If small businesses want their websites to show up in searches, they must be optimized for mobile devices and have…
- Large text that can be read on small screens.
- Evenly spaced links.
- Mobile-ready plug-ins.
For more mobile-optimization tips, read the post "Why You Need to Go Mobile."
Why Search Result Rankings Matter
Google rankings can make or break an online business. The Washington Post states that the top Google search results get 33 percent of the clicks, but the second page only gets one percent. In short, if your site doesn't appear in the first page of search results, you're losing customers.
On the bright side, it doesn't take much to create a responsive website. Platforms like Wix or Squarespace have built-in features that optimize sites for mobile devices (which can help boost your rank with Google's new algorithm), and you can easily tweak your content with a few clicks.
You can also improve your website's search engine rank by:
- Optimizing your content to include keywords prospects use to look for your type of products or services.
- Publishing fresh and engaging content regularly (e.g., blog posts).
- Working with a web designer to make your site more search-friendly and eye-catching.
For more tips on improving your website's ranking, check out Moz's free resource "The Beginner's Guide to SEO."