Search Engine Optimization Basics for Businesses
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As Google continues to perfect its search engine algorithms and solidify its position as the go-to source for information, it's more important than ever to take an honest, organic approach to search engine optimization (SEO).

"Trust is the main currency of Google, and it is earned through links," says Evan Bailyn, founder and CEO of SEO and social media marketing company First Page Sage and author of Outsmarting Google. "Google will trust the site that has the most and highest-quality links pointing back to it."

Create a content hook

One of the main factors in attracting people to link to your page is providing entertaining or useful content they'll find worth sharing. Consequently, when possible, try to avoid the standard press release. Visual media such as video, charts or cartoons can add intrigue to otherwise boring text.

"If you sell a particular product, you can show how it's made or many different interesting varieties so it feels like you can almost taste the product, even if it's a tech product," Bailyn says. "With anything that's visually appealing or appetizing, that can be a very good idea to attract content."

Then use an organic, non-spam outreach approach. Bailyn recommends appointing an employee to email key contacts and media outlets or enlisting the help of a publicist.

Take advantage of Google's tools

Google offers many features that can improve an organization's SEO; Google+ and YouTube are the most notable. Google+ enables individuals and organizations to make social media profiles linked to the search engine, which gives Google data to personalize the search experience.

A company's own Google+ page also enables two-way communication with consumers. The company can share content and thus drive links, and customers can give business and product reviews. Utilizing Google's YouTube service can also increase your chance of appearing on Google search results pages.

"If you have a video that relates to your product or service, a demo of what you do or something that promotes it, it's a good idea to get a lot of people talking about it — a lot of views, a lot of thumbs up and favorites. All of those in different quantities are ways of deciding which videos show up when you type something into Google," Bailyn says.

Don't overlook the small things

SEO strategies don't have to be complicated; small efforts can make a big difference. For example, have your business name and contact information listed on as many websites and directories as possible and that they are written exactly the same on each. This will help generate a higher ranking among local search listings.

Another small measure with a big impact is the title tag you have for each page on your website. This title tag — which appears at the top of your browser window and in the HTML code — becomes the blue, underlined headline displayed on a Google results page. Search words are compared against this title to determine what a page is about and if it matches what an inquirer is looking for.

"If you just wrote 'welcome' on your home page, you'd be missing a tremendous opportunity. Google will think your page is about 'welcome,'" Bailyn says.

Overall, improving your rankings with Google come down primarily to one thing: quality content. When you have good content on your site and spend a little time marketing it, you will move up in the search rankings. There are not quick fixes; quality is what counts.

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This information is general in nature and is provided for educational purposes only. Regions makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal, or tax advice. Regions encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.