2014 SEO Best Practices: Dos and Don’ts for the Small Business Owner

While it might seem like just another day of browsing the internet for the typical web surfer, what that person does not realize is that Google and other major search engines are continuously updating their algorithms to make search results more accurate for millions of users worldwide. Every single one of these changes affects the kind of SEO best practices web marketing companies need to employ in order to make their client rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs). If these companies do not pattern their strategies after the algorithms, their clients’ websites become at risk of getting penalized and lose whatever rank they have prior to the penalties.

Fortunately, small business owners can avoid getting knocked out of their precious rankings by observing the web marketing trends that are readily available to them. Many search engine marketers have spent their time and effort into studying these trends and seeing clear patterns that would help websites become favorable to search engines and determine what methods will most likely get them penalties. Here is a list of the most widely used strategies that can either propel you to the very top or take you straight to the bottom.


The DOs: SEO Best Practices for Optimum Online Visibility

The deal with SEO today is that there are literally an endless array of methods that marketing companies and business owners use to improve page ranking and attract potential customers to their respective businesses. Mentioned below are the SEO strategies and concepts that are considered to be among the most effective in terms of:

  • giving websites a high ranking
  • driving targeted traffic to websites
  • converting ordinary web visitors into customers
  • making website content, layout, and images compelling and interesting enough to convince visitors to visit more than once.

Do Innovate

Nothing draws in attention like a fresh, brilliantly-written, and informative content with an innovative topic. Becoming a pioneer in your industry content-wise entails taking the initiative when it comes to content creation. You have to develop ideas and turn them into topics that provide the readers with a fresh perspective.

When you try to create content for the sake of adding more web pages or for the sake of obtaining new indexing signals is a not the a very effective strategy. Each and every single piece of content that is on your website needs to be one-of-a-kind, providing crucial information about your company, without sounding overly promotional. Know what your clients will be looking for in your website, and work hard to provide them with what they need, offering them a deeper understanding of the topic, product, or service that they want to know about.

Avoid duplicate content, where Google and other major search engines are quick to devalue such. Any information found on your site that has previously been posted on another site will be tagged as duplicate content. This is to ensure that content remains original and those who came up with the ideas and topics get the credit that they deserve.

Do Think About Your Visitors

If there is one thing you need to know about content, it is that they should always be created with the reader in mind. A website can only perform well if it is able to satisfy its visitors and turn them into clients. Otherwise, searchers will not be returning to the website, so it is important that you present them with your best content and convince them that you have an outstanding brand the first time they visit your website. It is one of the SEO best practices that will be going away anytime soon.

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine whether each page addresses common visitor concerns:

  • Does the page look trustworthy?
  • Are you sending a clear message?
  • Does the page contain all the vital info that your clients need?
  • Does the page contain your business’ contact information?

A good rule of thumb to continuously enhance user experience . Keep your website navigable and well-organized. Use good quality images but ensure that your website loads easily to keep visitors from waiting to long.

Do Provide Reliable Information

Web searchers have the following primary reasons for using the internet:

  • Get information
  • Communicate
  • Ask for help
  • Online Shopping

Judging from the aforementioned, your content should fulfill any of these roles. A website copy should not only answer questions that users have, but also provide them with suggestions and other vital information about your brand that can convince them to become your clients.


What NOT to Do: Black Hat Techniques Should Never Be Part of SEO Best Practices

Some website owners and marketing companies have been known to use certain tactics that, in a way, allowed them to achieve faster results when it comes to website rankings. However, these strategies are unnatural and disrupts the natural process that Google and other search engines have laid out for websites. Such methods are regarded as cheating the algorithms that were put into place in order to make the search results as relevant to the queries as possible. The key to getting the top spot is to focus on quality, relevance, and uniqueness of content, and so spammers are taken out of the rankings.

Don’t Use Tricks

SEO tricks that work immediately but do more harm in the long run is never a good move. Such an unethical marketing strategy will eventually catch on, and when Google is able to identify the trick you pulled to get to your high ranking, you can either move down in the ranks or get penalized for it. Avoid shortcuts, just invest on quality, natural strategies that build your reputation slowly but surely. Avoid the following:

  • Duplicate content
  • Article spinning
  • Invisible text
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Doorway pages
  • Link Schemes

Bottomline: Stick to SEO Best Practices

As Google and other search engines roll out with new algorithm updates, keep on following their lead and use strategies that help you achieving the best results for your website. While black hat techniques are known to boost rankings almost immediately, the effects are only temporary, not to mention a very likely chance of getting penalties from Google that would hurt your brand’s reputation.