Within their effort to catalog the world's information, Google has created an algorithm that is used to determine how highly a site ranks for a given search query. The higher the rank, of course, the higher up the page a result is found, and naturally, the more visible it becomes.

For a small business owner, it's imperative to rank highly and therefore show up at the top of the list for search terms related to your business. Do do so, one must be aware of what Google's "spiders" will be looking for when they crawl a site.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of ensuring that the spiders find what they're looking for ultimately awarding the site a high rank. Although best practices change from time to time, there are some staples of SEO that are always relevant. Follow this advice to improve your page rank!

Mobile Optimization

You may know that Facebook is now a mobile-first platform. That is, more than half of the users are on mobile only, as opposed to desktop only or both. The mobile internet is a reality of the modern world, and Google's page ranking system reflects this.

Sites that lack essential mobile functionality are now penalized by Google. On the other hand, sites which are fully optimized for mobile tend to benefit, especially when the search originates from a mobile device. As more and more consumers use mobile devices to search the internet, having a mobile friendly site becomes all the more important to your business.

Social Media

Your companies social networking profiles are of significant interest to Google, in large part because they're significant to people who are searching for you on the web.

Active and engaged social channels greatly relieve customer concerns of legitimacy, and they demonstrate to Google that your business is generating fresh and relevant content.

Keywords

The use of keywords on one's site used to be a simple matter of repetition to the extreme. Such "keyword stuffing" is now an unacceptable practice, and Google will always know.

Instead of trying to stuff your relevant keywords everywhere they could possibly go, make sure they appear in the few places that they truly fit and are needed.

Sitemap

A sitemap doesn't have to be any more than a list of all the URLs on your site for Google's spiders to crawl. Providing a well functioning sitemap allows your site to be crawled easier, and generally makes a favorable impression upon the Google ranking. A well structured site is an expert touch that is to be rewarded.

Broken Links

Error 404 pages on your site can effect visibility on search engines. If a spider looks for a page and it turns out not to be there, the page rank will be diminished.

Fixing broken links can be a laborious chore, but software exists to help find them. You should strive to have a page free of broken links to be best ranked by Google.

Backlinks

Backlinks are links that send users to your site. Getting backlinked on popular, high-traffic sites brings not just the benefit of increased visibility, but increased page authority as well.

In other words, when highly respected sites link to your site, your site's reputation increases. The process of getting your link listed on high value sites can be arduous, and is beyond the scope of this article.

Readable URLs

A human readable URL makes a page more useful to a human. Google is aware of this, and so, readable URLs are given more weight in page rank.

And besides that, it's just good design. It takes next to no extra time, and it keeps your visitors happier. Ultimately, your domain name followed by /news/seo-tips/ is much easier to find and understand than your URL followed by /article/254672/.

Title Tags

The old, simple title tag. Simple to change, but it's got to be locked in. Make sure your title tag is keyword rich and suits the topic of the page. Try to avoid generic titles and keep a specialized tag for each page on your site.

Get To Work!

If you're doing business in the 21st century, you need to know how to use the internet. That means getting your links to appear at the top of Google search results, and that means optimizing your site for search engines. With these examples, you're off to a good start.

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