More search engine tips for small to medium businesses

In our previous article on SEO for small to medium businesses, we raised the topic of finding the best search terms for your company. The single most important factor in findability may be having your primary search term in your web address, as we've discussed; however, you can also make sure your site has a good ratio of the terms your clients are looking for.


How do I figure what the search terms for my business are?


Create a list of words associated with your business, or products/services you sell, and run the list through two filters:

1. How much competition is there for those terms? "Thai restaurant Berkeley" = a lot of competition.

2. How often searched for. "Japanese hand-hammered artisanal tools" = pretty much no competition, so no local modifier is needed, but also not often searched for.

You're looking for the sweet spot between the two, terms that express your business specialty in words your best client would use.

What's the problem your service is the solution for?

Adding geography in connection with what you do is very helpful if you're not a large corporation with ad dollars to compete for general terms. "Berkeley massage chronic pain" is a good search term if you have a specialty client base for a common service.

Consider search terms in the context of "What will Google think of this word?", versus what you put on your business card. Your title might be "nutrition consultant", but people will search for "nutritionist", and that's the term search engines understand.

Understand your search terms have to be refined over time.

If you're working with an SEO expert, they'll take your list of terms and test and refine them. Search is a long game, and anyone who promises instant results is peddling snake oil. As you see what terms bring you more business, you can refine your content accordingly. It's not really any different from the days when you ran an ad in your local paper describing your service as "Affordable fast divorce" one week, and "Personalised, caring legal services" the next, and compared the number of phone calls you got. Except that both those ads were thrown away forever with the day's paper, and your website works for you all day, every day, even while you're sleeping.