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Every Small & Medium-sized Business Owner Needs to Know Something about SEO

The reason that business owners themselves should understand something about SEO and how it works is that they can hire and manage people to perform these tasks themselves. Depending on how competitive your niche is, you may be able to do it in-house. The owner does not need to know exactly how the details are implemented, they just need to be able verify whether the tasks have been completed.

Below I'm going to list some points that you should consider as you familiarize yourself with the process (and if you already know the basics you can just skip it, and call me). However, first you should understand that Google does not publish it's algorithm. It is not a science, so much as an art mixed with some experimentation. At any moment it can change. Now, they don't have a reason to do wild overhauls and they haven't done that, but the point is that we are guessing about what Google thinks.

1. Elbow Grease is more Important than Grand Theories.
There are lots of things you need to do that just take time, for example getting links to your site. It takes time to make a list of websites related to your particular field, location or product that could possibly link to you. Contacting those website owners requires you write a coherent and convincing message or email to them. Perhaps someone needs to make a call. This isn't brain surgery, but it's got to be done. It is not rocket science remembering to purchase your domain name a number of years out. That is, register it for five to ten years, not just one. But you might need to write it down, check it, and if you need to extend the life of your domain that takes a little time.

2. A Castle is Built Brick by Brick.
SEO involves doing one hundred small steps not one or two huge leaps. If you can convince the New York Times to link to your website from their front page (or any page on their website for that matter) then your rankings will jump upward very quickly. However, most people don't have the ability to convince one of these "authority" websites (which Google "listens" to very closely) to post a link to their site. The result is that you must get lots of "bricks": just single links from average sites which are not rockstars of the ranking realm.

3. Rome Wasn't Built in a Day.
This point relates in part to number two above, but it also relates to Google's algorithm. There is general concensus that Google never allows any site to get really high rankings right out of the gate. This holds true no matter how many links you have or how good your "on page" SEO is ("on page" SEO refers to the code and words in your pages, not links). It takes some time, at least two to three months, before you get any decent rankings. If the keyword set your ranking for is more competitive, you should plan on seeing results no sooner than six to seven months down the road. On can surmise why Google might find this a good policy: fly-by-night hackers routinely throw up a site on short notice, try to scam money out of people, and then are gone within a month. Sometimes law enforcement subpoenas registrar and hosting company information for data because fraud or theft has been reported. Be patient, and in it for the long haul.

4. Mind Your Grammar and Writing.
Google has an increasing understanding of what constitutes good grammar. Statistical algorithms can analyze your website's use of definite and indefinite articles, and then determine with a high degree of accuracy the quality of your writing. Or, at least whether you're a native English speaker! Google officials have publicly stated that reputable sites tend to spell better. I personally don't think wonderful spelling and grammar is as important as many of the other factors, however, it's easy enough for Google to notice. And it's not too tough for you to correct. (Please note that I'm in the camp that believes starting a sentence with "And" is perfectly permissible.)

4. Understand that "Dwell Time" is a Top Factor.
In fact, over the long-term, it's just as important as links to your site. If you don't know what "dwell time" is, keep reading or Google "dwell time and SEO". Dwell time is the amount of time a person spends on your website after clicking on the search result, and before (if ever) returning back to that same set of search results. So, imagine you've just done a search on Google for "camera shop in Dallas" or whatever. You then see the list of results. You scroll downward and you click on a link, or open it in a new browser tab or window. You then start looking at that website about cameras in Dallas. Now, imagine that you turn right around after five seconds and go back to the search results page and keep looking and clicking on other results. Google times those interactions religiously. What does that tell Google? It tells Google quite unequivocally, that that website is a garbage result for that search term. After that happens a few times, or quite a few, Google absolutely will demote your site down in the rankings for that keyword or phrase. The moral of the story is this: build a site that keeps them looking around for a good bit. It's alright if they go back to the search results, but it should not be too quick. The debate on how long is the right time rages on, but the main idea should be clear to you.

Feel free to get in touch with me at any time regarding building and promoting a your website.
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