How To Think Like A Search Engine For Small Business Websites

When the opportunity to give a presentation for the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce came up for this month’s business networking meeting at Toms River Brewing, I grabbed it. There are a lot of misconceptions among the business community about search engine optimization and what works when it comes to SEO. I thought I might share some best practices with my fellow GTRCC members.

The video here shows shows the presentation I delivered telling the business owners in Ocean County, New Jersey about How To Think Like A Search Engine. The following are the presentation notes.

Local Business Networking Presentation: How To Think Like A Search Engine

Hello, I’m Lisa! Owner of On Your Mark Design and Graphics. I help business owners get more leads from your small business websites.

I’ve been working with clients on their websites since 2004 and while it’s important to create a site that is beautiful and looks good, my goal is to make sure you get found.

Many designers develop good looking sites but don’t know how to turn Googles head and get you noticed. 

Website Content Should Be Helpful For Humans and Answer Questions People Are Asking In Search

This is done, in part, by crafting content that will be helpful for the humans that are using the search engines. We go to Google to ask questions, and Google serves up the best possible answers. To be thought of as a site that has those answers, as a site that deserves to be served in search, we need to think like a search engine.

business networking ocean county seo webdesign

That’s what I do.

Here’s how we can re-write a headline  and make it better for search. 

Would a search engine understand where to put a site in organic search results?

Welcome to the website of On Your Mark. Explore our wide variety of premium services. Our clients are successful because we work hard to partner with you for optimal growth and revenue generation.

That was hard to write, actually… because at this point in my life I can’t help it. I think like a search engine.

Get More Leads From Your Small Business Website
Engage with us for effective website design and search engine optimization SEO in Ocean County, NJ
Start Now! (Don’t forget that call to action! It’s a conversation element)

Now this is just one part of a page (although it’s an important one) and there are additional strategies employed throughout a website…. So many actually…. 

This example should be obvious and yet I see it all the time. 

Platitudes sound good, but how does Google know where to put you? 

And if a visitor does come to your site, you are making it harder for them to determine they are in the right place to answer their questions or meet their needs. That back button in a browser is like an itchy trigger finger and we need to avoid your visitors pulling it.

Use Terms and Phrases Potential Customers Would Use To Search For You In Your Website Copy

Be clear and include words people will use to search for you in your headlines, but remember that the headlines need to give context about the rest of the content that will be found on that page.

But SEO isn’t just about headlines. All the elements on a website are there for a purpose and seo can be incorporated into every one. 

Do you think Google will better understand an image file named img4356.jpg or pilates-workout-toms-river.jpg? 

seo for small business websites in new jersey

This isn’t just about key words, this is about knowing how to craft a website from the ground up keeping search engines in mind every step of the way.

Include Conversion Elements So Visitors Who Find You Will Get In Touch

And by using trust building elements like testimonials, calls to action, proof of certifications and awards, owners bios and clear and prominent contact info we are more likely to get your traffic, your visitors, your potential customers to reach out and contact you once you’ve been found.

Page views are not my goal. Likes on your social posts are not my goal. Leads and watching your business grow is why i sit in front of my computer every day. I love it more than coffee… and beer.

I don’t outsource this work. I have brought my husband and son inside my bubble to help me because we have a lot to do. But when you work with me, you talk to me, the person who is working on your website. Often I can make changes /while we are talking/ no need for a middle man where goals and intent get lost in translation. You and I strategize together and I can implement.

I do need your help though. Content is still king in search so when you hire me, feel relief … but you aren’t off the hook. 

Here are some misconceptions About Internet Marketing I Hear from new clients… 

Marketing a business online does not mean the more simple the better. No “one page websites” will dominate the competition organically. I’ll need copy or at least nuggets and outlines… key points from you that set you apart from the competition. This way I’m not just repeating what everyone else is doing. Photos, videos, updates are crucial. 

What about companies that want to distinguish themselves from the competition? The cleaning service that doesn’t want to say “maid service” – or the Acupuncturist who would rather call Chinese medicine Eastern medicine. The nutritionist who is not a registered dietician. The residential construction consultant who doesn’t call himself a general contractor.

You may not want to present your business using certain terms for branding or legal purposes… but when we think like a search engine, we also need to think the way potential customers might be USING the search engine. 

business owners learning about small business seo

They may not know industry specific terms. They may use “master bedroom” instead of “primary suite”… when doing a search because even though master bedroom may be taboo in today’s real estate industry and among the media, lay people still use it in Google! Someone looking to get a cleaning service for their summer home at the Jersey Shore might search for a maid and you want that job! 

We simply need to find creative ways to feature these terms in your website content without using them to define your business.

Search engines are getting better at figuring out the intent of a person who is searching, so exact keyword matches aren’t as important as they used to be – but I like to cover all my bases whenever I can. A lot of people are using SEO on their websites today – so doing it right and BETTER than the next guy is how to get ahead of your competition.

Improving the quality of the content on your website will affect your search results

More traffic from search engines to a website that’s designed for conversions will result in more leads!

When you do this, when you commit to developing robust content for a website that is put together for search… the results are sticky. You’ll get found organically for what you do and where you do it… and your business will grow.

We can do it. Let’s get started.