This article is by Glenn Stok, an award-winning author with hundreds of educational articles published online.
So you have a small business with a website that's not attracting viewers, or you're planning to create one to promote your brand. You’re thinking the first thing you want to do is list all your products to show what you offer.
That could be the worst thing to focus on if you intend to attract search engine traffic. Self-promotion with nothing else to give your reader will quickly push your website ranking down to the bottom of the heap.
What You Will Learn Here
Lots of information is available to learn how to build a website, so that's not the focus of this article. Even with a well-structured website, you'll still need to know how to attract people.
I had a small business for over 35 years and created my website to sell my products successfully. Now I'm going to share all the significant points you need to understand to avoid making mistakes and do the right thing to attract attention.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves many methods to be implemented correctly. The most crucial is giving your visitors information that will answer their search queries with quality content. I'll teach you the creative-writing respect for a successful web presence.
Feel free to skip around to find specific topics that are important to you quickly.
Think About Your Readers
If all you think of is selling your products, no one will be interested, and search engines will never pass traffic to your website. People look for solutions to their problems. Therefore, it would be best if you gave readers the answers they need. Informational pages help bring search engine traffic.
Write quality articles that relate to your niche and provide useful information that people are searching for online. Give them useful information without asking for anything in return. Offering helpful content is more important than merely having product sales information. People will remember that when they are ready to buy a product you provide.
You can still discuss your products, but not as a sales pitch. Use a different slant, such as the following:
- Explain how to use your products.
- Discuss common customer problems.
- Describe solutions customers are seeking.
- Review how to get more value from your products.
How to Decide What to Write
Finding the right topics is as easy as focusing on your customer’s needs and queries.
You can write articles for a business website offering advice, answers to customer questions, product reviews, solutions, detailed descriptions, requirements, and so on. While talking with customers on the phone to help them with their questions, you can make notes to remember what transpired in the conversation.
Questions people ask and the answers you give are always useful for other customers too. Why waste the questions and answers on one person. It helps everyone when you write articles based on previous customer queries and include them on your website.
These articles don’t have an apparent marketing intention, so a reader won’t find them intimidating. For that matter, they have a much better influence on a potential customer’s buying decision.
Furthermore, informational content helps bring extra search engine traffic and the added possibility for more sales of your company’s products.
You Need to Consider SEO for Your Business Website
A business site where you sell your merchandise online follows the same rules for success that writers need to follow to get readers.
Some companies focus on selling their products rather than offering something of value to the reader. Don’t make that same mistake. It’s crucial to think about Search Engine Optimization when creating content for your website.
In the remaining sections below, I’ll discuss what you need to focus on to add value with quality content that search engines will rank well.
How to Add Value to a Marketing Website
When you write quality content, you will get quality traffic from search engines. Quality traffic means visitors who are looking specifically for what you have to offer.
If a reader feels they got something of value, they may be encouraged to look around your site some more. If they don’t find value, they leave.
When Google or other search engines track short visits or bounces, they will assume your site has little or no value, and they will lower your ranking to the point where you may no longer get search engine traffic at all.
Quality traffic is the kind you want since they came to you searching for the specific topic you had written. You can’t just sell stuff. There is no value in that. Write about your products with helpful guidance and useful information that your potential customers are searching to solve their problems.
These readers will stick around since they found something that relates to what they want. They’ll read your article that came up in their search, and they may even check out other pages on your site.
How to Create Quality Content
It's best to provide information that your customers can't find anywhere else online and directly relates to their needs. Think in terms of writing informative articles to achieve that.
Remember these points that are crucial for any written content:
- Create description page titles.
- Avoid spelling errors.
- Use good grammar.
- Write easy-to-understand content.
- Stay focused.
- Include sub-titles.
The title of every page is the first thing people see in the search results. It’s crucial to make that clearly describe what information the reader will find. Otherwise, they will have no reason to click to see your page. Once you attract a reader, the additional points I mentioned are just as important to keep them engaged with your website.
Many tools are available to help with detecting spelling and grammar errors. If you use Microsoft Word, that can do both. If you need more help, I recommend Grammarly. You can download a free version or purchase a more robust version that gives more assistance with your writing. It even catches phrases that are difficult to understand.
While writing, avoid getting too wordy and going off on tangents. Remain tightly focused on the points you are making. That will help the reader absorb your information.
Include sub-titles with every unique segment. That helps the reader scan to find what's important to them.
Transparency Can Develop Trust
Customers can sometimes have bad experiences with products. That could be due to the customer's failure to read instructions. It can also be an error on the manufacturer's side. Either way, showing the world you're not afraid to be transparent can tremendously increase customer trust and loyalty.
For that reason, I find it useful to include a customer comment section on a small business website. That gives consumers a platform to voice their opinion where you’ll find it, rather than lost on social media. You might not even be aware of posts written elsewhere.
And it's crucial to always respond to all comments, no matter if they're positive or negative. So bring it home where you can always know what your customers are experiencing. That will give you a better chance to respond to every comment.
An additional advantage that I found with having a customer comment section is that your response can include appropriate keywords that help search engines bring you more traffic, especially from the right type of visitors.1
How to Avoid Attracting the Wrong Visitors
It’s essential to pay attention to the use of keywords. Weak-performing pages might be due to a mismatch of content to visitors.
Using inappropriate keywords might make a search engine match a query with the wrong topic. That causes a misguided visitor to fall on your page.
The Google Analytics reports help discover how misguided visitors have fallen on a specific page. You can find that by viewing what search terms people used. (I’ll discuss Google Analytics below).
With that information, you'll know what changes you need to make to bring visitor traffic related to your business. That's a quality visitor — one who exactly found what they were searching for and could end up being a valued customer.
How to Get to the Top of Search
We all know that when people do a Google search, articles that give the reader something of value are ranked higher and appear at the top of the search results.
Information on business websites must follow that requirement to do well and attract new customers. If you only have pages of advertising or product descriptions, you are not focused on providing a useful site for people to visit when they need help with one of your products.
Your business will do better when your website contains useful articles that provide the kind of information people need. That will make your content eventually appear near the top of Google’s search results because it will rank it higher.
Google ranks content based on reader duration. If readers click away quickly, Google bots are programmed to assume that means the content is useless.
If a reader gets something useful from the information, they’ll possibly look around your website some more. If they don’t find value, they will leave.
Google can track if a visitor followed a link to another page on your site. If your visitor first sees a sales pitch that they are not interested in, they will leave. That short duration negatively affects your site’s search engine ranking.
When you provide value, you could get repeat visitors. Google keeps track of repeat visitors too, and it is an added plus towards your ranking.
Create a Separate Page for Each Item
Once you have included useful content on your website, it's okay to include self-promotional pages. After all, you do intend to sell your products.
It's helpful for readers to be able to concentrate upon one item at a time when doing their research for potential purchase considerations. So it's not a good idea to list multiple items together on the same page, as many organizations do on their websites. Save that for an index page.
Separately describing items has the added SEO advantage of using related keywords for each specific item. That will help you rank higher for each particular product.2
So limit each item description to a single web page.
Use Google Analytics to Monitor Visitor Activity
It’s also necessary to pay attention to what works and what doesn’t.
Google Analytics is a useful free tool that all businesses should use to monitor your website activity. Analytics reports provide a lot of valuable data about how well each page on your site works and why.
I like to analyze poorly performing pages by comparing them to those that attract a lot of traffic. Then I see what is missing or what I did right.
Google Likes Updated Pages
Google bots notice when pages are updated. Those pages are ranked higher because Google wants to send search traffic to well-maintained pages rather than pages that are left to stagnate.
Google may consider pages that are not maintained to be outdated or already obsolete. So it’s a benefit to you to keep your pages up to date with current information.
Revise Outdated Content
If you install Google Analytics on your business website, you’ll see what pages are working and which are not. So you can review poor-performing pages and improve them. It's essential to pay attention to what works and what doesn't.
Google mentions in their quality guidelines that any low-quality page would decrease the rest of the site’s ranking.3
Poor performing pages may not necessarily be poorly written. They may just be attracting the wrong traffic. Your Google Analytics reports help discover how misguided visitors have fallen on your page. Then you’ll know what changes to make. It could be keywords that don’t relate well with the subject.
It’s essential to eliminate or update obsolete information. Outdated content will hurt your ranking. Keeping data current is crucial to having a website people trust.
Attracting loyal visitors can turn into increased sales of your products. That works when they feel they found a helpful website that isn’t blatantly trying to sell something.
Let’s review the important points:
- Provide value to potential customers.
- Keep content up to date to avoid obsolete information.
- Write about your products without making it a sales pitch.
- Share useful answers to queries with other visitors on your website.
- Watch out for use of keywords that might be attracting a mismatched audience.
- Remember to make the management of your website a vital part of your business.
When you follow these guidelines, your website will enhance your business with more customers who are actively interested in the information you offer.
- Genevieve Tuenge. (July 15, 2019). “Beginner’s SEO guide: Search engine optimization for small business websites.” GoDaddy
- Harpreet Munjal. (July 30, 2020). "Small Business SEO: Seven Tips to Rank Your Website on Google." Forbes
- “Webmaster Guidelines.” developers.google.com
© 2021 Glenn Stok
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 30, 2021:
That was my intent Alicia. This is specifically meant for small business owners who want to know what's needed to make their website attract viewers. Thanks for your perceptive comment.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 30, 2021:
Thanks Heidi, Happy New Year to you too.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 30, 2021:
Thank you, Liz, for your feedback. I appreciate it.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 30, 2021:
Your article contains some excellent advice, Glenn. I think it will be very useful for small business owners.
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on January 30, 2021:
Excellent tips, as always. Happy New Year, Glenn!
Liz Westwood from UK on January 30, 2021:
I have learnt a lot from this extremely helpful, interesting and well-structured article.