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10 SEO Tips for Small Business

10 SEO Tips for Small Business – Content marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand. Here are 10 “Must-Know” Tips on SEO for Content Marketing.

10 SEO Tips for Small Business

Maybe you’ve wondered why your competition has a leg up on you online. Perhaps you’ve gotten the emails and phone calls about “Be #1 on Google!”.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) first appeared in 1997. Yet two decades later, the practice remains shrouded in mystery, at least to the average small business owner.

SEO doesn’t involve magic. No one has the “formula”. It’s simply getting search engines like Google and Bing to recognize your website as an authority so that they rank it higher in their search results. How do you show Google you are an authority? Through better content than your competitors, that’s how.

How Content Marketing and Social Media and SEO Converge.

Content Marketing is valuable information to your target audience delivered through social media channels that drives traffic to you website. The value SEO plays in this is that content needs to be optimized to show up in web searches on Google and Bing.

For more information on Content Marketing, see the Web It 101 Guide to Content Marketing.

For SEO tips for small business owners, read on!

So what are the “rules”?

What are the most important things to know about SEO for a small business?

Here are 10 SEO tips for small business owners.

10 SEO Tips for Small Business

There Are No Guarantees

seo tips for small business - google mattersNo one, not even Google, can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. For good reason. If I go to Google, and search for a phrase, Google knows where I am searching from, what I have looked for in the past, and what types of websites I frequent. In the real world, that means it’s very likely when searching from a laptop, that Sam in Topeka, will see a different set of organic returns that Harry in Pittsburgh, even though they googled the exact same phrase at the exact same time. And if either searches on a phone and Google sees that the search is coming from 3/4G instead of an ISP, they use an entirely different mobile algorithm that differs significantly from desktop searches.

The point is, there is absolutely no way to guarantee anything in the world of SEO. It’s impossible. In the case of Google, between locality, history and whether the search is 3/4G or IP based, the same search from different people will generally show a different set of results.

Anyone who tells you different or guarantees rankings at the top or even on the first page, is flat out lying to you.

Google Doesn’t Rank Your Website

seo tips for small business - Google ranks PAGESThe reality is that you’re not trying to rank a site. You’re trying to rank pages within a site, because that is how Goggle searches for content.

Unless you have a site that’s a just a single landing page, then ranking a webpage and a website aren’t the same thing. It’s more likely that you have various segments on your website, including a home page, a contact form, a blog, a categories page, a FAQ and possibly other parts.

Some of those pages are more valuable than others. For example, you’re probably not interested in ranking your contact form, but you certainly want to rank the content on your blog. You need to focus on ranking pages that will reel in potential customers from the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). Then, use your favorite method to capture their contact information and add them to your email list.

Google bots index webpages not websites.

Bigger is Better

seo tips for small business - bigger is betterIn some niches, Google favors larger sites. If you’re launching an e-commerce site that sells sneakers, it’s not likely that you’re going to rank at the top of the SERP. You’ll be competing with Finish Line, Foot Locker, Famous Footwear, Nike, Reebok, Puma and more. All with huge sites that Google loves.

Google will generally favor brands that are household names over new startups when it comes to ranking. That’s because the search giant wants to provide the best possible experience for its users.

So does that mean you are out of luck if you’re running a new company that wants to sell sneakers online? Not at all.

First of all, you can optimize for your own brand name. That way people can still find your site by searching for your name. And if you have a storefront, start optimizing for local SEO. Also, look for alternative keywords that you can use to promote your brand. You might come across some golden opportunities that even your biggest competitors haven’t noticed.

For instance, if you are pulling your hair out because you are 18 pages back in the SERP for the keyword “sneakers” how about an alternative long-tail keyword such as “mens blue suede sneakers” or “orange tennis sneakers”. You get the idea. There are two benefits of long-tail keywords not to be missed.

  • You have a better shot at the first page on SERP
  • People who are more specific in a search are more likely to buy.

Plus, if the keywords have their own pages, you website is growing. If you post just a couple times a week, in one year, your website has grown by over 100 pages! You are on your way to proving to Google you are an authority.

Content Marketing and SEO is Competitive.

seo tips for small business - don't let your compitition winIf you have pulled up any information on SEO, you will likely see a phrase “Content is King”, widely attributed to Bill Gates back in the day. And it’s true. Content is information and when people go online to search, they are looking for one thing.

Information.

And it’s likely that the competitors in your niche have heard “Content is King’ as well and have been busy.

That’s why you need to be at the top of your game when it comes to inbound content marketing. Invest the right amount of money into hiring someone for keyword research, hire the best writers, hire the best SEO folks to optimize the content, have someone update your blog consistently, and pull out all the stops to create attention-grabbing headlines with amazing content.

What will these experts do? Take a look at your competition — then make a better pages for your site. Then fully optimize it for SEO.

Early Action Pays Off

SEO tips for small business - early adoption puts you ahead of competitorsBack in the day when the first IPhone hit the street, followed by the Motorola “Droid”, some smart business owners were early adopters of “mobile friendly” websites. So when Google gave a three month warning in early 2015 that mobile readiness was going to be a significant factor in SERP, they were prepared.

If your website is not mobile-friendly”, you are not doing your current customers and potential customers any favors. Get a mobile-friendly site NOW.

Today, many bigger sites are taking advantage of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

Also, have you moved to https from http? Google announced that is a factor in SEO back in 2014. HTTPS is not just for credit card forms, it factors in SEO as well.

Early adopters win big.

It’s Not all About the SERP

SEo tips for small business - It's not just organic listingsNo list of SEO tips for small business would be complete without mentioning other avenues other than organic listing postions. For instance if you Google “plumbers” and the name of your city, you’ll likely see the “3-Pack”. This is a map below the paid listings with 3 businesses listed with links right to their website and a button to call.

Here is a list of common result types that appear in Google’s blended search results pages:

  • Organic listings
  • The local 3-pack
  • Knowledge Graph cards
  • AMP carousel
  • Instant answers (also known as “featured snippets”)
  • Google Images
  • Google Videos
  • Google News

What do you click on if you are looking for “Orange Tennis Sneakers? You are likely to click on “Images” so you can see some. Now you have pictures of what orange tennis sneakers look like. If you click on an image, there is a button to visit the website.

How easy is that? But remember, unless the image is optimized, you won’t be there either.

It’s Not All About Google

GoogleSure, Google is the undisputed leader in web searches. It’s no contest. One reason is Google has indexed 30 trillion pages, while Bing has indexed 14 billion. There is a common phrase, attributed to Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. “If it’s not on Google, it doesn’t exist”. That doesn’t mean that other search engines don’t exist and that people in your target market don’t use them.

What is the second most used search engine? (It’s not Bing or Yahoo)

Believe it or not, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world behind Google (Google owns YouTube).

People even search for businesses on Facebook. People search for products on Amazon.

Google is very important, but you need to have your bases covered.

SEO is Essential in Targeting Different Markets

Google-mapsWhether your market is local or global, SEO plays a more significant role than anything else you can do.

Web It 101 has a client in Florida who provides training. When there is enough customer interest to “hit the road” they will travel the country to train. How disruptive is it for that company to appear on the first page in cities several states away to those local businesses who do the same thing?

Very.

And this can be done globally, as we have clients that sell product and services worldwide.

So whether you are a small business with a specific local area, or you are looking nationally or globally, SEO will get you there.

Google Best Practices and Long Life SERP

Every ad campaign you have ran has a beginning and and end. Whether it’s TV, radio, newsprint, yellow pages, etc. While an SEO consultant performs SEO on your pages, specifically your blog, this will last years and years and years. Now Google has about 500 updates to the algorithm a year, and listing orders change during big updates, but for the most part, the work they do lasts for years if not decades, provided it was performed in accordance with Google Best Practices.

Search for a phrase and it’s likely to have a date it was posted. It’s not unusual to see pages over 10 years old on the first page of search returns.

How’s that for a return on investment!

SEO is Marketing

seo tips for small business - seo is marketingIt’s really best to think of SEO as marketing.

Because SEO is marketing. And there are no forms of advertising or marketing that are “guaranteed” to work because no one can guarantee with 100 percent certainty how consumers will respond.

For the past several decades, businesses have been advertising in the newspapers, penny-savers, yellow pages, billboards, television, radio, and direct mail. And none of these are “guaranteed” to work. Yet they did—when done right.

It’s no different with SEO.

If your marketing budget does not have an allocation for SEO and Content Marketing, then your calendar does not say 2016.

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