As we head into 2018, take a look at the top 10 SEO tips for small small business owners. Provided you have a real responsive website!
Top 10 SEO Tips for Small Business Owners
Is SEO Important?
A recent survey asked 20,000 U.S businesses to assess sources of leads and sales and respondents indicated the following:
- Word of mouth: 26 percent
- SEO: 19 percent
- Online local directories: 15 percent
- PPC: 3 percent
- Local TV advertising: 1 percent
- Local radio advertising: 2 percent
- Online marketing as a whole: 54 percent
So SEO is important. It’s how you increase your “Google Footprint”. Here are the top SEO tips for small business owners.
Keep in mind, these tips DO NOT APPLY if you built your site on a “build your own” website builder. While these generally make it easy to build a site, there is no possible way to implement ANY of these tips on Wix, Go Daddy, or any other web-based website DIY platform.
Top 10 SEO Tips for Small Business Owners – The Top 5
#1 Stay in Contact with your SEO/Website Design/Digital Marketing Firm
The first of our 10 SEO tips for small business owners can not be understated – When you need to increase your digital footprint, keep a close working relationship with your SEO agency, and your business will be able to reap a number of benefits. Aside from having a greater degree of control over the details of your digital marketing efforts, you will also be briefed on any major developments as they occur. As a result, your search engine optimization and social media work will go without a hitch, and you’ll be able to fine tune the particulars of your marketing efforts as you see fit. Don’t just hire and let it run on auto-pilot.
#2 Establish/Tweak Your Social Media Presence
Since Google and Bing (controlling 98% of search traffic) have indexed social media posts, social media has become an increasingly popular way to generate long-term website traffic. These days, a professional SEO agency will also focus on the benefits of social media as it relates to your SEO efforts. As the number of people following your company continues to increase, so too will the potential customers that may frequent your business website. No matter how big or small your organization may be, you can never dismiss social media. Plus, when done correctly, when people click on your social media posts, it should take users directly to your your site, increasing website traffic.
#3 Start a Blog
“Content is king”. That’s an old SEO adage that is as true in 2018 as it was last year and every year before it. The fact is Google’s algorithm is programmed to favor websites with unique, relevant content that’s highly useful to visitors.
Starting a blog is a great way to get useful content on your site. And there’s so much you can do with a blog. You can write about new products, services, or industry trends. You can engage your customers by simply offering helpful advice. Blog posts can help to establish your business as a local authority, and they can also be shared on social media to provide backlinks and positive social media signals, both of which are helpful for your website’s SEO.
Google’s search algorithms also favor websites with regularly updated content. Consistently maintaining a blog lets Google know your website is dynamic, not static.
#4 Expand Your Keyword Focus
The best way to cover every conceivable keyword or phrase that is important to your business is through effective use of a blog/news/update page on your business website. The problem arises when keyword phrases you think are good don’t match what potential customers are looking for. For instance you may offer a bodyguard service. And your main page may do a fine job covering that keyword. Then on your blog, you can cover other keywords such as close protection, executive protection, VIP protection, etc… An easy way to see what related “longtail” keywords potential customers look for is simply scroll down to the bottom of a google search return page (SERP). Another way is to use the Google Keyword Planner. Sometimes the search term that Google users look for may not be the same one that you would have typed when looking for it yourself. You should always do research to find other ways that web surfers may try to look up your product or service.
#5 Write a Unique Title for Every Blog Post
Write a unique title for every blog post and include the selected keyword. Then be sure to create a unique URL for Google indexing that includes the selected title. You have 55 characters for a page title for SEO purposes. And have the title in the URL. NOT Yourpage.com/p=238/, but Yourpage.com/this-is-very-important.
Top 10 SEO Tips for Small Business Owners
#6 Images need SEO
More likely than not, there’s an image on every page of your website. But without the proper optimization, however, you’re wasting a valuable SEO asset. Although visual AI has made great strides, search engine bots are unable to identify the content of an image; they must rely on the text associated with the images to fully understand what the image is and how it relates to your content or the topic of your page. Pay close attention to the image title, alt info, description and caption and include your business name and keyword when possible.
#6 Text SEO
Get Your Titles, Headers and Meta Description Tags in order. Titles and headers help Google (and Bing) determine which search terms are relevant for pages throughout your website. And remember to make each blog post a webpage! Again, as an example, if you owned a bodyguard company, then the “close protection” page should have the term “close protection” in the page Title and a variation of that phrase in the H1 header as well s the URL.
The page Title is not visible on the page so you’ll need to view the source code to review your page Titles. The H1 header is usually the main headline above the page content, and generally (unless the page word count is above 1000) there should only be one unique (not used before) H1 per page. The rule is one keyword – one post. Think of it this way. If you keep using the same keyword in different pages, how is google supposed to know which one to show in a search?
#7 Mention Your State, City, Town
Smartphones have been around for a decade, but they really started to make an impact about 5 years ago. Today, about 20% of web searches are done by voice. Take a look through the keyword planner for pizza and you’ll see “pizza near me”. Ditto for nearly any other keyword. Well, Google knows where you are when you are searching (give or take a foot or two) so it’s important for your business to be included in the search request results.
Boost your local SEO by frequently listing your company’s city and state throughout your website. By putting this information in your meta tags, categories, H1 headers and URL’s and throughout your content is helpful for Local SEO.
#8 Pay Attention to Keyword Density
There is a fine line between effective Google Best Practices and Google Penalties For Keyword Stuffing. When writing your website’s copy, it’s important that not every other word is a keyword or keyword phrase. It’s also important to remember that Google algorithms are looking for content that’s relevant to the keyword, not just the presence of the keyword itself. One of the ways they do this is by judging keyword density. A good minimum density is 1%, but it’s usually wise to not go over 3%. This means 1-2 keywords or keyword phrases per 100 words of copy.
#9 Keep Word Count in Mind
There is no real “sweet spot” for word count as it relates to SEO. The one generally recognized “rule” is that Google “may not always index a webpage with “thin content”. A safe bet for indexing into search results is 300 words or more. Apart from that, don’t be concerned with word count. Use as much as needed to get your point across. And while many studies show that Google “may” favor 2000 words more heavily, but don’t pad just to hit 2000.
And none of these SEO tips for small business owners will work if your site is not 100% mobile responsive.
#10 Make Sure Every Page on Your Website Works on Mobile
This is important because in 2018, Google will fully roll out “mobile-first” indexing. In short, back when Google started there was one search return. Then back in 2015 – 2017 Google used 2 search engines. One for desktops and one for phones. The one for phones heavily favored mobile responsive websites, while the desktop returns was business as usual.
In 2018 they will start using just one engine. Mobile. So if your website (or any page on your site) is not responsive, 2018 is the year where you are penalized on every device.