Most small business owners have heard of SEO. Some computer geek has mentioned how you can get better rankings or can make your site show up in Google but does anyone ever bother to explain exactly what SEO even is? Well, it’s an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. It’s taking care of the coding, the authority, and the exposure of your website so you become more visible in the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) when people type in search terms related to your business.
As the owner of a startup, you are probably aware of the idea of small business SEO. You also know that it’s essential if you want your new brand to be successful and take the market by storm. You know that you have to drive traffic by ranking as high as possible in the search engine results, you know you have to create catchy advertising campaigns, and you are aware of the fact that you need to build a strong brand for your company. But do you know the best tips for doing it?
The Best Tips for Small Business SEO
#1. Understand why you need to engage in SEO practices
To put it as simply as possible, no SEO equals no visitors to your website. The reason is that, by not defining certain parameters for your site, Google or other search engines your customers are currently using swill not be able to track you down via keywords and pictures and include you in the results page of a search.
#2. Do not neglect off-site SEO
Off-site SEO is the idea of promoting your site and, consequently, your business, all across the internet. Your goal here is to raise awareness towards your brand, improve your level of ranking in the search engines and attract visitors from other sites, known as third party websites.
#3. Do not waste any time
If you are the owner of a small business, you need to start doing SEO now. Every day or week that you postpone the beginning of your small business SEO practices, you will be losing ground to your competition. Keep in mind that if you are wasting time, your competitors are not!
#4. Don’t ‘borrow’ someone else’s SEO strategy
Just like there are no two people alike, there are no two websites and, for that matter, no two businesses that are identical. Therefore, even if you find out or become privy to someone’s successful small business SEO campaign, it’s best if you don’t use it. Build your own!
#5. Don’t spend a lot of money
It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard. Once you get to know the ins and outs of small business SEO, you’ll find out that it doesn’t have to be expensive. Invest in smart campaigns, not pricey ones.
#6. Don’t give up if you don’t get immediate results
You need to understand that, sometimes, SEO likes to take its time. Some work that you do today might not show its results for weeks or even months. In the meantime, don’t give up and don’t stop working on your campaigns. The key here is sustained effort, especially if your website is new. It will need to gain Google’s recognition and trust, and that doesn’t happen overnight.
#7. Think about your site as a ‘work in progress’
When it comes to small business SEO, as mentioned above, your goal is to attract as many visitors as possible and to rank the highest in the search pages. The only way you can do this is by thinking about your website as a site under construction at all times. Improve it continuously and add to it as many elements as you can.
#8. Don’t disregard algorithm updates
Keep in mind that search engines and their allotted algorithms change and evolve over time. It is only logical that if you want your site to keep ranking as high as possible and your small business SEO endeavors to succeed, you need to improve your website as well. Build it according to the new algorithms for a perfect ranking match.
#9. The best advice you can get is from Google itself
We know you have, probably, already asked your friends and read hundreds of articles online about how to get started on your small business SEO plan. However, think about it this way. If you wanted to get advice on a new hairstyle, to whom would you go? To a hair stylist. If you want to learn how to cook, whom do you ask to teach you? A trained chef. Building on this, the best source of information you have about SEO is Google itself. Check out their Webmaster Guidelines as well as their Webmaster Help Videos.
#10. Don’t get on Google’s wrong side
And while we’re on the topic of Google, he can, indeed, be your best friend, as we pointed out above. However, he can also be your worst enemy, as far as small business SEO is concerned. They have very strict rules when it comes to SEO, which you really don’t want to break. If you do, given the fact that Google has such a big share of the market, a penalty from them can result in you losing a significant number of visitors for a long time.
#11. Make Google Analytics a friend on the long journey
The long journey which is small business SEO, of course. Google Analytics is a great tool to find out and stay on top of how many visitors you get in an allotted timeframe, what keywords they used to get to your page, as well as what other sites they visit.
#12. Use more than one traffic source
Google is a great search engine. That’s true. Still, it’s not the only one. Relying solely on it for your visiting traffic might, in fact, put you in quite a vulnerable position. Don’t forget about all the other search engines and include them in your small business SEO campaigns.
#13. The lower the quality of your site, the worse you will do
If your website is filled with low-quality content and poor backlinks, you might find yourself on the business end of a penalty from your search engine before you can say SEO.
#14. Content is for people, not search engines
Although it might be alluring to create the perfect content according to all the rules imposed by your search engine, it’s also wrong. When it comes to small business SEO, create your website’s content with people not bots in mind. It doesn’t even matter if you create content that ranks high up if it doesn’t help or is attractive to people. If it’s not relevant, it will never persuade them to buy your products, no matter how good of an opinion Google has about you.
Bonus About Content
As far as small business SEO is concerned, here are a few bonus tips regarding content.
- Always remove duplicate content because they will penalize you if you have more than one website with the same content.
- Take care of pages that have very little content on them, to begin with. You can either add them to other pages, merge them or even delete them altogether.
- Never copy content from another website.
- Claim the content as your own by linking your company’s Google+ page to your content.
- Make sure that all the content you post is good enough to make it to the first page of the searches.
The bottom line as well as one last tip, if you will, is that the more you know about small business SEO, the better you will do. Perform thorough research and always do your homework. Stay on top of the game because you need to remember what we said in the beginning – your competitors surely are!