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January 28, 2015

20 Top SEO Tips for Small Businesses

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So you’ve got your website up and running, it’s fully functional and ready to take orders for your product or service. Now you wonder how anyone is going to find your website, especially using search engines like Google.

This is where search engine optimization or ‘SEO’ comes into play.

Here we share 20 top tips that get your website recognized and ranking highly on the search engines for the terms your customers are using.

Before you start optimizing your website, you must put the research into those search terms. You need to target the ones that people are looking for! One of the best tools to use is the Google Keyword Tool (Google it if you need to!). It will tell you how many people are searching for what YOU think are your best keywords and show you what other related terms people use so you can adjust your strategy.

Now you’re ready to carry out the following SEO Dos and Don’ts to get your site noticed.

1) Don’t think that packing your site with your chosen keywords will work, it won’t. Instead write intelligent copy that your customers can read, understand and digest. If you do this, your keywords should naturally occur as you describe your products and services and the benefits they bring.

2) Choose five to twenty keywords to focus on only. By chasing too many you’ll never get the results you’re after. ‘Longtail’ search terms will occur naturally in your website’s content.

3) However your site is built, you need to make sure your keywords are included in the folder names and page titles wherever possible. What do we mean by that? Well, let’s say you sell golf clubs and accessories. You’ll want your homepage title – the words at the top of your browser – to read “Golf Clubs & Accessories – [company name]”. The search engines will notice this and rank you higher. Your folder structure should also reflect your key terms. For example: http://www.company–name.com/golf-clubs/9-irons.html – this would be an ideal URL.

4) Check that your website content doesn’t have too many keywords in it. Search engines will view this as you trying to trick them. Ideally your keywords will make up 3-5% of your overall content on any given page. More than that, the search engines will not like you – and don’t just focus on the homepage, this applies to EVERY page.

5) Every page title in your website should be different. Using the golf example again “Golf Clubs & Accessories” is fine for your homepage, but the page on 9 irons should have a different title – again with your keywords. So “Golf Clubs – 9 Irons / Nine Irons” would be perfect. Never use more than 70 characters in your pages titles either.

6) Although META Keywords are no longer used, the META description is a useful tool that can drive traffic to your website. It’s the bit that comes under your page name when you do a search in Google, for example, and so should include a call to action. “Wide range of quality golf clubs and accessories in stock now. Call [phone number] or visit our website.” – is a good META description.

7) Add style to the keywords on your pages – use header text, bold, italics – it will not only help your customers see what you’re about at a glance, but will also indicate to the search engines what are the most important words on your pages.

8) ALWAYS name any images you use using keywords and add an ALT tag with a description too. For example: nike-graphite-9-iron.jpg with an ALT tag that reads “Nike Graphite 9-Iron”. Search engines LOVE this and you should do it with every image you have.

9) When using internal links on your website, do it intelligently. Don’t just use ‘Products’ to link to your main products page, use the keywords, like “Golf Clubs & Accessories”.

10) Every website should have a sitemap which lists all the pages on your site. Create one (there are online tools to do so) and upload it to the same place your homepage file (index file) is stored.

11) Don’t worry that you’ll have to update your sitemap every time you add new content. Create and upload a simple robots.txt file – these tell search engines what you allow or disallow them to add to their search engine – add your sitemap location to the robots.txt and you won’t have to submit it to the search engines manually like above. There are plenty of resources online that tell you how to create a robot.txt file online – do a search.

12) Link out to websites that are related to your business using anchor text that contains your keywords. So for example, you could link to local golf clubs – locality is also a brilliant way of getting your site ranked.

13) Update the content of your website regularly. One great way of doing this is to add a blog to your site, where you can post regular articles – at LEAST once a week.

Now you need people to link to you – this is vitally important for search engine optimization and not easy, but here are some things to consider.

14) First of all, you need the right people to link to you. You know those local golf clubs you linked to earlier – ask them for a link back and tell them you already link to them. Send them the link you’d like – the keyword rich one. “Golf Clubs & Accessories” and the page you want them to link to. Your homepage probably, but you might have a more relevant page like your products page.

Joining local business agencies like your local Chamber of Commerce will also likely get you a link back without too much effort.

15) Consider creating a “Link To Us” page with ready made linking text and / or images other sites can use. That guarantees they will use the keywords you want and makes it easier for them to do it in the first place.

16) Write for other blogs and websites, not just your own. This gives you the opportunity to link back to your site – but only when it’s helpful, don’t go over the top – and start building your reputation as an expert in your field. If people discuss what you’re talking about, it is inevitable they will link to your site eventually.

17) Submit your site to online directories like DMOZ (free) and Yahoo! (fee). Free ones are best but the Yahoo! one is worth the fee. Most others aren’t…bear that in mind.

18) Offer free content like an eBook giving golf tips and people will not only download it, helping build your brand, but link to it so others can download it – yet more links that search engines love!

19) Got a new product or service launching? Send out a press release to your local and national press and link to yourself in it. Many who run your story will include that link!

20) List yourself on Google Places so you will show up on Google Maps. Your ranking for local searches – “golf accessories [your town]” for example – will improve.

Search engine optimization is a slow and ongoing process but implement the 20 tips we’ve just given you and you’ll be on your way. Just remember to keep up with the things that need doing regularly and review the rest every few months to make sure you’re still targeting the right keywords.


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Trevor Richards is writing on behalf of Fluid Creativity, a full service digital agency in Manchester offering search engine optimization services.

47 Responses to “20 Top SEO Tips for Small Businesses

    avatar Greg says:

    Thank you for sharing you made some good points

    avatar thomas says:

    Thanks for the tips, I’m struggling getting this SEO down myself, thanks.

    Very good digest. Content is key (as is a good page title) for click-bait. Social media is also a great way to build natural links. Thanks for sharing Trevor.

    avatar Rejvann Dutt says:

    It’s a great and useful article. We can use these ideas and getting high ranking and traffic on Google. I appreciate it. Thanks for sharing with us!

    avatar kaos anak says:

    I’ve been practicing the above, sometimes we lack patience in doing so

    avatar chris says:

    Great post!!

    Regards
    Chris

    avatar Ian says:

    Many thanks for the sound advice.

    I am now going to change my url’s as too many were the same.

    Thanks again

    Ian

    avatar Kolkata says:

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful and helpful post.

    A great and concise list thank you. Point 4 is very important and often I see keyword stuffing on my clients websites.

    avatar Joseph says:

    Very informative article.

    Regards

    Joseph

    avatar Ferry says:

    Learn a lot from tips that have been written above

    avatar Antonio says:

    Muito obrigado por compartilhar informações tão preciosas com a gente.
    Muito valiosas informações!!

    avatar Adrian says:

    Yahoo Directory? Are you not aware this no longer exists?

    avatar Jim Lennen says:

    Very good SEO points. I’ve had optimized videos on Youtube show up on page one of search results so videos are also important. Good quality content and high PR backlinks are the key to SERP.

    avatar Kirby Inwood says:

    DMOZ is as dead as a doornail Forget it

    avatar Derek says:

    Really good article about the Do’s and Dont’s when trying to get more traffic to your business. Print it out and view it daily !

    avatar Ian says:

    Really good article.

    I would steer away from a link to us page though, as I would not say that is good practice or really worthy of even a page on your website.

    Apart from that, solid advice!

    Thank you! it helps a lot!

    avatar Ord Allenbea says:

    Decent advice and pretty much standard but I would have to disagree with the keyword meta tag not being used any longer. The keyword meta tag is very useful.

    As for a Link To Us Page – I would not add one to my site because it does not look professional and looks spammy.

    ALT tag is used for blind people and not SEO – The Title Tag is used for SEO.

    avatar Melissa says:

    Targeting search for local is a good one. And also creating a brand for your business and connecting it with your social media – Google can see who’s sharing your content.

    avatar Jasa Seo says:

    thanks for sharing, very smart idea

    Hi Trevor,

    The 20 tips that you have listed are all very relevant for proper SEO of one’s website. I do have a few more tips that would improve the results even further.

    21) Add the site or blog to Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) which is a free service. Google keeps us updated on issues or problems with the site through the webmaster tools. Also, one should submit the sitemap to GWT.

    22) Accumulating as well as monitoring of analytics on a regular basis is a very important part of keeping the site relevant and successful. So, a blog has to be added to Google Analytics which is free.

    23) One needs to regularly check the link profile for a site and do cleanup actions in case certain undesirable links are accumulated. This will help keep a site clean and avoid Google penalties. So, the blog has to be added to Majestic.com which again is a free service.

    Raj

    avatar debbie says:

    This article is a good quick read, but a bit outdated.

    Link exchange (although it’s not called that in this article) isn’t supposed to be white hat or carry much weight with Google.

    If you do Link out to other websites, be sure to include the “rel=nofollow” between the .

    Lastly, Yahoo Directory is closed. It isn’t free anymore. Sad, but true. Yahoo offers business services, but you have to pay for them.

    avatar kamagra now says:

    The holy grail for SEO, If you follow these steps you will notice an increase in your ranking

    thanks for sharing

    avatar Parvesh Sareen says:

    There is a lot to do except that.
    I think these are only basics that will let you create some space in search engines but not the top rankings as such.

    avatar remas says:

    ماهو السبو

    This article is a good quick read, but a bit outdated.

    You have listed what newbies don’t follow and I am sure if newbies start following your tips, they are going to get great results.
    Thanks for sharing.

    avatar Jas says:

    Thank you for these tips, it’s extremely helpful and works like a charm. i have been finding it difficult to get into the first page while targeting a keyword regarding my local business and then i came across this article. really helpful. keep it up :)

    Good strategies for local SEO, let me try to implement them.

    I’ve been practicing the above, sometimes we lack patience in doing so

    avatar da day says:

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    avatar Jasa SEO says:

    we also use the method above, but it seems it is a very long time to get good results

    thank you information

    avatar Jasaseomurah says:

    Really great post, Thank you for sharing This knowledge.Excellently written article, if only all bloggers offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up! chemicals

    avatar Cado Magenge says:

    Lots of Good information in your post, I favorites your blog post so I can visit again in the future, Thanks.

    avatar Dieter says:

    i want to add. Everyone should know DMOz catalog. It is very important listing.

    This is a really good summary! Thanks

    avatar wiggly says:

    Great tips for SEO. Looking forward to your next tips)

    thanks for sharing these SEO tips, i will try to apply these method on my site for better ranking and more traffic

    avatar salman alfa says:

    Thank you for the insight. You made the article easy to understand

    thanks for sharing these SEO tips, i want to know about how to optimize an Image ? And if we use keywords in ALT, does it help to rank better in Google?

    wow Thanks for sharing best Seo tips I really Like this tips thanks for sharing

    avatar reda ramadan says:

    I really like these tips. thanks for sharing.

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