Top 10 SEO Tips For Small Businesses
Large companies can afford to hire an SEO firm to help them optimise their sites, but small businesses often don’t have the extra funds. Search engine optimisation (SEO) doesn’t have to be done by a professional, however. With a few tips even a small business can have a high ranking website.
When it comes to marketing in the current economy, small businesses need all the help they can get. They don’t have the ad budgets, the personnel or the time that the bigger competition has. But none of those factors really matter to search engines, and SEO is a great way to both level the playing field and steal marketshare.
Here are a few tips that small businesses can use to improve their SEO and user experience.
#1. Make sure that the search engines and your visitors know what you do
Ensure that your website is built and designed in line with current web standards, submit a sitemap and make sure that you optimise your pages for the products and services that you wish rank for. Once this has been achieved and more importantly, makes sure that any one visiting your website knows what it is you do, and what you want them to do – whether it be call your number or fill in a contact form – the last thing you want is people arriving at your site but then quickly leaving unhappy because they couldn’t find what they were looking for. Examining your search traffic and bounce rates in your analytics are a good place to discover any potential problems with the user experience.
#2. Know your keywords
If your company has only just launched a website then it is likely to carry little authority with the search engines and you will find it difficult to compete against older and more established companies in your arena. With well executed keyword research you will be able to establish and identify which keywords are easier to rank for, but at the same time will still drive relevant traffic to your site.
People can’t find your site if you don’t have the keywords they are searching for. Read our free lesson on Keyword Research called Learn Seo Free in a week: Day 2 – Keyword Research. You should also ask employees and friends what keywords they would use to search for your website as well.
You will find that some keywords are more likely to be searched, but have a lot of competition. Keywords that are searched less often will have less competition. Using less popular keywords initially will mean you will get higher rankings sooner and therefore you will get traffic a lot sooner, I often see companies targeting highly competitive keywords to begin with but this is really bad practice and is very tricky to achieve high rankings from.
#3. Turn everything into content
Content is still King. Search engines still love unique content, and the more useful content there is on your website, the more opportunities you give searchers to find your products and services. Here are some ways to “free” extra content on your site. Here were some of his tips:
- Become an expert on what you do or what you sell. Find as much as information you can and share them with your potential users. But don’t just COPY n PASTE it; read it yourself first, summarize it and get it checked by colleagues or friends, highlight the key points etc. and finally power it up adding with multimedia (images, videos, charts, graphics, banners, even use cartoons, just use your imagination and create a difference in the crowd!)
- Record everything and transcribe it all into text. Interviews, conversations, product DVD’s, personal opinions, etc.
- Turn support emails into FAQ pages on your site
- Turn PDF’s into HTML pages (although PDF files can rank on their own)
- Start generating videos of everything
#4. Make it personal
Similar to previous tip! Small businesses have a major advantage that most bigger businesses don’t: A personal voice. By making your voice heard, you’re showcasing your authority in your market, and adding trust. Buyers love hearing recommendations or reviews, and are more influenced to buy from those vs. product feature and benefit pages. Consumers use search engines to research products, and other than the lowest price, they’re looking for recommendations. Give them some! If you have a catalog, make a buyers guide in addition to product listings. Show you’re an expert and turn your knowledge into personalized business. Teaching is a great way to make sales.
#5. Optimize for local search
Odds are that your small business can take advantage of local search. 63% of consumers use search engines to research information about local companies.
Use the best tool by Google here and it’s FREE, called Google Places For Business Tool.Get your business on Google with Places for Business, show up across the web and be found on Google Search, Maps, Google+ and mobile devices.
#6. Improve your site’s speed
Small business sites can be notoriously slow. Site speed is usually one of the last things that small business owners care about. But now that Google has introduced speed into the ranking algorithm, it’s time to seriously start checking out how fast your site loads. But more importantly, when you improve your site’s speed, you’re also improving your customer’s experience. Don’t make users wait to buy your products! You can use tools like Web Page Analyzer and the Free YAHOO Web Developer Tool called YSlow! to see what’s taking your pages so long to load. If you’re using a blog or shopping cart software, search for caching plugins for your software.
#7. Refine internal linking
Internal links can add value to your site considerably, but many small businesses don’t understand that you have to develop a linking mindset in order to really capitalize on it. It takes extra time to research old post links and include them in your articles, but the benefits are great. Sites like Copyblogger do an excellent job of referencing older posts in their articles. Not only does this strategy help with SEO, it also adds to the user experience, giving them more Think long and hard about your site’s linking architecture. Is your navigation schema getting to all of your content? Aside from adding sitemaps, related products and posts keep both visitors and search engines happy. Popular posts lists are also great for making sure your best content is getting seen and linked to.
#8. Create content for people
Your real audience is real people, not the Search Engine Bots. If you’re generating content specifically for search engines, you’re missing a major chunk of your market. Humans don’t like to be bamboozled, and when they come to a page on your site that was obviously made for a search engine, they’ll leave in a hurry and never come back. Plus, only humans can link to your site. If you want to get more inbound links and retain customers, you need to write for customers. The goal to higher search results is still to get more people to your site. After all, search engines can’t buy anything from you.
#9. Use social media
Search engines use social indicators for rankings and by participating in social media you are giving yourself the opportunity to rank higher. One particular place you should be focusing on is Twitter, when a message in Twitter is retweeted it is seen as a authority signal by the search engines, so if you are including a link to your website or a blog post in the tweet it should help. Don’t overdo the website promotion with social media however as again this is a “spammy” signal to search engines, keep it user friendly.
#10.Interact with your partners and providers
Networking is still the best key to any businesses as well as on the internet. Building a great networking within your field is not only great for building real business relationships, but it’s also a great opportunity to promote your brand online. Other businesses such as your suppliers, providers and partners are often the best and easiest people to obtain a link to your site from because the relationship is already established and they are relevant to your niche. Depending on the relationships, there could be potential to take advantage of cross promotion via guest blog posting and press release distribution.
Hasan Kara is the founder and lead author of Seo College. Seo College offers a free advice on SEO and related subjects to small businesses, bloggers, internet marketers or anyone who wants to be found on the internet.
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