Small Businesses find it tough to get into online marketing and Search Engine Optimization because there’s hell lot of information on the web and as a business owner it’s tough to figure out even the basics of SEO. One can easily lose thousands of dollars trusting any agency or a freelancer promising great SEO (Search Engine Optimization) results. Today we will share the basics of SEO for online marketing for Small Business Websites and how small business owners can get started with it.
Basics of SEO for Online Marketing for Small Business Websites
1. Stay Focused with Commitment to the SEO process – Search Engine Optimization is an ongoing process as search engine algorithms evolve with time to serve better results to the users. Old SEO techniques may not work in today’s time and so you need to stay focused and committed to the SEO game. Work closely with your SEO team or agency and understand the basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and their process.
2. Have patience – SEO takes time to work and show results. For the first few months you would hardly see any results but stay committed and keep checking the progress with your SEO agency or in-house team. The newer you are in the business the more time it takes to show results. So, don’t lose hope and keep working.
3. Inquire, Inquire and Inquire before committing to any SEO agency or freelancer – You cannot afford to lose money and SEO is one such industry where you can be fooled easily by anyone promising results. So, inquire about the agency or freelancer as much as you can and do your own research as well, online. Ask for their SEO technique and practices that they follow, risks involved and how long it would take before you can expect results.
4. Learn SEO yourself – Learning Search Engine Optimization can prove to be a great asset for you and your business but where to get started? There are several online resources for that such as Search Engine Land, various books and online classes. The more you try to learn SEO yourself the better you would get at it and in implementing the strategies.
6. Build an awesome website – In today’s time a website doesn’t need to have lot of flashy graphics or designs so you don’t need to hire the best web designer. Instead you need great content for your website and you should spend on creating unique articles and blog posts for your website which much be based on the nature of your business. Learn from Wikipedia, it has lot of information about various topics and subjects instead of graphics and pictures.
7. Create a sitemap – A sitemap is a file that contains all the URLs of the pages of a website and web spiders (search engine crawlers) need a sitemap file to crawl all the pages of a website. A sitemap also helps crawlers to identify important pages as well as site’s hierarchy.
Achieve Higher Ranking with these tips: Ultimate Guide for Search Engine Optimization and Google ranking
8. Create SEO-friendly URLs – By SEO friendly URL structure we mean avoiding any special characters or underscores in your url and if possible avoid number as well. URLs must be clean and easy to read by web crawlers. E.g. www.yourcompany.com/about-us is a clean and simple URL which search engines can crawl easily. Also, include keywords in your URLs. E.g. if you webpage is about tile repair work then you can create URL like this: www.yourcompany.com/tile-repair-services. Keep URLs short and sweet. Long URLs are difficult to be read and index by search engines.
Tip: Always avoid underscores in URLs
9. Spend time on Keyword Research – Keyword research is a must even before you get started with any of your SEO efforts. Without keywords you cannot create content, pages, URLs and structure your website the right way. People search for keywords and if you are missing one of those important keywords related to your business then it can be a huge revenue loss for you in the years to come. So, don’t miss it!
How would you do keyword research? There are several free and paid services online such as semrush, google Adwords keyword tool, Ahrefs and keyword discovery. Google Adwords would allows you to find out the keywords without paying anything as soon as you signup for the Adwords account which is absolutely free.
The role of SEO in digital marketing is huge and everything starts with finding perfect keywords for your SEO campaign.
10. Try PPC – If you are looking for instant traffic to your website and do not want to wait for long for the SEO to start working then PPC (pay per click) advertising is something you can try. Google Adwords and Bing Ads are the most popular online advertising platforms where you can start with the PPC campaigns. The cost of running campaigns depends on your industry, competition it has and keyword popularity. The more popular a keyword is, the more it will cost you per click. So, think again if you want to get started with PPC or not.
11. Create Relevant Page title & Meta Description for every page that includes keywords – Title tags are very important as they account for one of the on-page SEO factor as per Google. So how do you create title tags? Well, it’s not a rocket science. It’s just a basic understanding that you need to include your keywords in the tile tag of your page, so that the keywords spread out in the copy of the page matches the title page title. It will help you rank higher and move up in the search results when it comes to SEO for online marketing.
Meta description tags are not a ranking signal as per Google but adding your page’s keywords in the meta description will help users understand what your page is about and encourage them to click your listing. Meta description tags play an important role in enhancing CTR (click through rate) and higher the CTR, higher your listing will appear in the results.
12. Use Simple language for writing content – People like to spend time on websites that have simple, clear and easy to understand content. No matter how unique your content might be but if it is difficult to read and understand then no one would like to read it. Use simple English that people understand and don’t use difficult words in your copies. Make sure you include the keywords that are appropriate but avoid overstuffing of keywords as that can damage your website’s ranking.
13. Create unique and fresh content – Content is the king in today’s time as both search engines and consumers are hungry for unique content. So what is unique content and why the hell you care when there are thousands of blogs and articles already posted on the web on every topic that you could imagine? Well, you may find thousands of articles on the same topic but if you can add more value to it with your own knowledge about the topic then that’s a winner.
Also, if you write fresh blog posts and articles that are informative and provide users with the right information about a topic or an industry then that’s a winner. E.g. ecommerce website and online stores always have one major challenge when it comes to content and that’s about having the same kind of description about the products from the manufacturer.
So, what’s the solution to this problem to differentiate yourself and stay ahead of other competing online stores in the same space? The answer is to write your own description about the products including the keywords related to those products. It will not only help you in blowing the competition away but also help users find your online in search results and that’s exactly what you need.
14. Pay attention to Internal Linking – Internal linking is utmost important when it comes to on-page SEO because it tells web spiders what the linked-to page is about and helps spiders discover your pages and content faster. Always use keywords as anchor text for internal linking of the pages. E.g. you have an existing page www.yourcompany.com/small-business-loans which is already indexed and you have just created a new page or a post www.yourcompany.com/small-business-insurance then the best way to link small business insurance page to the already existing page is to use the keyword “small business insurance” as the anchor text and insert the link to the small business insurance page within the anchor text as hyperlink and you are done.
15. Build Quality Backlinks – Backlinks are the backbone of your website when it comes to traffic and it’s ranking capability. The more quality you have from other high ranking websites, the better your chances of ranking higher and getting traffic. Don’t take backlinks lightly and never create cheap or paid links as that could lead to a penalty from Google. You can start with web directory submissions as they are simple create and you can get some authority backlinks to your website.
If you are a local business and want to rank higher in search results then you should focus on getting links from other websites that are ranking higher in your geographic area. You can also get backlinks from local government websites such as chamber of commerce and municipal websites when you register your business with them. The key to getting quality backlinks is to create quality content and posting consistently.
Here’s the list of most important web directories for submitting and promoting your website
16. Publish Press Releases – Press Releases are a great way to spread a word about your business, products and services. But don’t overdo it as no one wants to hear from you unless you have something to share which is newsworthy. If you share news about something unique that you have launched or how it can help users then that makes lot of sense to publish a press release and guess what, your news may get picked up by other news websites that start linking to your website, journalists may write about it and blog publishers may share on their blogs.
17. Start Blogging – Do you know why blogging has become so popular? Because it gets your business or brand the exposure it needs on the web. Search engines such as Google are hungry for fresh content and each time you publish a new blog with fresh content Google loves it and your chances of getting traffic and better ranking increases. Blogging can highly improve your SEO for online marketing.
It is also a great way of engaging with other fellow bloggers in your niche and spread a word about your business even faster. According to a research, websites that blog often generate greater number of leads compared to the ones that do not blog or blog only a few times in several months. So start blogging and create a blog on your website’s domain such as www.yourcompany.com/blog.
18. Get Social and Use social media to your advantage – Social media signals to your website are now counted as a ranking factor by Google. So, it is very important to be active on social media websites such as facebook, twitter, linkedin, instagram etc. to improve SEO of your website. Create your company or business page on those websites and start sharing high quality, useful information with the users. The idea is to engage users as they could be your potential customers. You can also signup on Quora and Yahoo Answers to engage with the users by answering their questions. Do not post anything which is irrelevant for the users and please do not spam!
19. Focus on Local Search as well – These days consumers search online for local stores, places to eat, hangout, shop and for almost everything. Make sure that you create Google my Business Listing, Bing Places for business, Manta, YellowPages, Yelp and list your business on other web directories. It helps search engines like Google to discover your business quickly and place your business listing in local search results when consumers within your area search for a service or a business similar to yours. It will also help you collect reviews from your customers and build a solid online business profile.
20. Signup for the Webmaster tools – All major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo Site explorer provide extraordinary tools to help you monitor your website, find problematic areas and suggestions to improve your website. These tools are absolutely free to use, generate highly interactive reports about the inbound links your website has, duplicate content issues, crawl errors and sitemap issues. If you fix the suggested errors then you would certainly see huge improvements in your website’s ranking and performance.
21. Create multiple Traffic channels – It is always a good idea to create multiple traffic channels for your website instead of relying solely on search engine traffic such as Google. Imagine a scenario that there’s an update to the algorithm and you lose search traffic until your website recovers then what would you do? Having multiple traffic channels such as social media and running blogs on websites such as wordpress and blogger.com can help you stay in the game while your website starts getting back search traffic in the months to come.
22. Start Guest Posting – Guest posts are very popular as it helps in sharing your posts and articles on other blogs and websites in your niche and get backlinks. You can create high quality posts and articles and publish them on other relevant websites by asking their administrators for permission to publish your posts.
Above mentioned points are the basics of SEO for online marketing for small business websites. You should always start with the basics of SEO for your website and then move on to the more advanced SEO techniques.
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