SEO is the primary source of getting targeted traffic that leads to maximum sales. But the problem is in ranking, only one site can keep position 1. So if someone is getting ranks it means another is losing ranks. Just like in a race. That’s why the competition plays the vital role and small businesses pull their resources to beat their large competitors. I have been working as a SEO professional since 2010 and have worked with so many small and medium sized businesses along with my corporate clients. So I have some detailed idea on what kind of problems small businesses face and how to cope with them. Today I am going to share top 12 proven Small Business SEO Tips to help small businesses rank high.
Discover 12 Small Business SEO Tips to Rank on Google
1# Selection of Right Keywords
The first problem a small business owner faces is with finding the right keywords. Most cases they don’t have enough ideas about keyword competition. Keyword competition refers to how tough the keyword will be to rank on first the page.
So the first task for a small business owner is finding keywords which are less competitive and can drive a decent amount of targeted traffic.
So how to determine the competition:
- Check how many websites are targeting those keywords
- Check the strength of the already ranked websites.
Here is how to find competitors number. Search with any specific keyword and check the results number that Google shows.Here is how to calculate the strength of first 10 ranked websites. The procedure is very simple but it’s really time consuming. To find keywords difficulty number we need to check the following data
- Number of Total Backlinks
- Number of Root Domain
These data can be found in Moz tool. Download Moz tool bar if you don’t have it, it’s free. But for a better experience use Firefox.
Now put all data in excel sheet for all 10 websites. Find an average value. It will come with a number between 1-100. That is the keyword difficulty score. (Moz might have slight different and advance algorithm to measure difficulty, but I have tried with 10 keywords and in most cases manual difficulty score was very close enough with the Moz difficulty measurement tool.)
Keyword difficulty level below 30 can rank easily, between 31 and 50 is tough enough, between 51 and 80 is too tough, and over 80 is almost impossible.
Here are threearticle to know more about keyword research
- Smarter Keyword Research You Didn’t Think
- How to Do Keyword Research That Works
- How to add Keywords to Website
2# Ensure SEO Friendly Web design
What does SEO friendly web design mean?
In general it is very simple to answer. A website which is easily crawl-able, faster to load, have a clean design and link structure can be said to be a SEO friendly web design. But that’s not all about. Lots of other parts are there, like meta tags, image alt tags, 301 redirect, canonical issue, 404 pages, and many more. The technical issue rises with the growth of your blog.
That’s why small business should always think about an easy solution from the beginning of their journey. I will always suggest that they use free CMS like wordpress. It is easy to use and also a SEO friendly CMS. It also has lots of plugin to add additional professional functionality. Most of their configuration is easy too. And at last there are lots of wordpress designers and developers who charge comparatively less than other platforms.
So in most cases you can handle your website by yourself, But if you still don’t have time to manage your site then you can contact us, we have monthly website maintenance solution for small business and it start from just $29/month. Learn more here.
To learn all the basic about SEO friendly web design and development check this awesome beginner guide from Moz.
3# SEO Friendly Content
Content is the ultimate thing your visitor is visiting for. And SEO is the way your visitor can get your content found. So both parts are equally important. Search engine doesn’t read content the exact same way humans read it. So if you know how Google reads any specific page then you can produce ideal content which can easily target human visitors and search engine. Find how here, how to write an SEO friendly Content.
4# Don’t Think Your Job is done
This is the biggest reason why small businesses don’t get ranks. Most of the small businesses hire a web designer and content writer to build their business website. In most cases their website looks like this:
- Service / Product
- Service and Product Specific Pages
- Some have a blog section (with just few blog posts).
- Some have Refund Policy Page
- Some have few other types of Pages
And it’s done. Few of them think little in advance to hire a link builder and it’s done again. So if you check their website year later you will find the exact same website with same content, nothing new. Why should people visit their site again and again if there is nothing new for them? Search Engines also think the same way.
Google now has a different and smart ranking algorithm. They give priority on Domain Authority. Updating your site with new and fresh content is one of the vital parts to get that authority.
Here is a live example:
Keyword: “how to make sushi”
Ranked 1 website:
Backlink: 33 from 3 root domain
- Ranked 2 Website: http://makemysushi.com/
Backlink: 1095 from 126 root domain.
Even the first website has less backlinks but still it is on top for having better domain authority.
5# Create a Blog Section
Now you already identified the importance of updating the site. The best way to update your site often is by having a blog section. Blog is the place where you can share all your informative content for your readers. This blog helps you to get traffic from social media and also from Search Engine. For example, I provide SEO Consultation service. Why should someone share my service page to their Facebook feeds? Since I share lots of educative content in my blog and this gives people something to share which helps me to generate new leads. Also each new blog post helps me target new keywords. Ranking on new keywords can help me to get new customers. So the equation is very simple. If you can post two to four new posts per month it will help you get good ranks.
If you have writing skills and is still thinking you can’t manage time to write then read this post, I was inspired after reading this post to keep my writing on. Here is how Neil writes 8 articles per week while running two big companies.
6# Take Help from Niche Bloggers, Customers and Your Readers
Now that you have great keywords, SEO friendly website, and content with an up to date blog section, it’s time to get some backlinks. There are lots of ways to get backlinks but not all of them are highly effective. The best and long term effective way is to engage with niche bloggers, get backlinks from their blogs and other relevant sites. You should also focus on your readers and your existing customers. They can help you in many ways. Give them a reason to talk about you.
Here are three easy ways to get help from niche blogger
- Get backlink from their blog by blog commenting, but make sure getting a link should not be your primary focus. Your primary focus should be creating a relationship and increasing your brand visibility. Here is an article you can read for effective blog commenting.
- Now take advantage from that relationship. Think – can you use their blog to get new customers? Can you offer them an affiliate commission if they promote your service / product? If yes create a plan and contact with them. They will promote your brand and it will be a win-win situation for the both of you.
- If you can’t / not interested in giving affiliate commission then think about guest blog posting. Convince them for guest posting, write a great article and post on their blog. You will get a backlink from their blog which will lead SEO juice and referral traffic.
Here is how to do guest blogging The Definitive Guide to Guest Blogging.
7# Focus on linkable assets for getting backlinks
Have you ever seen vistaprint offer 500 business cards for free? Have you noticed lots of professionals are giving free eBooks? Have you ever checked out my free SEO audit tool showing below? All these free materials are helping us in getting more backlinks, visitors, and customers. Yes producing these materials cost time and money, but it is not useless. At the initial stage the return is very low but with the time they will start producing bigger returns. You just need to know how to cross sale and up sale and see how it produces double returns to your business. So having one or few linkable assets can achieve lots of backlinks, customers, and email subscribers too.
8# Work on Local Directories if you are running a Local Business
Local directories are very much important parts for local business. Having your business listed on local directories helps get more customers and trust. It also helps in getting local SEO advantage. Here are the top 50 local directories for US. When creating your local business listing ensure you are providing the exact same contact information everywhere, for example office address, phone number, opening hours etc. This information is very much important for Google map result. Here is an effective article to learn local business ranking procedure.
9# Don’t Feel Shy to Promote Your Business
Call to action is an important part for getting backlinks, shares, and sales. Most of the small business owners either feel shy to add call to action or add excessive call to action. Having balance is important. After producing great content it is important to influence your reader to bookmark it. Tell them to share and leave feedback for you. This way you can influence your reader to give you a backlink. If you check articles from top blogs you will see that at the bottom they are influencing their readers to leave comment / subscribe / share. This influence increases their conversion.
Here are few examples:
They are creating call to action and highlighting their strength to influence people for engagement / subscription. You can do the same and check how it works.
10# Social Bookmarks
Social bookmarks and social shares have good impact on SEO. Most businesses hire freelancers to boost their backlinks which includes lots of bookmarks. So it is not a bad idea to hire an agency to help you. But at the same time small business owners should have a plan to get natural bookmarks by their readers. That’s why you will find social sharing icons on every webpage. Check how neil is influencing his readers to share their content by adding social sharing option in more than one places. He also influences his reader to comment to increase engagement. Some website use Facebook comment system which allow readers comment to post on their Facebook feed, which leads to more traffic.
So by some small tricks and sentence you can get lots of social shares and bookmarks naturally.
11# Ask Feedback
Ask for feedback from your friends, visitors, and customers. Their feedback will help you go viral. Not ask feedback privately. Convince them to leave feedback on your social profiles even you are dealing with your customers locally. Facebook and Google plus both have option for Review. Take full advantage of them.
People love recommendation from their known circle. So use it, it will help you in increasing your brands visibility, social signals, backlinks and customers.
Ask feedback from your unsatisfied customers through a survey form / directly, so you get suggestion from them but it doesn’t show on your social pages.
12# Check Analytic
Check your analytic at least each 15 days. Check how many visitors you are getting, how long they are staying there, their page drill down, which pages are getting most visitors etc. I was running an amazon website and I had a guide section to educate my visitors about the product. Last month I checked my analytic and found one of my guide posts are getting around 20% of my total visitors. It’s huge. Even I got a backlink from Ehow for that post. But I was not earning anything from that post because the post didn’t have any amazon product to display. I took some time, found some great product and reedited the page with couple of related products to display. Just after the day I got my first sale from that post and so far in last one month I got 20 sales from that page. If I was not looking at the analytic I might have not got those sales. This is what happens with all small business owner, they don’t check their analytics often and miss lots of possible opportunities.
Additional Tips on Small Business SEO
- It takes some time to rank on first page, because someone’s already ranking there means they have better authority than you.
- Add your website to Google console and Google analytic. Also add to Bing webmaster tool. Data tell the true story.
- Low quality SEO means you are having high risk in future. Good work always cost little more.
- Don’t copy content from someone else website, that doesn’t provide any value so less chance to get ranks.
- Focus on other forms of content like video, infograph, podcast etc.
- Don’t be afraid to change your web content and design, this is a part of your business.
- At last if you don’t know, ask someone specialized. They have a solution for your business.
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