7 Quick and Easy SEO Tips for Small Businesses

Start off simple. If you’re new to SEO, that’s the best advice I can offer. Search engine optimization is an ongoing effort with many moving parts, and the payoffs are never immediate. But you don’t need to be an SEO guru to start moving the needle on your search engine rankings. Start with some simple tips to boost your SEO — and work at them consistently — and good things will happen.

Easy SEO TipsStart off simple.

If you’re new to SEO, that’s the best advice I can offer. Search engine optimization is an ongoing effort with many moving parts, and the payoffs are never immediate. But you don’t need to be an SEO guru to start moving the needle on your search engine rankings. Start with some simple tips to boost your SEO — and work at them consistently — and good things will happen.

Here are seven easy SEO tips that any small business owner can do. You don’t need to be a Web designer or have years of experience in marketing. Of course, you’ll want to learn more about SEO and expand your efforts as time goes on. Until then, these tips are more than enough to get you on your way.

1. Start a Blog

Content is king. That’s an old SEO adage that you’ll hear repeatedly if you hadn’t heard it already. Google’s algorithm is programmed to favor websites with unique, relevant content that’s highly useful to visitors.

Starting a blog is a great way to get useful content on your site. And there’s so much you can do with a blog. You can write about new products and industry trends, or you can engage your customers by offering helpful advice. Blog posts can help to establish your business as a local authority, and they can also be shared on social media to provide backlinks and positive social media signals — both of which are helpful for your website’s SEO.

Google’s search algorithms also favor websites with regularly updated content. Maintaining a blog serves this purpose. And if shoppers like what you have to say, they’ll be more likely to bookmark your site and return for future purchases.

2. Create a Google My Business Account

Creating a Google My Business profile allows your business to be shown in the local “maps” results of Google.com. If your business has walk-in customers, then that’s a big deal. Think about how many people use their smartphones to find nearby places to eat, shop and run errands. You can get an influx of new customers from the few minutes needed to start a Google My Business profile.

3. Start Building Backlinks

Building a network of backlinks (hyperlinks to your website from other sites) can establish your business as an authority in your field, resulting in a higher search ranking. To start building backlinks, create profiles for your business on sites such as Yelp, Bing Local and Foursquare. Build a company page on LinkedIn, and create a YouTube channel if you can offer informative or instructional videos — the possibilities are endless.

As you start profiles on different sites, remember to list your business information exactly as it’s listed in Google My Business. Doing so will boost your SEO efforts.

4. Get Your Titles, Headers and Meta Description Tags in Order

Titles and headers help Google determine which search terms are relevant for pages throughout your website. For example, if you owned a formalwear shop, then the wedding dress page should have the term “wedding dresses” in the page Title and a variation of that phrase in the <h1> header. The page Title is not visible on the page so you’ll need to view the source code to review your page Titles. The <h1> header is usually the main headline above the page content, and there should only be one, unique <h1> per page.

Like the page Titles, the meta description is also not visible on the page, but it does appear with your website in the search results. You can think of your Title and Meta Description like an advertisement in Google’s search results.

5. Ask Your Customers to Write Reviews

Reviews are helpful for small business SEO especially when they’re positive. Always ask your customers if they’ll post reviews to your Google My Business page or any other online review sites you’ve joined.

And really, you should create profiles on as many of these sites as possible. Angie’s List, Yelp and TripAdvisor are three of the most popular. Remember to make sure your name, address, and phone number (aka your NAP) on these sites match exactly with your Google My Business profile. As noted above, these citations can make a sizeable impact on your local SEO. Positive reviews can be even more impactful because they can lead to more prospects turning into customers.

6. Mention Your City and State

Boost your local SEO by frequently listing your company’s city and state throughout your website. Don’t overdo it, but putting this information in your meta tags, your home page <h1> header and throughout your content is helpful.

If you have a blog — which was one of the tips listed above — then articles pertaining to how your business is relevant to your city and region are also helpful. Mentions of your city and state can influence Google to favor your website in local search results.

7. Make Sure Your Site Works on Mobile

More people search Google nowadays using smartphones and tablets than desktops and laptops. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, then your mobile search engine ranking is likely to take a hit. Remember that Google’s algorithm is tuned to connect people with sites that offer good user experiences. A site that’s not optimized for mobile won’t display correctly and may not even function as intended.

WordPress and other online publishing tools offer free website templates that are ready for mobile users. So you’re probably in good shape if you use this kind of platform. However, you may need to enlist a Web developer to convert your site for mobile. While this could be expensive, it’s well worth the cost. Otherwise, you risk losing more than half of your potential online customers.

Conclusion

Getting started in SEO doesn’t have to be a big deal, and this guide proves it. Anything you can do to improve your SEO – even the small things – will pay off over time. Just be patient and don’t get overwhelmed. Keep your process simple, and learn new things when you can. Eventually, your quick-hitting efforts will snowball and your website will climb in the rankings.

Want more SEO tips?  Click here to get a copy of our Ultimate Local SEO Checklist.

How to Find and Edit Meta Tags: Titles, Descriptions and Headers

Although SEO continues to evolve and change at a seemingly lightning pace, the fundamentals like HTML titles, meta descriptions and headers remain just as important as they always were.

HTMLAlthough SEO continues to evolve and change at a seemingly lightning pace, the fundamentals like HTML titles, meta descriptions and headers remain just as important as they always were. All three are buried deep within the HTML code for your website.

If you, like many business owners, are not fluent in HTML, you might have no idea how to find and edit these meta tags. Here is what you need to know for each one.

Title Tag
Each Web page’s title is displayed in the browser, but not actually on the page itself. To see the title of a particular page, bring the page up in your browser and read the name of the tab it is in. However, tabs often cut off titles. To view the entire title, or to edit it, open up the HTML code for your Web page, which is much easier than it sounds.

With the page open in a browser on a Windows computer, simply right click with your mouse anywhere on the body of the page. Select the option that reads “View Source” or “View Page Source.” A new page will open with all of the HTML and other code for the page in question. If you are not familiar with HTML, it might look like gibberish.

Near the top of that page of code, look for the bracketed word “title,” like this: <title> and </title>. All of the text between the opening and closing title brackets is your Web page’s title. Make sure it is less than 55 characters and attention-grabbing, and the keyword phrase you want to rank for is present.

Meta Description
A Web page’s meta description is like an ad, or preview, of the page’s content. It does not directly influence Google rankings, but it helps to generate more clicks when viewers read it in search results. However, the meta description does not appear anywhere on the web page. To access it, again you’ll need to “View Source” or “View Page Source” following the instructions above.

On that page of code, look for a line that begins with <meta name=”description” content=”…”. There might be some other words in the code as well. Regardless, look for the text in quotation marks following the content=. That text is your Web page’s description. Read it over carefully, keeping in mind that the purpose is to convince searchers to click on your website rather than someone else’s.

Headers
Headers are the Web version of newspaper headlines. As a general rule, each Web page should have one <h1> tag that serves as the main headline for the entire page. Progressively smaller headlines (<h2> and below) can be used to highlight individual sections of the page and main ideas within each section.

Your headers will display on your Web page as slightly larger, bolded text lines that look like headlines. To view it in your source code, use the same instructions above. Look for lines of code that begin with <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc..

Now that you know how to find these key elements on your page, it’s time to edit them. Editing can be a bit more complicated depending on how your website was created. Unless you’re familiar with HTML code and you’re comfortable making edits, I recommend leaving this to a professional webmaster. It’s actually quite easy to screw up your entire website if you’re not careful when you edit your pages.

Although they seem relatively minor, these three elements can make a real difference in your search engine rankings and the number of clicks you receive from SEO. Regardless of whether you do your own editing or employ a professional, make sure your titles, meta descriptions and headers are set up properly, or else you’ll struggle to get your website ranked high.

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