10 Effective SEO Strategies for Small Business Owners
Search engine optimisation is an important cog in your Internet business machine. SEO is an art and science. You can learn the essentials from a book, but how to apply them right requires some creativity and experience.
Design the right keyword phrases. Vague keyword phrases, like “auctioneers” or “organic vegetables” are impossible to rank for because there are too many businesses competing for them. Too specific phrases can be equally bad. Sure, you may be the only person ranking for a narrow phrase in the world, but it does not matter if nobody is searching for them. Or there is no earning potential in them.
2. Use Keyword Research Tools
To come up with meaningful and profitable keyword phrases, your best bet is to use a keyword research tool. Google AdWords program offers a free research tool that allows you to find word combinations that are frequently requested (including how many Internet users are looking for them per month) but without too much competition.
3. List Your Business on Google
Google offers a service called Google Places. It allows you to list your business in their directory, hooking up a keyword phrase with a link to your website. Apart from getting another reference for that phrase, customers looking for local business will be able to find you easily.
4. Promote Your Site Through Blogging
Search engines love blogs. Providing relevant content centred around your keyword is a sure way to shoot to the top of search engine results. But blogging is best done when you can write and publish articles often. If you do not have the time for it, you can always write for others. Occasional guest articles, with a link to your website, will help you stand out as an expert and bring more leads.
5. Link Your Site Internally
It is good to attract external links, but it is also good to link your internal pages well. When you use your keyword phrases to link to your own content, that helps you improve your ranking on search engines. But be careful – if search engines find out you are abusing that system, they will reduce your rating for a few months or even permanently ban your website.
6. Write Comments on Other Blogs
Unethical SEO experts used to spam blogs with links to their websites. As a result of that, blogs now use “nofollow” tags on links in their comments, which makes them irrelevant for SEO. But they are still relevant for getting visitors to your site. When you comment on blogs, be relevant and helpful. Remember you are there to promote your business and expertise.
7. Research Your Competitors
Most business owners do not live in a bubble. Everybody has competitors and you should pay extra attention to how they do business. That will allow you to learn what they do better and what are some opportunities to gain a competitive advantage over them. Using competitive research tools will let you see their page views, search engine rank, reach, and other data that can help you improve your Internet business marketing.
8. Utilise Social Media
While this strategy does not exactly qualify as SEO, it achieves the same goal – getting more people to your website. Communicating with prospective clients is important to become an expert. You do not become an authority overnight (SEO tends to work faster), but in the long run, Facebook and Twitter can become the backbone of your success online.
9. Create a Sitemap
Even though Google’s crawler automatically indexes your website, you do not want to leave it all to chance. Create a Google sitemap and your site will be indexed in depth. But a website is always a work in progress so when you add new content or restructure existing material, update the sitemap to reflect the changes. If you are using a content management system, this process can probably be automated. Check the relevant documentation on how to do that or hire a SEO consultant.
10. Structure Your Content
Search engines like when website content is structured in a certain way. Here are some quick tips on how to structure your content for best results.
When you write articles or pages, make sure your keywords are at the beginning of the title. Titles of your articles are overall given a high relevance, but the most relevant place in a title is the very beginning. Also, do not forget to use keywords within the article. Longer keywords (“growing organic food at home”) are better than short ones (“organic food”). Also, do not overdo it: if your keyword density – the number of keywords compared to the length of the article – exceeds 5%, you may be penalised in search results.