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SEO for Small Businesses

Myth BUSTERS!!!                    

Myth: I have to spend thousands on an SEO expert if I want a really good online presence.
Fact: Creating a great presence online may seem like rocket science, but it’s really not. With a little bit of time, effort and patience you can build a respectable presence for your business.

 Here are 4 Simple Ways to Improve SEO without Spending a Fortune:

 Every so often it’s a good idea not only to Google your company name just to make sure everything appears as it should and find out where you’re popping up on the internet, (and go past the first page, you may be surprised at what you find!), but to put yourself in the shoes and mindset of a potential customer and perform Google, Bing, and/or Yahoo searches for your products and services.  Are you coming up with pertinent key word searches? If not, we have some work to do! 

You got a website because you know you should, but it takes more than a website to build an online presence. You know there’s all this talk about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and getting found online.  But do you really need to spend thousands on an SEO expert?

There’s definitely a time and a place to hire someone – when you want to get into really bumping up your online presence with ads and targeted keyword marketing, foSEO  for small businessesr example. But in the meantime here are a few tips to get you started on your own.

 1. Your Website

  • Web Page Titles:  Your site’s title, which appears at the top of the browser window, is the first piece of text users — and spiders — will read. You should be sure that each page of your website has descriptive and relevant keywords. For example: your home page should include your company name and your function; “Jane’s Cafe” should be titled, “Jane’s Café an Any town, USA casual restaurant”. Instead of “blog” name it “Landscaping Blog” instead of “Services” name it “Any town CPA Services”
  • Meta Tags – Meta tags are a lot like title tags, except they’re not displayed at the top of the browser window. Meta tags explain the web page’s content and store keywords for search engines, which helps in the ranking process. This is all done on the back-end of your website and meta tags can be set up by you if you use one of the most popular website platforms like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal – or by your web designer if you use something else.  When you write meta tags write them to be read by humans but use relevant keywords to attract browser spiders (not too many though, they’ve caught on to this and it will have an adverse affect). Your descriptions should be limited to 250 words.
  • Copy – Do a little Googling yourself. Act like a customer, if you were to buy what you sell, what would you enter into a Google search? Play around and see what comes up. There are also tools out there like Google AdWords: Keyword Tool that will help you search popular keywords in your category. Once you’ve identified the keywords, work them into your content. Instead of writing “we are a full service CPA firm”, make it, “we work with small businesses that need tax and bookkeeping help.”  Think about it, if a small business needs a CPA firm, are they Googling CPA firm? Or are they searching “small business tax help” or something similar? – Maybe both, but be sure to have both keyword phrases in your content.

2.    Backlinks – Also known as incoming links or inbound links, backlinks are external links that direct readers back to your website. The number of backlinks is one indication of the popularity or importance of that website or page.  The more popular and relevant a site, the higher your ranking!

 There are a number of ways to get backlinks to your site:

  • Setting up profiles on social media sites with links to your site. For example, Google Profile, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Stumbleupon, Biznik all allow you to set up free profiles on their sites. Use the profiles as mini-advertisements for your business, with links back to your site!
  • Use Social Media posts to post links and direct people back to interesting and relevant content on your website!
  • Commenting on blogs and articles related to your industry  and always including a ink to your website in your signature
  • Link sharing with power partners (you post each other’s link to your sites under a “favorite businesses” heading.)

TIP: Be sure to post actual hyperlinks. A hyperlink starts with  “http://” – that is what makes it a link (as opposed to just an address). A simple “www.” won’t do it in many cases.

 3.    Blogging – Blogging is a great way to improve your SEO for a couple of reasons:

  • It feeds the spiders. Google crawlers search the internet regularly to find out what’s relevant and what isn’t. The last thing Google wants is for a website that’s been inactive for 10 years or full of SPAM to show up first on a Google search. One of their relevancy tests is newness of content on the site. This means the more often  you refresh your website with new content, the more relevant and up-to-date you seem to the crawlers and the more legitimate your site seems – ranking your site higher. Guess what is the easiest way is to refresh content on your website? That’s right– blogging!  Do it often!  (Most experts say at least a few times a week – but I think once a week does it too).
  • Keyword rich – The key is to write about what your target market is searching for.  When they are researching your product or service what are they Googling? Use those phrases and keywords in your posts, but don’t make them so keyword heavy that they are annoying to read. You still want to make them interesting and educational enough that people will want to read them. I also make sure I include my target market description as often as possible. For example instead of saying “people tell me” I’ll write “small business owners tell me”.  “Small business” is one of my biggest keywords so I use it whenever I can.  

4.   Video – Video is another great way to get yourself moved up in the Google rankings. Why? For one because most videos are hosted on YouTube and YouTube is now the second largest search engine on the internet, behind Google.  What does that mean? That means if you have videos posted to YouTube, when you Google your company or relevant key words your YouTube page will most likely come up on the first page.  The key to using video to increase visibility is a lot like using blogging: create interesting and relevant content and use the words your customers are searching when naming and tagging videos.  Just like flash content on a website, video content cannot be read by Google Crawlers, so tagging and naming your videos appropriately is key.  This is a very simplistic explanation of how video can help SEO for more detailed information I found this great article: “Best Video SEO Strategy Tips”.

Like everything in Marketing, improving your Google positioning is a process, not an event. Once you start implementing these ideas, it could take several months to see results. But be patient –it will happen. Just be diligent and pay attention to your ranking and the content and links you are putting out there and you’ll start seeing a difference. If you have any questions or need help with any of these concepts please contact me!

Happy SEO’ing!

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