Top 10 Basics of Small Business SEO
We’ve put together the Top 10 Basics of Small Business SEO because we know that SEO can be challenging for small business owners who typically lack the time and/or budget to dedicate an entire resource to it.
Basics of SEO are Basic
When doing the research for this article I queried “% of small business owners currently do not have an SEO resource in-house” and I found of ton of really great articles telling me how easy SEO is for small businesses or how SEO is 80% scam. Well as someone who lives this 24x7x365, the basics of SEO, are just that, the basics of SEO, with many of the principles remaining intact for many years.
A Little Story on “Easy”
With well over 300 days of sun per year, Florida is a beautiful place. After moving here in 2007, I quickly recognized the need to get my windows tinted. I am a collage educated professional of reasonably firm intelligence. I watched a few YouTube videos and window tinting seemed straightforward enough; tint, squeegee, distilled water with some magical additive and an exacto knife. No kidding, after two major attempts, spending over $100 in tint and burning several hours of precious Saturday mornings, I was left with naked windows and a pile of creased garbage. So, I had to pony up $120 to have this “easy” task done by someone who knows what they were doing.
Google treats each keyword differently in each market, constantly making adjustments about weighing XYZ factor more importantly or adding factors all together (social signals etc). Yes, SEO always goes back to basics, but without the right tools (some of which can be costly) and constant oversight and adjustment based on changes; you will find yourself spending a lot of time catching up or never gaining any momentum in the first place.
3 Critical Facts of Basic Small Business SEO (note these don’t count toward the Top 10 Basics of Small Business SEO)
1. Content is king – provide great content, either uniquely yours or borrowed & inspired (customized with your unique flair not stolen) to someone/group/demographic etc who gives a crap.
2. Identify the best keyword(s) to use everywhere “e” (electronic) – blogs, social media, comments on blogs, YouTube, webpages, optimized pr, etc.
To find those best keywords either use Google Keyword Buildout tool (better than guessing) or test ALL your potential keyword options (with cities) using the Adwords program so you know for sure (best). Visit our website for our process on Small Business SEO by clicking here.
3. You scorecard goal is page one on Google for your targeted keywords; preferably in the top 1-3 positions. Use the Google Webmaster tools to track your organic SEO rankings. Sign up for an account at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/ and use it to score your rankings performance.
Here are the Top 10 Basics of Small Business SEO
1. Know your keywords and use them consistently in “e” anything and everything!
2. Implement URL rewrites with the keyword being visible as early in the website address as possible. Either use “-” or “_” to separate the keywords, at the time of this writing, hyphen vs. underscore doesn’t matter.
3. Use H1 Header Tags – only one per page please! Want to use multiple H2, H3, H4…knock yourself out, but keep readability in mind.
4. Use 1-3 keywords at most per page, 2 of those should be very closely related. Consider the use of the plural of a keyword such “used car” and “used cars” or other related “SEO” and “Search Engine Optimization.”
5. Use keyword rich title and meta descriptions. The title and meta description still matter A LOT so make it good, anyone that tells you otherwise is on crack. Click through rate (CTR) matters to Google A LOT. Your tile and description are going to be pulled in and displayed on that search engine results page (SERPs), so engage the click to your relevant and timely content. Test out various meta title & descriptions to boost those CTRs.
6. Bold your keywords in the body. Consider that Google’s spiders are trying to mirror how a human would look at a page (by scanning). Bolding copy (with the “left carrot, b, then right carrot” and the “left carrot, /, b, then right carrot”) is a great way to say to your user and Google’s spiders, “dude this is important on this page.”
7. Use Hyperlinks with keywords in them. Consider that Google’s spiders are trying to mirror how a human would look at a page (by scanning). Hyperlinks with keywords are a great way to say to your user and Google’s spiders, “dude here is an important link that someone may want after reading this page.” Consider changing the link to the “Contact Us” page to “Contact our (KEYWORD HERE) Specialist Now by Clicking Here.” Bold and hyperlink both “click here” and the relevant keyword content in that sentence.
8. Use alt & title tags for images. Get’em fired up in the first 1,2, or 3 images. Consider using the power of your CMS by automatically generating the alt and title tag from the optimized page’s actual page title. That first image may even be the logo or background so open up the view source and do an “img” search to find it and make sure your keyword is there.
9. Use the keyword in the copy 2 to 3 times consistently in the first 200-300 words. Although you may have crafted the single page version of War and Peace, Google’s spiders, like Bill O’Reilly, like short and pithy. Long stuff likely won’t hurt you, but it’s not likely to help you either. Focus on short and concise content, then go play ball with the kids and get some exercise.
10. Make no excuses – social is and will be more and more important in SEO. “Sorry that’s not my department” is not a good answer for not doing this; neither is “social media doesn’t drive business to my company.” Social media, Google + for Google & Facebook for Bing, will be one of the key drivers to your rankings organically on the search engines. Start now if you haven’t, or do it better by focusing on specific keywords if you have and are seeing little fruit.
Now that we’ve covered the Top 10 Basics of Small Business SEO, go get’em tiger!
Your turn…go ahead and chime in below with your thoughts on the best Basics of Small Business SEO.