Search engine optimization (SEO) is an important part of digital marketing for small businesses. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing use algorithms to determine what content appears on search results pages in response to users’ queries. When properly implemented, SEO can help attract visitors from relevant searches and improve visibility in organic search results. It also helps ensure that your website appears higher up the list when a relevant query is entered into a search engine.
This article will outline 10 best practices for implementing SEO and getting the most out of it for your small business:
Start with Your Website’s Address
When it comes to small businesses, search engine optimization can be a great way of getting your business out in front of the competition.
While you might think that no one is going to remember or find your website if they don’t know what the address is, this is only partly true.
Including your website’s address in every piece of online marketing you do, will help to improve your site’s ranking as well as remind people where to find you.
Create Content That Will Rank Higher Than Competitors’ Pages
One of the most important aspects of SEO is creating content that will rank higher than your competitors’ pages. You can do this by using keywords and phrases that they aren’t targeting, as well as by crafting high-quality content.
When you create content, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach that will work. You need to do your research and see what keywords are the most popular in search engine queries (there’s a tool called Google Trends that can help with this). Then, use these words throughout your blog posts whenever possible. If they’re relevant, of course! Don’t force it; otherwise, readers won’t trust you or want to stay on your site any longer than necessary.
Use pretty URLs
One of the easiest ways you can improve your SEO is by using descriptive URLs instead of long, complicated ones. For example, if your URL is something like “yourwebsite.com/shoes/?sort=price&brand=newbalance”, it would be better to have a more descriptive one that reads something like “yoursite.com/best-running-shoe”. Search engines will often rank pages higher with well-structured and easy-to-understand URLs over those containing lots of symbols or numbers which are difficult to read.
Submit Your Website to Directories
One of the best ways to improve your SEO is by submitting your website to directories. There are a number of different directories you can submit to, and most are free. Some popular directories include Google My Business, Yahoo! Local, and Yelp.
In addition to submitting your website, be sure to add your business to local directories as well. This will help improve your local SEO ranking.
Optimize Your Pages for Rankings
In order to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), you need to optimize your web pages for keywords. There are a number of ways to do this, but one of the most effective is by using keyword-rich titles and descriptions.
When you create a page, be sure to include the keyword or phrase in the title. This tells search engines that your page is relevant to that particular topic. You can also use it in the description, which will show up as the snippet of text underneath the link in SERPs.
Publish New Blog Posts on a Consistent Basis
Another way to improve your SEO is by publishing new blog posts on a consistent basis. This tells search engines that your site is active and up-to-date, which can help with rankings. Ideally, you should aim to publish at least one new blog post per week. But if that’s not possible (or practical), try to publish at least one per month.
Get Links from High-Quality Sites in your industry
One of the easiest ways to improve your SEO is by getting links from other high-quality sites in your industry.
To do this, you need to write guest posts for blogs and websites related to yours. The best way to find these opportunities is through a tool like Google search or BuzzSumo (a free web application that shows you the most popular content on the web).
Once you’ve found a few good opportunities, reach out to the blog or website’s editor and pitch your idea. If they like it, they’ll probably be happy to publish it. And if they do, you’ll get a link back to your site which will help improve your SEO rankings.
Use Keywords in Your Titles and Headings
When you create a web page, make sure to include relevant keywords and phrases in your title. This tells search engines that your content is the most descriptive of the topic as possible, which helps improve rankings.
In addition to including these words in titles, it’s also important for them to appear again within headings (H tags). These are the large, bold text that appears on a web page. When you include your keywords in these, it tells search engines that they’re important and should be given more weight when ranking your page.
Research Long Tail Keywords to Target
In order to rank higher in search engine results pages, you need to find keywords that have a decent number of searches but aren’t overly competitive.
One of the best ways to do this is by using Google’s Keyword Planner tool (which is free). You can also check out some other essential SEO tools that we recommend.
This allows you to see more information about different keywords related to your niche, including how many people are searching for them each month.
Once you’ve found a few good keywords, be sure to use them in your titles, descriptions, and blog posts. This will help improve your SEO rankings over time.
Long-tail keywords are phrases that are more specific than general keywords. For example, the keyword “dog” is a general keyword, while “boxer puppies for sale in San Diego” is a long-tail keyword.
Since they’re more specific, long-tail keywords have less competition and therefore are easier to rank for. This makes them a great option for beginners.
Create a Sitemap
A sitemap is a file that contains a list of all the pages on your website. This is important because it helps search engines crawl and index your site more easily.
Fortunately, creating a sitemap is easy. You can use a plugin or a web service to generate one. Once you’ve done that, be sure to submit it to Google through their Search Console tool.
Creating a sitemap is an important part of improving your SEO because it helps search engines crawl and index all the pages on your site more efficiently. In turn, this can help improve rankings over time. We talk about this at length in What is a sitemap, why is it important, and what are its benefits?
Wrapping up the Small Business SEO tips
SEO is one of the most effective ways to improve the visibility of your small business online. By following these tips, you can optimize your site and get more traffic from search engines. If you’d like to deepen your knowledge, be sure to look at some of the best books on SEO that we could find.
While SEO is important, it’s not the only marketing channel you should consider using to reach your target audience. In fact, if done well, chances are good that search engine optimization will generate a lot of traffic on its own and over time through other, branded channels.