Most Comprehensive SEO Guide for Small Business Owners
Written by Trent Brownrigg · November 17, 2012
Performing SEO as a small business owner can be a difficult task. As a small business, you may have less time and money to devote to your online marketing campaigns, which can have a negative impact on your SEO efforts. Also, the fact that search engines such as Google favor large brands hinders your ability to gain a first page ranking for specific keywords. However, even though it may seem difficult to get your website to appear on the first page of the search engine results for specific keywords, you should not give up as obtaining a first page ranking can have a huge impact on your business.
Importance of SEO
The biggest reason why your small business needs to continue to spend time working on its SEO is to be seen by consumers in your local area. Consumers are no longer using the phone book to find a local business and traditional marketing methods are becoming less effective. When you are able to obtain a first page ranking in the search engine results, your website will be able to drive a larger number of consumers to your business.
How to Perform Local SEO
While you may think it is difficult to obtain a first page ranking for your website, local SEO is actually not that difficult to perform. A good local SEO campaign starts with keyword research. You need to find local keywords people are actually searching for that do not have a lot of competition. Once you have found several keywords you will target with your campaign, you are ready to move on to the next step of the local SEO process.
On-Page SEO – On-page search engine optimization is a fancy way of saying you need to set up your website in such a way so that the search engines know what your website is about. This includes putting your target keywords in the title of your blog posts, using H1 tags and writing a compelling meta description that also includes your keywords.
Ensuring your website has a good internal linking structure is also important for your on-page SEO. Linking to other pages of your website will allow you to inform the search engines what your content is about while also making it easy for the spiders to crawl your website and index all of your content.
Claim Your Profiles – After your on-page SEO is complete, you will want to claim as many local profiles as you can for your business. To do this, you need to create an account on the major social media profiles and local directories. The more web pages you control on the internet that point back to your website the easier it will be to increase your website’s ranking for your target keywords.
When creating all of your profiles, you will want to use your target keywords in your profile. This will help the search engines associate your website with your keywords, increasing the chances of your website appearing on the first page of the results.
Include Contact Information – On all of your social profiles and on your website itself, it is important that you include your business’s contact information including your address. By including this information, the search engines will know what region of the world your business is located and can serve up your website in the local results.
Update your Site with Fresh Content – Search engines love to see websites with fresh content. Placing a blog in your company website is a wonderful way to ensure your website is regularly updated with content that focuses on your local keywords.
The biggest challenge facing small business owners when it comes to local SEO is finding the time to do the work. Using some SEO tools will help you reduce the amount of time you spend working on your local SEO campaigns while still being able to see positive results.
Google Webmaster Tool – Gives you insight about your website including where it appears in the search engine rankings, any errors encountered by the search engine spiders and the overall health of your domain.
Google Adwords Tool – This is a good tool for discovering local keywords. This tool will also allow you to gauge the competition levels of a specific keyword to determine whether or not you want to include it in your list.
SEMRush – Another keyword discovery tool that provides a little bit more data than the Google
Adwords Keyword Tool – It is definitely the best free tool on the Internet for keyword research.
SEO Book – Offers a keyword density checker to assess the keyword density on your website. If you over-optimize your website for a specific keyword, you could receive a penalty from the search engines.
Majestic SEO – This tool allows you to assess your inbound link profile. See which websites are linking your website as well as your competition to discover new backlink opportunities.
Guest Post Author Bio: Ben Sawyer is in Internet Marketing for more than 5 years. Currently he is working as SEO strategist for Vandko Candles NYC company. In this article Ben provided useful advice about importance of SEO for small business websites.