As a small business owner you need to consider one simple but very important fact. When people perform a search in a major search engine for your products or services only one of two outcomes is possible: they will find your website, or they will find your competitors.
With around 45,000 Google searches performed per second, showing up in the first few results in a search for your products or services can have a huge impact on your business. Getting in those top positions, however, can be a rather bewildering, daunting and elusive task for any small business. So I asked some of the leading SEO companies to help out with their best SEO tips for small business.
1. Lay the Foundation with Quality Website Content
When considering the ranking potential of any given webpage, the content on that page is absolutely vital. Search engine updates over the past few years have eliminated the value, and even penalized the tactic, of keyword stuffing. Search engines have evolved to more intelligent ways of analyzing the relevance of the text on a webpage and content still plays a large role in the ranking factors. It is important that each webpage stays on topic and provides something of value to the readers.
Travis Thorpe - CEO, Boostability
2. Keyword Rich Content
Small business owners typically do not understand how to target keywords on a webpage or blogpost. It is very important that the content reads naturally and you don't flood the page with keywords. The idea is to identify the primary keyword(s) that you will be targeting for the page or website and then support those keywords with semantically and topically related keywords and phrases. The Google Adwords Keywords tool is great for this (you do need to set up an Adwords account to use this tool). Use the "search for new keyword and ad group ideas" bar and enter a few terms then click the "get ideas" button. Look for terms that make sense and have traffic over 100 (the higher the better). Incorporate those terms into the content of each page that they relate to. Do not overuse them, write for your visitors. Once completed look at your title and try and make a title that would insight the interest of your readers but that also includes your main keyword(s).
Alan Rabinowitz - CEO, SEO Image
3. Give Away Valuable Information
These days search engine optimization is all about contributing. Right now, the best thing you can do for SEO as a small business is establish thought leadership in your niche and actively participate in the blogs, forums, and other social communities that are specific to your industry or segment. Businesses that are winning in SEO right now are those that are creating good, non-promotional content. You should be focused on attracting new customers who don't yet know they have the problem your business solves. Inform, advise, and instruct them before you solve their problems and make the sale. Give away valuable information. The more you do, the better you'll rank for the topics surrounding your business -- not just the keywords.
John Broadbent - COO, Netmark
4. Quality Link Building
Quality versus quantity is the key to any successful link building initiative. Google has updated their algorithm numerous times over the past few years and a strong focus has been on the quality of a website's backlink profile. Gone are the days that you can build a thousand random links back to your website and see yourself shoot up to the top of the search results. It is better to build links from authoritative resources with quality content. That will mean fewer links, but you will enjoy long term success.
Scott Langdon - Managing Partner, Highervisibility
5. Use Schema Markup for a Local SEO Advantage
Make sure Google can properly feature you when a searcher types your business name or keywords from a mobile phone or in Google maps by using schema.org tags in your meta headers. Google announced support for phone numbers, hours and menus for small businesses on April 8. This is an opportunity to stand out over your competitors by giving searchers a quick call to action when they are searching for a local business. Click here for a schema markup tutorial.
Kurt Noer - CEO, Customer Magnetism
6. Follow Current Best Practice
Following current SEO best practices is crucial. SEO has always been a rapidly evolving field, but never more so than in the last two years. Many techniques that were recently advisable are now actually inadvisable. SEO has also grown more complex. Years ago, the entire focus was on Google's more-or-less universal search engine results pages. Now, search results are personalized and localized, and firms must consider not only "regular" organic search, but also search segments such as video search and news search. For small businesses scrambling to handle hundreds of issues every day, keeping a finger on the pulse of SEO can be quite difficult. For this reason it makes sense to engage a qualified SEO professional to do some or all of the work, or at a minimum serve as a consultant.
Brad Shorr - Director of B2B Marketing, Straight North
7. Don't Over Rely on SEO
Never depend on SEO alone for the growth of your business. In my 13 years as an SEO professional I have seen many companies come and go. The ones that go are the ones that depend on SEO alone for the entire growth of their business. The companies that survive and thrive are the ones that have a solid approach and market in a variety of ways both online and offline. SEO can be a big piece, but it's not the only slice of the marketing pie.
Nick Stamoulis - President, Brick Marketing
For more information on SEO check out this article: "The Fundamentals of a Successful SEO Strategy."