For many small businesses, the topic of SEO lies somewhere between complex magic and science fiction. From optimizing your website to understanding common SEO tips and tricks, the topic of search can seem like a complicated beast that’s almost impossible to tame.
Over the past few years, we’ve helped clients navigate the complex world of SEO and make their websites more search engine friendly. From optimizing sites for different devices to developing content strategies for new & relevant content, we’ve helped clients overcome numerous SEO obstacles.
To help our growing number of clients get the most out of their websites, we’ve put together a guide with SEO tips for small businesses. Take a look!
Local SEO Tips
For many of our clients, the main goal of improving their SEO is to help potential customers in the surrounding area find their website during a search. One of the first components we recommend our clients review is their business listings on various search engines.
Each search engine like Google, Yahoo, and Bing has a dedicated page related to your business. On this page includes the name, hours of operation, a general description, and a specific category for the business.
When customers perform a search like “Web Design York PA”, search engines like Google will review their databases and return results that match the search query and location.
By updating your business listing on each search engine, you can improve your chances of customers finding you during a local search. Depending on certain aspects of SEO, your listing will be ranked among other businesses that match those keywords.
Here’s an example of what a Google business page looks like for VIG.
Local Business Directories
Have you ever searched for reviews of different businesses like new restaurants or even plumbers in your local area? Your customers have too! Submitting your business to local directories like Yelp, Angie’s List, and even your local Chamber of Commerce is one of the easiest SEO tips we can give you and is a great way to get your name out to people searching for products or services your business offers.
Similar to business pages for search engines, directories usually allow you to upload a few images, a description, and organize your business into a specific category. Most of these directories are free to businesses who want to publish a basic profile, but also offer ad services and other perks for paying members.
Creating these profiles is a great way to gain exposure for your business and also helps search engines find your name during a search. Once users click on a link to your profile on Yelp, or another directory, they can easily find a link to your website as well.
In recent years the practice of link building in relation to SEO has been under close scrutiny. For years, websites across the internet filled their pages with irrelevant and sometimes malicious links all in an attempt to improve organic search rankings.
In 2016 Google took a firm stance against this practice and rolled out their Penguin 4.0 algorithm update. Now websites that feature an overabundance of irrelevant links within the pages of their websites are facing serious consequences in rankings.
Regardless of the update, responsible link building is still an easy way to drive inbound traffic to your website and improve your ranking on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Some of the easiest and safest ways to build links to your website include:
- Testimonials on client’s websites
- Links from industry partners or colleagues
- Shout outs from industry professionals or news outlets
Creating genuine links back to a landing page on your website through sources that are relevant to your business is a concrete way to building your link network. Reaching out to former clients and asking for a shout out or testimonial is a great way to get started. If you’re shy or starting a new business, a press release might also be a great way to gain exposure and get your link in front of a large audience.
New & Relevant Content
It’s a common saying in the SEO realm that “Content is King”. But it’s also true that “Context is Queen and she runs the kingdom”. What these simple sayings refer to is the impact new content has on search rankings and how context is still one of the most important ranking factors for websites overall.
To understand these two unique phrases, let’s take a step back and understand how search engines work. Whenever a new site is published on the web, search engines will do what’s called crawling & indexing of the site. What this means is that search engines will analyze each page of a new website and update their databases to provide search results to users.
When providing search results to users, search engines refer to their database and look for websites that have newly updated content that is relevant to the searcher’s keywords. Posting blogs, case studies, or other content on a regular basis is a great way to keep search engines crawling your site and updating their databases.
Sites that have new content with context relevant to user’s search queries, will perform better on SERPS pages and benefit from more traffic in the future.
Optimize Your Website
From an SEO perspective, user experience (UX) and the overall functionality of a website are one of the greatest contributing factors to search ranking. Search engines like Google and Bing are giving higher priority to websites that feature easy-to-navigate pages and layouts that provide a strong user experience for visitors.
Gone are the days of websites that rely heavily on Flash media or standard screen resolutions. In order to be competitive in search results, your website needs to be responsive to multiple devices and deliver content in an easy to use manner.
If you’re website features Flash banners with static content spread through a mix of pages, it might be time for an upgrade. To run an audit on your site and learn where you can make a few improvements, Moz Pro offers several tools that can get you started on the right foot.
Search Engine Optimization is an ever-changing topic that requires continuous improvement and the ability to adapt to change with upcoming trends. For years, we’ve seen companies rise and fall in search rankings and develop interesting tactics to improve long-term. If you’re looking for the latest SEO tips & tricks, we’re here to help.
Want to make your website perform better in organic searches? Think VIG!