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So if you want to get seen in Google you need to know about SEO

What is Small Business SEO?

The good news for today’s small business owners is that search-engine optimization (SEO) is no longer about who’s been around the longest, who has the biggest library of content or who has the most inbound links. Sheer volume doesn’t put you to the top of the pile anymore: thanks to Google’s updates, even small businesses now have a chance at ranking when it comes to SEO because, these days, it’s all about RELEVANCE.

Knowing that you can compete with the big guys should really get you geared up about your small business SEO. After all, it’s one of the most important components of your branding efforts and online presence. Thankfully, there are several simple strategies you can implement to give you an edge over the competition, and in this quick guide, I’ll walk you through my top 10 tips for getting a head start on supercharging your SEO.

1. Start with the basics

Get back to basics and make sure that you have the fundamentals right, specifically a functional site with everything well laid-out and good, clean code. Is your site visually attractive, tidy and easy to navigate? Are your titles, headings and text clear, enabling visitors and search engines to figure out what your site is about?  If you need to declutter  and tidy your site up, then do it!

2. Clever Content

If you want to rank well, you need to get your content right. It’s the best way to make your site relevant to the terms people are searching for and to give people a reason to visit your site.  And the more engaging your content is, the longer people will stay on your site, and high viewing times tell the search engines that your site deserves good rankings.

3. Start a blog

If you haven’t already started a blog, then I’d suggest adding one to your website without delay. If you’re struggling to get started and don’t know what to write about, then look around: the web is full of inspirational ideas…there’s an angle to be found for every business!

Just make sure that you are writing for your audience, not the search engines. The idea is to bring people back to your site again and again, which won’t happen if your blog bores your readers to death, so make it engaging, relevant and useful.

4. Use social media

To make social media work for your SEO, it’s worth experimenting to find the sites that “fit” best with your business. As a first step, set up profiles with accurate contact and web address details…and then get social! Engaging with your audience on social media platforms is a fantastic way to show the “personal” side of your brand. Being human in this way can give you a very real advantage over more distant, big business competitors, helping you to attract followers and grow your social media presence. The bigger and more active your social media presence gets, the higher you’ll rank on google.

5. Social sharing

Add social sharing buttons to your website. The easier you make it for people to share your content, the more likely they will be to do so.

6. Keywords

When it comes to keywords, you need to work out what your market is typing into Google. Use Webmaster Tools and Google’s Keyword Planner to find long tail keywords (keyword phrases which are very, very specific to whatever you are selling – think “gluten free birthday free cakes in Cheshire” as opposed to “birthday cakes”), as they are easier to rank highly for than highly popular, shorter keywords. Make sure you have a page that reflects these specific phrases, but go easy:  search engines don’t like spammy text any more than people do. Concentrate on producing text that has the right focus rather than keyword “stuffing”.

7. Google local listing

Set up a Google Local listing, it’s free, and it represents an easy way to increase your presence in local search results.

8. Optimise for mobile 

Google is focusing on mobile optimisation big time, adding text and labels to mobile search results to indicate those sites which are ‘mobile-friendly’.  To make sure you’re providing the best mobile experience you can for users, your site should be optimised for mobile devices, making it clear and simple to use for people however they’re accessing it.

9. Google analytics

Google Analytics can provide enormously valuable insights into where your most important traffic is coming from, how people and search engines navigate your site, and what’s working and what’s not. All of this gives you a baseline from which to measure your performance and make improvements.

10. Links with others

The more diverse external links you have to your site, the more authority you’ll gain in Google’s eyes. Of course, to attract external links, you’ll have to have high quality original content to begin with. Use social media to maximise your potential external links sources. Linking out to other relevant websites and blogs can boost SEO too, in that it encourages others, having noticed that you’ve linked to them, to link back to you. Just be sure to only link to pages on other sites that you think visitors to your site would find helpful and/or interesting, and take the time to remove any unnecessary or broken outbound links

You don’t have to know everything about SEO to start reaping benefits from it: following these simple strategies should get you started and help to supercharge your SEO. Just remember that it’s  an ongoing process, so keep at it:  keep your site nice and clean, produce regular, fresh and valuable content, include keywords, use social media and, above all….stay RELEVANT!

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