Simple SEO Advice for Small Business Owners

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization, and what it means is all the strategies a company uses to drive visitors to its website. That can be everything from the effective use of keywords to creating content that users find valuable.

It’s important to remember that SEO is not a marketing strategy designed solely to attract visitors, because SEO has to target the appropriate audience and most importantly, SEO is directly tied to content quality and value. Without a great site, SEO is useless, because if visitors click to a site that offers no value, they will go to another site.

What are the essential SEO tactics to boost a website’s SEO?

First, you must have outstanding content, and when I say “content,” I mean everything from product pages to form fields to videos and testimonials, because it all ties together. Without an appealing site that users find is worth their time, SEO won’t work.  Second, create a blog for your website, because it demonstrates your authority and helps boost your rankings by offering more searchable content. Third – and this is really important – you must post on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, because social media profiles help to brand your company, and are well indexed on Google. And the last thing? Use videos on your site as much as possible. Not only do users engage more with videos than text, but also research shows that relevant and informative video content can boost your SEO rankings.

How can online reviews help a company’s search rankings?

Online reviews are a valuable tool in your SEO arsenal, because multiple surveys have shown that reviews account for about 10 percent of search engine ranking results. Reviews are important to all businesses, but even more vital to local companies that are trying to brand themselves within a community. Before you get started on your review strategy, make sure you read the review guidelines of platforms such as Google+ Local, Foursquare, Yelp and YP.com, as each has a policy on how it handles reviews.

How should a company use keywords on a website to improve SEO?

The most important thing is to avoid using keyword stuffing, where it’s obvious that your content is written simply to generate high SEO rankings, because pros like Google will sniff that out and actually downgrade your site for it.

I think the biggest thing is to target your keywords in your titles, headings and descriptions, and to make sure your keyword usage is natural. You can only do that if your content is actionable and provides information, knowledge and value, which goes back to the idea of identifying your target market and creating content that they want and need.

What are the best SEO tools (free and for purchase) you’d
recommend small businesses use?

I love Google Keyword Tool, which is great for helping you find the right keywords for SEO. You enter words and phrases related to your industry, and the tool gives you search terms that are most searched for based on the words and phrases you entered. It provides you with a valuable tool for creating keywords that can help boost your SEO rankings without resorting to keyword stuffing.