5 SEO Tips for Small Businesses

Everyone is looking for a competitive edge in a competitive market that is ever changing online and SEO can seem overwhelming at times. Both my grandparents were small business owners, and my father still is, so I know that getting the most from your efforts – quickly – is critical to your success. Effective Natural Search results are practically delivered to potential clients looking for your services without a costly acquisition campaign. So – how do you make sure that you’re the right page is appearing at the right time with the write message?

Understand the language of your customer. Choose one keyword to focus on per page and make that page, essentially, the landing page for that topic. Don’t be too technical or too “buzz word” oriented. Choose a keyword or phrase that is exactly what your customer use to describe your service. Keep it simple but specific. That is how your customers talk and search. Having the same words on your page helps demonstrate to a search engine that your page is the most relevant to the topic.

Page and Web site design is key. A spider reads your Web page like you read a book- top to bottom, left to right. Keep the text at the top of the page. Also, don’t forget that bold text, bullets and hyperlinked text is seen as being “more important” text on the page.

· Simple, link driven navigation is very SEO friendly. By positioning your navigational links, descriptive text at the top of the page, you are ensuring that the text is recognized by the spider.

· Use Meta tags to direct spiders away from “standard” elements of your page like links to “contact us” or logo icons. Focus the spiders to the most pertinent content on the page and “squeeze the juice” from the content.

· Flash banners and pages can create a positive experience for a customer but they can be challenging for your SEO efforts. Consider if Flash or Flex is the best vehicle for your top targeted pages. If so, ensure that they are coded in a SEO- friendly way. Maximize and optimize by hyper-linking your targeted keywords for the page!

· Don’t underestimate the importance of your page’s Meta description. It’s the first opportunity that you have to message to the searcher and differentiate from the other search results. Get that Click!

Get Analytics. Understanding your website’s Natural Search performance helps to understand and prioritize your efforts. Maybe you need to optimize a page for searchers who are in the research phase and another for those who are ready to buy. Which page is going to get you the best results- quickly? A data-driven decision will make your optimization efforts more focused and effective.

Be a player in the industry. Linking can be the most difficult of all aspects of SEO. Artificially collecting links can be expensive and, if not legitimate, can be detrimental to your online reputation. But garnering links from other sites can be within your control. Understanding your industry landscape and the big players that you can partner can open linking discussions. Consider other Web sites that operate in the same space but aren’t your competitor. Try a variety of methods like including links in your press releases, links partner sites, industry event Web sites or even links from your own homepage. SEO directories & Agencies can also jumpstart your linking strategy.

Lastly, consider paid search as way to jump start your online presence. SEO can take months to reach its full potential and a simple Paid Search Strategy can increase your traffic and brand presence in the meantime. Focuses on keywords that are used when customers are close to purchasing so you realize a positive ROI.

Google and Yahoo have changed the way we navigate information forever. Even the most obscure information, products and services are now at our fingertips. Customers are looking for you- Are you there?

About the Author: Emily Gudeman