An important factor in ranking is review signals, which refers to the quality, quantity, velocity, and diversity of reviews you get from customers. This rank factor is intriguing as it has jumped up year-over-year in importance. Google reviews are the most important, followed by third-party reviews (Yelp, Facebook, and other sites). It’s also important to get your product/service mentioned in the review. There is even some suggestion that responses to reviews are a factor in rank.
Top marketing strategist, digital marketer, and business coach. With a history of direct sales and marketing I’ve successfully sold just about anything including cemetery plots and vacuum cleaners door to door. For years I have been in the driver's seat building brick & mortar businesses and digital properties that have turned into early retirement packages for my clients by selling them at a high profit. I have streamlined and refined this proven path to success... more »

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A Google My Business (GMB) page is a free business listing through Google that allows your business to show up in organic and local results. Having a Google My Business page is necessary in order to rank in Google’s local results, but how highly you rank within the results is determined by factors such as the quality of your account and your volume of good reviews.
Getting more website visitors does not happen overnight. It takes some effort but we’ve eliminated the hard part for you: knowing what to do in the first place. By using Google My Business and the other safe channels listed above, you can get the right visitors coming to your site and more importantly, more of those visitors converting into customers.

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The most valuable tip I give small business owners who are looking to improve their ranking is to optimize their website for voice search. As of January 2018 alone, there were an estimated one billion voice searches per month. This number has grown exponentially over the past year and it will continue to grow in 2019. Optimizing their sites now will give them an edge in all aspects of their marketing.

Kelly Main is a staff writer at Fit Small Business specializing in marketing. Before joining the team, she worked as an analyst at firms like Lincoln Financial Securities. She has also founded a number of successful startups, including OpenOnion under the Google Tech Entrepreneurs Program, which was later acquired under the name Whisper. She holds an MS in International Marketing from Edinburgh Napier University.

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Hey Mischelle, thanks for the input! It’s true, SEO is definitely a long game. You need to lay the foundation and keep improving your site, publish new content and promote what you already have. However, if you keep at it, it can pay off nicely over time. And you are right, picking the right keywords is one of the foundations for SEO success. Thanks for commenting!


Think interviews are only for the big leaguers? You’d be amazed how many people will be willing to talk to you if you just ask them. Send out emails requesting an interview to thought leaders in your industry, and publish the interviews on your blog. Not only will the name recognition boost your credibility and increase traffic to your website, the interviewee will probably share the content too, further expanding its reach.

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This is not to say that small businesses can’t show within the top organic results. If your business is located in a less competitive market or industry, like a nail salon in a small town, you have a better chance of ranking high in organic results. Most small businesses find it easiest to rank within local results, though small businesses can also rank high in organic results by investing in search engine optimization efforts.

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Keywords are the words and phrases that customers type into Google when looking for information. Use the Google Keyword Planner Tool, available through your Google Ads account, to find the most popular keywords people use when searching for your type of business. Optimize your website for those keywords by adding them in blog posts and to web pages.
When someone searches for the name of your business specifically, Google will pull information from your Google My Business page and display it in a panel on the right-hand side of the search results, increasing your business’ exposure. This is great for small businesses, because not only do you get a lot of space on the first page of Google’s organic search results, but you are also able to immediately show what your business is about. Again, the panel is only available to those who have set up their free Google My Business page.

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Sending out regular newsletters and promoting offers through email is a great way to stay in touch with your customers and can also help to get traffic to your website. Provide useful information and links to pages on your website where they can learn more, such as through blog posts and landing pages for particular offers. Just make sure that you don`t continually bombard your readers with emails or your customers will either disengage with, delete, or unsubscribe from your emails.
Hey Ted, thanks for the great questions! The peak times refer to your particular time zone, if you are targeting an audience that resides in the same zone as you. You can also use tools to find out when most of your audience is online. For example, Facebook has this built into their Page Insights. For Twitter, you can use https://followerwonk.com/. Many social posting tools also offer this functionality. 

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Pick the most promising and powerful keywords. Pick keywords that have less domain authority, so you have less competition when trying to rank higher. These will also be cheaper keywords to sponsor if you wanted to advertise with Google. Semrush.com is an awesome free tool to help you. Just type in your URL and see your top keywords - for free. The site also offers other information like backlinks and organic search, which 
Aim for “position zero.” When a user asks a question in Google Search, Google sometimes pulls content from a relevant website and displays it in a special featured snippet or answer box above the #1 search result. Getting content into a featured snippet is a great way to increase traffic (snippets include a link to the page where the content came from), as well as boost the credibility and visibility of your brand. To increase your chances of having your content selected as a featured snippet by Google, think of likely searches related to your business and pepper your site with clear, authoritative answers.

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Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business from across the web (like links, articles, and directories). Google review count and score are factored into local search ranking: more reviews and positive ratings will probably improve a business's local ranking. Your position in web results is also a factor, so SEO best practices also apply to local search optimization.

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Having a company blog will do wonders in achieving this task. Google wants to see that you have a dynamic and active website. Of course, you won’t always have new products to launch, or updates that need to be made to your site, that’s where the blog comes in. You can regularly publish blog posts on the latest topics and trends within your industry, which helps your search engine ranking in the long run, and the new content gives your customers a reason to return to your site.

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Hack #1: Hook readers in from the beginning. People have low attention spans. If you don’t have a compelling “hook” at the beginning of your blogs, people will click off in seconds. You can hook them in by teasing the benefits of the article (see the intro to this article for example!), telling a story, or stating a common problem that your audience faces.

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When someone searches for the name of your business specifically, Google will pull information from your Google My Business page and display it in a panel on the right-hand side of the search results, increasing your business’ exposure. This is great for small businesses, because not only do you get a lot of space on the first page of Google’s organic search results, but you are also able to immediately show what your business is about. Again, the panel is only available to those who have set up their free Google My Business page. 

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Take your competitors’ SEO work and apply it to yourself. For example, when writing your meta titles and descriptions, look at your competitors’ paid ads on Google for your keywords. Do they all mention a word or phrase (“complementary” or “free estimates,” for example)? Try using those to improve your titles and descriptions. After all, they spent money testing theirs out.
Social media is one of the most popular free marketing tools around, and plays a role in driving traffic to your website. Use Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to promote blog posts and other useful pages on your website. This way you can turn your social media audience into website visitors, and draw traffic from their networks if you post shareable content.

10. Target the right keywords. One of the biggest mistakes that websites make is targeting the wrong keywords. Take the time to analyze the keywords that produce conversions and make you money. One way to do this is to have analytics software, like Google Analytics, installed on your website so that you can see how visitors are interacting and finding your site. Often business target broad, high-volume keywords that convert well, instead of ranking keywords based on multiples of volume, competitiveness and conversion rate.

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“Syndicate carefully: If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer. However, it is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article. You can also ask those who use your syndicated material to use the noindex meta tag to prevent search engines from indexing their version of the content.” 

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Top marketing strategist, digital marketer, and business coach. With a history of direct sales and marketing I’ve successfully sold just about anything including cemetery plots and vacuum cleaners door to door. For years I have been in the driver's seat building brick & mortar businesses and digital properties that have turned into early retirement packages for my clients by selling them at a high profit. I have streamlined and refined this proven path to success... more »

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If you haven’t used software like BuzzSumo to check out what your competitors are up to, you’re at a huge disadvantage. These services aggregate the social performance of specific sites and content to provide you with an at-a-glance view of what topics are resonating with readers and, most importantly, making the rounds on social media. Find out what people are reading (and talking about), and emulate that kind of content to bring traffic to your website. 

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Much like SEO, Google uses business citations as a means to provide their searchers with the most relevant businesses within the Google Places rankings. Follow the instructions I have laid out in this post and watch your rankings improve. If you need help with your rankings, visit our Google My Business packages page for different packages and services aimed at improving your rankings.

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