1. Pool your votes. Often business owners don’t realize that www.yourwebsite.com and http://yourwebsite.com are seen as different pages by search engines. This can result in any links that you receive being diluted between the two pages. It’s the equivalent of a political party splitting up and the votes being shared by the two new parties. The solution to this common problem is to tell Google that you want all the votes from www.yourwebsite.com to be counted towards http://yourwebsite.com. This can be easily implemented by using a permanent (known as a 301) redirect from one of the pages to the other.
For example, a plumber could first find a service that has search volume on Google, but may not be talked about that in-depth on their competitor’s websites. In this example, a service like “leak detection” may be listed with a small blurb on your competitor’s sites, but none of them have elaborated on every angle, created FAQs, videos, or images. This represents an opportunity to dominate on that topic.
One of my best pieces of advice when it comes to SEO for small businesses is to truly spend some time understanding your audience and their intent. Even if your website is perfectly optimized, if it’s done for the wrong audience, you will not see good traffic. Google is taking audience intent into account more and more, as updates like RankBrain try to understand the semantics of a search query and not just the literal definition of the words. If you can comprehensively answer the questions your audience is asking, your site will rank highly in Google organically.
New websites have a hard time competing for top keywords, that’s why it’s best to start off by identifying long-tail keywords (a phrase containing three or more words) that your site can more easily rank for. The task of identifying what those long-tail keywords should be is tedious, there’s no way around it. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great place to start plugging in keywords that are relevant to your site to see what the competition for each of those keywords looks like. This will help you eliminate the ones you shouldn’t be optimizing for and select the ones that can work best to drive traffic to your site. The three key things to look for:
If your social media profiles contain a link to your website, then you’ve turned your engagement into another channel for website traffic. Just be sure to engage moderately and in a sincere way, and avoid including links to your website in your comments—lest you appear spammy and hurt your online and business reputation. Increased traffic should not be the goal of your engagement, but rather a secondary result.
Local results favor the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches. Make sure that you’ve entered all of your business information in Google My Business, so customers know more about what you do, where you are, and when they can visit you. Provide information like (but not limited to) your physical address, phone number, category, and attributes. Make sure to keep this information updated as your business changes. Learn how to edit your business information
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Participate in Forums – Getting involved in online forums, such as Reddit and Quora, can help increase the number of unstructured citations for your business. To maximize the potential of getting citations here, make sure your user bio includes your business website. Also, use the forums as a way to provide helpful information and not as self-promotion.
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Improve your website’s user experience. According to a study on ranking factors by SEMrush, the top four ranking factors are website visits, time on site, pages per session, and bounce rate. All four of those are directly related to the experience your website is providing your users. It’s pretty simple: If your website is easy and enjoyable to use and offers valuable information, you’ll get more visitors, who will stay longer on your site and visit more pages, and that will improve your search rank.
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.
“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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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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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.
Before you say it – no, true guest blogging isn’t dead, despite what you may have heard. Securing a guest post on a reputable site can increase blog traffic to your website and help build your brand into the bargain. Be warned, though – standards for guest blogging have changed radically during the past eighteen months, and spammy tactics could result in stiff penalties. Proceed with caution.
LinkedIn has become much more than a means of finding another job. The world’s largest professional social network is now a valuable publishing platform in its own right, which means you should be posting content to LinkedIn on a regular basis. Doing so can boost traffic to your site, as well as increase your profile within your industry – especially if you have a moderate to large following.
Guest blogging is a two-way street. In addition to posting content to other blogs, invite people in your niche to blog on your own site. They’re likely to share and link to their guest article, which could bring new readers to your site. Just be sure that you only post high-quality, original content without spammy links, because Google is cracking way down on low-quality guest blogging.