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.
Each image and video that you have on your site can have descriptive words added to its imprint. These are known as alternative text descriptions. These descriptions allow for search engines to locate your page using the keywords found in your image and video descriptions, as well as the usual text throughout the site. Therefore increasing the opportunities your site is found, which consequently raises its page ranking.

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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.

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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.
Spread content, get links, and get noticed. I highly recommend doing this the “white hat” way. White hat is a SEO term that means you are linking your content for customers, and not just for Google to see. Back in the day, people would post links like crazy everywhere. There would be websites just full of links called link farms. Google created updates to combat this type of black hat scamming. So, don’t risk your site’s SEO, and go the trusted route of getting links from reputable sites.
As with most things in life, aim for quality over quantity. A single link from a well-known authoritative site goes much further in increasing your SEO rankings than getting hundreds of links from smaller unknown websites. There are many ways you can go about building links, including pitching to editors of major magazines or news sites or partnering with popular bloggers.
Local results appear for people who search for businesses and places near their location. They're shown in a number of places across Maps and Search. For example, you’ll probably see local results if you search for “Italian restaurant” from your mobile device. Google will try to show you the kind of nearby restaurant that you’d like to visit. In the image below, Google uses local results to suggest some options.
Another way to increase traffic to your website is to get listed in free online directories and review sites. For most of these sites, your profile will have a link to your website, so actively updating these listings and getting positive reviews is likely to result in more website traffic. In addition, many directories like Yelp have strong domain authority on Google. There’s a chance that your business’s free Yelp page could rank high for relevant searches.
Backlinks are incoming hyperlinks from one web page to another website and they pass equity to your site, think of it as a vote of recommendation. Backlinks are the most important factor determining your site’s search ranking. Start your link-building strategy as early as possible because it can take months for google to update your ranking and for you to reap the benefits of your link-building efforts.
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!
Search engine optimization (SEO) tools enable you to take the guesswork out of search engine optimization by giving you insights about your keywords, analyzing your website, helping you grow your domain authority through directories, and more. Optimizing a website to rank on Google can be tricky if you’re not a search engine optimization or web development pro. However, there are tools available to help make it a lot easier for small businesses.

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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.
The way your business NAP (name, address and phone number) is listed in these directories, on your websites contact page and within the Google My Business listing must be consistent and up to date. Here’s how to ensure your business NAP is consistent across the web. Google website crawlers will get confused should you have a different NAP listed on various business directories.
Ranking highly on Google is achieved by strategically using keywords and design elements on your website that are favored by Google. Learning how to rank on Google will help give you the ability to capture the top organic and local results. Every business should be consistent in their efforts to increase and/or hold their top position on Google, as online searches are a primary way for customers to find companies and products.
In order to optimize your site, you need to make sure you are including the keywords that you want to rank for multiple times throughout your site. Also, ensure your site has complete and up-to-date contact information, that you’re using appropriate meta tags, and that you include pertinent business information as text—not text on images that Google can’t search.

You may find that your business doesn’t appear for relevant searches in your area. To maximize how often your customers see your business in local search results, complete the following tasks in Google My Business. Providing and updating business information in Google My Business can help your business’s local ranking on Google and enhance your presence in Search and Maps.

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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.
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.

While short-tail keywords are often searched more frequently, it is more difficult to rank for them on search engines. Targeting long-tail keywords, on the other hand, gives you a better chance of ranking higher (even on the first page) for queries specific to your products and services—and higher ranking means more traffic. Plus, as search engines and voice-to-text capabilities advance, people are using more specific phrases to search online. There are many free tools available to help you find keywords to target, such as Answer the Public.
A URL is up there in the first things that a search engine uses in order to determine a page rank, hence why it’s vital to make them easy for spiders to search. This can be done by keeping the URLs short (which also enhances the user experience), keeping them relevant to the page’s topic and keywords, and by ensuring the URLs help categorise the site pages.
Free products and services are great for getting free traffic to your site and one of the best varieties in this aspect is viral content. Viral content is called so because it distributes like a virus – i.e. when users like your content, they send it to their friends, post it on various sites, and promote it for free in many different ways. Viral content distributes on its own and your only task is to create it and submit it to a couple of popular sites. After that users pick it and distribute it for you. Viral content can be a hot video or a presentation but it can also be a good old article or an image.

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