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No matter if you have a beautifully rendered website, or a stunning portfolio you won’t get very far if you’re lacking sufficient SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). The thing is, Google, Yahoo, and Bing are extremely objective when it comes down to things like sitemaps, alt tags, and keywords – just to name a few. Understanding the terminology isn’t really that important, but understanding how to improve your SEO is.
It’s not enough to produce great content and hope that people find it – you have to be proactive. One of the best ways to increase traffic to your website is to use social media channels to promote your content. Twitter is ideal for short, snappy (and tempting) links, whereas Google+ promotion can help your site show up in personalized search results and seems especially effective in B2B niches. If you’re a B2C product company, you might find great traction with image-heavy social sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Here's more advice on making the most of social media marketing. 

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This one is so obvious, we’re going to look at it first. Paid search, social media advertising and display advertising (try our Smart Ads Creator!) are all excellent ways of attracting visitors, building your brand and getting your site in front of people. Adjust your paid strategies to suit your goals – do you just want more traffic, or are you looking to increase conversions, too? Each paid channel has its pros and cons, so think carefully about your objectives before you reach for your credit card.

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Optimize for local search. More and more people are using their smartphones to search for businesses “near me.” To improve your chances of having your business show up in relevant local searches, make sure you claim your Google My Business listing, provide relevant content in Google Posts, get your business listed in local directories, and improve your online reputation with great online reviews.
Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. These factors are combined to help find the best match for your search. For example, Google algorithms might decide that a business that's farther away from your location is more likely to have what you're looking for than a business that's closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results. 

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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:
Write great content optimized for SEO. Having high-quality content on your website is one of the best ways to increase traffic and improve your search rank. In fact, in a recent poll of marketing professionals, 57% said on-page content development was the most effective SEO tactic. Make sure your content is mistake-free, keyword-rich, mobile-optimized, written to address the specific needs of your target audience, and includes valuable links to additional internal and external content. 

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It’s not enough to produce great content and hope that people find it – you have to be proactive. One of the best ways to increase traffic to your website is to use social media channels to promote your content. Twitter is ideal for short, snappy (and tempting) links, whereas Google+ promotion can help your site show up in personalized search results and seems especially effective in B2B niches. If you’re a B2C product company, you might find great traction with image-heavy social sites like Pinterest and Instagram. Here's more advice on making the most of social media marketing.

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Once you claim your Google My Business listing and verify it, you’ll need to take plenty of pictures of your office (both internally and externally), as well as plenty of photos of your staff. Get in the habit of snapping photos of your business in action, before-and-afters (if applicable), and post all of these assets to your Google My Business profile. A verified and optimized Google My Business profile stands out in search results, especially among customers in the local area. The more information and visuals you provide, the more likely they are to call or contact you online.
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.

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Write great content optimized for SEO. Having high-quality content on your website is one of the best ways to increase traffic and improve your search rank. In fact, in a recent poll of marketing professionals, 57% said on-page content development was the most effective SEO tactic. Make sure your content is mistake-free, keyword-rich, mobile-optimized, written to address the specific needs of your target audience, and includes valuable links to additional internal and external content.

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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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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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Thank you very much…this was good info and I actually caught one or two little things about SEO that I didn’t know from before. But to be honest with you, it is really hard and time consuming to do all of the above (especially that I am legally blind) so I am just curious….if you have any experience ppc….but what is the best and cheapest ppc out there for advertisers (besides the big ones like adwards and bing ads)?
Add relevant links back to your site. Throughout your answer, sprinkle a few relevant links back to your website. The more relevant they are to the question, the more clicks and traffic they will generate. You can also finish your answers with a link to your lead magnet, concluding with something like this: “Want to know more about how to start a business? Check out my free checklist with 10 steps for starting your first business!” and a link to the lead magnet (in this example, the checklist).
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.
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!
Thank you very much…this was good info and I actually caught one or two little things about SEO that I didn’t know from before. But to be honest with you, it is really hard and time consuming to do all of the above (especially that I am legally blind) so I am just curious….if you have any experience ppc….but what is the best and cheapest ppc out there for advertisers (besides the big ones like adwards and bing ads)?

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.
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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He started by finding an offer that resonated with and is relevant to his audience. In his case, his blog was dedicated to teaching people how to use a software called “Sublime Text.” He simply offered a license to the software for the giveaway. By doing this, not only did he increase the chances of success of his giveaway since his incentive was relevant, but he also ensured the quality of subscribers since they were actually people interested in his content. It’s easy to give people an iPad or an iPhone, but how relevant will they be to you at the end of the day?

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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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Offline promotion is frequently forgotten but it is also a way to get traffic for free. Yes, computers are everywhere and many people spend more time online than offline but still life hasn’t moved completely on the Web. Offline promotion is also very powerful and if you know how to use it, this can also bring you many visitors. Some of the traditional offline ways to promote your site include printing its URL on your company’s business cards and souvenirs or sticking it on your company vehicles. You can also start selling T-shirts and other merchandise with your logo and this way make your brand more popular. 

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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.”

He started by finding an offer that resonated with and is relevant to his audience. In his case, his blog was dedicated to teaching people how to use a software called “Sublime Text.” He simply offered a license to the software for the giveaway. By doing this, not only did he increase the chances of success of his giveaway since his incentive was relevant, but he also ensured the quality of subscribers since they were actually people interested in his content. It’s easy to give people an iPad or an iPhone, but how relevant will they be to you at the end of the day?
When Larry wrote about the kick in the proverbial teeth that eBay took from Google’s Panda update, we managed to secure a link from Ars Technica in the Editor’s Pick section alongside links to The New York Times and National Geographic. Not too shabby – and neither was the resulting spike in referral traffic. Learn what types of links send lots of referral traffic, and how to get them, in this post.

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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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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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The placement of keywords throughout your site is perhaps one of the most important SEO tactics. It’s useful to take into account how someone would search for information on the specific service or product you are offering, as the keywords they use are likely to be the keywords you want to be using. BUT make sure you don’t add ridiculous amounts of keywords, especially if they are unrelated as this can lead to your site being flagged as spam. Search engine spiders are programmed to ignore ‘keyword-stuffing’.

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