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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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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Once you punch in a headline, the tool assigns it a “Headline Score”. It also gives your headline a grade based on the overall structure, grammar and readability. The report dissects your headline into “common words”, “uncommon words”, “emotional words” and “power words”. It tells you your headline “type” (this post is a “list type”) and does a length analysis. Lastly, you get some cool tips to improve your headline, all for free and in under a few minutes.

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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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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.

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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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“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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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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It’s free to be active in online groups and on websites that are relevant to your business and community—and it helps you to obtain more traffic. Comment on blogs and social media posts, answer questions people are posting, and participate in conversations about your industry. The more you engage with your community, the more exposure and profile visits you get.

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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.

angle right


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.

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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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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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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Content drives most traffic when you offer something useful. There are many types of useful content you can create and they largely depend on the niche of your site. You can have articles with tons of advice, or short tips but one of the most powerful ways to get traffic is to create a free product or service. When this product or service gets popular and people start visiting your site, chances are that they will visit the other sections of the site as well.

3. Offer discounts. Everyone loves a good deal and clubs and organizations love to promote such benefits to their members. Offering an exclusive discount to a club or organization is a highly effective way of receiving a link. I have used this technique to offer university students discounts which then allowed us to receive excellent links from these authoritative websites.

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