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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Next, log into Google AdWords and click “Tools” > “Keyword Planner.” Once you’re on the Keyword Planner menu, click “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.” Complete the form that appears; to start with, search for your type of business and location. For example, if you own a hair salon in Chicago, you would want to enter “hair salon Chicago.”
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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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.
An easy way to keep your website current and relevant is by maintaining an active blog. This allows you to create posts that use your keywords while also telling Google your website is up-to-date without actually having to update your web pages. Consider writing on topics that answer frequently asked questions or sharing your expertise in your industry.

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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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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.

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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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The strength of your link profile isn’t solely determined by how many sites link back to you – it can also be affected by your internal linking structure. When creating and publishing content, be sure to keep an eye out for opportunities for internal links. This not only helps with SEO, but also results in a better, more useful experience for the user – the cornerstone of increasing traffic to your website.

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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.
So many businesses are focused on attracting new customers through content marketing that they forget about more traditional methods. Email marketing can be a powerful tool, and even a moderately successful email blast can result in a significant uptick in traffic. Just be careful not to bombard people with relentless emails about every single update in your business. Also, don’t overlook the power of word-of-mouth marketing, especially from people who are already enjoying your products or services. A friendly email reminder about a new service or product can help you boost your traffic, too.
Having an industry influencer publish a blog post on your site or turning an interview with them into a blog post can help to drive traffic both through organic search but also via that influencer promoting the content to their audience (see the backlinks section above). This can also help to add more variety to your content and show your visitors that you are active in your field.

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6. Locate references without links. Look for web pages that mention your business or website. Without a link back to your site, Google will not count the citation as a vote. You can use Google Alerts to create an automated notification, so that anytime a website mentions your business, you will receive an e-mail. You can then get in touch and ask them to provide a link back to your website.
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.
Simply look around at other sites—your clients, your partners, your providers, associations you’re a part of, local directories, or even some local communities or influencers. These are all websites that can have a huge impact on your SEO as well as help you get traffic and raise awareness for your business. You are probably already doing business with most of them, so simply ask for a mention, a case study, a testimonial, or other types of backlinks.
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.

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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.
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.
Unstructured citations include things like a mention of your business in an online newspaper article, press release, online job board, and other sites. Unstructured citations and links are important because they let Google know that people are talking about your business. To get the most unstructured citations, work on getting positive reviews, host events, send out press releases to the media, and engage with customers online.

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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.

Having an industry influencer publish a blog post on your site or turning an interview with them into a blog post can help to drive traffic both through organic search but also via that influencer promoting the content to their audience (see the backlinks section above). This can also help to add more variety to your content and show your visitors that you are active in your field.


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.

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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