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.
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.
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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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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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.

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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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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.
Top marketing strategist, digital marketer, and business coach. With a history of direct sales and marketing I’ve successfully sold just about anything including cemetery plots and vacuum cleaners door to door. For years I have been in the driver's seat building brick & mortar businesses and digital properties that have turned into early retirement packages for my clients by selling them at a high profit. I have streamlined and refined this proven path to success... more »

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Paid search results are those in the top and bottom of the results page, indicated by the small “ad” icon. These are placements that businesses pay for to show up when users search specific keywords. Google Ads can be a very effective way of utilizing ad spend for those who are new or struggling to compete against businesses that rank higher in organic search results. It’s also great for businesses targeting keywords with high revenue potential.
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.
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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Google’s local search results are displayed within Google Maps after a user searches for a keyword that includes a location, such as “pizza New York.” Landing within Google’s local search results requires that you have a Google My Business account. This is key for brick-and-mortar-based businesses because it puts your business in front of local people ready to buy.
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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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.

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Do you remember how you reacted the last time you tried to visit a site and it wouldn't load? Like most people, you probably exited the tab and moved on. If your site load times are slow, it won't rank high in search results. Not to mention, the customer experience won’t be positive if your site isn’t up an running in seconds, three seconds to be exact. For every second longer that goes by, your abandonment rate will skyrocket, leaving unhappy customers and potential sales on the table. 

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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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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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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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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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