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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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.
Google Analytics is free to use, and the insights gleaned from it can help you to drive further traffic to your website. Use tracked links for your marketing campaigns and regularly check your website analytics. This will enable you to identify which strategies and types of content work, which ones need improvement, and which ones you should not waste your time on.

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9. Sponsor photo contests. Ask your customers to send photos of themselves using your product or service in a creative way. Not only does this provide interesting content for your site but, people love to win things. The photos can be uploaded to your company’s Flickr and Pinterest accounts, providing more opportunities to engage with potential customers. Then use Google reverse image search to find other websites that use your images. Asking them to credit your site as the source, results in even more links back.

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Keywords are the words and phrases that customers type into Google when looking for information. Use the Google Keyword Planner Tool, available through your Google Ads account, to find the most popular keywords people use when searching for your type of business. Optimize your website for those keywords by adding them in blog posts and to web pages.
9. Sponsor photo contests. Ask your customers to send photos of themselves using your product or service in a creative way. Not only does this provide interesting content for your site but, people love to win things. The photos can be uploaded to your company’s Flickr and Pinterest accounts, providing more opportunities to engage with potential customers. Then use Google reverse image search to find other websites that use your images. Asking them to credit your site as the source, results in even more links back.
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.
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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7. Book speaking engagements. A short biography of the speaker is usually included on the event website. This is an excellent opportunity to include a link back to your business. If members of your staff spoke at events for a previous employer, ask them to update the biography to include a link to your company (the person’s currently employer) also. (See "Six Ways To Be An Amazing Public Speaker.") 

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9. Sponsor photo contests. Ask your customers to send photos of themselves using your product or service in a creative way. Not only does this provide interesting content for your site but, people love to win things. The photos can be uploaded to your company’s Flickr and Pinterest accounts, providing more opportunities to engage with potential customers. Then use Google reverse image search to find other websites that use your images. Asking them to credit your site as the source, results in even more links back.

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If you haven’t used software like BuzzSumo to check out what your competitors are up to, you’re at a huge disadvantage. These services aggregate the social performance of specific sites and content to provide you with an at-a-glance view of what topics are resonating with readers and, most importantly, making the rounds on social media. Find out what people are reading (and talking about), and emulate that kind of content to bring traffic to your website.

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 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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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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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.

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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.

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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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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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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.

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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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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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