For those who are not familiar with it, SEO can appear to be a very foreign and complex world. However, it doesn't need to be that complex.
In fact, there is a lot that individuals and small businesses can do without being extremely knowledgeable about SEO, and without spending a lot of money as well.
I have put together some useful tips to help small businesses with their search engine optimization efforts.
1. Set up your Google My Business account
Get your account set up and upload your business details. It is completely free and will allow your business to appear within the local search results for those queries that are specific for your local area where your business operates.
Even large volume, broad queries are showing local results now, which small business owners can definitely take advantage of. Click here to get started.
2. Build a mobile-friendly, fast website
You can easily develop mobile sites now by using simple plugins with your WordPress or other CMS, which means that you can quickly and inexpensively make your content all be mobile-friendly.
If you optimize your site for fast loading speeds (through using available plugins) it can help you stand out from your competitors due to your superior performance.
3. Identify the gaps that exist within the marketplace by conducting extensive keyword research
If you target the same keywords as your larger competitors you won't get too far since they are more established than you are and also have more online coverage.
Use keyword research tools like Google's Keyword Planner in order to find gaps in the marketplace so that you can capitalize on them - they might also convert at a higher rate.
4. Look at the way that results are being displayed for your niche on the search engines.
Small businesses too often do not have any idea of what or who they are competing with in the search results.
For example, if you'd like to focus on keywords where there are many large international companies that rank on the first page, then you need to realize that you might need to temper your expectations.
Another example is if a lot of videos or images are shown in search engine results for keywords that you would like to be visible for, then you should think about creating that kind of content instead of just focusing on text only.
Search engines also frequently display local business results. So if this is the case, you need to adjust your efforts to focus on obtaining visibility within these kinds of search results.
5. Get your physical address claimed on Google Maps
If you own a local business with offline customers and a physical location, be sure to get your physical address claimed on Google Maps.
6. Be genuine in everything you do
You might think it's a good idea to hire someone inexpensively to build links or manage your Twitter account, but the idea could definitely backfire on you.
If your marketing budget is low, do everything on your own since no one knows your customers and business better than you do. Connect personally with people, and don't rely on others spamming on your behalf. That never results in positive outcomes.
7. Don't over rely on Google
Search traffic is definitely valuable and it is definitely worth it to work on improving your rankings, but just don't have all your eggs in just one basket.
At any time, Google may change how it displays results or ranks websites, in ways that can have a negative impact on your search traffic.
Use social media and build email lists and other activities in order to attract customers from various sources.
8. Get a blog launched and create content
To get ranked for your target terms get content create. Have content on your homepages, product pages and all around your website, but a blog can be helpful as well.
You should just have a blog for SEO purposes, since they also provide you with an opportunity to discuss your services and product and related issues.
So you need to create the type of content that consumers who are interested in your service or products appreciate, to help you start building an audience.
9. Use a very clear URL structure
Just by looking at your URLs, visitors should be able to know what the topic of your page is.
10. Encourage reviews
Not only will reviews drive conversations, but they will also help to increase your local SEO visibility. A study by Marketing Land concluded that about 90% of customers make their buying decisions based on online reviews.
11. Every page should have a unique title
You have about 55 characters on Google to make your page's topic clear to the search engines and searchers.
12. Use some PPC
PPC can quickly deliver some traffic if you have the budget for it.
It can also provide you with information that you can use in your SEO efforts. For example, it can help you with improving your landing pages and you can find out which of your keywords convert the best.
13. Get Google Analytics Set Up
It is free and critical for help you to better understand your traffic sources, customer behavior and much more.
14. Create your own copy for product pages
If you sell products that other websites have as well, having unique product descriptions will help your website stand out from the competition.
They are better for conversions as well, since manufacturer descriptions are usually not tested for effectiveness, but you can try out different variations to find out which ones work the best on your website.
15. Don't expect to get quick results
You will get results from using these tips, but don't expect to great success overnight. Good SEO does take time, so just stick with your process and be patient.