11 small business SEO tips

If you're a small business owner, then you know how difficult it is to get into the top Google rankings for your targeted keywords. It may be that you want to hire a SEO expert or internet marketing agency to take care of SEO for you. But if you don't, here are 11 things to keep in mind as your optimize your website.

1. Write for readers. While it’s important to optimize your site so that spiders pay attention, remember that it’s human who are going to buy your product or service. Make sure you content is relevant, interesting, helpful, and unique. Bots are not buying your stuff, humans are. Of course you need to include keywords in your text, but never so many that they render your copy unreadable.

2. Include a unique meta description and title on each page. The title of your page is the key on-site SEO factor. Your description tag won’t influence your rank, but it will most likely be what potential customers see when they conduct a search, so include your keywords and a compelling copy that will inspire them to click on the link to your site.

3. Make your content unique. This is key for everyone, but it’s especially important for online retailers, particularly if you’re selling a product similar to what everyone else is selling. Rather than using the description provided by the manufacturer, write your own description. If you’ve done your keyword research, then you’ll know exactly which keywords to target in your copy. And no matter what you’re selling, you’re more likely to get powerful inbound links if your copy is good.

4. Be smart about links. When you submit your site to directories, only submit to trusted ones like Yahoo and Aviva. Find authorities in your market niche and ask them to link to you. Find out which sites are linking to your competitors and find out if those sites will link to you as well.

5. Keywords as anchor text. Never use “click here” for internal links. It’s a waste of a good way to increase rank.

6. Blog. Blog about what you’re doing and read other blogs in your market niche. This increases your exposure, and commenting on other blogs can help you get new links. By blogging and commenting on other blogs you’ll be creating new content and creating relationships with others in your niche.

7. Be smart about press releases. Rub elbows with the media in your area who cover your industry. See if local media sites will link to you. Distribute press releases online, but only when you have real news to share. Writing a press release for every breath you take will only annoy journalists, and you need them on your side.

8. Be smart about social media. Two words: NEVER SPAM. The purpose of using social media is to establish yourself as a friendly, helpful, knowledgeable authority in your field. If Flickr is relevant to your product or service then post photos there. Yahoo Answers is a great place to let people know that you know what you’re talking about.

9. Use search engine tools. Webmaster Central on Google and Site Explorer on Yahoo will tell you how search engines view your site.

10. Be smart about local search. Attract local traffic by making sure that your address and phone numbers are displayed prominently on your website. List your site in local directories like Yelp, CitySearch, and Local.com. Ask customers to post reviews on these sites as well.

11. Find new ways to get traffic. These include newsletters, blogging, social media sites, and anything that can keep you afloat if your Google ranking goes south.

Small business SEO is challenging, but it can also be very rewarding. If you’re unsure of your next steps, consider talking to an SEO expert or internet marketing professional. Then prepare to see great results.

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