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Actionable SEO for Small Business

In my previous post, we looked at the basics of search engine optimization, or SEO for small business. In this post we will take a look at what kind of projects can build your small business’s web presence on an ongoing basis. To get started, make sure you nail the checklist outlined below:

Checklist for your website

Links and social shares of your content are crucial, but it’s also vital that Google knows what your website is about.  If you’re using a Content Managed System (CMS) like WordPress then some of the following points may not be 100% applicable:

*Make sure that all of your meta details – description, title and keywords are complete.  

*Alt tag for images – make sure these are filled in, that they are descriptive and contain keywords (like “tennis” for our buddy Dave and his tennis shop)

*No Orphaned pages – try and make sure that all pages on your site can be navigated to from the homepage. If your website gets really big, try using an online sitemap generator.

*Put Keywords in the Header/Title – Each page and article should have a header – with HTML this is dictated by the H1 ‘tags’ and will be the bigger, bolder text.  This is one of the main indicators that tells Google what your site is about, so please put keywords in your headers where possible.

*Keyword in URL – Have keywords in your web page addresses if possible.  For Example DaveTennis.com/Tennis-Balls is better than DaveTennis.com/1233499. Also, use Keywords in the body of your articles as well as the header of articles.

*Unique content – Ensure that all of your content is unique. Don’t steal text from other websites—Google will know! And don’t have the same article on your website in several pages. For those with a basic knowledge of code, “canonical” tags are also worth considering to avoid any duplicate content issues.

 

Blogger Outreach

Now we move on to the fun stuff– building content. Links are a vital part of ranking high in the SERPs. A great way to get links is to build relationships with bloggers in your niche. Follow them on Twitter (use Followerwonk to find them) and like them on Facebook. Interact with them. It might also be a good idea to have your own blog, and keep it updated regularly. WordPress or blogspot are free.

Another option is guest blogging. Keep in mind that SEO professionals have been known to harass bloggers. Accordingly, many bloggers will want money to write a blog post about your business. Google doesn’t like this, however— paying for links is not cool (unless they are “no-follow” links, but we want nice do-follow links). A good way to get around this is to offer something (your product or service) in exchange for a review and a link back to your site.

You can also do “guest blogging.” This is where you write an article or blog post for someone, and in exchange they link back to your site or blog.  To find guest posting opportunities, search for something like “inurl:guest-post+tennis” if your niche is in tennis (replace the word “tennis” with your own niche).

 

Infographics

This is a controversial subject at the moment. Some say that infographics have been overdone and Google will soon devalue any links that point to them. For the time being however, it’s still a mainstream SEO method. An infographic is a picture containing information, such as stats and data. It can be any kind of image, as long as people share it on social websites and link to it from blogs—as long as it doesn’t damage your brand. The dog paradox is a great example of a fun infographic (it’s more of a comic strip, but still worth mentioning), The Cost of Being Batman is also a great infographic that created a lot of social buzz and links from all types of websites.

Going back to last post’s example, Dave, with his online tennis shop, could create an infographic about the best players of all time and include some interesting stats about wins/losses, service points, etc. If Dave isn’t very good on Photoshop or Illustrator, he can always get someone on PeoplePerHour to make him an infographic.

 

Campaigning

SEO is slowly moving away from guest posting, as businesses try to create natural online buzz and links with great online content. Dave and his tennis shop might make videos about great tennis techniques and/or nutrition and place them on his site or blog. He may also make a great e-book about weight training for tennis and make it downloadable from his website, too. Dave will also have a “seeding list” of local media websites, and tennis bloggers. He’ll then contact everyone on this list to see if he can get a mention, and ideally a link.

Online marketing, doesn’t always have to be online either, Dave could offer a local journalist a free tennis lesson in return for a write up on his website. Google, apparently, prefers this form of SEO, as the sites with the best and most relevant content will tend to rank higher on the SERPs.  If this is true, then I agree with Google on this.

Can you guess what my keywords were in this post? Leave your guess in the comments below! Remember, SEO is fun– best of luck with SEO for your small business and drop by my blog if you want to learn more about SEO and MMA!

Interested in working in the SEO field? Meet Emma– she landed an SEO job using social media. For a small business success story, check out how SERPs.com got off the ground.

photo credit: paurian via photopin cc

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About Drew Griffiths

Drew Griffiths works in the SEO industry for a British financial website. He's also a martial arts enthusiast, with a degree in Sport Science and a Master's degree in Exercise & Nutrition Science. He has his own blog - BlackBeltWhiteHat.com