Top 10 Small Business Search Engine Optimization Tips
Getting your website popular is more work than you realize. However, there are some basic tips that you can do to connect your website with people searching for your products and services locally. Local search is no where near as competitive as the general, global search market. With these fast, simple and FREE optimization tips below, you will be able to out rank your competitors with very little effort. Check back soon for advanced tips to really blow away your local market.
Submit to Google Local.
Google is the most widely used search engine in the U.S and around the world. Over 60% of all searches in the U.S. are performed by Google.
Google's Market Share (Nielsen NetRatings)
Creating a Google Local profile allows you to enter in-depth business information that will help people find your business in just a few days. Try an example search of Podiatrist in Atlanta, Ga and notice the map and local listings created through the Google Local program.
Google local business search results
Add your company name, address and phone number to every page.
More and more, the search engines are recognizing addresses from websites and add them to their systems. Using a standard format makes it even easier for them to pick out your contact information from the rest of your content. The accepted universal format is:
Your Business Name
123 Main Street
City, State Zip
Google enhanced address listing
Add an analytics program to your site.
Google Analytics is free. Analytic programs allow you to track the activity on your website. Knowing about the people who visit your website is vital when deciding how to further optimize your site. Google Analytics gives you an idea of where your visitors are from, how they are finding your site, and what they are doing on your site. Once this is installed, let it run for a few weeks to get a good feel for your web site's audience.
Examine all of your page titles.
Search engines use your page title in order to determine your websites relevance to the search terms that searchers are looking for. For example, titles like "Home Page" or "Welcome" do not describe anything useful to the search engines or potential customers looking for your page. Consider something along the lines of "Atlanta Area Podiatrist - Foot, Ankle and Toenail Care." Keep the title under 65 characters (spaces included) and use your most important keywords at the beginning of your title.
Submit to other FREE search directories.
Also search around the internet for directories related to your niche. For example, Podiatrists have a directory at podiatrist.com. Almost every market has a directory of websites pertaining to their market, a few searches and you should have no problem finding them.
Start off by asking yourself, "If I was looking for a business that does what I do, what would I search for?" Write down any search phrase that comes to mind. These should become your sites target keywords. The most important ones should be added to your title as mentioned above. Using these keywords through out your site is the most important part of on-site search engine optimization.
Optimize your page headings and body text to include these terms. Avoid "stuffing" your text with these keywords as the search engines are trained to recognize and penalize this practice. Your on-page text can be keyword rich and user friendly at the same time. Strive for a good balance.
The way that you link within your site is also analyzed by search engines. If you have Home, About, and Contact information on your home page see if you can reword these links. Instead of "Home Page" try "Atlanta Podiatrist Home" and "About Our Podiatrist Specialists." This is a bit trickier as space is usually limited however, this anchor text is highly regarded by the search engines.
Create Webmaster Tools Accounts.
Google, MSN and Yahoo! each have their own webmaster tools to help get your site discovered. Create an account with each of the three and you can see how each search engine sees your website, any errors that they encounter with your website and you can submit your website information to them.
Build a sitemap and submit.
A sitemap is quite simply a map of your website. For websites that have yet to be found by the search engines, a sitemap is the easiest way to let them know everything you have on your website. Sitemaps use a standard XML format and you can build one for free at XML-Sitemaps.com. After you have built your sitemap you can submit it to Google, Yahoo!, and MSN via the webmaster tools mentioned above.
Apart from your XML sitemap, it is a good idea (for both users and search engines) to have an HTML sitemap available from each of your pages. An HTML sitemap is a page that breaks down the rest of your website so a user (and search engine) can view the entire contents of your website from one place.
eBay's sitemap in action.
Validate your HTML.
Having the syntax of the code of your website validated ensures that your website is structurally correct. This is important because having broken code increases the chance of a search engine reading your site incorrectly. The validators also point out common mistakes that can benefit your on-page search engine optimization such as image alternate tags. Image alternate tags are another place to add keywords to your website. The W3C Markup Validation Service can be found here: (http://validator.w3.org/).
Add META Tags.
META Tags were once the single most important rating factor among search engines. Their importance has fallen significantly, but they should still be included on every page of your website. The META Description tag is still used by search engines as the text shown in the search results.
The META description in action on Google.
The META Keyword tag is for listing keyword relevant to that specific page. This tag holds almost no weight, if any, for search engines. Some experts believe that it does slightly help with ranking the relevance of your content but it is a widely debated topic. There is no harm in including this tag as long as it is relevant to your page.
These tips are designed to be a starting off point for search engine optimizing your business website. All the of the options discussed are available at no cost to you. Most of these tips require very little technical skills and can be implemented very quickly. Stay tuned for more technical and in depth tips soon.
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Derek is our resident IT department. He serves as a developer on the ABC family of websites and tackles the day to day technical issues around the office.
Tags: small business, seo, small business seo, search engine optimization, small business search engine optimization, google, yahoo, msn, siteexplorer, seo tips
Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 11:14 AM
Jake C. says:
SEO should be on every businesses mind when building and maintaining a website. Where as before, businesses were all about "Location! Location! Location!" the battle-cry is now "Optimize! Optimize! Optimize!"
Even if you're not the actual person building/updating your site, these things are important factors to mention to your web designer...not just "make it pretty."
Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 11:22 AM
I like it, Jake C. Optimize, Optimize, Optimize!
I agree with all of these points. They are all fairly basic, but as a small business owner with no time to do anything else but worry about my business, it is nice to have a quick list.
There is one major topic missing, and that is Link Building, Link Building, Link Building!
Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 6:47 PM
Kashif Ahmad says:
Excellent knowledge on SEO
Friday, August 15, 2008 at 1:31 AM
good tips usefull
Friday, August 15, 2008 at 6:35 AM
good source of information for anyone wanting to get the site exposed a lot more over all the search engines..
although i find that most sites that i have created or work on its SEO has been auto spider'd by the likes of Google etc.. so submitting your site to these site may help but just using the right server, with good SEO can make a bigger improvement..
Friday, August 15, 2008 at 7:45 AM
Derek M says:
You are correct in the auto-spidering, but the submission links outlined above are submitting to their local searches that allow you to enter advanced local business information. Think of it is a free yellow pages listing on Google. You can input your business hours, payments accepted and categorize your business to ensure a consumer searching for you get the optimal information for getting them into your store.
Friday, August 15, 2008 at 8:30 AM
I would also mention that even if you are already in directories such as Google maps you should still check them to make sure the information listed is correct and up to date. A wrong phone number or address could mean missed customers and that's something no small business wants to lose business.
Great read Mr. Derek.
Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 8:38 PM
when do u yahoo thcs
Thursday, September 04, 2008 at 4:17 PM
Thanks for the tips! Very useful.
Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 4:34 AM
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Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 4:01 PM
Improve Search Engine Rankings says:
great in improving our business sites!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 9:10 AM
hi. have problems with XML sitemaps?
Use for your website http://www.sitemapwriter.com/ XML sitemap. This powerful webtool generated the sitemap for your website in just seconds. Mayor search engines (Google, Yahoo, Ask, MSN, Moreover) were able to index and read your sitemaps without any problems. Not expensive and easy to use!
Thursday, January 01, 2009 at 6:03 PM
Great tips!!! Something all site owners need to do.
Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 3:25 AM
SEO Tips says:
Thanks for the informations about small business search engine optimizations tips.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 3:07 PM
ana marie says:
I do a potato festival In October for the 5th yr.
In Hudson Valley NY
would like everyone to come its free
venders are $20.00
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at 5:18 PM
As everyone knows by now, video is very exciting. I think in the next few years people will discover that video is appropriate for certain areas of the consumer market, right now it seems like everyone wants to use video for everything. I think the small business arena will benefit the most from video which is pretty much the thesis behind www.adwido.com
Saturday, August 01, 2009 at 3:24 AM
Good post, but have you thought about Top 10 Small Business Search Engine Optimization Tips before?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 12:50 AM
Business Directory says:
That's great, I never thought about Small Business like that before.
Sunday, November 08, 2009 at 2:08 PM
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pages of these sites description about the term SEO, its uses & its importance as
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Monday, November 09, 2009 at 1:06 AM
thanks for a great post. I will definitely apply them to my marketing stragety.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010 at 2:43 AM
flex developer says:
thanks for posting this your information might be very useful for the SEO peoples
Thursday, July 01, 2010 at 7:08 AM
SEO Company says:
I don't know about you, but I'm building websites for users in the first place. So my intention is to get to know how I can achieve more interests for my site. The first thing is to find my audience - the better my ranking is, the more visitors I will have. So I'm using keyword-tools to find good keywords and keyword-combinations to find the keywords I need to optimize for (because that's what the keywords' potential visitors will use):
Thursday, July 01, 2010 at 9:05 AM
Weight Loss Resources says:
These lists of websites are quite new for me – thanks!