Small Business SEO Tips for a Successful 2019
- Wes McDowell
- September 14, 2018
Search engine optimization is one of the best ways to get found online because you’re basically putting yourself in front of your target customers at the exact moment there are searching for what you offer. Now, the thing is every business wants to be on the first page for their search terms, but what people don’t really realize is that only the first three spots really ever get any real attention. So the problem becomes how does a small business compete for those slots? And you know, SEO is technically free. You know, they call it organic SEO, it’s earned spots, but it takes a lot of time to get there or money that you pay to hire an SEO expert to help get you there.
Small Business SEO Tips
So in this video, I really want to help you see what the biggest difference makers are that you can do either on your own or with very minimal help from an SEO expert that won’t cost you a lot of money. Okay, so the first one is test for mobile friendliness. So I don’t know if you know a bit more than half of Internet searches right now, take place on mobile devices and Google has actually been penalizing any site that doesn’t really load optimally on mobile and they even penalize sites now on desktop searches, uh, if they’re not mobile friendly. So you, you want to make sure that you’re ready to go on mobile. Now you can easily test your site at search.google.com/test/mobile friendly. And don’t worry, I will leave this link and all other links that I talk about today in the description below. So you’re just going to go to that site, type in your domain name, and it’s a basically a simple pass fail test, you know, and if you fail it’s going to give you suggestions that you or your developer can use to make it more mobile friendly and that’s really valuable because it really takes out the guesswork and you and your developer knew exactly what it is you need to work on.
Alright, our next point is kind of closely related and that has to do with load speeds. So basically most people are going to leave any webpage if it doesn’t load within three seconds. So you definitely want to make sure that it loads within that time because Google knows exactly how long your page typically takes the load and it’s not even going to show your listing if it knows that you have a really slow sites. So I’ve got a tool for you here too. You’re just going to go to tools.pingdom.com. Again, I’ll leave the link in the description. So this is going to show you improvements you can make, but it does get very and you’re unlikely to understand most of the things that it’s going to tell you to do unless you’re a developer yourself. So in most cases you’re probably just going to want to show this list directly to your developer to have them make the changes.
I do this all the time with my site and with client sites and generally these are pretty easy things to knock out. One thing to keep in mind here, it does show you a letter grade, like an a through f, but basically the main thing you’re going to want to look at is just that load time speed. So if it’s under three seconds, you’re good to go. If it’s anywhere from three to five, that’s borderline. If it’s more than five seconds, you’re in trouble. So you’re definitely gonna. Want to get that fixed? Okay. Next up you’re going to want to get your website listed in all relevant local and business specific directories. So every local area, whatever city you live in, a is going to have specific business directories associated with it. Same for your business category. Lawyers have their own doctors have their own, so basically you’re gonna want to find all those opportunities for being listed in these directories and make sure you’re listed in all of them.
Now this helps for SEO because it helps Google see that you’re there and that you’re a real business. Another major benefit of these directories is if for each one you get listed in, almost all of them are going to provide you with a back link or a link to your site, and generally these are pretty reputable backlinks because they’re from reputable directory websites and links are still a huge ranking factor in the eyes of Google. So basically think of a link to your site as a vote, a vote for your website, so simply put it. Google basically tallies all the votes or the links taking into account the number of them and the overall quality of the websites that are linking to you and directories are a great source for small businesses to get links from their free and it’s usually just as easy as filling out the profile.
Getting listed in these directories will also actually help you rank higher in the map section, otherwise known as local SEO, so you can easily find these directory opportunities that’ll work best for your area. Just go to white spark.ca/best citations by city and for the ones for your particular industry or niche. Go to white spark.ca/best citations by category. So once you’ve gotten listed in all the proper directories, next you’re gonna. Want to make sure that you’ve claimed and optimized all your social and review profiles. So basically google loves brands and the more of these kinds of websites review sites, social sites that you’re listed on, the more google is going to start seeing you as a brand. So make sure you’ve claimed all of the proper social profiles like Facebook, youtube, linkedin, Google my business. Next, claim your listing on any relevant review sites like think yelp.
There’s probably at least one review site for your specific niche. So lawyers have Avo, and plastic surgeons have realself. So if there’s a specific review site for your industry, make sure you’re listed and make sure your profiles filled out as completely as possible. Complete with photos. Okay. Next up, research your competitors. So why reinvent the wheel when you can very easily basically spy on what your competition is already doing. So specifically I want you to check out what keywords that are currently ranking for and then what are they doing to get those high rankings. So basically you can see what links they’re getting from other sites as well as what content they have on their own pages so that you can basically then just take that information and basically one up with. They’re already doing to land on top of them. So how do you get this information?
Well there are lots of online tools that can really do this research for you. The only problem is they usually come with a pretty hefty monthly subscription price. So what I’m actually going to recommend you do is rather than doing this yourself, go to upwork.com and hire a freelancer who specializes in this kind of research. So basically they’ll just use it, their subscription and then charge you a lower flat rate to get that information. So I recommend you go to upwork.com and you’re listening to set up a free account. Then I’d recommend searching using the words keyword research. Then use the term a truths which is this subscription service they would use. Um, this is going to find you a bunch of people that you could hire to get this done for you, usually around $50, which is well worth the investment. Okay. So once you’re armed with that keyword research and you know what your competition is doing, I want you to go ahead and optimize your landing pages by overall topic.
So in the past, the way the SEO would go is you’d come up with a list of keyword phrases you want her to target and then you would basically build a separate landing page for each of those terms, even if they were super closely related, like you might have a page who was targeting the term catering Chicago and then another that was targeting catering company Chicago. So that is not necessary anymore. Google’s gotten very good at determining and overall topic of the page so that old way is considered very outdated, even kind of spammy practice, so rather than Google kind of counting up the number of times you use the specific term on a page, it now knows all the relevant words that it would expect to see on a page covering that topic. So for example, if you’re an accountant’s offering, a tax preparation and bookkeeping, you’d probably just want one page for each of those services.
So then rather than stuffing that page with the term tax preparation over and over and over again, you’d probably just want to use it a couple times, maybe once in a headline and then also supplement it with closely related words like tax health or certified public accountants or irs. So these are all words that Google would expect to see on a really high quality page. There was built around the topic of tax preparation and by using the words that they would expect to see on the high quality page, you’re basically signaling to Google that your content that goes deep and it does a really good and thorough job of covering the topic. And don’t worry, you don’t have to come up with those words yourself. You can go to the website, Lsi graph.com, and just type in your keyword phrase that you want to rank for and it’s going to give you a list of related words that you can probably use.
Okay. Next you’re going to want to optimize your search listing. So one of the major factors that Google now looks at is how likely is your listing to be clicked in the search. So there are a few things you can do to really make your listing more appealing and more much more clickworthy. And for every listing, there’s basically two different elements. Do you want to focus on? There’s the title and then there’s the Meta description. So let’s focus on the title first. Um, the first thing you want to accomplish in the title is you do want to use the keyword phrase that you want to rank for. This helps make sure that it looks as relevant as possible to the searchers, but you don’t want to stop there and you don’t want to waste your title by just using your city or your business name alone.
So you’re gonna want to use power are action words and you’re going to want to try to convey a benefit whenever possible. So let’s look at this listing for catalyst remodeling. Um, you know, as you can see, this is a bit of a wasted opportunity because they’re not using their listing to really get people interested enough to click. There are basically just using their business name and the city name, which is not super enticing, you know, but what if we were to change it to catalysts? Remodeling brings luxury within reach. See, right away we see a power word like luxury and it really conveys to benefits in one a luxurious remodel. And the within reach implies a low cost or easy experience. Now, what about the Meta description or the short blurb that appears under the title? This really should be a short supporting statement that gives searchers or reason to click through, and that means talking to your customer with a benefit they actually care about.
So here, while 50 years experience is technically a good thing, they’re prospects probably aren’t saying to themselves, I want a contractor with 50 years of experience. They’re probably saying they want a beautiful remodel from someone they can trust who isn’t going to overcharge them. So if we rewrote this too, when it comes to your home, you can trust catalysts remodeling to bring your vision of beauty to life on time, on budget, guaranteed. Now this is a much more compelling listing, much more likely to be clicked on because it conveys benefits to the customer and doesn’t just talk about arbitrary things like how long they’ve been in business and what city they’re in. All right, next up, you’re going to want to optimize your page for dwell time. So Google basically reward sites that keep people around longer, and that’s what they call dwell time. The amount of time people dwell on your site, so basically it works like this.
The longer someone stays, the more Google thinks, hey, this page is actually serving up something interesting to the searcher. That’s why they’re sticking around so long, and the longer you keep people around, the more Google over time is going to start rewarding you with higher and higher positions in the search results. So how do you keep people engaged and on your site longer? Um, the first thing I recommend is you really want to make sure that people coming to your site and know exactly what it is you offer within three seconds of landing there. This means don’t use any technical jargon and don’t try to be overly clever, okay? I can’t tell you enough like clarity beats clever every day of the week. So I want you to really ask yourself honestly, if you went to your landing page for the first time knowing nothing about what it is you offer going into it, would it be crystal clear right away?
If not, you’re probably going to want to rewrite your headline and sub headline to be as clear as possible if it helps. Think about how you would explain your business to a 10 year old. Okay? The next thing you want to do is make it very visually appealing and accessible. So what you don’t want or big walls of texts, no one likes reading too much on the web, people mostly scan, not read, so you want to make it accessible for those people. So how do you do this? You know you’re going to want to use lots of images and you’re to want to use proper web formatting, which involves breaking everything up, using headlines, short paragraphs, bullet lists whenever possible, and using bold and Italics within the text to really highlight important pieces of information. Okay? Next up you’re going to want to get some high quality backlinks and we talked a bit about backlinks earlier.
The thing about links is they are becoming less and less of a ranking factor over time, but there are still really important. So for now, there are definitely a necessary evil that you’re going to want to stay on top of. Now the number of links you’re going to need is going to really heavily depends on how competitive your industry is and your local area, if you’re more of a local business, so you may be able to get away with just a couple or you may need a lot. And the good news is you already have those directory listings if you are going in order here. So basically those are a great way to start, but you may need to supplement those with some more high quality backlinks as well. Now there are many ways of getting links. Um, I’ll talk about a diy version first, which is guest blogging.
So basically what that involves is you finding blogs that are related to your industry and then you have to manually reach out to the blog owners and say, hey, can I write you a high quality article? And then that will link back to my site. The only problem is this takes a lot of time and not everybody is a writer. And the other thing is there’s so many spammy requests like this out there, as someone who runs a blog myself, I get them all the time, so those spammy requests from other people is going to make it a lot harder for you and your request to get responded to. So for all those reasons, I’m actually going to recommend that you set aside a budget that you’re comfortable with every month and then hire an SEO expert to do this for you. I actually recommend a company called the Hoff that I’ve been using for a few years now.
Uh, they do really good work and they have plans starting at around 60 bucks. So go ahead and check them out. I have included a link in the description below now in addition to getting links to your site from other people’s sites, but I also want you to do is start linking internally within your site wherever it makes sense. So basically what I mean is you’re going to use your pages to link strategically to other pages within your own website. Kind of think of it like a spiderweb over time. So of course you’re going to have links in your main navigation, but I want you to take it one step further and actually add will be called in context links to the text on your website. And these links should have descriptive anchor text. Now, what anchor text is, is just the term for the actual words that are linked up.
So if you’re a catering company on your homepage, you may have a paragraph that uses the words wedding catering packages. So then you would just take that text and link it to your wedding catering packages page. Pretty simple, right? And that just signals to google the data is what that page is about, which helps it rank higher over time. And the more you can do this interlinking of pages throughout your site, the greater benefit, uh, you’re going to see from it. Okay? So now is the time where I want to hear from you. I want to know if you’re using any of these tactics, um, or if you’re using any other tactics to get found in SEO and in searches. If so, please leave them in the comments below. And as always, I’m just a common away, so if you have any questions or anything related to this video, just leave it below and I will get to all of them.
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