DIY SEO for small business owners – Targeting Your Ideal Customer’s Searches
The secret to success for small businesses online is simple…wait for it…drum roll…
Show up in Google when they search for things you sell.
It really is that simple. The hard part is getting into that search. Throwing up a website and waiting for the phones to ring just doesn’t happen.
Regardless of how nice you website is. Regardless of how valuable the content is and how desirable the product/service is. And, regardless of how much Google says it values quality websites. Here is a fact of generating business from the Internet:
You will not get any visitors without helping Google find and value your website.
That’s where SEO (Search Engine Optimization) comes in. What’s even better were going to give you a Do-It-Yourself guide to SEO.
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1. Use WordPress.
Create your website on the WordPress platform. It does 90% of what you need for small business SEO out of the box. And the other 10% is easier with WordPress, like: XML Sitemaps, proper Title tags, meta-data, HTML structure, etc.
2. Site Architecture/Design
How you organize web pages on the website!
How web pages link to each other!
How your site is coded!
These are very important points that will have an influence on search engine rankings. Using keywords in navigation can give website a rankings boost. Navigation should be coded in a way that search engine spiders can read it as text.
3. Research And Pick Your Keywords
Use Google’s Keyword Research Tool to identify and select keywords that your target customers are using to search for products and services related to your business. Focus on the keywords that are relevant, but have less competition.
Choosing the right keyword will help you rank your website ranking in search results. The high competition keywords will not be easy to rank a new business, because search results are always the highest priority. Analyze alternate keywords, review competitor’s websites, and start writing.
Use MajecticSEO or ahrefs to explore and analyze the Backlinks of a competitor’s website.
Here are The Best SEO Tips and Resources you can use.
4. Writing Content And On-Page Optimization
After deciding the keywords we will be targeting on which web page, Write a title tag, Meta description tag, write eye catchy headlines and subheadings, and create the main text for the web page.
Use good (keyword) titles, URLs, anchor text, and HTML structure (H1, H2, H3).
If you listened to my advice on number 2 then you have this pretty well covered. If not, here is the short version:
Use keywords in your title, but make them human-readable and interesting
URLs should be simple and human-readable too, with keywords
Use headings and subheadings to make your content more readable to your customers and Google. Do them in order—H1 for the Website title, H2 for the article title, H3 for sub-headings
Here is Complete On-Page Optimization Check-list
Google loves good content. If you are routinely adding fresh and relevant content to your website, content focused on your customer’s questions, then Google will reward you with a higher search position.
5. Use Google Analytics
Go right now and sign-up and install Google Analytics on your website. If you can’t track who is visiting and where they came from all the rest is useless. Remember the old saying: “You can only improve what you measure.”
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6. Publish A Sitemap.
This is not as important as it once was, but I still think the easier you make it for Google to read your website the better. So, create, publish, and register with Google and Bing an XML sitemap.
If you use WordPress there is a handy plug-in called XML Sitemap.
7. Start Promoting By Telling Your Friends And Neighbours.
One of the best ways to improve your search engine rankings is to simply get the word out. Telling friends, neighbors, and business partners is a great way to get new traffic and spread the word that you are online. However, the big SEO impact happens when these folks start linking and referring to you.
That is as simple as them linking to your website as a business partner, sharing your website via Facebook, or sharing an article via one of the hundreds of social networks out there.
Don’t forget to ask them to do some of these things when you first introduce the website. Even better, including how to do that in an email you send to them announcing your website launch.
8. Use Social Media To Boost Business.
Once you get your social media marketing strategy right in place then you need to think how to convert that into sales.
9. Get Listed In Local Directories And Online Forums.
Every town, big or little has a multitude of local directories and forums that lists and discusses local businesses. Get listed. Often you can sign-up yourself. If not email the Webmaster and ask him to add your website (and a link to it).
10. Link Building
The quality (important) and quantity of backlinks will determine your website’s search results. On-page optimization alone cannot provide result in high-ranking sites unless your website has sufficient backlinks to beat the competitors.
11. Claim Your Business On Google Places.
Claim or add your business in Google’s local business directory—Google Places. Local search is becoming a very powerful marketing tool for small businesses. You will very likely rank immediately on Google Maps and in relevant searches via the Places search inset.
Try it out. Search for your product or service in your town or city. Something like: Pizza in Flat Rock, MI.
12. Track How You’re Doing.
In addition to Google Analytics, you should do simple Google searches of your keywords and track (in a spreadsheet) who shows up. Hopefully, one of them will be you in the near future. Compare these results from week to week and see if you’re moving up (or down).