How to Build an SEO Strategy for Small Business Websites

On October 18, 2011, wrote:

Small businesses have a daunting task as they compete with larger companies that boast more resources and staff. How can a small business compete for a share of the search engine market with so much stacked against them?

Here are some tips on creating an SEO strategy for your small business:

Learn from the Competition

Promodo’s SEO specialist Anna Moseva suggests starting your small business SEO strategy with a thorough analysis of the competition. You’re probably familiar with piecing together keywords on Google in order to figure out what people are searching for and what’s already out there by way of content, but Moseva advises that you take the top 20 results in Google and analyze their Alexa Rank with the SEO Quake plugin for Firefox.

Once you know the top sites among your competition, you can analyze the kind of traffic they generate and which keywords and adwords are linked to their sites at SEM Rush. This technique will help you focus on the keywords that are producing the best results, but also keep in mind that some relevant keywords that form the long tail of your topic can pay off in the long run as well.

Place Your Keywords in the Right Place

Title tags and page titles are critical components of on-page SEO. In fact, they’re so important that you should create a page for each keyword topic and create relevant content so that readers will want to link to them. There are few shortcuts to high-quality links from experts.

Optimize Your Strengths

A small business has one critical advantage over the larger competition: proximity to customers. If you’re in touch with customers day in, day out, you have a much better sense of their needs and what challenges they face each day. You can create personal content that is specifically targeted to the needs of your customers and provides a stronger narrative for your brand.

Dominate Local Search Results

You may not be at the top of the list for your general business category, but you can take some simple steps to improve your position in local search results. For starters, you can register your business with Google Places, Bing Local, and Yahoo Local. Other directories such as Localeze and Info USA will help put you on the search map.

As you interact with customers in your area, ask them for reviews on Google and other online sites related to your business. In addition, some commonsense additions to your website such as a local phone number and address will help your site stand out in local searches. Add pictures, especially location specific pictures, that you can tag with keywords and place throughout your site in order to connect better with local readers.

Create Lots of Content

A blog that is integrated into a website can provide tremendous SEO value. While an XML sitemap and meta tags are recognized as standard SEO practices, a small business will need to go the extra mile of creating relevant, interesting content in order to attract search engines and readers who will create the backlinks that will send them up the SEO ranks. Using WordPress as a CMS will make it easier to optimize each post with the All in One SEO plugin.

Build Internal Links

While you need to attract links from high authority websites in order to raise your SEO rank, internal links will also help search engines crawl through your content. The more content and value you present to readers on your website, the more likely search engines will recognize this and reward you with a higher ranking.

Work on your footer navigation, internal links at the end of each page, and lists of popular posts or related pages. These links are not only a boost to your SEO. You’ll also help readers find information on your website.

Convert Videos Into Text

If you are hard-pressed for relevant content for your small business website, Search Engine Land writer Matt McGee suggests taking videos of your business, your neighborhood, or even your production facility if you produce a product. Provide a detailed description of your video that enables you to include keywords.

Track and Evaluate SEO Effectiveness

Take time periodically to review your page views, search ranking, and conversions that result from you SEO efforts. Are there keywords you haven’t covered? Do you need to produce more content in order to drive traffic to your site? Are there key bloggers that you need to court for links?

SEO is a moving target. You’ll need to set your own goals, measure your performance, and then adapt your plans in order to increase your effectiveness.

This post was written by Lior Levin who works for a company that specializes in coffee neon signs and also is a marketing advisor to a Targeted Cancer Therapies startup from Boston.


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One response to “How to Build an SEO Strategy for Small Business Websites”

  1. Sammy J says:

    Great suggestions you got there! A small business owner has a lot of pressure to deal with since its competitors are large companies. As a professional online entrepreneur, I think it would be beneficial for small businesses to hire SEO specialists to help them with marketing functions.

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