if you want to know how SEO can help your small business succeed online I’ve got the tips and we’re starting right now if you want to transform your website into a customer or lead generation machine I’ll show you all my best tips tactics and secrets to get there fast let’s dive in.
SEO or 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 they’re 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 so in this article 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 .
so the first one is test for mobile friendliness so I don’t know if you know but 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 if they’re not mobile-friendly so you definitely want to make sure that you’re ready to go on mobile now you can easily test your site at search google.comy . 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 your 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 know exactly what it is you need to work on all right our next point is kind of closely related and that has to do with load speed 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 to load and it’s not even gonna show your listing if it knows that you have a really slow site so I’ve got a tool for you here too you’re just gonna go to tools dot Pingdom com so this is gonna show you improvements you can make but it does get very technical and you’re unlikely to understand most of the things that it’s gonna 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 gonna 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 going to 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 it’s gonna have specific business directories associated with it same for your business category lawyers have their own doctors have their own so basically you’re going to 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 that for each one you get listed in almost all of them are going to provide you with a backlink or a link to your site and generally these are pretty reputable backlinks because they’re from reputable directory websites and link 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 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 they’re 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 sparks CA slash best citations by city and for the ones for your particular industry or niche go to white sparks CA slash 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 yellow there’s probably at least one review site for your specific niche so lawyers have AVO plastic surgeons have real self 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 .
Next up research your competitors so why reinvent the wheel when you can very easily basically spy on where 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 in and basically one up what 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 but I’m actually gonna 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 their subscription and then charge you a lower flat rate to get that information so I recommend you go to Oprah calm you listening to set up a free account then I’d recommend searching using the words keyword research then use the term a href which is the subscription service they would use this is gonna find you a bunch of people that you could hire to get this done for you usually around fifty dollars 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 this SEO would go is you’d come up with a list of keyword phrases you wanted a 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 it 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 an overall topic of a page so that old way is considered very outdated even kind of a spammy practice so rather than Google kind of counting up the number of times you use this 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 offering tax preparation and bookkeeping you probably thought 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 help or certified public accountant or IRS so these are all words that Google would expect to see on a really high-quality page that 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 signalling to Google that your content it 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 calm 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 click worthy and for every listing there’s basically two different elements you want to focus on there’s the title and then there’s the Meta Description so let’s focus on the title first the first thing you want accomplished 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 or action words and you’re gonna want to try to convey a benefit whenever possible so let’s look at this listing for catalyst remodeling 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 they’re 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 catalyst remodeling brings luxury Within Reach see right away we see a power word like luxury and it really conveys two 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 give searchers or reason to click-through and that means talking to your customer with a benefit they actually care about so here while fifty years experience is technically a good thing their 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 gonna overcharge them so if we rewrote this – when it comes to your home you can trust catalyst 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 alright next up you’re gonna want to optimize your page for dwell time so Google basically rewards 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 the first thing I recommend is you really want to make sure that people coming to your site know exactly what it is you offer within 3 seconds of landing there this means don’t use any technical jargon and don’t try to be overly clever ok 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 gonna 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 .
The next thing you want to do is make it very visually appealing and accessible so what you don’t want are big walls of text 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 gonna want to use lots of images and you’re gonna 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 ok 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 they’re still really important so for now they’re definitely a necessary evil that you’re gonna want to stay on top of now the number of links you’re gonna need is going to really heavily depend 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 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 gonna make it a lot harder for you and your request to get responded to so for all those reasons I’m actually gonna 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 Hoth that I’ve been using for a few years now 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 from other people’s sites what 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 gonna use your pages to link strategically to other pages within your own website kind of think of it like a spider web over time so of course you’re gonna have links in your main navigation but I want you to take it one step further and actually add what we call 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 that that 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 you’re gonna see from it .
Now is the time where I want to hear from you I want to know if you’re using any of these tactics 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 comment away so if you have any questions or anything related to this article just leave it below and I will get to all of them and if you’re not subscribed yet just go ahead and click the circle icon right over here to subscribe to the channel and if you haven’t accessed my free mini-course how to guarantee your website ROI you’re just gonna click the little box right up in this direction for that alright guys I’m Wes McDowell web strategist at the deep end and I’ll see you next time