Easy to Follow SEO Tips for Small Business Owners
When it comes to getting attention online, there’s no question that search engine optimization (SEO) still remains one of the most important factors. You can have a wonderfully made website that is professional, looks great, and does everything correctly but if no one can ever find your website online, then what good is it doing? The point of having a great website is not only to give you authority and help people who already know about you to find you, but to get new customers finding out about you, as well. In essence, connecting with the people who are already searching for you.
Unfortunately for a lot of small businesses, finding a high quality SEO professional that knows what they are doing and that they can afford is an extremely difficult process. Luckily, the good news is that there are many simple steps that a local business owner can take to improve (often drastically) their website’s local rankings. Follow these basic SEO tips and you should see some positive movement in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
Pay Attention to Meta Tags
One of the most important steps of optimizing a page for the search engines is to understand the different types of tags you need to pay attention to on your site. The first and most important tags are title tags. This is the tag that tells Google and the other search engines what your page is about, so it is absolutely necessary to include your main keywords in it. Also, make sure that no other pages on your site has a competing title tag. This will confuse Google and prevent any page from showing up in the search results, so keep them unique!
Next, are meta keywords and meta description tags. These don’t necessarily help SEO, but they will hurt you if they’re the same on every page or spammed with locations and too many keywords. So keep it natural and unique. Also, make sure to write your descriptions in a way that will entice searchers to click on your result and not others – for instance you can mention how you offer free consultations or discounts for new customers, etc.
When using header tags, I always like to include my main keyword again in the <h1> tag and then use different variations of the keyword in your <h2>-<h6> tags. Make sure that there is not more than 1 <h1> tag per page and that your other header tags appear in sequential order.
Finally, all photos should have proper alt tags. These need to be simple descriptions of what is actually in the picture and include a long-tail variation of your keyword. For instance, if your keyword is “dentist atlanta”, the alt tag can be something like “picture of a local Atlanta dentist”. For an added boost of local relevance, you can always geo tag your images with geographical coordinates. To find out how to do that, check out geotag.online.
Consider Using SEO Plugins For WordPress
If you’re using WordPress look for popular plug-ins like Yoast SEO or All In One SEO. This makes back-end SEO stuff like tags and descriptions really easy to do on the front end. At the bottom of each page just type in the basic info, hit save, and Yoast takes care of it. Joomla, Drupla, and other content management systems will have their own versions. This makes it easy to make sure everything on each page is set up correctly.
You should also use a structured data plugin that will help you with your schema markup tags. Schema markup basically helps Google understand your site’s information better, so make sure to enter as much information as possible. If you are a local business, it is very important to use a local schema markup code.
Claim Your Listings & Build Additional Citations
Not only do search engines look for your website, but every business has both map and business listings with each search engine that they need to claim. These are additional links, a chance to make sure you’re on localized maps when people search for services, and it also makes sure you control the contract information and have it correct and consistent throughout. This is crucial! Once the main listings are claimed, make sure to go and build additional local business citations. If you don’t know how, you can always use services like Whitespark or Brightlocal for this.
Embed Your Google My Business Local Map
If you are a local business, you should definitely have a properly optimized and verified Google My Business listing that is connected to a branded Google+ page. This listing will be what gets your business into the Google Map Pack. Once it is properly set up, you should embed your local Google+ map onto your site for added local relevance. Go to your Google+ business page, find the map, and click on it so it opens up, click “share”, then click “embed map”, then copy the code that it gives you and paste it into the footer of your site (the contact us page works too).
If you follow these basic local SEO tips you will most likely see an improvement in your local rankings. If you have done everything right and saw no improvement, then feel free to reach out to me for a quick consultation free of charge.
Daniel Moscovitch is an SEO Consultant and CEO of More Hot Leads, a Vancouver based SEO and Digital Marketing agency. He has been geeking out on SEO for 3 years now and has sinced helped dozens of small businesses become more visible online.