95+ SEO Tips For Small Businesses

Last updated: June 28, 2016

  1. Understand what the competition are doing, analyse the sites that are ranking on the front page for search terms you want your site to rank for, this is usually the work of SEO experts. Discover their on-site and off-site strategies then mimic and improve upon them.
  2. New content results in improved rankings, extra visitors & more sales, search engines will reward you if you build websites that have lots of good quality content and visitors will trust your site as it appears to be authority and informative on its topic.
  3. Understanding the concepts of SEO, if you are unsure of any of the meanings of terms used to describe the SEO process please refere to my SEO glossary.
  4. If you are a small business owner and you do not do SEO then your website will not get visitors from search engines, without search engines visiting they will not understand and categories your site for the relevant keywords you want to rank your business for.
  5. Use Google Analytics to monitor how your visitors find your site, how long they stay, if they bounce or not, what keywords they use to find you and your conversions.
  6. New websites can take time to gain authority and trust so it is not feasible to outrank older well-established sites, you need to be patient and build up your rankings over time.
  7. Algorithm updates change constantly, in order to get good rankings it is important to modify your SEO strategy to search engine changes.
  8. It is your responsibility to monitor the SEO work performed on your website, search engines that apply a penalty are not going to remove it because you were not aware of the details of the SEO work performed on your site.
  9. Google offers lots of advice, check out their Webmaster Guidelines and informative Help videos.
  10. Use the Meta description to provide informative eye catching descriptive click bate. Use all the 160 characters to outline the topic of the page using persuasive language that encourages people to click on your site link rather than the competing sites listed in the search results.
  11. Make sure you are recognised as the author of your content, by doing so and claiming and linking to your Google+ account, it improves not only your rankings but also your CTR.
  12. If you have the budget utilise pay per click in tandem with SEO. Using PPC can be expensive but it has the benefit of driving visitors to your site without having to wait for organic rankings for your keywords.
  13. You need to engage in on-site SEO and off-site SEO, both are needed if you want to get good results, on their own you will not be competitive
  14. Making your site stay on the first page and rank higher than the competition, gain more visitors and increase your sales, you will have to constantly work at improving it, a website build is never finished.
  15. Find a happy medium between creating content for marketing and content for your customers, writing content without thinking about marketing will result in people being unable to discover it, if they cannot find it they will not share it with others or link to it from social networks.
  16. Getting high quality links can be hard work, avoid low quality backlinks, I mean those made by automated software programs, that also produce low quality content, it would result in penalties from search engines.Create content for people who read it not for the search engines. It is something to keep in mind, as even if your content ranks well, if it is written for machines and does not entice your customers they will not spend money with you.
  17. Use the Google+ page for business to help contextually localise it, Google likes this and doing so will help improve rankings for your keywords.
  18. Use the very helpful Google Webmaster Tools to monitor sites linking to yours as well as the keywords your site is ranking for.
  19. Create content primarily for people, not search engines. There is no point creating content that ranks well if it does not help people, interest them, or persuade them to buy from you.Get rid of low quality pages, creating duplicate content will get you penalised, because lots of similar pages what are very similar will not be indexed.
  20. Create visuals such as infographics, chart or statistical graphs that are informative and useful, your users will be inclined to share these more so than written content.
  21. Get rid of pages with thin content or combine them to create more substantial pages, pages with little content result in low page view times and a high bounce rate, his will ultimately lead to search engines lowing your site’s keyword rankings.If you are going to copy content from other websites make sure you completely rewrite it and check with a service like Copyscape for similarity.
  22. SEO results take time, to get good results from SEO work that you perform today it may take weeks or even months before the credit from search engines is attributed to your site.
  23. SEO is not always expensive but can be time consuming to do it right. Getting results without a big budget is possible by creating good content, getting the small details right and building relationships online with other non-competing businesses.
  24. Produce videos, by watching a video on your site people will spend more time there and you can pick up links from video sharing websites publish them.
  25. Do not just rely on Google for traffic; diversify traffic sources so in case of any major upheavals in in the algorithm you will not be as exposed.
  26. It is not necessary to submit your website to search engines anymore, as you add a new website or webpage, they can easily be notified via webmaster tools.
  27. Begin your SEO as soon as you start, beginning now will help you get the edge on your competitors sooner, the longer you leave it the harder it will become to rank higher in the search results than they do.
  28. Understanding the variables that make a site rank highly is complex, hone your SEO strategy, be wary of sites that guarantee their work will get you #1 position.
  29. Utilise a blog platform, by linking to it from your website, you can quickly and easily add new pages of content to your site.Create content to syndicate to other people’s websites or blogs. Guest posting or writing content for other peoples sites will encourage them to link to you.
  30. Avoid getting hit with Google penalties, its important as they dominate the search market and if you get a penalty it inevitably results in a major loss of visitors to your site, it’s hard to reverse and can last a long time.
  31. Dont copy content, if search engines view your content on your site and believe to have been copied from somewhere else it can result in a loss of rankings for the page or even all of your domains webpages.
  32. Your content has to be good enough to appear on the first page, if you are producing thin content that is not competing with pages already listed on the first page for the keyword you are targeting then your site will not out rank existing pages.Ensure you are creating content that is engaging and interesting to your visitors. By improving, the quality people will stay on your site longer; this will result in search engines rewarding you with good rankings.
  33. It is important that you write a distinctive informative page title for every page; try to keep this to 55 characters or less so that it clearly defines the topic of the page to search engines and human visitors.
  34. Target keywords with commercial intent, some phrases are research or informational searches, attract the visitors who want to spend their money.
  35. Ask your employees, customers, friends and family to brainstorm with you to help better understand how others see your business you may find that they discover different keywords and phrases to describe your products or services.
  36. Use keywords towards the beginning of your content add them to the most important pages such as page titles, URLS, Meta descriptions, header tags and image alt attributes.
  37. Focus on relevant keywords, by discovering more targeted keywords, you will find it easier to rank quicker for them and the visitors you attract through them will be more likely to convert in to customers.
  38. Focus each page of your website on a specific keyword that you are targeting, by doing this it is easier for search engines to understand what your page is about, enables them to place pages in categories and rank your pages well.
  39. Perform in-depth analysis and research keywords prior to optimising content for them. Choosing the incorrect keywords for onsite content or offsite SEO will result in a poorly performing site that does not attract the right visitors that does not convert in to sales.
  40. Discovering the long-tail keywords will deliver an excellent source of traffic to your site. It makes sense to do so because it is cheaper to rank for longer more specific keyword phrases and these longer four word or more searches account for a significant portion (40%) of overall searches.
  41. Google's Keyword tool is a great way to conduct initial research in to a topic and provides a good list of keywords and phrases to target, get keyword ideas and expand upon them to discover long-tail search patterns.
  42. Try not to repeat the keyword to much "keyword stuffing" repeating a keyword phrase to often will result in you being penalised if you use it to often on a page.
  43. Avoid gaining links to rapidly; backlink velocity is important, a consistent steady pace of link growth is better than hitting backlink targets that trigger a penalty.
  44. Try to get backlinks from relevat sources, Links from relevant pages and sites provide search engines with a strong signal that your site is related and relevant when keywords in links from other sites correlate strongly with your sites theme.
  45. Link out to related websites or other people’s blogs, this can result in a reciprocal link from them to you, if your site is of good quality it will encourage them to link back.
  46. Brand links are generally safer and will help you avoid penalties from search engines for link spam. Branded, a backlink profile with your company name or naked URL "www.yourbusinessdomain.co.uk" are safe, too many exact match anchor text links will look unnatural and signal to search engines that you are trying to alter the search results by using manipulative link building tactics.
  47. Link networks are going to cause you more trouble, the links acquired will be low quality and there is a high risk of your site being penalised and result in losing rankings.
  48. Ahrefs, Majestic SEO and MOZ Open Site Explorer are excellent tools for discovering all your backlink data and can be used to reverse engineer competing sites link profiles.
  49. Get rid of outbound links that are not required, don’t pass link juice to external pages outside of your domain unless they are useful and will provide benefit to your sites users.
  50. Site structure is important, linked SILO architecture can help you website pages rank better, ensuring pages are linked to from other related pages internally can help focus the theme of groups of pages on the same site, make sure they are linked internally or from an external site.
  51. It usually requires a lot of work to get high quality backlinks; if a link is easily attainable then it is probably of low value.
  52. Research your competition and get good backlinks they already have. Use tools such as AHrefs, Majestic and MOZ to discover your competitions link profile and get the most powerful ones that will also be good for you to.
  53. Contact companies you already have a business relationship with, they are a great source of backlinks. Ask suppliers to link to your site for easy wins.
  54. Do not just build backlinks to your home page but to all the pages of your website you want to rank well. It is more difficult to get links to inner-pages of your site but it will enhance your rankings for specific keywords you are targeting.
  55. Mix up your anchor text aim for 20% of backlinks with target keywords in the link text; you must diversify your backlink profile to include generic text such as "click here or "more info".
  56. Discover who is linking to you by analysis of linking reports from Google Webmaster Tools or use 3rd party reports that help you understand how people are linking to your site, links and traffic are directly correlated so it’s wise to monitor them closely.
  57. Make sure you provide links to the most important pages of your site from your homepage. The home page usually has the most authority so it can pass that authority to other pages and improve their rankings.
  58. Link from within the paragraphs of text in the body of your content to other relevant pages on your website, this is helpful in passing authority and helps search engines understand what keywords to rank pages for.
  59. Try to get backlinks from trusted sources; links gained from sites with good trust signals let search engines know that your site is also trustworthy.
  60. Backlinks are very important for rankings and are the #1 significant factor that affects you rank and the position it appears in the search results, the number and quality of links that point to your site are very important.
  61. Offering money to people to link to your website, the practice is specifically against what Google recommends, buying backlinks may work, but it can get you in trouble, so avoid sites who offer to sell them to you.
  62. Remember that IP address diversity is important so get a wide range of links to diversify your backlinks.
  63. Employ social media platforms to promote your content and those who you interact with online. By promoting others content you will not only help them but also they will be more likely to be motivated in helping you out, so helping behaviour can be beneficial to both of you and creates a circle of trust.
  64. Reviews are a great way to get noticed online Google+ offers a chance to get your customers to leave reviews and important directories link YELP offer the opportunity for users to leave reviews that can have a positive impact on your sites rankings in Google Local search listing results.
  65. Do not spam but do leave comments on websites that are related to your business, by doing this you will create relationships with people who visit those sites and the owners of those sites building trust and possible sales.
  66. Make sure you address and phone number are clearly displayed on every page of your website, this is particularly important if you are trying to improve rankings, build trust and drive sales from keyword phrases that include your town or cities name in them.
  67. related directory listings can be useful and local directories can drive relevancy signals for locational searches.
  68. An advantage of running small businesses is that it can afford you a more personal relationship with people you interact with in your off-site SEO efforts. Emails, Tweets, posting on other peoples blogs can all lead to greater engagement with your brand, product or service.
  69. Find leading bloggers in your industry, by discovering relevant blogs you can build relationships with the users of those forums and social sites. If you do so, they may well link to your site and possibly share some of your authority content.
  70. Place social share buttons prominently on your website, by making it easy for others to share your content you will encourage them to do so.
  71. Reach out to other businesses by phone, making a personal relationship with other business owners can be beneficial and usually this will have a much higher success rate than an anonymous email.
  72. Make connections with industry related sites and extend your circle of influence, use press releases to share industry news and your opinions to gain links from other sites outside your industry.
  73. Build trust and relationships by presenting to the public a website that encourages engagement and building relationships with more people, trust will inevitably lead to more people talking about your business and encourage people to buy from you, helping you beat the competition.
  74. Reach out to small businesses in your locality with relevant but non-competing companies. By building healthy relationships with them you can cross promote each other’s products and services, this is a great way to do SEO as it works out cost-effective for all concerned.
  75. Do not just rely on social media, utilise it as part of an overall SEO strategy to run side by side with your other SEO efforts.
  76. Utilise a logical concise URL format, make the URL reflect the content of the pages theme.
  77. Make sure canonical URLS are used on your site, and ensure that search engines are qualifying and resolving your sites domain addresses to either www.yourcompany.co.uk or youcompany.co.uk to avoid duplicate content penalties.
  78. In your header tags (H1, H2, H3) make sure you include your target keyword phrases and variations of them.
  79. Minimise .css and .js files to improve your websites page loading speed. Google has a free speed check tool and Yahoo has Yslow plugin for your browser to check for issues related to image and file size slowing down the rendering of your pages.
  80. Your webpages are ranked by search engines not websites as a whole, it’s important to understand that a page will rank for a given keyword largely on the quality of that individual page and this independent of the quality of your site overall.
  81. #1 rankings do not always lead to sales; the #1-page rankings are useless if they are not converting your sites visitors in to sales or leads.
  82. Make sure there are no dead pages on your website that return 404 errors, if you change a pages URL 301 redirect via your .htaccess file to a relevant alternative page so as not to waste link juice from external sites pointing to the old page.
  83. Even small businesses that have small advertising and SEO budgets can rank higher than bigger businesses. A small business’s site can rank higher than a page from a corporate entity, if you do a better job of your onsite SEO.
  84. Make sure image alt attributes include relevant keyword phrases you are targeting or include semantically related phrases.
  85. Ensure your site renders in different browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari with different screen resolutions on different operating systems and devices. There are services that will provide you with cross platform screen shots to check your site.
  86. Follow leading industry figures to keep abreast of SEO news and developing trends within the industry, SEOmoz is a leading source of up to date data.
  87. Spend a little extra money and host your website with a reliable hosting company, a poorly performing host will scupper all your efforts and keyword ranking efforts.
  88. If your site is not ranked for the keyword you are targeting in the top 3 then you will only get a small amount (around 10%) of the search traffic from searches for that keyword, this is particularly important if you are focusing on long-tail search.
  89. Modify your 404-response page to provide some sort of clue to those who are viewing it as to what the problem is and an alternative action they can perform such as a link to your home page rather than just clicking back and leaving your site.
  90. Make sure your site is responsive and optimised for mobile phone browsers, so it provides a good user experience for those accessing your site via tablets or smartphones.
  91. Utilise good-relations rich snippets or other semantic mark-up language to provide an alternative way for search engines to understand your websites content and data, this will improve your sites position in the search results.
  92. Forget PR (PageRank) it’s no longer relevant, when trying to understand a sites high PR you may be misled, as often sites with lower PR will outrank them.
  93. Make sure you make backups of your website to be able to re-upload your site so you do not lose rankings, if search engines remove your site it will disappear from their results so having a backup will enable you to quickly restore your website.
  94. Use silo website architecture and flatten your site, this involved reducing the amount of clicks required to reach any page on your site to a maximum of three clicks.
  95. It is important to know where you are ranking for any given keyword, Use Google Webmaster Tools to analyse your traffic and search queries used to find your content, understanding where your site is ranking for keywords is essential.Trying to rank in the top 10 results is too broad; focus your efforts on a top three position.
  96. If you do hire an SEO consultant make sure you know what questions to ask them, understanding what strategies they will use to rank your website will help you know the mitigate risks involved.
  97. Use SEO forums to gain knowledge from other users and questions in online SEO forums, you can gain valuable knowledge and it works out a lot cheaper than hiring an SEO consultant.
  98. SEO consultant jobs for the leading members of the SEO community can command high prices, the top consultants who know their business will help you get results.
  99. Keep an eye on where your site is ranking. Use Google webmaster tools, to monitor "Search Queries" to see where your site is ranking for keywords.