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SEO Help for Small Business Website

SEO Help for Small Business Website

If you run a small business, gaining exposure and driving traffic to your website is probably a key part of your marketing strategy.

If you’ve got a brilliant website, but you’re not getting as much interest as you’d like, stepping up your SEO campaign could prove to be a game-changer.

If you need SEO help for your small business website or you’re keen to learn how to improve your SEO, you’ve come to the right place.

Here, you’ll find 101 SEO optimisation tips and tricks.

101 SEO Tips for Small Business Website

1. Research your market – Identify your buyer personas: You need to know exactly who you’re targeting (demographic characteristics of consumers who will benefit from the products / services you offer) and which forms of social media and online sites they use. This will help you to ensure that your strategy is relevant and coherent.

2. Update your SEO campaign and marketing continuously: SEO trends change rapidly, so it’s important to always be one step ahead.

3. Hang in there for the long haul: You won’t achieve results overnight. An SEO campaign is like a marathon and not a quick fix to your business problems.

Every runner (SEO campaign) is different. No runner should undertake a marathon without establishing a proper base of training (SEO training in your case).

As a runner you would need a variety of training methods to make it to the finish line – for an SEO campaign to be as effective as possible, you should aim to build a well balanced back link portfolio that consists of a variety of different linking strategies.

As a runner you should schedule several months of solid training to give yourselves a good opportunity to succeed – likewise a small business website embarking on a serious SEO campaign should allow for several months of consistent link building before they begin to see synergy between their on-site and off-site activities.

Last but not least, almost everyone has heard of a marathon runner hitting “the wall” – nearly every SEO campaign will go through its version of the wall or a plateau too.

But don’t worry… your campaign will be able to break through the wall and continue on to greater successes, as long as you don’t get frustrated and quit.

4. Focus on quality, not quantity: It’s always best to adopt the mantra that “content is king” when you’re writing posts or articles. If you really want to get quality links and targeted traffic, you should be implementing Brian Dean’s Skyscraper Technique – find link-worthy content, make something even better and finally reach out to the right people.

5. Don’t bombard your audience: It can be easy to get carried away and send out as many posts as possible to try and improve your search ranking, but overdoing it may be counterproductive.

6. Relevancy: Always make sure your content is relevant to the audience you’re trying to attract. No matter how well-written and presented your content is, if it’s not of interest to your target audience it won’t bring visitors to your website, let alone convert visitors into leads.

7. Keep an eye on how you’re doing at all times: This is one of the best SEO tips you’ll get, as it will ensure that your campaign remains current and it will help you identify trends, find opportunities and spot any weaknesses that require immediate actions. Your best friends here should be Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

8. Think carefully about your keywords: If you can master the art of finding awesome keywords for your business, you’ll not only benefit from more search engine traffic, but you’ll also know your customers better than your competition. This comprehensive keyword research guide will show you exactly how to find words and phrases that your target market users search the web. The only thing you’ll have to do is tailor your on-page SEO around the right keywords and watch your site rocket to the top of Google, landing you more traffic, leads, sales in the process.

9. Update your keywords / copy: SEO evolves constantly, and people will start to change the keywords they use, so move with the times.

10. Brainstorm keyword ideas from other people: They (customers, suppliers, partners, friends etc.) see your business differently to you and may associate different words and phrases with it.

Brainstorm keyword ideas from other people

11. Make sure you understand the best ways to use keywords: If you use them over and over again in a small piece of text (keyword stuffing) you run the risk of Google devaluing your content.

According to Google: “Keyword stuffing refers to the practice of loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results. Often these keywords appear in a list or group, or out of context (not as natural prose). Filling pages with keywords or numbers results in a negative user experience, and can harm your site’s ranking. Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.

12. Target keywords with commercial intent: You want visitors who are ready to spend money rather than those who are just looking for information and are still high at the sales funnel.

Buy Now” keywords (buy, coupon, discount, deal, free shipping etc) are the best converting keywords.

Product” Keywords (review, best, top 10, specific brand (eg Nike), specific product (eg iPhone 7), product category (eg running shoes, cheap, affordable, comparison etc) are your second best choice.

Informational” keywords (how to, best way to, ways to, I need to etc) are the majority of the keywords online but they don’t convert quite well as they are used by visitors early in the buying cycle.

13. Include the main keywords in your title and meta description: Title tags and meta descriptions are important elements of your website’s content. The title tag and the meta description tags should include keywords relevant to the content of the web page they describe. This helps Search Engines understand what the page is about and index your web pages accordingly for relevant keywords or keyword phrases.

Google Snippet

14. Revamp your URL to make it more SEO-friendly: URLs are one of the most basic elements of SEO. Yet they’re vitally important. In fact, Backlinko reports that URLs are a significant ranking factor. In this post, Neil Patel explains the science behind creating URLs for maximum SEO as well as the logic behind each tactic.

15. Ensure your website looks the part and that it’s easy to use: If you need website tips for small businesses, it’s best to seek expert advice. Overhauling or updating your website can make a massive difference to your online profile and your sales figures. It’s not just about looking good, it’s about converting better.

16. Don’t fall into the trap of writing for Google or any other search engine: All the content you produce should be tailored to your target customer / audience. If you submit posts with very little content and a load of popular search terms, you’re likely to be found out.

17. Consider the length of your posts: It can be difficult to reach the top of the first pages with short articles. According to this data driven article by Neal Patel, 3000+ word blog posts get more traffic and can give you that edge over your competition who focuses strictly on short form content.

18. Always endeavour to gain the trust of Google: If Google and the rest of the search engines trust you and they respect the content you produce, you’ll climb the search rankings. There’s no shortcut to ranking on the first few pages of the search results. Search engines don’t trust your website at first. You have to earn their trust – and it’s a slow process.

19. If you don’t know, ask for help: If you need search engine optimisation help for your small business website, consider working with an SEO agency or hiring an SEO freelancer. This can be a complex area, and it pays to get it right.

20. Work on punchy titles that will draw readers in and encourage more people to click on the link: Writing good page titles is an essential skill for anyone doing SEO. The title tag is the first thing a user sees in the search results. It’s also one of the most important factors for Google to decide what the topic of a page is. The combination of these two factors makes it so essential. Want to learn more on how to be creative with your titles? Crafting Good Titles for SEO by Joost de Valk (AKA Yoast) is a must read.

The Importance of Headlines

21. Be original and creative: Every piece of content you create should be different and unique. Even if you cover the same subject areas, take a different standpoint or angle.

22. Outsourcing: If you’re not blessed with excellent writing skills, outsource this job to somebody who is. With 75 percent of companies currently increasing their content marketing budget, it’s apparent that content can no longer be treated as a part-time job. Outsourcing content creation to dedicated writers allows for consistent, high quality publishing, fresh perspectives, insight into best practices and better leveraging of resources.

23. Use heading tags to break up large passages of text: Heading tags are tags that are used for the creations of headings. The most important tag is the <h1> heading tag, and will usually be the title of a post. Heading tags have a top-down hierarchy from <h1> to <h6>. What value do headings have for SEO? The answer is here.

24. Pay attention to Google’s official webmaster guidelines: They contain helpful dos and don’ts, which should steer you in the right direction. Google strongly encourages you to pay very close attention to the Quality Guidelines, which outline some of the illicit practices that may lead to a site being removed entirely from the Google index or otherwise affected by an algorithmic or manual spam action.

25. Keep an eye on the competition: This will give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t work. There are three reasons why competitor analysis is critical:

  • You can find what they’re doing well
  • You can find strategic advantages
  • You can find link opportunities

In this comprehensive guide, Nathan Gotch shows you how to do a proper SEO competitor analysis.

26. Local SEO: Target local trade by including place names in your search terms and keywords. This is particularly important for small business website SEO. When it comes to local SEO, it’s more important than ever that you optimise your on-site and off-site SEO strategies for clients and customers who may be searching for your local business. Local competition is heating up, and if you’re not on top of your rankings, you can bet your competitors will be.

Here, you can find five solid local SEO tactics you can use this year to help your business rank higher for local search terms.

27. Local business directories: If you are a local business, register with trusted local directories. By submitting your company to business directories (especially the free directories) you cannot expect to be flooded with high quality traffic and transform your website into a high-converting lead generation machine. What you should be expecting though, is getting some extra local traffic boost and an improvement in your search engine placements.

28. Google Analytics: There aren’t many free, intuitive programs that give you the kind of super-valuable information that Google Analytics (GA) does. Use this guide to learn how to get actionable data from GA in 10 minutes.

29. Sharing is caring: Make it easy for people to share the content you produce. You can do this by adding share buttons on your website. My favourite tool, Sumo, arms you with a suite of tools to increase your traffic, build a following and track your success every step of the way.

Sharing is Caring

30. Set up a blog: If your website doesn’t have a blog, this is one of the best ways to improve your small business website optimisation. If you’re wondering “Why Your Small Business Must Start a Blog“, the answer is here.

31. Blogging consistently is important: Update your blog frequently in line with demand from readers. Don’t post too often or leave it for weeks or even months to create a new article. While the quality of your content matters, how frequently you post and update that content is vitally important, too. Balancing the relationship between quality and frequency is critical. Here’s why you should be making a concerted effort to keep up with a consistent publishing schedule to maintain fresh content.

32. Use outbound links: Have you ever thought about outbound link SEO? Have you considered why it’s important to have quality outbound links from your website or wondered how to produce them? This post will help you to understand the importance of outbound links for SEO.

33. Choose trusted sources to link to: With over 1 billion websites online as you read this, determining which information is reliable can be a daunting task. But failing to do so could leave you looking foolish or worse. Thankfully, there are some easy steps you can take to evaluate the credibility of a website.

34. Get to grips with social media: Google has repeatedly said that it’s not using the major social networks of Facebook and Twitter as a means to rank pages. However, conventional wisdom among many SEOs is that social is important as an indirect factor. Content that gets socially shared can, in turn, pick up links or gain engagement, which are direct ranking factors. As a result, paying attention to social media is important to SEO success.

35. Use analytics to determine the most effective social media strategies: Wondering which social media metrics you should focus on? Analysing the raw data on campaign performance helps you determine which tactics are working. In this article, you’ll discover the top 10 social media metrics you should be monitoring on Facebook and Twitter.

36. Bear your demographic in mind when choosing which social media platforms to use: Each business has their own unique audience identity, but that segmentation might not pan across each social media network successfully. Instead, it takes better brand alignment, thought-out social conversations and meaningful connections with your core group of brand loyalists.

But how do you reach this group without understanding the demographics of social media across networks? That’s why SproutSocial are here to help you dive right into the latest data.

37. Don’t rule out newcomers: Most companies know about Twitter and Facebook so zoning in on platforms like Snapchat may set you apart. “Each channel is used in different ways, and should be used in different ways. There’s no ‘one size fits all,‘” says Michelle Vroom

38. Link all your content to your social media pages: And no, you don’t have to log in to each and every individual network to compose new posts, check what’s happening in your streams, follow up on conversations and follower requests etc.

There are many social media management tools and strategies you can use for handling multiple social media accounts – whether you’re juggling your personal brand in multiple places or handling a mix of company and personal profiles.

39. Keep the same name, profile, pic, imagery, and look across your social profiles: Keeping a consistent profile helps others find you easily, and it helps cement a picture of you in the minds of others. The fewer variations you have (ideally you’ll create one consistent look), the easier it is to be memorable.

40. Register with Google My Business & Bing Places: Submit and optimise your business listing in both these business directories and encourage customers to leave positive reviews.

41. Mobile friendliness: To improve website SEO, your site should be mobile-friendly (check if yours is with this tool). Over the past few years, we have seen a significant switch from the use of desktop computers to mobile devices, which has influenced the way Google and other search engines index and rank sites.

The overall number of searches coming from a mobile device now outnumber searches on a desktop, with mobile devices currently accounting for over 60% of the traffic. The importance of having a mobile friendly website in 2017 is higher than ever before.

Mobile Friendliness

42. Create an awesome “Contact Us” page: Your “Contact Us” page is one of the top four most important pages on your website. For most companies, it’s typically one of the most-visited site pages. So, what do great “Contact Us” pages look like? Hubspot have got us covered!

43. Create an awesome “About Us” page: The “About Us” section is often the most overlooked aspect of a company’s website. Often all the focus is put on your services or products, as these are the pages which most often affect your search engine results. However, sometimes in the pursuit of SEO, we overlook the user’s experience. This commonly occurs on the “About Us” page because it is a more content heavy page of a website.

This page exists to answer questions visitors may have about who you are and if they want to do business with you. The overall purpose of a website is to provide enough useful information to convert a web visitor into a potential lead or customer, and the “About Us” section is often the best place to make this happen!

44. Link internal pages in your content: An internal link connects one page of a website to a different page on the same website. In an internal link, the source domain and target domain are the same. Strategic internal linking is an SEO power technique, especially for content marketing.

Internal linking has three main purposes:

  1. Aids in website navigation
  2. Defines the architecture and hierarchy of a website
  3. Distributes page authority and ranking power throughout the site

Here are the “The Seven Commandments of Internal Linking that Will Improve Content Marketing SEO” for further reading.

45. Make use of long-tail & exact match anchor texts: Read this article and you’ll be able to go to your website or blog and start creating effective internal links right away.

46. Backlinks (inbound links) affect rankings more than anything else: The number and quality of links pointing to your site will largely determine in what position your site ranks. Content and Rankbrain are the other two most important ranking factors according to Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google.

47. Always ensure any anchor text looks and is natural: There’s a lot of information out there about anchor text. But depending on which guide you read, you might think that you should:

1. Build lots of anchor text rich links to shoot your site to the top of Google!
2. Avoid building any anchor text links or you’ll be banned forever from search and put on an FBI, MI-5 etc watch list!

So which is true? David McSweeney has the answer.

48. Link acquisition is an ongoing investment: Link building is a long-term project that never ends, and it is a natural part of the ongoing marketing cycle. In order to remain relevant to both search engines and human beings alike, you need to regularly acquire fresh links for your website. Fresh links create exposure to new audiences and signal continuing engagement to search engines.

49. Get backlinks from relevant sources: Relevancy should be the first check in link quality. But what does relevant mean? Well, when it comes to links, links can be relevant in a variety of ways:

  • Domain to domain
  • Domain to page
  • Page to page
  • Link to page

This article describes in full details what link relevancy is and will help to determine the best link types to go after.

50. Get high quality backlinks from trusted sources: Links from trustworthy sites signal to search engines that your site is trustworthy too. Effective link building is now about trust and popularity. Only a high-quality backlink works in this model. According to Copyblogger, domain trust/authority represents 23.87% of Google’s ranking algorithm.

Components of Google's Ranking Algorithm

51. Be prepared to work really hard for high quality backlinks: As a rule of thumb, the easier you acquire a link, the less value it will likely have. You have to think outside of the box (link building is not just guest posting). Brian Dean comes to the rescue again with 17 Untapped Backlink Sources.

52: Be wary of paid links: Buying backlinks can and does work, however, there’s a substantial risk involved if you buy low quality ones and/or from people who openly sell them. If their website gets penalised, you’re in trouble too.

53. Avoid any grey / black hat link building tactics (link farms, PBNs etc): The benefit of getting links from networks is low, whereas the risk of being penalised and losing rankings is high. Marketing is all about ROI. If you believe you can get a return on investment using only PBN links, then DO IT. For most people, it’s best to take the safe route and use more evergreen tactics.

54. Diversify your linking profile: There are two overarching qualities to a good and diversified link profile:

  1. Lots of high value, high DA and high authority linkbacks
  2. No spammy backlinks

A good link profile is not just backlinks. Stated another way, backlinks are just one component of the link profile. There is a deeper complexity to the backlink discussion. Neil Patel in this article sheds some light on what a good link profile is and how you can get one.

55. Show some linking love to every page of your website that you want to rank: Your website is not just your homepage. And your homepage can rank only for specific keywords. You need more pages to rank in order to drive organic traffic to your product / service pages. Get people to link to the inner-pages of your site – treat all of them like your homepage.

56. Easy wins – existing relationships are an instant source of backlinks: Some of your suppliers, partners and customers / clients will link to your site if you ask them to do so. Don’t be afraid to ask – if you don’t ask, you won’t receive.

57. Study your competitors’ linking profile: Spy on your competition and get the good backlinks that they already have. If someone has already linked to one of your competitors’ site, chances are that they’ll link to you also if you give them a good reason to.

58. The majority of your backlinks should be branded: A linking profile without lots of branded links (like ‘George Papatheodorou’ and “georgepapatheodorou.com”) signals to search engines that you’ve been using manipulative link building tactics. In the context of a diversified anchor text profile, keep the exact match anchors as low as possible (no more than 5%) and focus on branded citations. The more, the merrier!

59. Get to know your neighbours: Just like you’d feel safer to know your “real” neighbourhood, the same applies to your… online neighbours. Use tools like the free Google Search Console or the paid Ahrefs and study who’s linking to you. If you spot people (links) you can’t trust, stay away from them (disavow them).

60. No time for loneliness: For your pages to become searchable and indexable by the crawlers / search engine bots, they need some linking love first (bots follow links to find new content). Search engines find it harder to find and include pages in their results that aren’t linked to either internally (from other pages of the same website) or externally (from other websites). Easy tip: when you add a new page / blog post, create a few internal links from older (and more authoritative) pages towards your newly created content.

No Time for Loneliness

61. Have direct links from your homepage to your most important pages: Your homepage is the most authoritative page of your website. Linking out to your most important pages / articles passes authority from the homepage to those pages improving their rankings.

62. Add contextual (in-content) links to other relevant pages on your website: Although not as valuable as inbound links, internal links do still pass authority and signal to search engines what pages to rank for which keywords. Tip: You don’t have to be that careful with the exact match anchor texts 😉

63. Remove unnecessary outbound links: Only link to pages on other websites that you think your visitors would find helpful, valuable and/or interesting. Most people simply ignore this part as not important – please don’t do the same. Remember the following two sayings: “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are” and “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

64. Link out only to relevant websites: When you link out to related domains, it not only helps the search engines to understand your niche, but also helps to increase the trust and quality of your site which plays a vital role in your blog’s SEO.

65. Leave comments on relevant websites and blogs: Doing so builds trust and relationships with people – both the site owners and visitors to those sites. An effective blog commenting strategy will make sure your backlink graph remains constant or go up with time. But please DON’T SPAM!

66. Connect with bloggers / influencers in your industry: The better people with relevant blogs know you (through social sites, forums, email, etc.) the more likely they’ll be to link to your site and to share your content. Influencer marketing is a great way to build a diversified traffic portfolio, because influencers have an effect on multiple traffic channels.

67. Get in touch with small businesses with relevant websites: A good relationship, in which you help promote each others’ websites, makes SEO simpler and cheaper for both of you. If you’re a local plumber you can reach out to an electrician, a loft conversion company or a heating engineer. If you are a hairdresser you can contact a nail or a beauty salon owner. You get the point…

68. Write press releases to share news, opinions, events, offers: This is a good way to get content on, and links from, sites outside of your industry and circle of connections. You don’t have to publish them on paid press release sites with national or global coverage. Think globally, act locally. There are many websites (eg local news portals) that would love to get your valuable piece of content published as long as it deserves to be.

69. Phone / text / message people to develop online relationships: Think of your own LinkedIn connections and Twitter followers for a moment. With how many of those connections have you had limited or no direct contact in the past year? We all know the answer to this rhetorical question. Build strong professional relationships instead and invest some serious time in nurturing them.

70. Use your website to build trust: The more relationships you have and the more people trust you, the more people will talk about you, link to you and, ultimately, buy from you. Customers don’t buy from people they like, they buy from those they trust!

Customers buy from people they trust

71. Add your contact details to every page of your website & social media profiles: Remember it’s all about trust, transparency and… local search visibility (see local SEO bullet earlier in this article).

72. Be personal in a way that big businesses can’t be: Putting your individuality and personality across throughout the off-site SEO process (outreach emails, guest posts, social shares, etc.) makes others more likely to engage with you. Craft your unique selling proposition (USP) based on your own personality and the way you can best solve your customers’ problems.

73. Exhibit altruistic behaviour: Use social media networks to promote other people’s content as well as your own. People generally know if you’ve taken action on social sites to help them, and if they see that you’ve helped them, the chances of them helping you out in return are much higher.

Extra tip: Use Sniply and add a custom call-to-action (CTA) button to every link you share. Anyone clicking on your links will see the content along with your call-to-action inside.

74. Google and the rest of the search engines rank webpages, not websites: Whether or not a specific page ranks for a particular keyword depends largely on the quality of that individual page (content, user experience, number and quality of the backlinks, page load speed etc), and not the quality of your website as a whole.

75. Be inspired by the David vs.Goliath battle: Small businesses can rank higher than big businesses. It’s not uncommon for a page on a small business website to rank higher than a page on the site of a big, national or international company. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m saying it’s possible, although Google gives big brands a preference resulting in a boost for certain short-tail searches.

76. Aim to be in the top 3 positions, not just in the first page: If your site isn’t ranked in the top 3 positions for a keyword then you’ll only get a small percentage (less than 10%) of the traffic from searches for that keyword.

77. Focus on conversions, not rankings: Rankings can be misleading. The number of 1st page rankings you have is irrelevant if those rankings don’t convert to visitor numbers and, ultimately, sales. To put things in perspective, I’d much rather have a website that gets 100 visitors per month and converts 15% of them into paying customers than a site that gets 100,000 uniques and only averages a 0.01% conversion rate. If I’m selling a product that retails for £200, that first scenario nets me £3,000 a month in sales. The second example gives me just £2,000/month for my efforts.

78. Domain authority (DA) is NOT the ultimate metric: Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs) based on its backlink profile. A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank. Authority scores are best viewed as comparative rather than absolute metrics.

Sites with a lower DA can, and often do, outrank sites with a higher DA, especially in a local level – eg local plumbing websites can and usually do outrank big plumbing companies that offer their services nationwide even though their DA is lower.

79. Choose between www and non-www: Ensure that your site is set to load at either www.domainname.co.uk or domainname.co.uk – not both. There is a technical difference between the two, but for most people it shouldn’t matter either way as far as you stick with your preference and redirect the non-preferred to your preferred one.

80. Install an SSL certificate (https://): In order to implement an advanced secure connection for users, in 2014 Google announced HTTPS as a ranking signal. According to this data driven article by Neil Patel, HTTPS have a minor effect on search rankings right now, but it might have a huge impact later. If your business has the budget for shifting to the protocol, then you should perform the migration ASAP.

Recent telemetry data from Google Chrome shows that over 70 percent of web traffic is now encrypted, both on computers and mobile devices.

SSL Adoption August 2017

81. AMP your website: AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, a Google-backed project designed as an open standard for any publisher to have pages load quickly on mobile devices. Apart from the improved user experience that AMP pages are offering, there are speculations that AMP will be a ranking factor too.

A recent study in one of my Greek sites revealed that 85.1% of the mobile traffic is coming from AMP pages. The sites that will benefit the most from AMP are publishing sites. Sites that produce content. So how you’ll apply this to your website is not by making your entire site into AMP. That might affect conversions negatively. Rather, you can transition your blog section or news and updates section into AMP.

82. Adopt a flat website architecture: Any page of your site should be accessible within 3 clicks from your homepage.

83. Optimise your website navigation: Little things make a big difference. Your website navigation is a great example. The structure and labels of your navigation can have a huge impact on results. Here’s why:

  • Navigation affects traffic: how high you’ll rank, how much traffic you’ll get from search
  • Navigation affects conversions: how easy the site is to use, what percentage of visitors convert into leads and customers

Want to dig deeper? Here is a checklist for website navigation best practices.

84. Take advantage of rich snippets: They provide additional data about your site to search engines and improve the appearance of your site’s listing in search results (thus the CTR – Click Through Rate). Basically, CTR is a calculation of the number of clicks on a snippet as a percentage of the number of times it shows up on search engine results (SERPs).

Does Organic CTR Impact SEO Rankings? It certainly does…

85. Don’t forget to 301 redirect your old URLs: If you change the URL of a page on your site, but don’t redirect the old URL to the new one, any links pointing to the old one will be wasted. That will affect both the user experience (people will be landed on a 404 error page) as well as the rankings of the new page, as the link juice / authority of the old page will be lost.

The same applies when you delete a page. You have to redirect the deleted URL, to the most related to the old page, content on your website.

86. Optimise your 404 error page: Mistakes do happen all the time, so if you forget to 301 redirect any changed / deleted URL you end up with a 404 error page. For that reason, set-up a useful 404 error page that visitors who see it are less likely to leave your site.

87: Optimise your images: Don’t make your visitors’ browsers struggle to load your un-optimised images. Your page loading speed will suffer and so will your visitors (let alone your rankings as page load speed is a ranking factor).

Apart from the page loading speed factor, your photo optimisation process should involve:

  • Image filename & size: Check that your images aren’t big in size (less than 100-150kb. Image load times are one of the top three reasons for slow page load times, impacting your rankings and search visibility. In order to further increase visibility on image search don’t forget to assign to each image a descriptive filename (before uploading to the website) using keywords, separated by hyphens .
  • ALT text: Check that every image has logical, descriptive ALT text on it. Use your main keywords like in the URL, meta title and H1 header tag.
  • Add Caption: Photos are tied to keywords that appear nearby.

88. Check browser and screen resolution compatibility: Your site needs to render correctly in every web browser (Chrome, IE, Safari, etc.) and screen resolution (1366×768, 1024×768, 800×600, etc.). Keep this tool handy for your testing.

89. Optimise your page loading speed: According to several studies (and based on your own experience) visitors leave sites in much higher numbers when pages take longer to load. With our shrinking attention spans, a second delay in your web page loading might be worth a thousand dollars of business loss.

Page Speed Insights, GT Metrix and Pingdom are all great tools that assess your website’s speed and offer recommendations for speeding up. Again, if you feel overwhelmed with all this technical stuff, just give me a shout.

Abandonment Rates

90: Use a reliable web hosting company: Please do NOT underestimate the importance of a solid web hosting solution. Choosing the best web hosting is crucial for your business. A few things that can go wrong when you don’t make a wise hosting choice are:

  • Loss of revenue – Directly if the server goes down or indirectly when it is slow performing
  • Negative effect on your SEO rankings
  • Security and malware attacks

If you are already experiencing problems with your existing hosting provider here are some tips that can help:

  • Understand the different hosting options available – Shared, VPS (Virtual Private Server), Dedicated and Managed Web hosting
  • Excellent customer support is a must – 24/7 support via email/phone/live chat
  • Choose a host with an excellent uptime track record
  • Cost should not be your only consideration
  • Ability to scale as you grow bigger
  • Good reputation is essential – Check testimonials and endorsements from current clients

91: One single domain is enough: Many businenesses create multiple websites and then link all these websites to the main one hoping that this will help their SEO. By doing this, you spread your resources (thus money) out into different websites that work more like a “barrier” for your link equity to reach your money website.

There are cases though (ie when you want to promote a specific event) where you can build a separate website (microsite) for branding reasons. But in most cases it’s better to focus on one website only and invest all your marketing budget there.

92: Domain name – make it brandable: Register a good domain name if you don’t have one already and extend it for many years in advance (this is considered by Google as an extra sign of credibility). Your domain name should be short, memorable and include your brand name and/or relevant keywords for your business.

Some good examples for a plumbing website could be:

  • johndoe.co.uk
  • johndoeplumbing.co.uk
  • johndoeplumber.co.uk
  • plumber-area.co.uk
  • area-plumber.co.uk

A not so good example would be:

  • john-doe-best-local-plumbing-company-london.co.uk

The very small (if any) SEO benefit you get from this keyword stuffed and hyphenated domain is nothing compared to the zero branding value.

93. Regularly backup your website: If you lose your site data then you lose your rankings too, as search engines quickly remove sites that won’t load from their results. If you have a WordPress website setup BackWPup plugin and you’re ready to go. I know many people who lost their websites because they neglected this simple task and believe me this is something you don’t want to experience.

94: Keep up-to-date with the latest SEO news and trends: Read sites such as Search Engine Land and follow marketers like Neil Patel, Brian Dean and Matthew Barby.

95. Check Your Website’s “robots.txt” File: The “robots.txt” file sits in the website’s root (ie https://georgepapatheodorou.com/robots.txt) and is a tool allowing you to restrict search engines from crawling specific pages or parts of the website. This file is also used to block all search engine crawling while the website is under development before being launched. One of the most common mistakes made is forgetting to make the website crawlable again after the site is launched. Learn more about the robots.txt file and how to use it effectively here.

96. Avoid anything… “annoying”: Time is money. That said, boring intros that cannot be skipped at all (or are difficult to find how to enter the main website), obtrusive ads, splash/intro pages, popups, flash animations, slideshows etc are just blocking the user from directly accessing your main content.

Apart from poor user experience you may end up with a Google penalty. According to Google’s official search blog:

We understand that placing ads above-the-fold is quite common for many websites; these ads often perform well and help publishers monetize online content. This algorithmic change does not affect sites who place ads above-the-fold to a normal degree, but affects sites that go much further to load the top of the page with ads to an excessive degree or that make it hard to find the actual original content on the page. This new algorithmic improvement tends to impact sites where there is only a small amount of visible content above-the-fold or relevant content is persistently pushed down by large blocks of ads.

 

On top of the above, a new search algorithm penalty was introduced in January 2017, that demotes mobile pages that have “intrusive” interstitials that get in the users way.

97. If you don’t know, ask someone or search online: If you have a question, ask it in an online SEO forum or contact an SEO agency or freelance consultant.

98. Engage with your SEO agency / consultant: If you’re going to hire someone, you’ll be taking less of a risk if you know a lot about them and their strategies. The more you know about SEO and the more the agency / consultant know about your business, the better the results will be.

99. Don’t put all your eggs in Google’s basket: Google dominates the market, but it’s worth considering Bing and Yahoo! when planning your campaign.

Leading search engines in the United Kingdom (UK) ranked by market share for April 2017

100. Be patient: Good things come to those who wait. SEO is a long-term strategy, a marathon and not a quick fix to a business that is failing.

101. Keep calm and get in touch with me 😉

SEO Help for Small Business Website – Conclusion

If you need actionable SEO tips for your small business website, hopefully, this list of 101 tips will help you improve website SEO and generate more interest in your business.

It’s always important to have a plan, but you must also be adaptable and recognise that times change and SEO trends evolve.

Keep an eye on what other firms are doing, and use analytic tools to monitor your progress.

Focus on producing content that is relevant and engaging and always remember that quality is more important than quantity.

SEO is not about stuffing a paragraph full of links and keywords. It’s an online art form, which could make all the difference to your business.

Use Google’s features and follow guidelines to avoid penalties and don’t hesitate to seek help from SEO agencies or freelancers with expertise in this area if small business SEO is not your forte.

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