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Essential SEO Strategies for Small Businesses

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Google updates its search engine algorithms on average 9 times per day.

That’s a lot!

What works for you today, may no longer be useful tomorrow, which makes opting for an internet marketing service worthwhile.

What’s more, most of these updates are unannounced. So, to stay on top of your game, you’ll always need to keep track of your SEO performance.

But if you’re running a small business, chances are that you’ve already got your hands full and SEO might not be worth the effort. PPC ads may seem more appealing instead, right?

But here’s the thing: only 49% of businesses invest in SEO. So, if you were to do the same, you’ll likely leave a major part of your competition in the dust.

If that’s not convincing enough, 70% of the links search users click on are organic listings rather than PPC advertisements.

That said, SEO is important for small businesses, and it doesn’t even have to be that complicated. That’s why today, we are going to have a look at a few effective SEO strategies you can implement.

  1. Focus on Long-Tail Keywords 

Long-tail keywords can make a huge difference.

These are longer, more specific keyword phrases that people typically use when they have a high purchase intent. They’re also used in voice searches.

For starters, the competition for these types of keywords is not as fierce, meaning that you’ll have a better chance at ranking for them.

Let’s say that you’re selling handmade handbags. Targeting generic keywords like “handmade handbags” may not be that effective. After all, everybody in the world that sells this type of product will try to rank for this.

So why not be more specific? Focus on “affordable handmade handbags online” or “where to buy handmade handbags,” for example.

Sure, besides narrowing down your competition, you’ll also appeal to a more limited audience.

But here’s the thing: people who type long-tail keywords are more likely to buy your products because they already intend on purchasing what they’re looking for.

In fact, the top 10% of landing pages convert at 11.45%. Long-tail keywords have a conversion rate of 36%.

In other words, by using long-tail keywords, you will drive more qualified traffic to your website.

However, for this strategy to work, you’ll have to do extensive keyword research. Consider working with the best SEO companies you can find.

  1. Don’t Ignore Broken Links 

Nobody likes stumbling across an error page. That causes both visitors and search engine crawlers to leave your website.

Having a broken link here and there is not that big of a deal, though. But, too many of them can severely drag down your website.

Luckily, finding these broken links isn’t that hard to do. If you’re running a small website, checking each link manually using the Check My Links extension for Google Chrome will do the job.

However, if your website’s of a larger size, investing in tools like Ahrefs might be worthwhile. This automatically checks your website for broken links. So finding them is a piece of cake.

But that’s only half of the work done. Next, you’ll have to fix these broken links. Here, you’ve got two options: delete the links altogether or replace them with valid ones.

If you’re lucky, the links might just simply be misspelled. So, it’s just a matter of correcting them.

But in other cases, you might have to recreate the pages or use 301 redirects to drive users and bots to pages with relevant content.

  1. Optimize Meta Titles and Descriptions 

These are what users see on the search engine results page (SERP).

The meta title is the clickable headline that gets users on your website, whereas the meta description is the snippet of text beneath the title that describes what your page is all about.

When optimizing the meta title, first mind its length. Keeping it under 60 characters is recommended. Otherwise, the title might not be displayed in full on the SERP, potentially leaving out important words.

Secondly, when inserting keywords, try to place them as close to the beginning of the title as possible. This can help in grabbing the users’ attention, as studies show that they typically scan the first two words of the title.

Or, if you’re targeting a certain long-tail keyword, you should use it as the title instead.

In terms of the meta description, again, watch out for their length. Ideally, they should be made up of around 165 characters. Use brief sentences to engage search engine users.

Also, avoid stuffing keywords here. Try to insert them naturally instead.

In other words, your meta titles and descriptions need to be brief, attention-grabbing and compel users to enter your website.

  1. Get Local Citations

These are online mentions of your business, usually showing your business name, phone number, address, and even ratings or reviews. These appear in local business directories, apps, websites, or social platforms, like Yelp.

So, what does this have to do with SEO?

The number of citations you have, their accuracy, and the quality of the platforms you’re featured on can affect your rankings. That’s because Google gathers data about your business from these citations.

So, if the data is accurate and consistent across the board, Google will consider the information as trustworthy, thus potentially ranking you higher in the SERPs.

What’s more, people can find out about you in these citations as well, resulting in an increase in website traffic and even phone calls or physical visits.

  1. Create Quality Content 

And most importantly, your website’s content plays a crucial role in SEO.

Here’s the thing: Most of Google’s ranking factors revolve around user experience. So, if you’re using content as more of an excuse to stuff keywords in it, you’re bound to take a hit.

That said, when creating content for your website, always put the visitors first. Provide them with relevant information that they could use further down the road, like tips or how-to guides regarding the use of your products.

That will allow you to build a valuable relationship with your visitors, likely turning them into customers.

Furthermore, include keywords appropriately. This not only has to do with the user experience, but search engines will also be able to tell whenever you’re making excessive use of keywords, ultimately lowering your ranking.

You’ll also need to test new types of content and see how they perform. Maybe, your visitors will enjoy watching videos more than reading blog posts, or a certain topic may be more popular than the other.

Keep in mind that if users like your website, then the search engine bots will like it too.

Final Words 

All in all, SEO is not rocket science. With quality content, proper use of keywords paying a bit of attention to your broken links, meta titles, meta descriptions, and local citations, your website can rise in the ranks in no time.

Author bio:- Tomas is a digital marketing specialist and a freelance blogger. His work is focusing on new web tech trends and digital voice distribution across different channels.

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