8 SEO tips for small local business websites to keep going strong.

For many small business owners, promoting products and services online can seem like a daunting and difficult task. Advertising online is becoming increasingly competitive and preparing your website for search is now as much about marketing as it is about optimization. Here is a compiled a list of tips that will enable you to effectively prepare your website for the world of search.

1) Be realistic with the keywords you target

If your company has only just launched a website then it is likely to carry little authority with the search engines and you will find it difficult to compete against older and more established companies in your arena. With well executed keyword research you will be able to establish and identify which keywords are easier to rank for, but at the same time will still drive relevant traffic to your site.

2) Make sure that the search engines and your visitors know what to do

Ensure that your website is built and designed in line with current web standards, submit a sitemap and make sure that you optimise your pages for the products and services that you wish rank for. Once this has been achieved and more importantly, makes sure that any one visiting your website knows what it is you do, and what you want them to do – whether it be call your number or fill in a contact form – the last thing you want is people arriving at your site but then quickly leaving unhappy because they couldn’t find what they were looking for. Examining your search traffic and bounce rates in your analytics are a good place to discover any potential problems with the user experience.

3) Build useful and good quality content

I appreciate that this is often easier said than done, but there are things you can do to make this easier. Think about any resources and information you may have which aren’t currently displayed on your site but could provide an excellent source of information for your visitors. Try to get into the mindset of your customers regarding the questions they might need answering – providing content which answer questions is both helpful from a customer service and search engine perspective. Think about the best way to demonstrate the answers, whether it be an entirely new page on the website, a blog post with high quality images or maybe even a demonstration video.

4) Start a blog and share your news

A blog is an essential tool in today’s online environment and will often be the linchpin of your online marketing strategy. It not only allows you to keep your community up to date and build brand awareness, but it also allows you to create content on a consistent basis and give you the ability to build links internally and attract links from external sources.

5) Build some good links to your website

Ensuring that your website has good amount of high quality inbound links will help your website to rank in the search engines. Link building is a time consuming and often tricky process but there are basic strategies that everyone can build links with regardless of the industry you are in. Creating a blog, interlinking your site’s web pages and submitting your site to relevant and authoritative business directories are just the tip of the iceberg.

6) Get found locally

Since Google’s Venice Update, localized search has become much more prevalent with local and non local search results now blended. It is estimated that around 30% of desktop searches and 50% of mobile searches now have local intent. If you business provides a local service, you will certainly need to follow best practice guidelines for local SEO to ensure that you keep up with your competitors and maximize your local presence.

7) Interact with your partners and providers

Networking within your field is not only great for building real business relationships, but it’s also a great opportunity to promote your brand online. Other businesses such as your suppliers, providers and partners are often the best and easiest people to obtain a link to your site from because the relationship is already established and they are relevant to your niche. Depending on the relationships, there could be potential to take advantage of cross promotion via guest blog posting and press release distribution.

8) Be sociable

Social Media is a great tool for keeping your customers updated with regards to your company news, and due to its accessible nature it can be a fantastic way to provide customer service. Social media can also be a great tool for acquiring links if you leverage the great content you are creating so make sure that your pages are blog posts are easily share-able on all of the major social networks.

Follow these tips and you’ll be smooth sailing towards the top of Google for the terms you can realistically see your domain receiving.