Every small business owner should implement search engine optimization into his or her online marketing strategy, but many shy away because they think they need a huge budget to get started. An effective and complete strategy will cost money, but that doesn't mean you have to sit idle until you can afford to hire an SEO agency.
Here are 5 small business SEO tips that you can implement right now in-house. These can help you improve your online presence and begin to attract website traffic. Some businesses have to start small because of budget limitations, and there is nothing wrong with that. Following these tips will help you build a solid foundation that an agency can build on when the budget becomes available.
1. Google My Business
The majority of consumers turn to Google search when they are looking for information. It is the dominant search engine, commanding a 67.6% market share, making it extremely important that your small business is found in Google's local search results.
Make sure that you create a Google My Business profile, fully complete all sections and select the most appropriate categories for your business listing. Fill out your full business address exactly as it appears on your website, business location hours, write a complete description of your business, and include the maximum number of photos.
2. Encourage Customer Reviews
Gathering positive reviews online is an important part of small business SEO. There are many ways that you can ethically encourage reviews without straight-up telling your customers to leave a review. E-commerce websites can send an email to previous customers letting them know that their feedback is valuable, and providing links to popular review sites such as Yelp and Google My Business.
Businesses with physical locations can create a page on their website that has links to all of the review websites and direct their customers to the address on receipts and postcards placed in bags. There is a right way and a wrong way to collect reviews. For more information read over Google's local review policies.
3. Secure Links From Trust Sources & Local Organizations
Is your business an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau? If not, then you are missing a great link opportunity. Is your business a member of your local Chamber of Commerce? Again, this is a great link opportunity. Membership organizations like these are a great way to earn high quality links, but they also convey a level of trust.
You can also find amazing link opportunities from local organizations, including charitable groups, schools, and community events. Often times these can double as a link opportunity as well as an opportunity to put your business in front of your local community.
4. Create Citations & Audit NAP Data
There are many business directories that allow you to create a listing for free, complete with your business name, address and phone number. This is often referred to as NAP data, and it is very important that your NAP remains 100% consistent across every business directory.
Listings like Yelp, yp.com, and foursquare are all great listings that you should claim and complete. There are tools available, such as Moz local that will help you identify, claim and manage local listings. Moz local also audits your listings, identifying duplicate listings and inconsistent data.
5. Publish Consistent Content
You should have a blog on your website and it is important that you publish new fresh content on a regular basis. Not only does a frequent content schedule give your website visitors something new to engage with each time the visit, but it also gives you a change to target long tail local-focused keywords to rank in the organic search results.
Hiring an SEO agency or a full-time writer to create content might not be in the budget at the beginning, but that doesn't mean you should neglect your content publishing. Source blog posts from within your business -- assign topics to employees and develop contributors from within.
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