Many small businesses are now finding out that they cannot afford to ignore Yahoo, Bing, and Google as three main sources of online traffic. A recent report released by Parse.ly revealed that Google owns 65-70% of the shares of United States searches at this time. This proves that Google is head and shoulders above other search engines when it comes to being an exceptional source for reliable leads.

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When small businesses optimize their websites for the search engines, they must use tactics that are favored by Google’s search algorithm. It’s imperative to point out that these tactics can also help small businesses get traffic from Bing and Yahoo. At the end of the day, small business owners must keep up with the latest search engine optimization techniques if they want to have success with selling their services or products on the internet.

Small Businesses

Search engine optimization (SEO) is extremely valuable to small business because it can decide if a prospective customer can find your business online. Organic traffic, traffic to your site from the search engines, is probably the most popular referral source for many websites.

You can use paid traffic methods, but they will eventually lose their steam. With organic traffic, your website will be in a position to receive traffic for a long period of time without investing money. This should be a strong incentive for any small business owner that is operating on a small budget. Please keep in mind that organic traffic is driven by the search engines.

Your prospective customers will be using their mobile phone or personal computer to find services and products that will suit their needs. Your website should be ranked high for the right set of keywords related to your business vertical.

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We will now take a close look at ten practical tips that can help any small business owner get the best results from their search engine optimization efforts.

1. Create a List of Keywords Related to Your Niche

Create a list of keywords you think your company should try to rank for in the search engines. As a small business owner, concentrate on making an effort to rank for long-tailed keywords. Long-tailed keywords are keyword phrases made up of two to four words. Many small business owners around the globe are doing extremely well because they use the most popular long-tailed keywords related to their business niche.

For instance, if you own a yoga studio in Chicago, you should try to rank for the following keywords: yoga studio Chicago, Chicago yoga studio, or yoga studios in Chicago. As you can see, these are the keywords that people will type into the search engines when they are looking for a yoga studio in Chicago, Illinois.

Search engine optimization experts recommend that small business owners should come up with at least 30 long-tailed keywords that describe their business. It’s important to note that the keyword phrases should complement the content on your site. When the keywords are sprinkled throughout your website, they will help your SEO team members.

We cannot discuss long-tailed keywords without covering keyword stuffing. Unfortunately, many small business owners are not familiar with keyword stuffing. This is where your keywords show up too many times on your website. If this happens, your site will be penalized by the search engines. It’s critical for you to avoid keyword stuffing!

2. Title Tags & Meta Descriptions

On-page optimization is where tactics are used on your site to help it rank well in the search engines. Every page on your site should have a unique and detailed title tag and meta description. The title tag is 65 characters or less, and it is used to describe the subject of a web page on your website. Title tags appear as blue text in the search engine results.

The title tag will also show up at the top of the browser to help title a page. Search engines are designed to take your title tag into consideration when it ranks your page. They will match your page with the most appropriate search criteria. The title tag should contain your company’s name, and it should also be unique to the page.

The meta description is the black text that shows up beneath the title tag on the search engine result for a web page. It’s either one or two sentences. The meta description describes the content on the page, and it is used to entice internet surfers to click on the link in the search engine results. However, the meta description is not viewed as a big deal by the search engines when it comes to ranking.

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3. Create a Google+ Page or a Google+ Local Page

Many small business owners are not aware that Google+ is a big factor taken into consideration by Google’s search engine algorithm. Google+ can help you website get higher rankings for the keywords being typed in by your prospective customers. In layman’s terms, Google+ can be big game changer when it comes to getting on the first page of the search engines.

Let’s say that your business has several physical stores frequented by customers. You should create a Google+ Local Page for each store location. Make sure you create a detailed profile and upload great photos. The photos will show your prospective customers what they can look forward to getting when they visit your store.

If you don’t have physical stores, you should set up a Google+ Page. This page will represent your company. Again, you should create a detailed profile. Studies show that consumers are more inclined to do business with small companies that have detailed profiles. Adding niche-related text and photos will help your Google+ Page stand out.

4. Make Frequent Blog Posts Related to Your Industry

You need to make frequent blog posts related to your business niche or vertical. It may seem like a simple tactic, but it pays big dividends. Blogging once or twice or week will help your business stand out from your competition.

Sharing value is the name of the game when it comes to blogging. Your prospects are looking for content that will help them satisfy a need or desire. It’s your job to share this content. When you do this, there’s a strong possibility that you will convert your prospects into loyal customers.

You should share the following content on your site: how to articles, developments taking place in your business, industry news, announcement of new services or products, and behind the scene photos.

Search engines are well-known for rewarding sites that offer fresh content. Making frequent blog posts will help you drive more visitors to your website. When this happens, you will be putting your small business in position to generate more revenue.

5. Exercise Patience

Organic search engine optimization has a solid reputation when it comes to delivering positive results. However, you must exercise patience during the process. You will not see overnight success once you begin implementing SEO techniques. It could take several days, several weeks, or several months to climb the search engine rankings. It really depends how stiff the competition is for your keywords. Exercising patience is the key to having success with search engine optimization.

6. Study Your Competition Closely

Chances are that you will be competing with thousands of other small businesses for the same customers on the internet. Studying your competition will help you find out what they are doing to get their customers. Your competition’s search engine optimization campaigns can offer many valuable clues that can help you take your SEO marketing campaign to the next level. This strategy will also help you recognize the methods that are failing to help you get high search engine rankings. Once you find them, you can drop them immediately.

7. Get Links from Local Organizations

Links play a big role in search engine optimization. Many search engine optimization expert will tell you that links are the lifeline for your website. Without links, your site will fall deep in the search engine rankings. Can you imagine how your sales would look if your site was listed on the 27th page for your primary keyword?

Getting links from organizations in your area will help supercharge your search engine rankings. These links will show the search engines that your site is relevant. They will also show the search engines that your website has valuable content. In return, the search engines will push your site to the forefront.

Make an effort to build a relationship with organizations in your town or city. Once the relationship is established, ask the organization to add a link to your site on their website. Links from local organizations will help your small business become competitive for the top keywords related to your business niche.

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8. Don’t be Afraid to be Different

As we stated earlier, Google and other search engines reward websites that have fresh content. You cannot afford to take the same path as your competitors when it comes to putting content on your site. You must be a trailblazer.

Developing original content will put you in good graces with the search engines and your prospective customers. Let’s look at a prime example. Is something controversial taking place in your industry? Don’t be afraid to create content that covers it. Your readers will appreciate your honesty, and they will view you as the go to source for the latest news in your industry.

When you get more visitors to your site, you stand a good chance of increasing your annual sales. Search engines will recognize that your site is getting more traffic. They will reward you with a high ranking.

9. Use Social Media Carefully

There are so many social media channels out there. Social media can help you small business, but it can also hurt it if you fail to use it carefully. It would be a big mistake for you to create an account on every social media channel. Some social media channels do poorly when it comes to driving traffic to a website. This is why you should only use the social media channels that have a solid reputation among small business owners.

Carefully pick three to four social media channels that are visible in your business vertical. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are three heavy hitters in the social medial realm. You should create an account on these social media platforms. They have been around for several years, and they are also well-known for helping many small business owners expand their business.

After creating your social media accounts, it’s important for you to make three to four posts per week on each account. Your posts should be simple and down to earth. Don’t take the salesman approach when you make posts on your social media accounts. Your prospects will not receive you well if you do.

10. Label Every Photo on Your Website

Label all the photos on your site so that you can take advantage of image based search traffic and regular search traffic. Before you upload a photo to your site, define the file name. This will help the search engines decide how the photo should be ranked. Again, we cannot stress how important it is for you to focus on using good long-tailed keywords on your site. This also means you should use them to describe your photos.

Use four to five words to describe the photo. Please make sure you don’t keyword stuff. The search engines will not look favorably on your keyword stuffing effort.

11. Create Internal Links Across Your Website

SEO external links are more valuable, but internal links can help you overall search engine optimization. Link two or three pieces of related content to build a strong structure of links across your website. Make sure the links look natural.

12. Work with a SEO Consultant Agency

Don’t hesitate to contact an SEO consultant agency if you need help. An experienced SEO consultant agency will be more than happy to aid you. The company will be familiar with every proven search engine optimization technique being used today. In return, their service will help your website get more traffic.

Getting traffic to your website is the key to selling your services or products on the internet. Fortunately, you can rely upon search engine optimization to get customers. If you take heed to the tips in this article, you will be on your way to increasing your bottom line.