SEO Tips Small Business Can Use

Bing search engineAccording to Tom Dunn of Greenville SEO, if you own a business with a website, it’s a fair guess that you want that website to show up in Google, Bing, and Yahoo! when someone types in a search related to your product or service. For example, if you are a plumber in Austin, wouldn’t it be great if your website showed up on the first page of Google whenever somebody typed “Austin Plumber” into their search bar? And even better if your website was in the number one position on the first page? Of course it would, and there a few simple steps you can take to help make it happen.

Rule One: Google Ranks Pages

Did you know that when it comes to determining which websites are going to show up first in the SERPs (search engine results pages) Google and the other search engines don’t rank webSITES. Rather, they rank individual webpages. In other words, each page on your site is looked at separately by the search engines. And even that phrase “looked at” is a misnomer, because it’s really rare that anyone actually looks at your page to decide where it’s going to rank. The search engines do pretty much all their ranking of your site’s pages automatically, using something called an algorithm.

That algorithm basically runs like any other computer program. It’s looking for a basic set of criteria, and when it finds what it’s looking for on your web page, it “rewards” your page with higher rankings than other pages that did not meet it’s criteria. Therefore, adjusting the content of your webpage, including the title tags, text content, and image tags, can have a huge impact on where your page ranks in the SERPs.

That is called on page search engine optimization.

ON-PAGE SEO

So, how can we optimize a web page so it ranks well for a particular search phrase, like “Austin Plumber?”

First, focus on the text content of the page. How many words do you have? As a rule, Google prefers more content and generally speaking, 1500 words is better than 300 words. However, the best approach is to see what is already working for the search term you’re optimizing for. To do that, simply type the keyword into your Google search bar. Then, take a look at the top five or so competitors already ranking at the top. Ignore huge directory sites like Yelp! or the Yellow Pages. How many words do they have on their page? Take the average, perhaps add a bit more for good measure, and make sure your page has roughly that many words.

What Should I Write?

Well, make sure your content is relevant to the search, and make sure the exact search phrase you’re trying to rank for is contained in your content once or twice, but not more than once or twice. Also, put the search phrase in a title tag, preferably an H1 tag.

When it comes to meta titles and descriptions, also make sure the keyword you’re optimizing for is contained in the page’s meta title tag, and maybe even the page’s description.

What About Images?

Google likes images on a page, but can’t “read’ an image the same as text, so you need to use the image’s ALT and TITLE attributes to explain what the image is about. It should contain something relevant to the search. Make sure one image (but not more than one) on the page has an ALT tag containing the search term you’re optimizing for, and any other images contain related terms. For example, for the search term “Austin Plumber” you would have one image with an ALT tag “Austin Plumber” and maybe another image with an ALT tag “Plumbing Contractors in Austin TX” or something similar. You get the idea.

So that’s pretty much it for on-page optimization. If you do these few basic things on your page, you’ll be ahead of about 90% of your competition. Now we turn to something called off-page search engine optimization.

OFF-PAGE SEO

Off page optimization is exactly what it sounds like- it’s what happens in places other than your own page or site, in other words, on other people’s websites and webpages which you don’t control. And off-page seo is essentially one thing… links pointing FROM someone else’s web page TO your web page.

Boiled down to it’s most essential elements, Google sees each link as a “vote” for your page. In other words, by linking to your page, the owner of that other website is basically saying, “I trust this page, and you can too.”

Even though we can make it a lot more complicated than that, it really is that simple. Generally speaking, the more links you have pointing to your page, the better as far as the search engines are concerned, as long as those links are what Google considers relevant to the content of your page and are not coming from places Google considers bad, or spammy, neighborhoods, such as link farms.

However, that type of “bad” seo is way beyond the scope of this article. I will simply focus here on a few tactics you can implement to build some “good” quality backlinks (another name for links) pointing back to your site, which is why they are called backlinks.

In the video below, some of the most effective link-building techniques are highlighted:

Types of Good Links

Here are a few types of good backlinks almost anyone can build.

Natural Links. To get these, all you really need to do is create a piece of really good content, and let people find it over time. If it’s good enough, website owners like bloggers and web writers will link to it simply because of its quality.

Social Links. If you have a Facebook account, or a YouTube channel, these are what’s called social sites, and it’s pretty easy to place links from them pointing to your web page.

Blog Commenting. This is exactly what you might think… you find blog articles and entries that are relevant to your topic, leave a comment on the post, and drop your link in the comment.

Helpful Links Pages. Many sites have pages of helpful links. If you find a site about a topic relevant to your page, contact the webmaster and ask if they will include a link to your page on their page. Easy-peasy.

Blog Guest Posting

Blog Guest Posting

Guest Posting. Rather than starting a blog, find a blog or site that accepts guest posts. Write a relevant guest post and submit it, complete with an author bio and link pointing back to your page.

Paid Links. I almost hesitate to mention this, because the quality is not always good, but if you find a high-quality website, you could offer to pay them for a link pointing back to your page.

PBN. Stands for “private blog network” and is pretty much what it sounds like. You create your own network of niche-relevant blogs and post to them with links pointing to your page. A whole art and science has sprung up around this practice, and it’s very easy to get wrong, and also quite expensive. Worth it however, if you know what you’re doing. Again, beyond the scope of this article.

Broken Links. Using one of several methods, you locate links on relevant content that point to old web pages that no longer exist, ie “broken” links. You then contact the webmaster suggesting that they re-point the link to your content. This presupposes that your content is highly-relevant and worth pointing to. If not, create a piece of content that is!

Directory Sites. Within almost any industry or niche, there are directory sites that will list your business and/or website, usually for free or for just a nominal charge. It goes without saying that you should build profiles on as many of these as possible.

While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, it should get you started on a program of building a lot of quality, targeted backlinks to your page. Remember one thing… consistency matters a lot! Build the links steadily, over time, rather than all at once. A steady drip of good links is something that helps Google and the other search engines understand that your page is in it for the long haul, not just here today and gone tomorrow.

Anchor Text

We could easily write an entire article just on the topic of anchor text, which is the (typically) blue colored text you click in any link that takes you to the site or page being linked to. It’s really quite important what that anchor text says, and we’ll try to simplify this with a few basic rules for anchor text. You won’t always have control, so don’t worry about it too much. When you don’t have control, just leave it to the linking site.

When you DO have control over the anchor text of a link, try to follow these guidelines…

  1. Start with BRANDED anchor text. For your early link building efforts, try to use what’s called branded anchor text which could be your business name, or the bare URL of your website.
  2. Don’t use too many anchors with the exact search phrase you are trying to rank for. When you do use the exact term, use it on the most powerful linking sites.
  3. Vary your anchor text… a LOT. Google long ago implemented over-optimization penalties, and one of the quickest ways to incur a penalty is to NOT vary your anchor text.
  4. When in doubt add a few totally random anchor text phrases, such as click here, website, and more. Vary these a great deal as well.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be safe, and well on your way to ranking at or near the top of page one!

More to come…

SEO Tips For Your Business Growth

using the web means seo

Marketing on the web includes SEO.

E-commerce has emerged to be an integral part of doing businesses. Many business owners are using e-commerce platforms to bolster their bottom line by reaching out to a wider market and in turn, improve the performance of the business and increase profits.

In this regard, it is correct to say that SEO is the “in-thing” regarding business online advertising. To ensure that your website plays a bigger role than just displaying your business’ contact information, you need to embrace SEO. You should consider optimizing your website to rank high on Search Engine Result Pages. Appearing on the first page of the SERPs will afford your business prime seats in the realms of online marketing.

Herein we take a closer look at what businesses, big or small, should do to ensure that their websites rank high. These SEO tips for your business are time proven as being effective.

Take Care Of The SEO Basics First

The basics of efficient SEO include using appropriate keywords in the appropriate amount, using topic-centric title tags, using keywords in the URL and making the navigation of your website efficient. As you would notice, the majority of the basics are concerned about the website content (and its quality) that you provide on your website.

Keywords play an important part in helping the crawling software used by search engines find your website. The keywords used in a website, essentially enable the software to understand what your business is dealing with. Therefore, it pays to incorporate keywords that center on your business’s niche. Otherwise, you may cause your website to be less visible, just because search engines are not able to understand what the website is all about.

In this regard, optimizing the websites using keywords should involve researching for the most effective keywords for your business and using them in your business website content, titles and URLs.

Another basic part of the SEO is ensuring that your website is effective handling your customer’s user and navigation needs. This is to mean that the website should have a very user-friendly interface that is intuitive. Additionally, you should not have broken links on your website, as this negates any positive gains and qualities of the website.

Maps by Google

Maps by Google

Make Use Of Google Maps

Google Maps are being used to make searches more accurate and relevant. In this regard, enlisting on Google Maps ensures that you appear in the listing of your local businesses. Beyond enlisting, you should consider using geotagging on your website, especially if you operate a brick and mortar business since it gives your customer a physical location they can find you.

Build Relationship With Your Customers And Local Bloggers

Among the most important SEO tips for your business; something that every SEO consultant will propose to you, is to build links. This is especially if you target search engine is Google. Google partly uses the number of links to your website to determine the ranking of websites.

However, if you operate a small business, you should consider taking an unconventional route to link building. Since small businesses do not have the resources to compete with bigger companies that are more financially endowed, they should use local bloggers and social media to build links. Using local bloggers will give you a better chance of ranking higher owing to their vote of confidence – the back-link they give your website.

Make Use Of Social Media In Your Website

Social media has emerged as a very important part of marketing. Search engine companies have realized this and are using the influence of social media to determine their ranks. A very good example is Google +, whereby Google uses the content on this social media platform to give props to businesses. Also, social media is very important to establishing new links, which enhance your ranking performance.

Finally, you should note that the complicated SEO tips for your business mentioned here are best reserved for professional and experienced Tomball SEO experts. Any SEO strategy that you find to skill-intensive should be left for professionals; in the interest of getting things right.

When Your Email List Gets Busted

Email Marketing FixI’ve been managing an email marketing campaign for one of my clients for nearly three years. I started by creating a list on her behalf (she is a massage therapist) on Aweber, and then adding a sign-up form to her website. We used a “$7 off your first visit” coupon as a hook, getting people to sign up for her list and getting the coupon they could use on their first visit to the spa.

It’s been working tremendously well all that time.

In fact, it allowed her to build a list of over 2500 in a short period of time, and the list has been very responsive, routinely seeing open rates over 30%. Of course, we’ve been very careful to never spam the list, only sending highly relevant, valuable offers. We also sent only sporadically, never more than twice in any given month.

Bottom-line… this was a great campaign in all respects, a community of interested and even hungry buyers.

So, what happened? Last week, it all went south.

I sent a message with an offer for Father’s Day, the kind of offer that should have gotten a great response, and an open rate well over 25%, with plenty of clicks, and lots of conversions.

But, the open rate was less than 10%… LESS THAN TEN PERCENT!!!

So, I did what all good email marketers do… I waited a couple of weeks and sent a different email.

The results were about the same. In fact, a bit worse. Now, i was more than surprised, I HAD to figure out what happened. After all, here’s a list that’s generating high responses, and open rates always in the high twenty percent range, often much higher, and now all of a sudden it’s below ten percent. Would you need to figure it out, too? Of course you would! So, I took an in-depth look, and here’s what I found.

The first thing I noticed…

Two spam complaints on the first message, and three on the second.

What’s up with this, I asked myself? After all, she almost never had anybody complain about SPAM before, and never more than one for any given message. Now, she had five in two messages.

So, I checked deliverability. In other words, were her messages getting through? I found out they were NOT, but rather were frequently getting sent into people’s spam or garbage email folders. Once people had clicked those spam complaint buttons a few times, Google (and likely others too) had started labeling my client’s messages as spam.

Hence the low open rates. Now I had something, and I had an idea what the problem was, and how to correct it.

So, what was the issue?

Simple, once I started thinking about it. When people signed up to the list, they were expecting a $7 off coupon. They were NOT, however, necessarily expecting to get signed up to receive my clients’ marketing messages. of course, many folks DID expect and want the messages, but there were a few, a very few mind you, from out of town, who had no use or desire for the messages, and that was all it took.

Apparently,you only have to piss off a small handful of people to get labeled a spammer.

Now that I knew what my problem was, I needed to fix it. I did that by making a few simple, but super-important changes.

First, I added the following text to my client’s website sign-up form:

“By submitting your contact information, you understand that you are being added to an email list and you agree to receive periodic offers and discounts from us. We will NEVER spam you or share your information with anyone.”

Second, in the email autoresponse message they received, after signing up, I not only told them where they could download their coupon, I again told them they would be receiving marketing messages, only this time I emphasized the BENEFITS they would get. Here’s the language I used…

“You have now been added to our email list, and that means we will periodically be sending you special offers, savings, and deals, right to your email inbox. If for any reason you DO NOT want to see these subscriber only offers, please unsubscribe from our list using the “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of this email.”

By stressing the benefit and the exclusivity of these “subscriber only offers” AND reminding them of how easy it is to unsubscribe. I am basically making sure that if they’re not interested in her messages, they’ll remove themselves from the list, rather than complaining about it at some future date.

I’m therefore improving the overall quality of the list, hopefully making it even more responsive than it was before.

I’ll be keeping a close eye on this, and I’ll write again when I can report on the results.

SEO for Elite Ranking Results

Before we progress too far, let’s get some housekeeping out of the way. Elite SEO technologies is a website, the sole purpose of which is to help businesses and business owners carve out a respectable presence in the search engines, specifically Google, and to a lesser extent, Yahoo and Bing.

We hope to meet this goal by presenting search engine optimization tactics and strategies in clearly written, concise articles that can be digested in bite-size chunks, and easily understood by the average lay-person. To that end, we will try to refrain from common SEO jargon and overly technical terms, instead relying on plain language explanations and simple examples.

If you find any of our articles about SEO and the worls of search engine rankings difficult to comprehend, please do let us know and we’ll try to answer your search engine related question as soon as we possibly can.

To whet your appetite, here’s one of the Moz boys’ best videos, about content marketing vs link building. Bleeding edge stuff…