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5 SEO Tips for Small or Local Business Owners

These days it’s rare that I meet a local business owner who doesn’t have a website and most have an awareness of SEO (search engine optimization). Unfortunately it’s not so rare to learn that it hasn’t been updated since it was first built in 2011 (or before) and their understanding of SEO is limited.

Many website managers and business owners are needlessly confused and frustrated when it comes to their website, and especially SEO. Some of the most common frustrations in my experience include:

  1. I have a website, but I don’t know if I am getting any traffic from it.
  2. I don’t have much of a budget to spend on my website.
  3. All of the SEO stuff was done when my website was set up.
  4. I know I should be ranking for <fill in the blank with your favorite keyword >, but when I Google “it” I don’t show up on the first page but my competitors do.
  5. I get phone calls all the time from companies who say they can get me to the top of search result for $90 a month, should I do it?

If any of these sound familiar, the following insights and tips are for you.

1. Is my website getting any traffic?

The more you know about what’s happening with your website, the more opportunity you have to improve. 

Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools are free services from Google that collects information about the traffic coming to your website. You can learn things like how many visitors you have, where they are coming from, what pages they are landing on and how much time they are spending on your website. 

Tips for business owners:

  • If you don’t have these tools set up contact your webmaster and have them set it up, make you the owner of the account, and provide you with access to the account. 
  • If you do have these tools set up, but you don’t have access to them, contact your webmaster for your login information.
  • Whether you choose to handle everything internally or hire a resource it’s important to learn the basics about both tools so you can understand the information in the reports.

2. I don’t have much of a budget for my website

Websites are often built and forgotten, but just like a physical building, they age and become outdated. Your website is often-times the first, if not only chance you have to make a good impression. Those flyers and glossy brochures you’re sending out are most likely ending up in the recycle bin.

44% of direct mail is never opened.

On the other hand:

63 % of online shoppers are now using multiple devices to find a local business and 80 % Of Local-Mobile Searches result in a visit and sale in the “real world.”

Tips for Business Owners:

  • Evaluate your current methods of reaching existing customers and finding new ones – is it working? 
  • At a minimum look for ways to shift some of your spending to ensure that your website is up to date and will make a great impression.
  • Make sure your website is mobile friendly – don’t take your web developers word for it, test it out for yourself.
  • Look for ways to shift your resources into your online presence. You’d be amazed at how much benefit can be gained from spending the time and money to create great web content and find ways to share it online.

3. All of the SEO stuff was done when my website was set up

Google is constantly making changes to the way search works, on average they make 500 – 600 changes a year. They’re constantly refining the way they find and determine what websites are the closest match to what a searcher is looking for. Many search engine optimization tactics have become obsolete and some practices of the past have even gotten website owners into trouble.

Tips for Business Owners:

  • Invest in an independent website audit and review – what you don’t know could be hurting you.
  • Invest in SEO training for yourself or someone in your business – it’s important for you to understand the basics.
  • Invest in ongoing search engine optimization efforts – it’s not a one and done.

4. When I Google <fill in the blank> I don’t show up

There could be many reasons for this. Some of the most common reasons I encounter include:

  • Unclaimed local business listings – being listed in as many legitimate local directories is key.
  • Inadequate website content – many websites lack important content that search engines (and people) need to understand what the business is all about.
  • Poorly optimized content – there are many nuances when it comes to writing web content – Google compares the words and phrases used in search queries are compared against the content of web pages, blog posts, and articles to find the best match. Many websites: don’t have enough content, are optimized for the wrong words, or are using outdated tactics.
  • Outdated or unethical SEO practices – more than a few websites have practically vanished from search results due to practices that violate Google’s rules and best practices. Unfortunately it’s all too common, fortunately you can reclaim visibility in search results.

Tips for Business Owners:

  • Invest in an independent website audit and review – what you don’t know could be hurting you.
  • Invest in training for yourself or someone in your business – it’s important for you to understand the basics.
  • Invest in ongoing search engine optimization efforts – it’s not a one and done.

Yes, these are the same as the previous tips – but they’re so important it’s worth repeating them.

5. Performance Pay SEO Guarantee! SEO Starting at $99/mo

Businesses are becoming more aware of the importance of SEO to their success. At the same time it’s become even more confusing and difficult to know who to trust with your website. Unfortunately it’s easy for almost anyone to read a bunch of articles, hang a shingle and start selling SEO services to unsuspecting businesses.

Bottom line – be very careful about who you do business with and don’t do business with someone who “guarantees” they can get you to the top of Google’s search results.

Tips for Business Owners:

  • Become educated in the basics of search engine optimization so you can spot a fake SEO service agency .
  • Play an active role in your search optimization efforts – you know your business better than anyone so don’t just hand it off blindly to just anyone.
  • Don’t hire someone who makes promises that sound to good to be true, the only guarantee should be transparent and open communication from the service provider to the business owner.