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Thursday, 8 May 2014

Small Business SEO Problems and Tips

SEO tips for small businesses

In this digital era when we are talking about SEO, Social Media, Blogging, Micro blogging, Article Marketing, Smart Phones etc. there are numerous businesses and entrepreneurs who do not have the basic ideas on search engine optimization and even it is not overly said that many of the small and local businesses not even heard anything about SEO. They are completely unaware of what SEO is and how it can help them in marketing and sales and it may sound ridiculous and unbelievable but this is true that they are completely ignorant of the importance of SEO for small businesses.

Now the problem is not with the ignorance but the problem is that there are plenty of small business SEO services companies who are taking the advantage of this incognizance. I am not saying that all SEO companies are doing the same, there are very good SEO and digital marketing companies who are providing really good Search Engine Services but at the same time there are SEO companies who are actually cheating or misleading their small business clients.

The solution for this is the knowledge and cognizance. Small business owners, entrepreneurs should know the fundamentals of SEO and they have to be very much clear about what the ethical SEO is and what is the unethical SEO. Now this is not a very big deal to understand the basics of search engines, after all they are running a business so if they get an opportunity to learn SEO then they can and they should. Especially after 2013 Panda and Penguin update of Google, this is almost inevitable and If you continue to ignore SEO and its supreme power to grow a business or if your optimizer is doing something blackhat and spammy then you are actually pulling back your own business and at the end of the day you are losing the opportunity to do better and more sales.

small business seo tips

Now if you are running a small business or if you are an entrepreneur then this basic Small Business SEO guide may help you to understand how to start your search engine optimization campaign.

Build or Redesign a Mobile compatible Responsive Website:

If your business does not have a website then build it immediately. A website is must for a business or more precisely a Responsive Website is must today. A responsive website is a website that fits into any screen sizes and is compatible with mobile phones, tablet PCs and desktops or laptops. It is actually the online window for your company from where you can get leads and conversions (sales). Creating a responsive website is not that costly now-a-days. Depending on your requirements, it can start from Rs. 5,000/- (around 100$) and can go limitless. This is the first step you are taking to go online.

For creating a mobile friendly responsive website you do not have to hire a company rather outsource this part to a freelancer from your locality. Before handing over the project check some of the previous works your freelancer did in past and tell him very clearly that you need a W3C (for better SEO) validated and mobile friendly, responsive website. You can use social media sites to locate a budget friendly and efficient website freelancer from your city and do connect with him socially and physically. Select the freelancer who is capable of configuring and integrating a blog with your business website.

Buy a Domain and a Host for your website:

Buy a domain name for your business website that is short, appealing and related to your business and buy a reliable hosting server where your website will stay. Now while you are buying your hosting sever you have to keep few points in your mind. First, if you are a local business where you expect your customers to come from your locality and city then buying a hosting server from your own country would be better in terms of SEO but if the nature of your business is global and you want to get leads and sales from different countries then you have no restrictions, you can buy the hosting server from any part of the world (best is US). Second, do not go for a hosting reseller, they may look cheaper but you would not get efficient after sale services from them. Lastly, depending on your requirements, buy hosting space which is future requirement safe. Means, with your growing business your website would go bigger and bigger and it will require more space to work perfectly and seamlessly so buy some extra spaces than your current need.

Blogging is must, create your Blog and start blogging:

A blog is very important today for any type of business whether it is small, medium or big. A blog is a type of website (different from a normal website) where you can write and manage articles about your products and services to attract more customers online. Depending on your budget you can start a blog using Blogger (free but without ownership) or if you have some additional money allotted for creating a blog then better you go with a Wordpress Blog (Paid but you will be the owner). A blog is a tool which can get you leads and generate sales more than your investments towards it, so look at the quality you are getting than the amount you are investing.

Appoint a quality SEO service company or an ethical and good SEO freelancer:

Now once you are done with your responsive website designing (or redesigning), domain & hosting booking and blog creation then consult a good small business SEO Services Company or an efficient SEO freelancer who can deliver you good results over time.

You can use social media networks to find and select your SEO service partner after checking their previous projects and ranking for different keywords. Otherwise you can do another thing, search with your business keywords (search query for what you want your website to rank on Google) on Google and look which websites are coming on top 3 positions and check if you can find the SEO companies working for them. If your budget suits with their payment structure you can hire one of them for your SEO jobs. Even you can hire interns from good SEO training institutes and schools for your website’s search engine optimization.

Be very careful about your final selection as it is going to be one of the major factors for the success of your business. Hiring a company can be a bit costly whereas appointing a freelancer is cost effective so depending on your budget take enough time to select the best. Remember SEO is a continuous job so you should not stop or interrupt it after few days or months. By nature SEO needs time to deliver the result. Generally you can expect to see the effects of your SEO investments and efforts after 2 to 3 months since you started.

Basics of SEO you need to know and understand:

First of all remember, today SEO or Search Engine Optimization is all about quality not the quantity. SEO has major 2 parts, first is Onpage SEO and another is Offpage SEO. Onpage SEO is that when we do the optimization within or on our own website. Whereas Offpage SEO is done outside of the website. Get your SEO report card every week from your SEO services company or the freelancer.

Outlook, Patience and Age is important:

SEO is not short term, SEO is long term investment. This is the cheapest among all the major marketing techniques and channels. So be prepared mentally before investing your money on SEO. SEO needs time, patience and consistency and gradually it starts to show the results. Another important thing is your website’s age on internet. If your website is new then it will take more time to deliver (due to Google Sandbox effect) but if your site is comparatively old (1+ year/s) then you can expect faster SEO results. If you need instant results from internet and search engines then do not go for SEO rather Google Adwords (PPC – Pay Per Click) would be much better option.

Keywords for your Business:

Analyzing and selecting the proper keywords for what you want to rank is very important. Tell your SEO company or the freelancer to send or show the Google Adwords Keywords Planner data for the keywords they (or you) selected for your website optimization. Check the average monthly search and the competition level for each keyword on the Planner tool. Wisely select the keywords which have good amount of monthly average search volume and low or medium competition. If you are doing a local or small business then you better include your targeted city name in the keywords.

From my experience I have seen many companies who claim that they are on 1st position
 on Google for couple of keywords but they are not getting enough leads and sales. When I checked those keywords on Google Keyword Planner and other SEO Tools, I saw that those keywords are completely valueless as almost no one search with those keywords (avg. search volume is zero). So always ask for the Google Adwords Keywords Planner data for the selected keywords from the SEO Company or the freelancer.

The Content is the King:

Content is the king of On-page SEO and it is going to be the valuable asset for your business in future. So concentrate on building well researched, good quality, non-duplicate contents on your business niche for your targeted customers. Keep in mind that you have to ensure that your SEO services company is publishing unique contents. Duplicate or copied or even very similar contents on your website which already exist on internet are tremendous harmful for SEO. Create contents which are able to solve some problems or queries of your targeted customers and this way you would be able to build a brand and online credibility gradually. There are several small business SEO tools in the market for content plagiarism (content duplication) checking. Some of them are free with low quality and some of them are really good but unfortunately they are not free. So if your budget suits then you can use any of these paid or free SEO tools to check the originality of your contents.

Content Optimization is as important as creating contents:

In today’s competitive digital world creating quality contents is not going to be enough rather they have to be equally optimized to get desired good results from search engines. But it is a bit tough for a small business owner or an entrepreneur who do not have any knowledge on HTML (Hypertext Markup Language – coding to create a website) and SEO. Though if you want to learn to get required knowledge so that you can check & understand the technicalities of content optimization then there are lots of small business SEO blogs which can feed your need. Also you can learn this from an expert SEO trainer (going to be the best) from your city.

Do not ignore Google Places & Bing Local and Local SEO:

Google Places is one of the best and free service from search engine giant Google. Add your business to Google Places and Bing Local to get found on search engines when searched locally. Though mere adding your business to Google Places & Bing Local is not enough but you also have to do the Local SEO for your small business. Around 30% of all searches on Google are local and this is almost impossible for any business to ignore this huge number. There are some basic differences between Local and general or global SEO. Building Citation with proper and consistent NAP (business Name, Address, Phone number), Positive reviews on Google Places, Bing Local and other local business directories are important factors for Local SEO.

Good Links and Bad Links:

If optimized, well researched and informative content is the king then surely Link is the queen of SEO. Link building is an Off page SEO technique. Be sure about the quality of the links your SEO services company or the freelancer is building for your website. Good links (inbound / back links) can give you good ranking, credibility, traffic, leads and lastly conversions and in the same way bad links can drag you down or take you out of the whole search on Google and other search engines. So better keep on getting good quality links from authority websites on your business niche at a moderate pace. Building links in bulk in a short span of time will do more harm than good.

Monitor the anchor texts (text that appears in a hypertext link) very carefully. Over use of spammy anchor texts with keywords are bad for SEO. Rather you can use your business name or very generic words like “click here”, “visit website”, “read more” etc. as your hyperlink anchor texts. Diversify your inbound links with nofollow, dofollow, keyword rich anchor texts and generic anchor texts so that they look natural to search engines.

There are many online SEO tools which can help you to understand your inbound link profile with different important parameters. Such as Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, Google Webmaster etc. are the best of this kind.

Learn Google Webmaster & Google Analytics:

If you are serious about your SEO and if you want to get good results from search engines then you have to learn to use and analyse Google Webmaster and Google Analytics. Both of these Google tools are free to use and provide some very important data about your website and SEO. Google Webmaster tool shows the SEO issues of the website (crawling error, indexing, duplicate page title meta description, backlinks, webspam etc.) whereas Google analytics gives the data related to your website traffic (numbers and types of traffic, demographics, goal, conversions etc.). Regular 
checking and monitoring of these free tools from Google can give you the clear ideas about your current SEO status.

Do not underestimate Social Media:

Today Social Medias play a major role in success of any business of any type. Social websites are the virtual places where your target audience gather so if you can reach them with your value added services or products then you can do a good amount of business from there. Do not do self-promotion on those sites and if you do so continuously then sooner or later you would be marked as a spammer. Rather keep on posting valuable contents, attractive pictures, video tutorials, discount coupons etc. which can solve some problems, queries or needs of your online customers. Social medias are for social people to engage with one another and you have to be like that. Helping others with valuable resources, suggestions, services and products can get you good responses gradually. Today’s SEO strategy can’t be apart from the major social media sites rather they should work side by side complementing each other. Open your business account on Facebook, Google +, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest etc. and be regular and consistent on those platforms. If you have a budget constraint then initially you can do this job on your own. Otherwise there are good social media management tools and companies which can be a good help of you.

Be very clear that SEO is all about quality, consistency, regularity, user experience and timing. SEO is not for overnight success (please tell us if there is anything) rather it is a long term process. BTW. We provide Small Business SEO Training in Kolkata for local business owners, entrepreneurs and bloggers. If you run your business from Kolkata, India and if you think that we can be of your help then we are ready to work with you and our joint efforts will surely get you the desired results over time.

SEO Training KolkataHarish Chandra Dutta Road, Panihati, Sodepur,Kolkata, West Bengal 700114098 04 457170