Top 10 Small Business Search Engine Optimization Tips

Getting your website popular is more work than you realize. However, there are some basic tips that you can do to connect your website with people searching for your products and services locally. Local search is no where near as competitive as the general, global search market. With these fast, simple and FREE optimization tips below, you will be able to out rank your competitors with very little effort. Check back soon for advanced tips to really blow away your local market.

  1. Submit to Google Local.
    Google is the most widely used search engine in the U.S and around the world. Over 60% of all searches in the U.S. are performed by Google.

    Creating a Google Local profile allows you to enter in-depth business information that will help people find your business in just a few days. Try an example search of Podiatrist in Atlanta, Ga and notice the map and local listings created through the Google Local program.

  2. Add your company name, address and phone number to every page.
    More and more, the search engines are recognizing addresses from websites and add them to their systems. Using a standard format makes it even easier for them to pick out your contact information from the rest of your content. The accepted universal format is:

    Your Business Name
    123 Main Street
    City, State Zip
    (123) 456-7890

  3. Add an analytics program to your site.
    Google Analytics is free. Analytic programs allow you to track the activity on your website. Knowing about the people who visit your website is vital when deciding how to further optimize your site. Google Analytics gives you an idea of where your visitors are from, how they are finding your site, and what they are doing on your site. Once this is installed, let it run for a few weeks to get a good feel for your web site's audience.

  4. Examine all of your page titles.
    Search engines use your page title in order to determine your websites relevance to the search terms that searchers are looking for. For example, titles like "Home Page" or "Welcome" do not describe anything useful to the search engines or potential customers looking for your page. Consider something along the lines of "Atlanta Area Podiatrist - Foot, Ankle and Toenail Care." Keep the title under 65 characters (spaces included) and use your most important keywords at the beginning of your title.

  5. Submit to other FREE search directories.

    Also search around the internet for directories related to your niche. For example, Podiatrists have a directory at podiatrist.com. Almost every market has a directory of websites pertaining to their market, a few searches and you should have no problem finding them.

  6. Optimize Keywords.
    Start off by asking yourself, "If I was looking for a business that does what I do, what would I search for?" Write down any search phrase that comes to mind. These should become your sites target keywords. The most important ones should be added to your title as mentioned above. Using these keywords through out your site is the most important part of on-site search engine optimization.

    Optimize your page headings and body text to include these terms. Avoid "stuffing" your text with these keywords as the search engines are trained to recognize and penalize this practice. Your on-page text can be keyword rich and user friendly at the same time. Strive for a good balance.

    The way that you link within your site is also analyzed by search engines. If you have Home, About, and Contact information on your home page see if you can reword these links. Instead of "Home Page" try "Atlanta Podiatrist Home" and "About Our Podiatrist Specialists." This is a bit trickier as space is usually limited however, this anchor text is highly regarded by the search engines.

  7. Create Webmaster Tools Accounts.
    Google, MSN and Yahoo! each have their own webmaster tools to help get your site discovered. Create an account with each of the three and you can see how each search engine sees your website, any errors that they encounter with your website and you can submit your website information to them.

  8. Build a sitemap and submit.
    A sitemap is quite simply a map of your website. For websites that have yet to be found by the search engines, a sitemap is the easiest way to let them know everything you have on your website. Sitemaps use a standard XML format and you can build one for free at XML-Sitemaps.com. After you have built your sitemap you can submit it to Google, Yahoo!, and MSN via the webmaster tools mentioned above.

    Apart from your XML sitemap, it is a good idea (for both users and search engines) to have an HTML sitemap available from each of your pages. An HTML sitemap is a page that breaks down the rest of your website so a user (and search engine) can view the entire contents of your website from one place.

  9. Validate your HTML.
    Having the syntax of the code of your website validated ensures that your website is structurally correct. This is important because having broken code increases the chance of a search engine reading your site incorrectly. The validators also point out common mistakes that can benefit your on-page search engine optimization such as image alternate tags. Image alternate tags are another place to add keywords to your website. The W3C Markup Validation Service can be found here: (http://validator.w3.org/).

  10. Add META Tags.
    META Tags were once the single most important rating factor among search engines. Their importance has fallen significantly, but they should still be included on every page of your website. The META Description tag is still used by search engines as the text shown in the search results.

    The META Keyword tag is for listing keyword relevant to that specific page. This tag holds almost no weight, if any, for search engines. Some experts believe that it does slightly help with ranking the relevance of your content but it is a widely debated topic. There is no harm in including this tag as long as it is relevant to your page.

These tips are designed to be a starting off point for search engine optimizing your business website. All the of the options discussed are available at no cost to you. Most of these tips require very little technical skills and can be implemented very quickly. Stay tuned for more technical and in depth tips soon.