10 Budget-Conscious SEO Tips for Small and Local Businesses
Many small to mid-size businesses are discovering that the cost to optimize a website is beyond their marketing budget and resources. A monthly retainer for SEO and other marketing services might not be in your budget, but just because you own a small business doesn’t mean you have to have a small presence. Investing time tuning-up your website is the best SEO strategy to pursue if you’re looking for easy-to-implement tactics that ensure search engines can easily read your content. Here are ten valuable search engine optimization and marketing tips for small businesses on a tight budget.
Small SEO Improvements that can make a BIG Difference
1. Present Enough Content
Each page of your website should have at least 300-400 words. If your competitors have thorough information on every page that is relevant and helpful to users, wouldn’t it make sense for a search engine to rank them over you? Ensure that you have enough content available to educate the search engines and your website visitors on what your website is about.
2. Eliminate Duplicate Content
Search engines don’t officially penalize websites for internal duplicate content, but certain instances of involuntary content duplication on your site may confuse search engine bots and get your site ranked lower as the result. Visit your Google Webmaster Tools account and go to Search Appearances > HTML Improvements and see what duplicate HTML elements are listed. For example, if you see that you have duplicate title tags or duplicate Meta descriptions, most likely it’s because some pages on your site can be reached via multiple URLs. Download the table with duplicate pages from Google Webmaster Tools and analyze their URL addresses.
3. Properly Tag Meta Data
Search engines (such as Google) send out “spiders or bots” to harvest the text on your site using Meta elements. Meta elements are the HTML or XHTML component used to provide structured metadata about a Web page. Search bots can only harvest pages that have these special Meta elements telling them what the page contains so they can analyze how relevant it is to a search query. It is possible to add contextual information to your website to help the search bots understand the information they are indexing by defining the title and description tags of each page of the site. This might sound like a lot of work, but it’s easy to implement and should only take about 5- 10 minutes per page.
Create unique titles and descriptions for every page of your website. Make each page title descriptive of the pages content with 70 characters or less. Avoid using generic titles by dynamically updating your titles in relation to the content being displayed on that page. Make your descriptions as descriptive as possible in 156 characters or less and ensure that Meta descriptions are applied to all listing pages and individual articles you have on your website. Descriptions can include factual material, pricing information or manufacture details if relevant.
4. Make Business Information Easy to Find
Making it easy for people to contact you is not only imperative to your business; it is also a requirement for successful SEO. Place your business email address or phone number across the header or footer of your site so that it appears on every page. This will ensure your contact details are seen no matter what page people land on. Furthermore, by adding a phone number and business address to your site, your website will be indexed on search engines by it’s location as well.
5. Learn to Link Internally
Internal links with proper anchor text are believed to help your webpages rank higher for your keywords. By providing links between different pages of your site, users are more likely to discover pages with related content, which in turn improves user experience. How do you determine which pages to add internal linking to? Preform a Google search for the following query: “keyword” site:example.com. Replace “keyword” with the keyword you wish to rank for, and replace “example.com” with your website’s address. The results will display a list of your site’s pages that contain the keyword and will make it easier for you to see which pages could be interlinked to be ranked higher for that particular keyword or phrase.
6. Ask for Links
The idea of link building has become tainted by many SEO’s in the past due to shady link exchange farms and wheels. Today, the only guaranteed way to build healthy links is to ask for them and to display them in return. Ask your friends or coworkers who have a site or a blog to write about your company or to mention your business elsewhere on their site – with a link back to your domain. Reach out to partners and long-time clients and ask them to link to your website.
7. Search for Mystery Link Donors
Another easy way to gain back links to your site is to conduct a Google search for your brand or business name and contact the individual websites that mention you but fail to provide a link for more information. Contact the website owner or webmaster and ask them to add a link where your brand was mentioned. In return you could offer the donor a link on your site as well.
8. Optimize for Image Search
You most likely have images on your website or blog and you should take the time to fine-tune them for higher rankings. Search engines require a few descriptive meta elements in order to optimize your sites’ graphics properly.
- Rename Image File: Simply right-click on the actual image file and rename it. For example, if your image file is named “78HG53230ghd.jpg”, a better name might be “a_good_keyword.jpg”.
- Rename Image Title: Rename the image title meta data through the site’s CMS. You’ll want to ensure that the image title describes the content so that search engines will be able to detect the images on your site through image searches.
- Write Alt Text for Each Image: This can also be added or changed through the image editor on the website’s CMS. Alt text is another meta element that indicates what the actual image is, for example, if you were writing alt text for a picture of a dog playing on the grass in the park, you could write, “Corgi Playing At The Park” as your alt text. A good trick here is to imagine that you are describing the picture to someone who cannot see it and write an explanatory, keyword-filled description of the image.
9. Optimize for Video Search
Videos, like images, are a great marketing tool that many brands incorporate onto their websites. Ensure that the video content on your site is also optimized in order for search engines to feature your media. Create a title, file name and description (if applicable) containing your keywords. In addition, YouTube also offers additional fields in which you can add descriptive details about your video. Use the ‘Tag’ field to list keywords. Once you upload your video, you’ll see that there are many more options for detailing the information on your video. Fill in every detail you can to ensure your video is indexed on search engines properly and found.
10. Optimize for Local Search
Since 2012, Google has integrated “Blended” results into searches. Blended include a blend of both websites and local business information – mostly from Google+ Local Pages and are typically displayed in this order:
Note that for this search, the user just typed in “car insurance” and Google automatically displayed location-based results. Optimize not only your website, but your Google +Local page, and all business associated Local and Social Media profiles. Not sure if your business shows up in Google’s Local search? Simply conduct a Google search for either the name of your business or for a generic term that best describes it + your location, and see if any local search results appear (the local results can be found on the green section in the screenshot above).
If you find your Local page, be sure to claim your listing and fill out as much information about your business as possible. If you can’t find your business underneath all those competitors that have outranked you in local search, create a Local Google Page. Thoroughly fill out the profile information with business details, try adding photos of your businesses interior, exterior, customer support team or even your company logo. Next, share this information with current customers, your professional network and friends and ask for business ratings and reviews from them. All these measures will ensure that Google recognizes you as a business and helps you rank higher on vertical searches like Google Maps.
Leverage Strategic External Expertise
Another way to leverage SEO expertise on a limited budget is to contract with an agency in a specific, strategic way. Rather than implementing a full-on retainer-based relationship, you might consider contacting Executionists for our free SEO recommendations or a monthly consultation package.
If you would like to discuss a strategic search engine optimization, please fill out the form provided in the link below:
Do you have any additional budget-friendly and easy-to-implement SEO strategies you’d like to share? Talk to us in the comments!