5 Easy SEO Tips for Small Businesses

Search Engine Optimization, SEOThe old saying “If you build it, they will come” does NOT apply to your website; you’ve got to do more than simply publish it and one of the best things is to increase your position on the search engine results page. In this guest post, Midphase client and owner of WebStyley, a Colorado Web site design company, Jason Stenseth explains a handful of non-technical ways to accomplish effective SEO.

A beautifully designed website is great for a company’s image. However, the same website with no traffic is bad for business. Read these five easy non-technical SEO strategies to improve your websites visibility and traffic.
Step OneGoogle Local Business Listing

It is no secret; Google is king of the search engines. This is why the majority of your SEO efforts should be focused on having your website indexed by Google. It is not likely that your small local business will be able to compete with large national companies, their keywords and SEO efforts. However, it appears Google has realized this and has accommodated the small local business owner by creating free Google Local Business Listings. Many times if a Google user searches for a particular business niche and types in a city, the Google Local Listings will appear before all other listings.
Also, new technology (mainly smart phones) allows for Internet users? geographical location to be automatically updated and provided to the search engine. With automatic location updates, Google Local Listings are very important for relevant searches (the best example could be the use of the service for a local restaurant or store). Because of this, it is important that all small businesses claim and optimize their Google Local Business Listing. Claiming and updating the information can be very beneficial from a business standpoint by attracting new customers and improving online presence.
Claiming a Google Local Listing is simple, free and quick. All you have to do is sign up for a Google account and claim your business. Once signed in you will be able to optimize your account by entering in your services/products, updating your location, providing contact information, uploading images/video, and adding other relevant business information. After your updates are complete you will be sent a PIN and need to enter it in order for the listing to be seen by Google users.
*Be sure to read the Google user agreement and follow all of the conditions in the agreement. Failure to do so could result in the removal of your Google Local Business Listing.
Step TwoBegin Blogging on your Website
Blogging is a very important aspect of SEO. Today’s search engines love new, fresh content and a blog is the best and easiest way to generate fresh content on your website. Many of the pages on your website are most likely static and change infrequently. This alone can keep your site from appearing in search engines. A blog serves several purposes for your business and website.
Foremost, a blog is a great way to interact with your current and future customers. It allows your company the opportunity to discuss important news and information quickly, easily, and affordably. A blog also allows your company to be seen as an authority in your industryresulting in increased customer trust and respect. Blogging allows your business to showcase it’s strengths by putting the company’s expertise into words. A blog can also make your company larger through sharing and linking. Every new reader that shares your article could potentially assist you in gaining new customers!
Each blog entry should focus on one topic and should attack one keyword or phrase. The title should contain the keyword or phrase and encourage reading, filled with useful, relevant information. These are just a few great ways to use your business blog as an SEO tool for your website.
*A business blog should be considered even if you are not interested in SEO.
Step ThreeSocial Bookmarking for Traffic
Once you have completed steps one and two, it is time to start driving traffic to your website using free social bookmarking tools. There are a number of social bookmarking websites, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and many more; each is a great way of introducing Internet users and search engines to your website and content. Every time a new blog entry is written, it should immediately be bookmarked on the social bookmarking website of your choice (or all of them). Bookmarking each new blog entry helps increase links to your website and provides an easy way for interested readers/customers to find your website and content. By bookmarking the pages and new content of your website, you are helping search engines quickly locate your website and index new information. If your bookmarks receive additional attention from other users, of the bookmarking website, search engines will notice this and give your site much more attention.
The effects of social bookmarking can last many months, but it is best practice to continually and consistently update your website content with new blog entries and same day bookmarking.
http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-bookmarking-websites is a great list of the 20 most popular social bookmarking websites.
Step FourUtilize Twitter Effectively
If you are serious about SEO and creating a strong online presence for your business, you should sign up for Twitter. Twitter is a free service that allows users to follow other users and share information. Twitter is great for business! Twitter allows small businesses to easily and freely connect and communicate with new customers. In addition, it is a great business networking tool that can help small businesses interact and connect with other successful companies.
Do NOT use Twitter to continually spam other users with links to your website. Doing this will accomplish nothing, except for zero followers and zero benefits from the service. Instead, use Twitter as a way to meet new people and share relevant information in your industry. Once you have created a decent following (60 followers), you can begin tweeting links to new blog entries and information on your website. Search engines will follow the links and quickly index your website. Should your tweet be retweeted by another Twitter user, search engines will give even more attention to your Twitter account and website. These are just a few of the great uses Twitter provides small businesses.
Step 5Get Links through Directories
Inbound links are very important for SEO. Inbound links are other websites linking to your website. Inbound links can be difficult to obtain, but the easiest way is by submitting your website to directories. Not all directories are created equal; links from unrelated websites could have zero SEO influence and serve no purpose (for instance, it makes no sense for a plumbing company to submit their website to a massage therapist directory). Each industry tends to have established niche directories with relevant information and good link quality. So, do some research and locate directories that relate to your industry and submit your website. Many of these directories are free but some charge a listing fee.
Every company interested in SEO also needs to submit their website to the DMOZ Open Directory. The directory is free and very important for SEO.
*Before submitting your website to DMOZ, be sure to read the user agreement and do not violate any of the conditions.
That’s all!
There you have itfive easy non-technical SEO steps for small business owners. It is very important to note that these are just a few techniques to increase search engine visibility and increase website traffic. However, using these strategies on a poorly designed website with bad navigation, bad code, bad title tags, bad keywords, and other negative attributes will not provide the same results as would be seen on a website designed for SEO, which focuses on easy navigation and search engine accessibility.