SEO for small business owners

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about small business blogging, and I’ve answered many of them on my blog. However, I’ve not written specifically about SEO for small business until now.

As you may know, I write articles like this to help business owners like yourself to get better at marketing. This article is really about helping you to get smarter with your blog articles by understanding how to make small tweaks to enhance your articles and optimise them for search engines.

I want to make this really easy to follow and strip away any technical jargon so you can use this information effectively.

This is not just another SEO article – this has been written with you in mind and I hope that you can use this article as a checklist/reference for when you are publishing your own blog articles & webpages.

SEO for Small Business – Why should you care?

“If you have a website, and no one knows about it, does it really exist?” – Chris Marr

Search engines are the no.1 way in which people find information on the internet, and until that changes (not likely any time soon), Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) will continue to be very important for your website and blogging. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

Just think about how you use search engine’s at the moment. You probably use Google to find an answer to a question, or a solution to a problem. Your customers are doing exactly the same thing and it’s worth keeping this in mind when you are writing your blog articles and web pages.

It’s Google’s job is to return to you the most relevant answer to your question or solution to your problem. Therefore it’s important that Google can find your content when someone is looking for it.

At this stage you don’t need to know absolutely everything about SEO, but you do need to understand how search works and how you can make sure your website and blog articles are optimised for search.

If you are spending time writing articles for your website blog there are a few simple things that you can do to help things along and take advantage of search engine results.

Related article

Getting to grips with keywords

Most people that struggle to get to grips with keywords are generally making it more complicated than it needs to be, especially to begin with. Let me break it down for you so it makes a little more sense and so you can get started.

  • Each blog article or web page should be restricted to be about one relevant single product, service, question or topic. This will keep your relevant keyword possibilities for each single page contained to only a few options.
  • When you are planning to write your blog article it’s important to think about your audience. Make sure your content is written for your audience and think about the words or phrases they would use to find the page you are writing – this will likely be your main subject/topic.
  • As part of your planning process for writing a blog or web page start with noting down a working title, the keywords, a short description of the article (the subject) and the url. These are the key elements and will help you plan your content quickly.
  • For now, the most important aspects of your blog article or web page are the url, page title, meta description, the first paragraph, h1 and h2 tags and alt tags. Below is a screenshot from Google to show you the main aspects that Google concerns itself with in search (you should recognise this image). Therefore make sure that your keywords/main subject or topic are in all of these locations. I go into more depth on these on-page SEO factors below.
SEO For Small Business

Keep in mind that there are many factors that impact on search engine results, in this article we are only covering the basics to help you get started.

If you are a WordPress user please install the Yoast SEO plugin to help you with these main on-page SEO factors.

(Keywords will be discussed in more depth in a future article)

Your guide to creating blog articles that get real results

23 questions to guide you to creating your best blog articles every single time

The main on-page SEO factors

Your page/blog tile

This is the most important aspect of your web page or blog article as far as SEO is concerned.

  • This should be written with Google in mind, but should still be descriptive to your reader
  • Keep it within 65-75 characters. Any longer and it won’t all appear in search
  • Place your important keywords closer to the front

Your meta description

Your meta description is effectively your opportunity to promote your content in search engines. Use it to motivate your reader to click your link by providing a compelling reason to do so.

  • Provide a short description of the content of the page
  • Keep it to around 160 characters
  • Keywords in this text are not used for ranking
  • It is important because it adds context to the reader of the content contained within the page

Your URL

Your URL is one of the main elements a reader will look at so it needs to be simple and make sense within the context of the web page.

  • Use the keyword in your URL
  • Use customisation to shorten the URL down (no one likes long URL’s!)
  • Keep it descriptive

Your sub-headlines

When you see sub-headlines, just like the one above, I have used a ‘H2’ tag, and you can use anything from H1 to H6 tags to prioritise and structure your content.

  • H1 & H2 tags will be given priority when Google ‘crawls’ your page (I.e. looks at the written content on your page)
  • It provides Google with a good idea of what your page is about
  • It’s generally good practice to break your content up with sub-healines for readers, who will generally skim over the content before spending more time (a dual readership path)

Your page content

Obviously the content is important, but this is where you should be writing with your reader in mind, not Google.

  • The content should be unique
  • Don’t be tempted to cram in keywords where it doesn’t make sense – be smart by including your keywords in the right places.
  • Keep your content relevant to your reader – i.e. think like your audience and write for them
  • Keep it descriptive, useful, helpful, relevant and restrained to one single topic

Your image alt tags

All images you place on your website can have an ‘alt tag’ which should be used to place in your keyword/main subject topic.

In conclusion

There are many factors that affect Search Engine Optimisation, however it is important to get to grips with these basic elements that have been discussed in this article.

Following these guidelines will help you get started with your on-page SEO factors and help you set off on the right foot.

Please feel welcome to add comments, ask any questions or provide advice in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to be awesome!

Chris.

External Resources

I did some research to produce this article from authoritative sources. These are the articles that I used to get my information, which you should check out if you have more time to dive into SEO.

  1. http://www.freshbooks.com/blog/2013/07/23/small-business-seo/
  2. http://moz.com/learn/seo/on-page-factors
  3. http://moz.com/community/q/isnt-it-better-to-have-headlines-in-h1-and-h2-tags-instead-of-p-tags
  4. http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/how-search-engines-operate

Disclaimer

Learning Everyday Ltd and Chris Marr do not guarantee any specific search engine results or place in google as a result of this article
Learning Everyday Ltd and Chris Marr do not take any responsibility for your website ranking, or any other page ranking

Join the CMA Membership

If you want to get better results faster, and make a dramatic difference to how you grow your business, then join CMA today and we’ll show you exactly how to create content that will help you to get the best customers you’ve ever worked with.

  • Content marketing strategy
  • Weekly live coaching
  • Accountability and guidance
  • Thriving and highly engaged community
  • Direct access to Chris, Nic and Cara
  • …and a lot more

Find out more

Did you enjoy this article?

If so, you'll probably enjoy these popular articles too...

How does ‘Big 5’ content marketing lead to sales?

Read More...

Content Marketing ROI: How to measure the return of content marketing

Read More...

15 things I'm fed up teaching you about how to improve your blog

Read More...

About Chris Marr

Chris is the leading voice of the growing Content Marketing movement in the UK. His pioneering work has helped countless organisations grow through content marketing. His drive comes from a desire to help people break free from the world of interruption marketing.