SEO Best Practices For Small Businesses in 2020

What do you think of when you hear SEO? Do you think of ranking #1 on Google? Do you remember those emails you would get all the time a few years ago with someone promising to get you to the number 1 spot on Google? That is not SEO. SEO is about making the most of your organic search presence to drive the RIGHT traffic to your website.

Successful SEO takes time and practice to get right. There isn’t a quick fix to magically appear first in search results. With constantly changing algorithms and rank factors, SEO is also always a moving target.

So what should you do? Should you just not worry about it and hope people find you? No. There are some simple, smart and easy things you can do to set yourself and your website up for success.

Longtail Keywords

Longtail keywords are search terms with relatively low search volume and competition levels. Also, long tail terms tend to be longer in length (3+ words) than most other keyword types.

To rank highly in SERPs with your website content, you should choose the path of “least resistance.” Even though it seems logical to strive for a ranking using high-traffic keywords and terms, often the traffic that you will get from a highly competitive keyword can be of poor quality, or the competition can be so high that you will never rank for them.

Longtail keywords ultimately lead to higher discoverability.  They are aimed at people who are looking for specific information. If you optimize for long tail keywords you will reap the benefits. You will find it easy to achieve good rankings in search engines, get qualified traffic, and convert that traffic into leads and customers.

That does not mean high-traffic keywords should be ignored or not optimized for. It means that an investment should be made in determining what long-tail keywords should be optimized throughout the site. 

How to find longtail keywords

Here are some strategies to find longtail keywords:

  • Google “Searches Related to…”: Ever notice that when you scroll to the bottom of Google’s search results there’s a section called, “Searches related to…”?. Type in a keyword you want to rank for and then scroll down for additional inspiration. You can also enter some of these terms into Google and do the same.
  • Google autocomplete: this is a great longtail keyword research tool because these suggestions come directly from Google.

How to Use Longtail Keywords

The best way to optimize longtail keywords is to create content around those terms. As you dig in deeper to your keyword research, see what results are showing up. What content is already out there. How can you create content similar to what is ranking well while being unique and adding new value to the search results.

You can also use these keywords in your social media posts and in videos you are creating. This will help you reach people searching for those terms wherever they are looking.

Title Tags

A title tag is the snippet of text that appears in the web browser tab. Title tags have up to 70 characters, so you should choose your words wisely. The title tag is a ranking criterion for Google and other search engines. As title tags are easy to optimize, you should definitely address this issue.

Tips for using title tags: 

  • Use the website’s central keyword in the title tag.
  • Be sure not to exceed the maximum length of the title tag, or it will be truncated in the SERPs.
  • Use your brand name in the title tag
  • Use a unique title tag for each web page

Meta Descriptions

The “meta description,” in contrast, is a piece of text that describes what a specific page is about. Meta descriptions are typically displayed as text below the blue links in search engine results. If you have no meta description, search engines usually take a piece of text at random from the content referenced by the link. The meta description is limited to 175 characters.

Tips on using meta descriptions:

  • End your meta description with a call to action.
  • Do not exceed the maximum length of 175 characters, or the description will be cut off in the SERPs.
  • Use a separate description for each page. 

Optimize for LOCAL SEARCH – GOOGLE MY BUSINESS

No matter what type of business you have, having a local presence on Google is important.  60% of Americans use smartphones and tablets to search for local products and services. And that number only continues to grow. As a business, you can use this to your advantage. This is where your Google My Business listing comes in. Google My Business (GMB) is a listing of your business’ operating information, reviews, posts, and so much more.

Benefits of Google My Business (GMB)

  1. It’s free!
  2. Get your business to show up in the local 3 pack (above organic results)
  3. Increased credibility
  4. More reviews = more business
  5. Control, index, and display pertinent business information
  6. Gather insights regarding how your customers are arriving on your site

How to optimize your listing

Before you can optimize your GMB listing, you first must claim and verify your business. This is simple and easy, and gives you access to all of the features GMB has to offer. To this go to google.com/business and input the basic information (name, address, phone number, website) about your business.

Then, you’ll be required to verify your account by submitting a code that is mailed to your business address. This address can be your home address as well. You can choose to not have your address show in maps. The key is using an address where you can receive mail in order to verify the listing. This step is necessary to unlock all GMB features. Your confirmation postcard will arrive within a few days. 

Once you verify your listing, you can access your dashboard to start personalizing your listing.

But don’t stop there. You’re not done! Most companies make this mistake. They claim their Google My Business account, add the bare minimum details, and abandon it. They’re leaving money on the table.

Claiming the account is just the start. There are so many ways you can use it. You need to optimize it. When leveraged correctly, Google My Business can lead to increased sales and improved customer loyalty.

I get into how to take your GMB listing to the next level here.

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