The SEO basics for growing your small business online.

As I wrote about in the quick guide to writing for the web to boost your SEO, there are some simple things you can change in the way you manage your online marketing and presence.

With the knowledge from that post – which keywords and phrases you should target – and the below nuggets, you can easily get your small business site higher up the search engine rankings. Maybe even to page 1 of Google, as we did with The London Pub Crawl Company – our business which only shows you the best London pub near you.

Understand the basics of SEO with a 3 minute video

Listed in order of impact by smartly using your ‘target key phrase list’ from the quick guide to writing for the web to boost your SEO post:

  • Page title: this is at the top of the browser. So this post will have in the browser tab ‘A quick guide to writing for the web to boost your SEO.’ This is the most valued piece of real estate on the page for SEO, use it wisely. Your keywords should be at the start of the title, as they get more weight
  • Proportion of your key words and phrases to non-keyword content: rule-of-thumb is 1-3%. So for every 100 words you write, only 3 of them should be your key words. If you saturate your content with keywords the engines will punish you
  • H2 drop-down in WordPressUse H2 tags: especially if you use WordPress, be sure to put 1-2 headings in your post, and use the H2 tag, not H1. The H1 is already used at the top of the post in the heading, and the engines only want to see one H1 per page. H2 is your next best title tag. If you use WordPress, see the image on the right on how to change selected text to this
  • Mix it up: don’t use the same keywords or key phrases all the time. Have your main 5 or so and use them more than the other 5-15 but be sure to rotate what you use
  • Target a primary and secondary phrase per page: when writing a page put down the primary and secondary key phrases you want to thread into the content. Mention the primary key phrase more than the secondary but resist throwing in a lot of other key phrases. The engines want to see pages specialising on topics
  • Internal links: while external links (links from another website) are much more valuable than your own links pointing throughout your site, don’t underestimate the value of doing this. Try and cross-link other content on your site in every post. And, be sure to use one keyword or key phrase in each link (in the anchor text – the blue, hyperlinked text in a link)
  • Words per page: Aim to have at least 300 and around 500 words per page, but no more than 800. The shorter the better to hold a humans’ attention span, and the engine prefers content spread over several pages
  • Duplicate content: the engines don’t like to see the content in more than one place on the web, so don’t just send slabs of text from your blog or your site to other sites and post it there
  • ALT tags on images: be sure you include some of your keywords when naming the images you place throughout the site. The TITLE and ALT tags of an image are used by the engines to provide further context of the page
  • Use tags: if you use WordPress (and we highly recommend you do) be sure to use the tag field. WordPress will automatically create a list of pages with the same tag (e.g. www.growasmallbusiness.com/tag/seo will list all the posts that have been tagged with ‘SEO’ in the tag field.) The engines will see another page, though it shouldn’t be duplicate content as each post will only be an excerpt from the main post.

Final tip - make sure you have Google Analytics code in your site so you can learn from the traffic and visitors.

What should a small business owner / manager do to boost their site SEO from better website copy:

  1. Follow the quick guide to writing for the web to boost your SEO
  2. Adjust your writing style to use those phrases, but be sure to mix them up
  3. Link to your own pages on your site using your key phrases (again, be sure to mix
  4. When asking people to link to your site ask them to use one of those key phrases in the anchor text
  5. Before you get into this take a snapshot of what position you are in Google for all your 10-20 phrases, so you can measure your progress. Just drop each into Google and click through the pages until you see your site. See what page you are on then at the position on the page it is (e.g. 3rd) to the page number and deduct 10 from the amount. That’s the position you are for that phrase. Mark it down and check your progress weekly or monthly. Be sure you are not logged in to Google at the time as they are now including social influences in your personal search results

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