Small Business SEO Includes Two Elements: On Page and Off-Page SEO.
At Business SEO, our approach to small business SEO includes ensuring your company’s website is the most relevant, informative and useful online resource for your industry and locale; this means having quality content both on your own website, and also at relevant, quality third-party sites across the world wide web, getting relevant backlinks to your website.
Both these aspects of SEO are equally important, and deficiencies in one will greatly limit the value of strength in the other.
Off-Page SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
In On-Page Small Business SEO we talk about optimising your site to make it highly relevant to readers and searches for a specific term. On-Page SEO is very important and well within your control. But it is only part of the equation for good search engine rankings.
Let’s look at how Google and other search engines decide which web pages are the most relevant and authoritative sources of information on a particular topic. Google’s massive success has been the result of coming up with a highly efficient and effective approach to doing just that.
In much the same way that books, especially academic works, include references and citations to other important, relevant documents, so it is online. Following this line of thinking, if a lot of different web pages link to your web page, your page is more likely to be perceived as relevant or important.
What does this mean for your small business website? You need relevant pages linking to yours if you want it to be found on the internet. You need to encourage:
- Link to your page using the keywords you want to be found for
- Links should be relevant to your industry
- Links should be the same keywords that buyers use when searching for your business, products or services
Now there are hundreds of ways to get these relevant links (called backlinks), but they vary enormously in how effective and how ethical they are. Google frowns upon the manipulation of search results, so unethical methods of getting backlinks can actually get your website penalized or even banned by Google — definitely not what you want! Creating Google-approved backlinks in an ethical fashion is called “White Hat SEO”, while creating deceptive, spam, or unethical backlinks is called “Black Hat SEO”.
Fortunately, there are a heap of highly ethical, relevant websites we can use to create web pages, articles, comments or social media about your industry or business, with backlinks to your site that Google really loves and totally approves of.
Following best-practice SEO (which basically means optimising every web page and backlink we create for this purpose) will not only improve your site’s search engine traffic, but it can also attract visitors who are interested in your business (qualified prospects) to your website.
Off-Page Small Business SEO Backlink Sources
Some of the best sources of ethical, effective, Google-friendly backlinks for small businesses off page seo are:
Google Places — Google’s own web pages for your business
Online Business Directories
Online business directories are the internet version of the Yellow Pages. These vary widely in their size, authority and subject matter, with many national directories as well as regionally targeted and industry- specific directories.
Types of Local Directories Suitable for Small Business SEO Include:
- Local Business Directories
- National Business Directories
- Industry Business Directories
- Internet Business Directories
- Telephone Business Directories
Most of these make money selling premium listings which, while helpful, are often overpriced. There are also thousands of online website directories that are targeted at websites rather than businesses. Many of these are free to list on but the links from most of them are of limited value, with the exception of a handful of very high profile (mostly paid) directories.
Blogs (Short for Web-Logs) were initially conceived as online public diaries, but they now include an incredible variety of websites about every conceivable topic. Blogs are ideal for publishing personal interest or industry specific information. Most blogs are free and offer easy setup and a fairly high profile. Blogs can be a very useful tool as part of a broader business online strategy.
If you’ve got something to say, or you are an expert in your field, then a blog can be a great way to voice that and share it with the world. A blog is often time-sensitive, so you might blog about current events in your industry, town or business. These sorts of stories might not fit within a normal business website, so a blog can be a second venue to publish more ephemeral, personal or topical content.
Video is the fastest growing sector of online media, with YouTube now the world’s second largest search engine after Google — well ahead of Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing. Video is easy to consume and is a powerful medium for communicating with prospects, customers and clients.
Creating a professional video advertisment for your business used to cost thousands of dollars, and was beyond the reach of most businesses. Now video production is affordable and video is fast becoming a preferred way to reach your market.
Other Online/Interactive Media
While video stands out among online media, many other forms of media have exploded in the last few years. Audio podcasts are now very popular, as are slideshows, eBooks, webinars, apps, games and other new interactive media.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have gone from a curiosity to total mainstream in the last few years. The mainstream media, major corporations and even small businesses have taken them up with enthusiasm. Social media can be beneficial for businesses if used selectively and strategically. It can also be a huge time waster and distract companies from other more effective marketing strategies. Social networking is best viewed as a small part of an integrated marketing picture, rather than as a silver bullet for online business. Professional guidance to ensure you are getting a good return on your time and money investment is critical.
Social bookmarking sites (such as Digg, Delicious and Stumbleupon) offer users a way to store, categorise and search their favorite websites, and share them with others. The popularity of these sites can be compared and users can view the sites that others recommend. Submitting your website to social bookmarking sites using accurate tags can help it be found by visitors and search engines, thus increasing its popularity.
Every industry, topic, hobby, and subject has a range of specialty sites which cater just for that topic: whether it is growing roses, keeping tropical fish, trading stocks, or fixing cars. For example, authority sites in the computer niche include PCWorld.com and CNET.com.au. Many of these sites feature news or magazine style stories, online forums where people can discuss the topic, and help or how-to articles. Advertisments and other backlinks on authority sites in your industry will attract visitors and tell search engines that your site is relevant to the authority site.
News sites are among the most popular online sites. They are actually threatening real-world newspapers due to their convenience and low/zero cost, forcing a restructure of the news industry. Among the most popular news sites are news aggregators like Google News and Yahoo News. Having a news story published there featuring your business or your team can boost your profile and credibility, as well as driving backlinks and traffic to your site. News stories are often re-published on many other news and industry websites, so your reach is broadened substantially.
Article directories are large websites featuring thousands of articles about a wide range of topics. Some article directories are focused on a niche or theme, but the biggest and most popular directories (Eg. EzineArticles.com, GoArticles.com) have articles about everything categorised into different topics. Historically article directories were a great way to promote your business, product or website. However, their value has been eroded following changes in Google’s algorithms. Nonetheless, articles are still useful as part of a broader online marketing strategy.
Small Business SEO Needs the Right Strategy, Quality Content and Consistent and Careful Implementation
Many small businesses can manage to address a few of these areas on their own, but they lack the skills, time, resources and knowledge to implement these on their own in a way that gives them a good return on their investment. Business SEO Australia are experts in Small Business SEO – we have thousands of hours of experience in developing small business websites, social media and other online content with a focus on great SEO results, meaning more customers for your business.