I asked Jeff Quipp if he’d give me 7 tips that a small business or start-up could employ quickly to improve search engine rankings:
It can be difficult sometimes as a business owner, separating the wheat from the chaff, and knowing what is a real opportunity and what is not. SEO is often posed as one of these predicaments for many business owners. So, how is a small business person with a limited budget realistically supposed to experience the benefits of SEO. Sure, some jump in with both feet, but others are obviously much more skeptical. For those of you more skeptical in nature and/or without a dedicated budget, I propose a compromise.
Below, I’ve listed 7 reasonably simple changes that you as a start up or business owner should be able to have made for under £100. Sure it will involve a few hours of sweat equity on your part, but you should at least get a taste of the potential. In most cases, it will be just a taste … but should be enough to remove some of the skepticism. Experienced SEOs will then be able to further improve your results dramatically, and you’ll be wiser knowing the very basics of the process.
Here are the tips:
- Keyword Selection Determine what keywords you wish to target. Research keywords used and rough search volumes using the Google Keyword Tool. Don’t expect to be able to compete with the big boys in the space … you do not have the SEO knowledge or or the budget. Instead look for keyword opportunities … reasonable (not large) search volumes, and minimal competition (# of search results found for the term in “quotes”). Create a prioritised list.
- Web Host IP Location – Make certain your website is hosted on an ip that is associated with the primary country you’re targeting. Here is a quick an easy tool to help you assess - IP Address to Country of Origin Lookup e.g. www.hobo-web.co.uk. If you’re primary target market is Canada, then your ip would ideally resolve to Canada also.
- Title Tags – Create titles for your pages (ie. to be included in the underlying source code … eg. Red Steel Widgets – Immediate Delivery Available) that include the keyword(s) you wish to target with that page, and are descriptive yet enticing. Keep in mind, every page is an opportunity to target a different keyword in the search results, and the more competitive terms should be targeted by pages closer (in terms of clicks) to the homepage. Begin with the main page of the site, and 4-6 others. If you cannot implement this yourself, give it to your webmaster to do.
- Content Headings – Give readers signs about the content to follow with Headings (embedded in ‘h’ tags in the source code if explaining to your webmaster). Fortunately, headings are also quick and easy to add, and when they contain the keywords being targeted by the page, they help improve page rankings too. They’re an all around win-win. Again, create heading for the 6 or 7 pages you’ve created titles for, and give the task to your webmaster to implement. The titles and headers should take an experienced webmaster less than an hour to implement.
- Build links – Links from other sites (ie. votes of confidence) are an important component of the ranking algorithms of most search engines. While full out link building requires a tremendous amount of expertise, there are some quick and easy wins that company owners can realize that will help improve their rankings. 1. Ask suppliers and contractors to link to your site 2. Ask municipal governments and other local companies and support agencies to link to your site 3. Ask those who agree to link to your site to also use the keywords you’re targeting with your main page eg. Widget Depot – London Steel Widget Manufacturer
- Add Content – having unique and valuable content on your site is key. Prepare such unique content for each and every keyword phrase you are targeting (similar keyword phrases should be targeted by the same page eg. Red Steel Widgets and Steel Widgets). This content can not only be used to help you differentiate yourself from competitors, but also in establishing your company as an authority in the space. Really unique and valuable content tends to get linked to often … which ultimately improves rankings.
- If your business is local in nature … be sure to submit your business information to Google Local and Yahoo Local … using the term you want to target with the main page in the business name if possible. Often, this information itself will rank in the search results.
Following these tips isn’t likely to fundamentally change your business, but you should experience some positive change. With this knowledge now securely in hand, you are less likely to be tentative about trialling a more extensive search campaign. What are you waiting for – perform a trial with minimal risk.