SEO Basics for Small Business Websites

Understanding what impacts your website’s search engine rankings

Search engine optimization or SEO is sometimes looked upon as some magic voodoo that only web gurus know how to create. But in reality, there are many basic SEO techniques that any small business can put into practice on their website. In this video, we clear the air about 5 myths of the search engines. Then we discuss several of the most important ranking factors to get your website found in Google and the search engines.

To learn more about how to get your website found online, check out our course, “Why Can’t Anyone Find My Website?

Full video transcript:

So, how do you get people to your website? The majority of web visits start out as a search on a major search engine like Google or Bing. Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the practice of helping more people find your website by improving your positioning in the search engine results. There is no one single element of your site that is going to guarantee it’s placement at the top of the search engines. It’s a collective group of practices and principles that not only improve your site for Google, but also for your visitors.

But, there is a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding in the business community about how search engine optimization works. In addition, many business owners have out of date information coupled with practices that have fallen out of favor with the search engines to get your site ranked. This adds up to a muddled mess and many websites that are suffering with poor search engine rankings and even search engine penalties.

Let’s start our SEO discussion by clearing up several myths about the search engines.

Myth #1: I should submit my URLs to the search engines. Submitting Urls to search engines is useless. They don’t use submissions anymore.

Myth #2: There needs to be a certain number of keywords on the page or a mathmatical calculation of keywords to the total number of words on the page, otherwise known as keyword density. In the words of our friends at Moz.com, keyword density is crap. This has absolutely no bearing on search ranking.

Myth #3: A Google Adwords campaign will increase your organic results. Too bad this one isn’t true. It would save us all a lot of work and we could just buy our way to the top. But alas, no. Paid search does not increase your organic results. Paid and organic are totally separate and do not impact each other.

Myth #4: Paying for links helps increase your search rank. Oh boy, if you really want to get the Google Police after you, try this one. Manipulative linking of any kind, including reciprocal link programs, link farms, paid links, and low quality directory links not only don’t work, but today the practices can get you penalized and banned from the search results. This is really a big no no.

Myth #5: Hiding text in HTML code will increase my rankings. Cloaking or hiding text or keywords in the code of your web pages so a visitor can’t see it is really, really bad and will get you penalized in a big fat hurry. Don’t do this and anyone who tells you that you should, run away from as fast as you can.

There are over 200 separate elements, or ranking factors, that Google uses to determine which web pages are returned in the search results in various positions. There are On Page ranking factors, that are the easiest for you to control, and there are Off Page ranking factors, that tend to be more difficult because they are not in your direct control. Let’s discuss the On Page ranking factors first.

On page ranking factors help search engines determine what a web page is all about. Your web pages must be relevant to the search being conducted. If your page contains words and terms that are relevant to the phrase that was searched, the relevance of your web page increases. Unfortunately, the search engines keep the exact algorithms for search ranking a secret. But every two years, Moz.com surveys the opinions of over 150 of the most respected names in search marketing who provide their opinions of the what they think are the most important ranking factors.

In the 2015 survey these included:

-Keyword Use: Putting your keywords in the title tag, in the main content of the page, using synonyms and close variations of the keyword, keywords in the page’s URL, in the headers on the page, in the anchor text, and in the image names and alt tags are all important in telling the search engines what your web pages are about. Keep in mind that every instance of the keyword on the page doesn’t need to be the same. You can use synonyms and connected terms to add value.

-Content Quality: The search engines also put a great deal of weight on the actual content on each and every page of your website, as well as the overall theme of each page. Google looks for content that is unique to your site. It looks at everything from spelling and grammar mistakes, to whether or not your are unnaturally repeating keywords over and over, to establish the quality of the content of your page and determine whether you are a trusted site. And, are you giving a visitor all the information that they need on the page or do they have to go looking around your site for more information? Your content needs to be comprehensive, clearly written, easy to scan, and it must include your keywords.

-Mobile friendliness is now a search ranking factor. If your website does not have a responsive design, this can hurt your search engine ranking.

-Page load speed is another search ranking factor that Google is paying more attention to. Page speed is so important to Google that it’s created a free Page Speed Checker for businesses to use to test the speed of their site. You can find it at https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

But just having the right keywords on your page isn’t enough for the search engines anymore. The search engines must deem your page to be important, as measured via citations or incoming links from other websites. Every site that links to yours, that the search engines trust, helps to increase your importance to the search engines and thereby your search rank.

Let’s discuss the most important ranking factors of Off Page Elements, according to Moz.com’s 2015 survey.

-Domain level link authority came in as the most important. This includes external links and how many different websites link to your overall website, the trust and authority of those websites as determined by the search engines, the rate at which new inbound links were added to your website, and whether or not the linking websites were relevant to your site. Were the sites in the same industry? Did they have the same general theme or did they have some similarities? If they did, Google will look more favorably upon them and value those links more than if the sites linking to you had nothing to do with your industry or website’s theme.

There are many, many other factors that effect search ranking, including what people do when they land on your website. Do they stay and visit other pages or do they hit the back button and leave immediately? Believe it or not, the search engines keep track of that behavior and use it as yet another ranking factor.

For the comprehensive list of the Moz 2015 Search Engine Ranking Factors, visit Moz.com.

So we’ve cleared up myths about the search engines and we’ve talked about various ranking factors that impact your search results, but where do you start?

No two companies will have the same SEO strategy. Search engine optimization efforts are unique to every company, big or small. As with any business effort, developing an SEO strategy for your website should start with planning.

Factors to take into account include:
-What product or service is your company trying to market?
-Who is your customer?
-Your brand
-Your unique selling proposition
-Current condition of your website
-Current content you have to work with (text, video, images, printed materials)
-Content you and other team members plan to create
-Competition
-Industry
-And last but certainly not least,What keywords do people use to find products or services like your company offers

Let’s take a few minutes to define what a keyword is.

To view the next video, register for the “Why Can’t Anyone Find My Website?” course.

126 replies
  1. allshops
    allshops says:

    Creating a beautiful website is the 50 percent of the job. The other 50 that leads to top results is SEO and the most important part of it is to focus on content quality. This article is very helpful to start using SEO the right way.

    Reply
  2. Muhammad Umer Zahid
    Muhammad Umer Zahid says:

    I read your Article,You shared such a great information.Everyone should read the Article for once.As we all know traffic is must for the longest time of SEO. SEO One of the best methods for small businesses can compete with large brands is by generating more organic traffic.Then you can easily Rank your sales overall the business market.

    Reply
  3. Helen Dawson
    Helen Dawson says:

    SEO is important! It has a great role in marketing businesses, especially that we have shifted heavily on digital now. Thanks for writing this article. It’s easy to digest while still being informational.

    Reply
  4. CLIC AQUÍ
    CLIC AQUÍ says:

    Google asigna a tus anuncios PPC un nivel de calidad con una escala de 1 a 10, en la que el rango de 5 a 10 es considerado alto. Para determinarlo, se basa en una serie de factores entre los cuales destacan el porcentaje de clicks esperado, la relevancia del anuncio en la palabra clave y la experiencia del usuario en la página de destino.

    Reply
  5. Robert
    Robert says:

    Search engine optimization is the key if implemented at the right time and it makes a good investment for the growing businesses worldwide. Top-of-the-line-article!

    Reply
  6. Quamarion Johnson
    Quamarion Johnson says:

    Greetings,
    You have given us so much information, I did not know about all of the myths I’m glad I found your blog before I tried any of these myself especially paying for links. SEO is a legitimate must when marketing, I have recently gotten into marketing with https://www.asmondmarketing.com/ and I have so much more to learn, but thanks to you I can move forward and avoid the myths that are out there
    Thank You,

    Reply
  7. Sara L. Bryant
    Sara L. Bryant says:

    It was helpful when you explained that SEO helps to promote brand authority for our business. The company I work for has been discussing ways to attract new customers. Thanks for helping me see why hiring SEO services would help us accomplish that goal!

    Reply
  8. Aaron Taylor
    Aaron Taylor says:

    SEO allows your website to be found in search results pages (SERPs) corresponding to specific search queries with relevant key terms for your small business. Including keywords and key terms throughout your website content is the best way to ensure that your website will rank well in the results pages for related search queries.

    Reply
  9. james
    james says:

    It was helpful when you explained that SEO helps to promote brand authority for our business.
    The company I work for has been discussing ways to attract new customers.
    Thanks for helping me see why hiring SEO services would help us accomplish that goal!

    Reply
  10. Tribe D
    Tribe D says:

    Thank you so much for such an amazing blog, did you know what is SEO, Why SEO is Important for business? What are the benefits of doing SEO? learn all this by reading our blog on the website. Tribe-D provides the best SEO services in Pakistan at affordable rates.

    Reply
  11. annie
    annie says:

    I read your article, You shared such great information. SEO is important! It has a great part in marketing businesses, especially that we have shifted heavily on digital now. Thanks

    Reply
  12. Minnesota llc
    Minnesota llc says:

    I think business during this pandemic, I’m sure you need it. Besides, you need to protect your company from risks. The best measure is that you should set up a limited company to be able to take precautions
    Hedging and protecting your assets.

    Reply
  13. Minnesota llc
    Minnesota llc says:

    hank you your sharing.I look it for my company.I think business during this pandemic, I’m sure you need it. Besides, you need to protect your company from risks. The best measure is that you should set up a limited company to be able to take precautions hedging and protecting your assets.

    Reply
  14. Shariq Khan
    Shariq Khan says:

    Thank you for describing such a difficult topic in such an easy manner. I learned so many things about Search Engine Optimization through your blog. Please keep posting such good content. Top SEO Karachi

    Reply
  15. Concrete Mark
    Concrete Mark says:

    Great article. In 2021, we’ve noticed that Google is taking major preference to well-structured sites that are fast, have well-written content (not spammy, nor thin), as well as the use of multi-media in pages, for example, a webpage with a relevant video that supports the content and answers questions in a different format has the likelihood of a higher stick time and higher stick time, the better the results. Also have a good on-site experience is becoming more relevant as most of the traffic is now mobile.

    Reply
  16. SEO Agency Baltimore
    SEO Agency Baltimore says:

    I am so happy I found your blog and I absolutely love your information about SEO for small business websites and it is wonderful to know about so many things that are useful for all of us! Thanks a lot for this amazing blog!!

    Reply
  17. Acanyon
    Acanyon says:

    Respected Sir/Madam,

    I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for having such a nice blog where I have seen some of the amazing posts posted by you.

    I have a website where I used to share valuable content for visitors.

    I will be grateful to you if you take a moment and see whether you can publish new content from me.

    I will be waiting for your positive response eagerly.

    Hope to hear back from you soon.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Acanyon Marketing Agency
    Mobile: 8849583257

    Reply
  18. sachin
    sachin says:

    Thank you for describing such a difficult topic in such an easy manner. I learned so many things about Search Engine Optimization through your blog. Please keep posting such good content

    Reply
  19. kshitij
    kshitij says:

    Great informative blog. Actually, this is the info needed. Read 4-5 blogs before this but just long paragraphs and not so relevant information. I had to appreciate this anyhow. Well, I hope you have a good day.

    Reply
  20. Desy Serona
    Desy Serona says:

    While SEO is also important to learn and use SEO in our business, let us not forget that we must be vigilant to the people that we hire. Atleast we must have basic knowledge black hat and white hat and how it can affect our website

    Reply
  21. umer
    umer says:

    We have much experience in SEO and Digital Marketing. We are providing the best SEO in Pakistan that you want for yourself or for your clients.

    Reply
  22. seo wIth campaigner
    seo wIth campaigner says:

    Hello,

    I read the article and it’s a pretty good one. The article speaks about the real truth many agencies hide. I have a small question? Whether running google ads for my website influence the organic results? If relevant traffic comes in, there are high chances that influencing the organic result. Let me know your idea on my thoughts?

    Reply
  23. Weboney Designs
    Weboney Designs says:

    Hi!
    I read your article. It is very useful for beginners. You Shared very useful information in this article. I with Shared also my friends. You Need more details about SEO I also shared in my article.

    Reply
  24. Navneet Singh
    Navneet Singh says:

    Mesmerized article written on this blog with other relevant information. It is straight to the point that how we can improve our skills as well as how we can be represented to a new stream of professionalism.

    Reply
  25. Navneet Singh
    Navneet Singh says:

    Sometime few educational blogs become very helpful while getting relevant and new information related to your targeted area. As I found this blog and appreciate the information delivered to my database.

    Reply
  26. edmonton ppc
    edmonton ppc says:

    Thanks a bunch for sharing this. It’s definitely useful information for small businesses. Although, the only downside to this would be the complexity of the work. It may be basic, but SEO is still one of the most difficult strategies to implement.

    Reply
  27. Nathan Giri
    Nathan Giri says:

    Content, brand authority, and local presence are the three most important components of any SEO campaign. SEO is critical. It plays an important role in business marketing, especially now that we are heavily reliant on digital. Thank you for taking the time to write this article. It’s easy to read while still providing useful information.

    Reply
  28. hanif mia
    hanif mia says:

    Hi sir,
    Welcome to my comments/reply. I read above the post. The post is very helpful about buyer and saler. If any buyer has needed Complete on page and off page seo optimization, I’m here. I’ve more service for him. This offer is very high promotion your site with low amount. Please visit my service and check this. I’m sure this is best choice for you. Thanks.
    Links- https://www.fiverr.com/share/mQvaqx

    Reply
  29. hanif mia
    hanif mia says:

    Hi sir,
    Welcome to my comments/reply. I read above the post. The post is very helpful about buyer and seller. If any buyer has needed on-page SEO optimization, I’m here. I’ve more service for him. This offer is very high promotion your site with low amount. Please visit my service and check this. I’m sure this is best choice for you. Thanks.
    Links- https://www.fiverr.com/share/Ek1Z3y

    Reply
  30. Freelancing Training
    Freelancing Training says:

    I really like your writing, I have learned a lot of unknown facts from the writing. After much searching, I found a site full of such facts. I have bookmarked the link and will tell my friends to come to visit this website

    Reply
  31. Lee Osman
    Lee Osman says:

    Seattle Airport black car service Seattle is a private limousine rental from Elegant Touch Limos for you. Companies run through authorized franchisees that can provide a vehicle for your needs and aspirations. Our goal is to give everyone a chance to have a memorable, enjoyable, and safe experience. So you can expect a high level of service, commitment, and care from us. We also offer special offers for corporate accounts. Provide 100% clean sterile car service. Welcome to Seattle Airport Services.
    Seattle Airport Black car service is Smaller than the Cadillac Escalade Limousine but just as comfortable with a very powerful engine will give you the pleasure of traveling.
    Our service strives to give you the best experience in our beautiful natural environment that lands on your journey. Make your trip fresh and colorful. To make a reservation call +1 (800) 774-5258 or fill out our online form. The black car service Seattle area airports Washington-powered transportation is always looking to serve you. If you have any other questions about our service, feel free to ask. Our sincerity is desirable for all of you.

    Reply
  32. junaid mirza
    junaid mirza says:

    Thank you so much for such an amazing blog, did you know what is SEO, Why SEO is Important for business? What are the benefits of doing SEO? learn all this by reading our blog on the website. Tribe-D provides the best SEO services in Pakistan at affordable rates.

    Reply
  33. Lee Osman
    Lee Osman says:

    International logistics company in USA
    International logistics company in USA Lee Logistics is a full-service logistics provider. We handle all the headaches for you so that you can focus on your core business. We offer port-to-door delivery services locally and to countries around the world. Get a free quote today and make your shipping experience less stressful.

    Reply
  34. Kanishka Bhardwaj
    Kanishka Bhardwaj says:

    Great , I read this article and I found it very different from the other as it contain much more useful information then the others .And its is very useful for the beginners . The part of your article I like the most is when you describe your content by focusing on the myths which is created on the search engine about SEO. Thankyou to provide the such great information fluently.

    Reply
  35. Kanishka Bhardwaj
    Kanishka Bhardwaj says:

    Great , I read this article and I found it very different from the other as it contain much more useful information then the others .And its is very useful for the beginners . The part of your article I like the most is when you describe your content by focusing on the myths which is created on the search engine about SEO. Thankyou to provide the such valid information fluently.

    Reply
  36. Sadan Ali
    Sadan Ali says:

    I read your article thoroughly. And it almost took me more than 10 minutes to read and understand your opinion. Well, according to me, this article is absolutely unbiased and explains real SEO. I truly don’t prefer any paid campings of backlinks for my website. Thanks for the content, and keep posting!

    Reply
  37. Balaji Saravanan
    Balaji Saravanan says:

    Google is getting smarter each and every day, Even if we do anything suspicious to make rank on Google they can penalize your website. Having said that keyword is the important part of going ahead of your competition and ranking on Google. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful article.

    Reply
  38. Digiplic
    Digiplic says:

    I learned some new things about SEO for small businesses after reading this post. As an SEO professional, those myths were acceptable. Thank you for informing us of these facts.

    Reply
  39. Pavan k
    Pavan k says:

    Backlinks and Search engine results ranking are inter-related. Know how?
    So, a webpage would need more backlinks to rank and you need to rank higher in the SERP for others to notice and give backlink to.
    For this to happen you need to find your focus keywords with good search volume if not so high yet the competition is low in terms of content written around this topic. Follow this process to good to go!

    Reply
  40. Nabeel
    Nabeel says:

    A well written article on seo for small business website. It was concise and informative but i believe you could have added in keywords to target low volume ones for on page that would be fruitful for small businesses

    Reply
  41. Henry Killingsworth
    Henry Killingsworth says:

    Thank you for helping me to understand that SEO is used to help more people find your website. I would think that increasing the traffic to your website would eventually result in more sales. More money is the goal of almost every business, so investing in SEO makes a lot of sense.

    Reply
  42. Chloe Lopez
    Chloe Lopez says:

    Really very informative and the way you present your information attracts visitors to read a more informative blog from your website. Check out San Diego SEO specialist

    Reply
  43. Anjali
    Anjali says:

    The article is very important for small business websites and the five myths help to clear every single topic and explain very deeply thanks for providing such useful information to us and the video mentioned in the article visualizes every point clearly.

    Reply
  44. Ken milton
    Ken milton says:

    Each and every newbie should read through this helpful SEO advice before diving right into the practice. You specifically point out the crucial places that should be avoided at all costs in order to stay out of Google’s bad books. You’re welcome. I covered in-depth on-page and off-page SEO walkthroughs in a similar post that I believe your readers will find useful. Try taking a look at it and let me know your thoughts. I’ll return to see if you have responded.

    Reply
  45. SEO Mohali
    SEO Mohali says:

    Thanks for sharing the detailed post about SEO. The content is very informative. It will help every search engine optimizer improve their SEO services skills and boost their business online.

    Reply
  46. Sobi tech
    Sobi tech says:

    I am a big fan of the informative blog and this blog is one of the best. The blog has lots of great content, it is very well written and easy to understand. I have found some useful information on this blog and I will be referring it to my friends and family.

    Reply
  47. Stanley Wilson
    Stanley Wilson says:

    A well-written article on SEO for a small business website. It was concise and informative but I believe you could have added keywords to target low-volume ones for on the page that would be fruitful for small businesses.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.