This blog is mainly dedicated to more advanced techniques, however here is an introductory rundown for those new to the space.
So you’re a small business, and you have a website, but you want to rank higher on Google. This process is called search engine optimization, or SEO. Since 2009, I’ve been studying the hundreds of factors that affect the rankings. I’m now going to summarize a few points that I have for small businesses who are just starting to get interested in SEO.
Submit your URL to Google
You need to check if your website is indexed at all by Google. Simply use the search query below to check if your site is indexed. If your website comes up, you’re safe. If it doesn’t display any results, then you need to submit it here. This is mainly just for new websites.
List your website in local directories
Start with submitting your website to Google Maps. Then add it to YellowPages, Yelp and any other speciality directory that applies. If you run a dog kennel, maybe search “dog kennel directory.” This may bring direct traffic to your business, but the main focus here is links and mentions of your website name. The more mentions, the higher you will rank, essentially. It’s more complicated than this, but it’s all you need to understand.
Create social profiles
I’m not asking you to become a social rockstar, but if you can start up a Facebook page, get 50 likes and post a photo once a month, Google will be able to determine that you’re a legit business.
Write tons of content
Word count and word relevancy is very important on your website. If you want to rank for the phrase “Toronto corporate law firm” then you need to mention each of those 4 words in your homepage article, at least once or twice. You also want to have as many words as you possibly can. 300 is enough, but 500 words should be your goal. I’ve seen the best businesses hit even more words.
Once you’re on Google Maps, it’s very helpful to have a few reviews, again to prove you’re a legit business. I manage the SEO strategy for a very large motorsports rental company and over the years, we have built up to over 80 reviews on Google Maps. We are one of the most-reviewed companies in that industry in Canada and are ranking #1.
Get links to your site
You want other companies in your industry to link to your website. If you’re a restaurant, and you often recommend a local comedy club, you guys should link to each other. You can have a “partners” page and link to the comedy club and they will reciprocate. This is one example, but there are many ways to get links to your site. Google values links to your website.