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.
Craft Quality Content
While word count does play a role, the quality and relevance of your content are paramount. To rank for specific terms like “Toronto corporate law firm,” it’s not enough to just mention these words; your content must provide valuable information that addresses the needs and questions of your audience. Aim for comprehensive coverage of your topic that naturally incorporates your target keywords. Remember, the goal is to engage readers, not just to hit a word count. Quality content that resonates with your audience and provides genuine value is what sets you apart in the eyes of both users and search engines.
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
Securing links from other reputable websites in your industry is more than just a mutual recommendation. It’s about establishing your site’s authority and trustworthiness. Instead of just exchanging links, focus on creating valuable content that others naturally want to link to. Engage with your industry community, participate in relevant discussions, and contribute guest posts to respected publications. Remember, the quality of links is far more important than quantity. A single link from a well-regarded site in your niche can be worth more than dozens of low-quality links.