SEO is a topic which many small business owners find a confusing part of Marketing their business. There is no doubt about it, it is a large area of Marketing which involves many different skill sets and disciplines.
We asked SEO experts if they could give us their number one SEO tactic for small business in 2017 - the answers are surprisingly varied, which has resulted in a fantastic SEO resource we hope you’ll enjoy.
Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Friendly
For a small business to gain a competitive edge it is important this year more than any to have your mobile SEO strategy in place.
Later this year Google will most likely be rolling out its 'Mobile 1st' algorithm which means Google will be evaluating and ranking sites based on the quality of the mobile version rather than desktop, as it is now.
If you don't have a 'mobile friendly' website then this should be your main focus in 2017, ideally by creating a responsive/adaptive site that changes dimensions based upon device, or alternatively a specific m.domain.
When this is in place then all your On-Site SEO activity should be planned with mobile in mind.
Alex Maclennan SEO @ Appleyard London
Use Customer Insight To Create More Searchable Content
A good approach to doing SEO, especially in a competitive space, is by blogging and sharing information about topics your target audience would find interesting and are actively searching for. But don't just blog for the sake of blogging or because you heard the phrase ‘Content is King’. Instead, make a list of the questions you get asked frequently.
You could look through emails from customers or make a note after having a direct conversation over the phone or in person. These topics are gold, as you know they want the information. Now, not only can you save time by pointing them in the direction of your blog posts when you get asked the same question, but you also increase your ability to get found in Google when someone is searching for that question. There's a direct and indirect benefit and that's how I approach SEO.
Neil is SEO and Director of Your Brand Found
Image Optimisation Is Key!
Make sure you name your images correctly with the keywords you want to be found for, if you're selling red running shoes, call the image name red-running-shoes.jpg and use the ALT tags as well. Don’t just leave it with the filename from the camera or manufacturer.
Jamie Gemmell from Search Jam
A Well Crafted Content Marketing Campaign Sets You Apart From Your Competitors
Publish valuable content such as guides, points of views, how-to's, reports or case studies for your target audience on your website and on relevant platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. Publish regularly on podcasts and on guest blogs to improve your presence and to develop yourself as an authority in your niche.
It will be easier to rank your site and generate the types of links that your competitors won't be able to acquire.
Essentially, it is a well-crafted content marketing campaign. When it works, it works extremely well.
David is a published author and Director of Business Growth Digital Marketing
Reverse Engineer Google Searches For Backlinks
Google search terms your content is targeting, to gather a list of popular blog posts or companies performing well in search results. Use backlink tools like Moz's Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs.com to see what websites are linking to these good performing pages. Then reverse engineer how to get listed on these websites. It could be with submission, partnership, paid sponsorship or many other options.
Joshua Uebergang Director of Shopify marketing agency Digital Darts
Use Images To Build Backlinks
Far too many people are focused on guest posts and sponsored posts for building links. Not only is this time-consuming, it's also not very interesting or varied, and if these are your main link building tactics then your backlink profile is going to be fairly plain and unvaried.
Most blogs and online publications are crying out for images that they can use, and if you have original imagery you can allow these publications to use it, provided that they link back to you.
Sam Williamson is the SEO Executive for Scotland Shop
Local Is Very Important For Small Business in 2017
Local SEO is even more important in 2017 so make sure your NAP (Name, Address & Phone number) is identical on every citation source. Your website details should be listed in the same format on Yelp, Google MyBusiness, Facebook, and any local directories. This helps Google understand that your business is legitimate and ‘permanent’.
Keith Lang SEO at Digital Consulting
An SSL Certificate Will Show Google You Mean Business
Google are upping the game with respect to ‘excellent sites’ vs ‘just another one of these’ and are actively penalising those which are insecure. A quick win to show Google you mean business is to ensure your site is secure with an SSL-certificate. If you've got a little green padlock in your address bar, you're good - if not, get one!
Alex SEO from Martingale Marketing
Use Video To Increase Time On Page
Use lots of video… but not just for better user experience. Video helps increase dwell time – the amount of time people spend on your page. Google pays attention to what happens AFTER the click as they want to ensure people are enjoying the search results that they are serving up. The longer the dwell time, the better.
Carrie Wood is Chief Marketing Officer for Lease Ref
Use 'People Also Ask' to Find Featured Snippet Opportunities
Perform a search in the form of a question and chances are you'll see Google's list of suggested questions people also ask about your topic. This is an easy way to find longtail queries to target and potentially steal featured snippets from competitors. If you expand the list, chances are you'll find some 'answers' that are out of date, not localised or incomplete. Answer the same question on your own site and you may just poach some prime real estate on the results page.
Lachlan Wells SEO from Optimising.com.au
Focus On Creating Content Around Longtail Keywords
Find phrases that are 3-5 words long. They might only get 10-100 searches/month according to Adwords. But you’ll get more traffic than you realise because:
1. There are tons of keywords you’ll rank for.
2. The keyword tool doesn’t give all information of the exact search.
Whichever route you pursue, once you've created the 10x content, reach out to get influencers to share their views. In doing so, not only will they often help promote the article, if you target the right influencers sometimes you can get a natural link from them when they blog about your topic.
Jason Quey Digital Storyteller from Storytellermarketer
Use Customer Reviews To Boost Your Rankings
Improve your visibility in Google and increase traffic to your site with online reviews. They're perhaps the most underutilised BUT easiest SEO tactic at the moment. Start asking your customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing and other review sites (but not Yelp!). Make sure you publish reviews on your site and mark them up with Schema!
Quentin Aisbett Digital Marketeer from OnQ Marketing
Have A Content Promotion Strategy From The Start
Always have a promotion strategy when planning blog content. This means conducting your ideation around topics that can provide relevant long tail ranking opportunities, then source material from people that you can reach out to and let them know they are featured to encourage sharing, and maybe a backlink if it really speaks to them. Also, be sure to leverage this technique to grow your influencer network.
Nick, SEO from Web Profits
Optimise Your Key Meta Titles For Search
Nail the Title Tag with the right Keywords for each page on your site. That is the single most important SEO tip. If your pages are titled "home" and "about us" you will never be found!
Adam, SEO from Imwave.com
Infographics Are Still A Great Tactic For Gaining Links
In 2017, search engines have evolved to being intelligent enough to determine whether information which is organic is informative and adds to the user experience or not. A fundamental part of our SEO campaign are infographics which add value to the reader. Humans are very visual creatures and infographics are exceptionally linkable.
Rob Williams Director of Hawthorn
We hope you have enjoyed these tactics! A little note, we did not sway the experts in any way, they were simply asked to give their best tip. This is a great example and showcase of how vast the topic of SEO is and how each individual part of an SEO strategy works together to get those all-important rankings.
If you are an SEO or Digital Marketeer and would like use to add your top tip to this list, comment below or send us an email and we will include it.
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Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Content Marketing Freelancer @ Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)