Wed 26 Feb 2014 | By:

Small Business SEO 101: Your Quick-Start Guide

Small Business SEOWhen you’re building your startup business’ presence online, there are number of things you need to do in order to be successful.

In this guide, I’m going to talk about two of the biggest factors in online marketing that can make or break your business.

By understanding how to use Small Business Search Engine Optimization and Keyword Research to your advantage, you will drastically improve your traffic and customer engagement.


What Is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. There are a number of SEO tricks that will help you optimize your website and your marketing online in a way that makes it more appealing to search engines (it’s also known as making your website more SEO friendly).

SEO isn’t the be-all, end-all of any website, but it is extremely important. No matter what business you’re in, it’s likely that your customers will do a “Google search” when they’re looking for help from a business in your industry.

If your website is SEO friendly, you are more likely to be the number one choice in search engine results, and more customers will end up visiting your site.

In reality, over 40% of people who do a search on a search engine like Google will visit the first website that appears in the search results, so that’s exactly where you want to be.


How Does SEO Work?

The common SEO analytics that you need to keep an eye on are always changing, so it’s important to stay on top of the most recent trends in SEO.

However, the goals of SEO always remain the same; you want to write great content that is relevant to your customers, and have other authoritative websites link to your site.

Writing great content for the web can be tricky, especially if you’ve been trained in the traditional style of writing, a style that is more often used when writing books or magazine articles. Structuring each page so it targets one specific keyword is essential when writing high-quality, SEO optimized content.

After your content is properly optimized, the next step is to start doing what’s known as off-page SEO. This type of search engine optimization involves marketing online by utilizing other websites, forums, and blogs to get links back to your website.

One of the ways that major search engines like Google and Bing are able to determine a website’s authority and industry is by seeing how many other websites linked to that site. Think of a website linking to yours as a “vote” in the eyes of search engines.

Both Google and Bing have spent many millions of dollars building algorithms to help them distinguish underhanded SEO tricks from legitimate links, so don’t think that you can fool them with ‘black-hat’ strategies like buying 5000 links for $5 on Fiverr.

It’s just not a good idea.

Small Business Search Engine Optimization 101

If you want to determine whether your SEO efforts are working, it’s important to know which SEO metrics to focus on.

The most common analysis tools will constantly track the search terms that you are trying to rank for (Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools are my personal favorites).

By tracking the keywords your business website targets over time, you’ll see if your SEO efforts are paying off based on whether you go up or down in the search engine rankings.

Remember, most of the other websites in your niche/industry are also trying to rank for those keywords, so you have to go above and beyond whatever it is they’re doing if you want to stay ahead.

Ultimately, by being smart about your promotion efforts, more visitors will flock to you. Tracking the number of visitors that you get on a weekly or monthly basis will help you determine if your SEO marketing efforts are effective.


Some Small Business SEO Tricks:


If you follow these simple SEO tricks, the end result will be a website that you’ll be proud to call yours. If you’re having trouble figuring out what to write about, or you want to know what people are searching for in your chosen niche, you need to focus on keyword research.

For a more extensive look at SEO, please check out The Beginners Guide To SEO by Moz. It should clear up any other questions you may have.


What Is Keyword Research?

When your building a website for your business, keyword research is the one thing that you should prioritize. Keyword research will let you compare the number of search queries for terms related to your industry.

For example, if you’re trying to build a website around surfing, it would be helpful to know whether more people search for places to buy a surfboard or if they are searching for information on how to surf. This will let you structure your content accordingly.

On top of using keyword research to understand the popularity of your chosen niche, it can also help you figure what to write about. If you look at the most popular keywords in any given niche, you will get a good idea of what type of information people are looking for.

If you were to write an article that was focused on every popular keyword in your niche, it’s likely that you would quickly become an authority in your industry.


How Do You Do Keyword Research?

In reality, the answer is simple. There are a number of tools that will show you how many people are searching for a specific term every month.

Google offers a free keyword research tool as part of their AdWords package called the Keyword Planner Tool, but you can also find this information from external paid tools like SEMRush or Long Tail Pro.

Here is a quick look on how to use the Keyword Planner Tool with the JM Internet Group:

For example:

If you are running a landscaping business, you might know that people need different types of landscaping help, but you’re not sure what people are really looking for when they search for landscapers online.

Taking a quick look at Google’s Keyword Planner, you might find that ‘lawn mowing services’ is a far more popular search term than something like ‘landscaping help’.

This type of keyword research also extends into SEO as well. If you wanted to utilize keyword research in SEO, you would build links back to your site using the keyword ‘lawn mowing services’ as the link text.

This would be a much more ‘valuable’ link from a SEO perspective.


Some Keyword Research Tips:

For more information on keyword research, you should read Brian Dean’s Definitive Guide To Keyword Research. It’s an awesome resource for beginners and experts alike.


Getting your business online will take time, but spending some of that time learning about keyword research and SEO will drastically improve the speed at which you see results.

By focusing on using keyword research to structure your content and decide what search terms you want to rank for, having a plan set in place, and then using SEO techniques to actually rank your business website in search engine, you will take a big leap forward in building your business online.

About Ryan James

Half hardworking hermit, half avid adventurer, Ryan founded Startup Savant to simplify entrepreneurship and pay it forward by donating a portion of all revenue to support children's education via