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If you’re a small business looking to take advantage of the power of Google, you’ve come to the right place! I’m breaking down 11 essential SEO tips for small businesses that are easy to implement and should be top of mind this year.
Here’s a quick overview of the small business SEO tips and tricks I’ll be going over in more detail…
Let’s get started!
If you’re a TSMC Insider and get The Friday Five, a weekly newsletter spotlighting 5 key takeaways from the week related to SEO, digital marketing, social media, Squarespace, and even some lifestyle content thrown in there, then you know 2021 was the year of the title tag rewrite.
First, let’s take a step back. Title tags, also known as page titles, are an HTML element that specifies the title of a webpage. They tell both users and search engines like Google the topic of the page, and they help search engines determine if the content of the page will be relevant to a searcher’s query.
Title tags appear in the following places…
Now that you know what a title tag or page title is, here are some easy tips for writing simple yet strategic title tags to (hopefully) avoid Google from rewriting them…
Similar to title tags, image alt tags are an HTML element that tells search engines like Google what an image is. If for some reason an image is unable to load correctly, the image alt text can appear on the website.
Image alt tags are also crucial for website accessibility as the alt text is read by screen readers to tell the website visitor that one, there is an image, and two, what that image is.
With this in mind, you can see why it’s crucial to optimize your image alt tags for both search engines and accessibility. Here are some tips for writing the best image alt tags…
Similar to image alt tags, content structure and use of headings are essential for search engines like Google and screen readers. They also help website visitors understand and read the content more easily, and let’s be honest – they help people skim the content.
When it comes to headings, they typically range from H1 to H4. H1 is the most important headline of the page and/or blog post. H1 tags should only be used once per page. From there, the heading tags are used in order of importance. You’ll notice that H1 tags are the largest text and the H4 is the smallest of the headings.
Let’s take this blog post as an example….
There are two (2) H2 tags in this blog post:
Do you know those blog posts for recipes where it takes 10 minutes to even get to the actual meat and potatoes of the recipe? (food pun not intended). Well, a lot of that is filler or fluff content. Since recipes don’t contain a high word count, there is some benefit of describing the entire backstory of a simple chocolate chip cookie recipe.
Other times, it’s a bunch of filler content to help incorporate their target keyword and other keyword variations in hopes of helping their SEO. These filler sentences provide no value to website visitors and can almost be seen as a blackhat SEO technique – a big no-no.
People are busy and screen readers are smart, don’t add fluff content to your website or blog posts just to make them longer. Share your knowledge and insight…but get to the point (and use your keywords strategically without keyword stuffing).
Internal links are links on your website that link to another page, product, blog post, etc on your website. Internal links are designed to keep website visitors navigating through your site, which in turn helps to keep them on your site longer. The longer people stay on your website, the better for SEO.
For example, if someone is reading this blog post on SEO strategies for 2022, I know that they are interested in SEO content. Because of that, I’ve included a “Related” content link under various sections that link to other relevant SEO-related blog posts. These are all inbound links.
When it comes to optimizing internal linking opportunities, you don’t want to link to all of the internal pages and blog posts you have, just like you don’t want to keyword stuff. Be strategic and evaluate what will be beneficial for your website visitors and your business. Make sure it is related to the content and that the anchor text is optimized (which takes us to the next SEO tip).
Simply put, anchor text is the string of words that are hyperlinked to another page, website, and/or document. When it comes to anchor text and SEO, you want to ensure the string of words being linked is strategically selected. It should be succinct and refer to the nature of the content and/or website and avoid keyword stuffing.
There are a few different types of anchor text to be aware of…
Deep linking is a type of internal linking that is even more strategically optimized. Typically with internal links, your anchor text or button is going to a different singular page and/or blog post. With deep linking, you are linking to a specific part of a blog post or page.
Deep linking examples include anchor text linking to a specific text passage in the blog post, a specific image, and jump links. You can see jump links in action in the What is SEO and Why is it Important blog post. An example of a deep link would be a link that goes specifically to the types of links important to link building section of that same blog post.
I see this far too often and it is quite a pet peeve of mine. A great blog post title (aka H1 tag), maybe it’s even a bit clickbait in nature, but it pulls me in and leads me to believe it is going to be a robust blog post, jam-packed with information and step-by-step processes.
And it ends up falling oh so short.
Do not gatekeep your knowledge. I repeat, do not gatekeep your knowledge.
I get it, you think that by providing too much information and educational resources for free that you are going to turn your audience and ideal client away from working 1:1 with you, signing up for your course, or buying a digital product from your shop. That may be the case for a very, very select few but with the majority, it helps to build trust and showcases you as an expert and authority in the space.
And that is what will turn them into paying clients!
Instead of being fearful of sharing information, rephrase it and ask yourself how can you make a piece of educational content 10x better than what is already out there. This is what I refer to as “10x content.” It’s a different viewpoint, a more streamlined process, a unique approach, a more in-depth guide compared to other resources on the same topic.
Have you ever tried to access a link and you see a message on the website that says “Page does not exist?” That is called a 404 error, a type of HTTP status code.
An HTTP status code is a message that a website’s server sends to the browser (ie: Google) to indicate whether or not that request can be fulfilled. There are a few different types of HTTP status codes…
With your website, you want to ensure you have a custom 404-page setup. We’re all human and no matter how many times you check every button and link on your website, something may have slipped through the cracks. This ensures website visitors still have a seamless and branded experience, and helps to not disrupt the user experience too much.
On your 404 page, keep the text or copy short and sweet. A witty or funny headline is a great way to start, and be sure to include a search bar or navigation back to your home page or popular pages/blog posts on your website so the user can continue to navigate.
Unpopular opinion – I’m not a fan of accelerated mobile pages. There, I said it! Accelerated mobile pages, AMP for short, are a stripped-down version of your website that helps page speed and loading time on mobile. Now yes, a quick loading site is great for user experience.
With AMP though, all of the customizations and branding elements from your site go away. If you worked with a Squarespace website designer like me on a custom website, all of that hard work doesn’t get to be seen on mobile with AMP activated.
When using AMP, you technically have to manage 2 versions of your website and optimize both…which means they are essentially competing against each other. Call me crazy, but having your site compete against itself seems extremely counterproductive.
If you’re curious what the AMP version of your blog looks like, you can get a sneak peek by adding a bit of text to the end of the blog post URL. So if you’re blog post URL is https://mywebsiterocks.com/best-blog-post, you’ll instead use https://mywebsiterocks.com/best-blog-post?format=amp.
If you’re a Squarespace website user, you can check to see if you have AMP enabled or disabled in a few easy steps…
If you’re still on the fence about enabling or disabling AMP, here are a few things to note about AMP in Squarespace…
You don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on fancy SEO tools or platforms to have a successful SEO strategy. Not every small business has the funds to do so, the staff to manage it, or the interest in the super high-level info they provide.
Sometimes, the basics are all you need and there are various free SEO tools that can help improve your SEO strategy. I like to call these freemium tools because although they are free, the insights and data they provide are very impactful when it comes to improving your SEO strategy.
Some free SEO tools you can use for your small business include…
Google PageSpeed Insights
As you prioritize the power of Google and search engine optimization, be sure to keep these 11 SEO tips for small businesses in mind.
If you enjoyed this blog post, you’ll want to check out these SEO resources, too!
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Through strategic Showit website design and done-for-you search engine optimization, I work with innovative and creative business owners like you to build magazine-worthy websites that effortlessly attract your ideal client—so much so that they’ll never want to leave.
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