Here are 7 essential SEO tips for small business websites.

First of all, what is SEO and what does it have to do with my small business?


SEO is an initialism for Search Engine Optimization. It's the process of coding and detailing your web page content in a way that will improve the ranking of that content in search engines. SEO may sound like a "techie" expression reserved for large corporate endeavors, but no, every website and web page you own should be search engine optimized.


Looking at it this way - If your pages are not search engine optimized, then Google will bury you so far down in the rankings, that you just won't see any benefit from people that are actually searching for whatever it is that you sell. So if you're going to have website for your local business, it makes more than a lot of sense to make it competitive in search engine rankings.


Google is now ranking websites with mobile design higher than websites without.

Given that mobile is accountable for more than half of all website traffic, it makes sense that Google will make this a major factor in determining if its search engine will send you traffic. Google is all about providing their users with the best results, to whatever it is they are looking for, so they want those results to have quality content, and that means being able to view all of your web content easily on a mobile phone., tablet or any device at all.


The best way to be sure your website is mobile compliant, is to make the design responsive, meaning it adjusts to the size of the device being used, without loss of content or quality.


When done properly, page titles add click incentive for search as well as ranking power.

This is one of the most frequent errors found on small business websites that really hurts their SEO rankings. the source of this common error is usually because an amateur or inexperienced individual created the website to begin with. Family member, friend, even the owner themselves, so something like proper page titles is not common knowledge.


Your page shouldn't just be titled HOME or ABOUT. You have to add a snippet behind that, such as "best lawn mower repair service" or "All natural fresh baked breads".  That snippet shows in search results, and is often the tipping point as to why people might click on your page showing up there.


Let your social media presence help your SEO rankings - by simply being there.

It doesn't take much to create a Facebook page for your operation, but so many local stores will just think it's a waste of time - it's exactly the opposite! It helps with your marketing, your brand, your promotions and yes your SEO. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all free to use and easy to sign up for.


Being at least moderately social allows your fans and followers to help you increase your exposure, as well as creating a valid foundation of your very existence. Every mention, share, photo and post about your business is confirmation to Google that you are an active local business that users want to hear more about. That's why it will help you in your website's ranking for competitive search terms.


Creating an account in Google is a basic necessity for any small business.

In case you haven't noticed, Google has a slew of products besides just search. There is Gmail, Maps, Google MyBusiness, Google Analytics, G+, and of course Youtube. You can start by creating a gmail account for your business, then use that same sign-in to create adjoining accounts.


The most important one however is Google MyBusiness where you create a profile for your small business that includes location and maps, store hours, products, photos, logo, etc. There is also feedback benefits to this with google reviews which further validates your website.


Having your business listed in multiple directory listings is a best practice to earn ranking legitimacy.

Directory listings are bursting with authority themselves, so having your business listed with them, is an effective way to establish your search results. Best of all, listing your business is free - even though some services have additional up-sell packages, it is not necessary to pay for them.


Such listing websites would be Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, Better Business Bureau, City Search, Yellow Pages, Canada Direct, Angie' List, etc. It may take a few hours of work to claim several of these listings, but definitely one of the best things you can do to establish your small business when linking back to your website. Just be sure to submit your address and phone in an identical, accurate way with each listing.


Keep it simple and reflective to your business, and don't cheap out on sub-domains.

When choosing your domain name, the rule should be simple is best. Keep it to who you are and what you do. Jim + Bakery = jimbakery.com, City + Auto Mechanic = OttawaAutoRepair.com, etc. This way, you name will match the actual search terms being typed into Google, and that's a positive signal for your website!


Another issue is small business owners who try to go real cheap, and avoid buying their own domain, using free services like paulthemechanic.wordpress.com or jimsbakery.blogger.com. That is not only unprofessional, it's detracts from your search results. ay the few buck for a real name, and use .COM whenever you can, no matter what country your business is located.


Google does not rank websites, it ranks web pages!

A one page website is better than nothing, but to get get ranked for multiple keywords associated with your business, you should have a page for each one you want to compete for. Now they should be related to your entire website, but break down your small business into categories and make a page for each such as - cakes, cupcakes, wedding cakes, anniversary cakes, birthday cakes, carrot cakes, cakes with dancers inside - whatever your business does - make a page for it.


An easy way to get all these pages is to simply write blog posts for each one with an associated picture. Put some new content up regularly, and soon you'll have a website full of pertinent content.

Now that wasn't too hard was it?


The reality is that most small businesses do not have good SEO, and more often than not, it is inadequate. They just don't realize the value in it - being income opportunity lost. Although this list may seem like a monumental to-do list, it really isn't if you attack it in stages. Once a week sit down and make it a point to do something to improve your website. Alternatively, you can hire a small business marketing pro to do it for you, while you tend to what YOU know best - YOUR business!