The Ultimate List of Small Business SEO Tips 2018

What is SEO in 2018?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for companies in 2018 is the culmination of technical, analytical and creative processes that all work together to improve the visibility of a website in search engine results. In the world of marketing, it functions as the main way to drive more unpaid traffic to a website that converts into more sales and customers for the business owner.

We have compiled a massive list of free SEO tips that are designed to help you build a successful SEO friendly website for your business.

Digital Jumpsuit has over a decade of experience in making websites rank highly in Google search results. If you require any optimisation services please see our Search Engine Optimisation, Local SEO, Copywriting, Pay Per Click Management and Social Media Management services.

SEO Tips for Small Businesses

Let’s start with a list of tips for doing SEO for your local business. This list is quite exhaustive, but it will give you some inspiration for the direction you need to take with your online marketing and SEO strategies.

  1. If you don’t do any SEO, you won’t get any visitors from search engines. This is because search engines won’t know how to categorise or rank your website for relevant keywords for your business.
  2. You will require both on-site SEO and off-site SEO are needed for a successful SEO campaign. It is impossible to achieve good results by doing one without doing the other.
  3. You need to start doing SEO as soon as possible. The longer you spend waiting to start, the more time your competitors have to get ahead of and it will become harder and harder to rank higher them in search engines.
  4. Speaking of competition, you need to know their website in and out. If you work out what they have done to achieve first page rankings, your path will become more clear.
  5. Remember that no two websites are the same and an SEO strategy that worked for one website isn’t guaranteed to work for your website because there are a lot of variables that can’t be controlled.
  6. Your SEO strategy doesn’t have to cost the world. It is entirely possible to get big results while keeping your costs down, as long as you spend the time creating great content and building online relationships.
  7. The results from SEO aren’t instant. Work done today might not show any results immediately and search engines may not give it credit for weeks or months.
  8. The age of your website will affect your SEO performance, so the newer your website is, the more patient you will need to be with your strategy. It takes a lot of time to build up authority and trust for your website and unless you’ve developed both it will be difficult to outrank your competitors who have older, more established websites.
  9. Your website will never ever be 100% finished. In order for your website to continue ranking highly and attract more customers and sales, you will need to be continuously adding to it and improving the content.
  10. Google regularly releases algorithm updates and your website needs to adapt to these changes. For you to achieve and retain your search rankings, you need to able to adapt and evolve your SEO strategy over time.
  11. A myth that is often perpetuated is that you have to submit your website to search engines. This is simply not true, they have evolved beyond the point of needing to be notified when your website or a new page on your website is created.
  12. Google provides a lot of advice on their Webmaster Guidelines and Webmaster Help Videos.
  13. Don’t do anything that puts you at risk or receiving penalties from Google. They hold a mammoth share of the search market and a penalty will result in a huge loss in traffic which can affect you long-term.
  14. If you are penalised, make sure you know exactly why. Common issues include low-quality content, keyword over-optimisation, heavy adverts and too many low-quality backlinks to your site.
  15. You are accountable for all SEO work that is completed on your website. Search engines won’t remove a penalty because someone else did the SEO work for you and you weren’t aware of everything being done.
  16. You need to set up and make use of Google Search Console. It allows you to find out what keywords your website is currently ranking for and which other sites are linking back to your website.
  17. You also need to set up and make use of Google Analytics. This will allow you to track how many visitors your website gets, what keywords they used to find your website and what pages they visited while browsing your website.
  18. Additionally, you will need to set up a Google My Business profile for your business. This allows you to build trust with Google and improve your search rankings for localised keywords.
  19. It is a good idea to diversify where your traffic is coming from. Of course, Google is an excellent source of traffic but you shouldn’t rely solely on it or visitors as this can put you in a vulnerable position.
  20. Make use of Pay-Per-Click advertising in addition to SEO. If you can afford It, then it can be very beneficial to your business. It can get costly but it will get more visitors to your website immediately for the keywords you want to be found by.
  21. Low-quality links are a high risk to your website. Backlinks from low-quality on-site content and low authority websites can quickly lead to your website being penalised and suffering in search rankings.
  22. Remember that the content you create is for people to read, not search engines. The point of creating great content to rank your website is so that is helpful to people. If it is written just for search engines, it will detract people from buying from your business.
  23. Try to keep duplicate content to a minimum. Search engines have been known to penalise websites that have multiple pages with the same or similar content across them.
  24. Keep control of the number of content-light pages you have. If you have short pages, people will view them for less time, so it can be good to merge or add content to these pages if you have them. If not, search engines can downgrade your ranking for all relevant keywords.
  25. Don’t steal content directly from other websites. If search engines crawl your website and find content that matches that of another website, it can downgrade those pages and even your whole website.
  26. Make sure the rich content you create is good enough to be ranked on the first page. If the content you create isn’t better than websites already ranking on the first page then your site doesn’t deserve to be there.
  27. Create engaging content for your visitors. The more engaging the content you create is, the longer visitors will spend viewing your website. This is a great signal for search engines to rank you higher.
  28. Videos are excellent for SEO and sales. If you have a video on your website, the dwell time of visitors will shoot up. As long as the videos you create are engaging enough to maintain viewership.
  29. Creating infographic content is an excellent choice. This will make people share and link back to the content you have created more than they would from a written piece as they can share the infographic itself.
  30. More content = more rankings = more visitors = more sales. Search engines, like Google, love to see rich content and reward websites that have it with more trust and rank them higher than competitors for the same keywords.
  31. Make sure you add a blog to your website. It’s an easy way to add new content to your website without going overboard with copy that doesn’t help your customers.
  32. Reach out to other websites with content. If you want people to link back to you they will be much more willing if you have some content to offer them.
  33. Strike a balance between creating content and marketing it. If you create lots of great content but don’t market it, people will struggle to find it and therefore not share it or link to it.
  34. Every page must have a unique and descriptive title. You have just 55 characters to describe the topic of a page and make it clear to people and search engines, so make those characters count.
  35. Every page must have a unique and descriptive title. There’s slightly more room for creativity here, you have 160 characters to accurately describe the content of a page in way that entices users to click on your website over other sites that also rank for it.
  36. Make sure you research your chosen keywords before you optimise your content for them. If you choose keywords that are irrelevant or don’t receive a lot of traffic, you’ll get very few visitors to your website and even less that will convert into customers.
  37. Google’s Keyword Tool is very useful. It provides you with a great list of keywords that are relevant to your niche from the keywords you give it.
  38. Use other people to think of keyword ideas. Your customers, suppliers, partners and friends will see your business from a different perspective and may associate words or phrases that you haven’t thought of with your business.
  39. All the keywords you target must be relevant. Optimising your content for more relevant keywords will make it easier and quicker to rank for them and this increases the chance of visitors becoming buyers.
  40. Targeting keywords with more intent means that your visitors will be people that are ready to spend money on your product or service rather than browsing for information.
  41. Long-tail keywords provide a good source of traffic for your website. It’s much quicker and often cheaper to rank for longer and more specific keyword phrases. In fact, more than 40% of all Google searches comprise of more than four words.
  42. Each closely related group of keywords that your targeting should be dedicated to one page. This makes it much easier for search engines to rank and categorise your pages according to the keywords.
  43. Keywords should be included in the right places. The importance of keywords has been decreasing but they should still be included in URLs, page titles, meta descriptions, header tags and don’t forget alt-tags.
  44. Don’t stuff too many keywords onto a page as you’re likely to be penalised rather than credited for using the same keywords repeatedly on a page.
  45. Links back to your website affect rankings more than anything else. The amount and quality of these links are largely used to determine what position your website ranks.
  46. Never set a target for the number of backlinks you want to achieve. Your link building should be steady, consistent and ongoing and that doesn’t stop once you reach a certain number.
  47. Backlinks should be from relevant sources. Search engines rank websites by relevance to the searchers intent, so getting links from relevant pages are a strong signal for the relevance of your website for the keyword.
  48. Trusted sources are the best place for you to get backlinks. The more trustworthy the website, the stronger the signal it provides and this boosts the trust for your own website.
  49. You will need to work hard to get high quality backlinks. In general, when outreaching for the links, the easier they are to achieve, the less value they are likely to have.
  50. Be careful when paying people to link back to your website. Buying backlinks is a common practice and it can and does work, but there is a risk involved. Especially if they are cheap or openly available for the public to purchase.
  51. Getting involved in links networks is a bad idea. There is very little benefit from link networks and the risk being penalised by search engine and losing your rankings is very high, so they’re not worth it.
  52. Make sure you diversify your backlink profile. Getting links from a wide range of IP addresses is great for building your backlink profile as it shows more variation in the resources linking back to you.
  53. You need to build backlinks to every page on your website if you want to rank highly in search engines. Getting people to link to the inner-pages of your site – the ones that will be ranking for specific keywords – as well as your home page can give our rankings a massive boost.
  54. Use existing business relationships as an instant source of backlinks. These can be your suppliers, partners and customers and they are an easy way to get backlinks without having to jump through any hoops.
  55. Replicate the good backlinks that your competition has for their website. If you see other websites link to your rival’s website, there’s a reasonable chance that they are also likely to link back to your website if you give them a good reason to. This will usually be content that is helpful to their visitors.
  56. Try to get backlinks that have your target keyword as the link text. Using this type of link is important as it shows search engine’s the page’s relevancy but should make up less than 10% of your backlink profile.
  57. Branded backlinks should make up a large amount of your backlinks. If you don’t have a lot of branded links (like your company name and web address) in your backlink profile, then search engines think you have been using manipulative link building tactics.
  58. Make sure you know who is linking back to your website. Google Search Console allows you to check this by going to Traffic and then Links to check how many and what websites are linking back to yours.
  59. Sign up for an Ahrefs accounts. This will give you an extensive look at your backlink data for your website and that of your competitors.
  60. Link directly from your home page to the most important pages of your website. This allows you to pass the authority of your home page to your inner-pages and improves their rankings.