Search Engine Optimization for Small Business Websites!

SEO targeted for Local Search MarketingSearch Engine Optimization or SEO is a critical element toward getting found, indexed and more importantly ranked by the major search engines.  SEO is central to implementing Internet marketing for your small business website. This section is devoted to showing small business owners the importance of SEO for their small business website. Specifically, local search or local search marketing!

Search engine optimization (SEO) is generally broken down into two major categories; 1.) Onsite SEO and Offsite SEO.  This section will focus, if not exclusively then mostly,  on Onsite SEO.  There is good reason for this.  SEO is principally used to drive free, organic traffic to your small business website.  Our clients are most interested in finding local customers, so all they really need is local search marketing for local customers.  After all an attorney, a dentist or a plumber is not interested in attracting potential clients or customers from California.  We are located in the Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland area.  The key is getting targeted traffic to a small business website. That’s local search marketing! So, they need Local Search engine optimization.  If they don’t have a website, we build it.  However, if your business is located in California, we can help you with local search marketing as well!!

The point is, we don’t have to worry about national, or international search.  The focus is on local search! So, national or international search is not going to do any of us any good.  In fact, if our clients spend money on search engine optimization trying to do this, yet don’t need to, they are wasting their money.  The sad fact is, they don’t know they are doing it in a lot of cases.  There is a huge difference between local search and national or international search.  If, on the other hand, one of clients is selling products on an e-commerce website and they need a broader search, then national or international search is important.  Suffice it to say that this is not our focus.  But, if it were, Offsite SEO would prove valuable!

This is as good a place as any a word of caution to small business owners.  We’ve found that there are a lot of SEO companies and other services that do not understand local search.  Yet, they continue to try to sell their rather expensive search engine optimization services to small business owners… services that don’t distinguish between local and national search.  If you ever need a sounding board, consider us a resource you can call upon anytime for advice.  We are only a phone call away (301-752-5909)!

This is a great section for small business owners who do not have a lot of time nor the staff to use Internet marketing for their small business website; yet they want to get an appreciation for some of the things that make this whole process work so effectively!  We have chosen a fantastic video series produced by Manta.  Manta is a business networking website designed specifically for small business owners to grow their business through Internet marketing.  We register all our clients for a free Manta account.

Manta recently started a new and free video series on SEO.  We want to thank Manta for doing this great support work for small business.  These videos are part of the Manta Minute series.Plus, we devote an entire section to “Local Search Marketing” that offers you the most current trends and refined ideas on marketing your small business online using local search marketing.

Go to Understanding Keywords and What they Tell You

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10 Elements of Google Place Listing Optimization

Google offers the small business owner a fantastic opportunity to get on Page 1 of their Organic search listings in local search!  This is free search and free traffic for your business! However, failure often comes from a business’s inability to optimize their local search listing. Google Place listing optimization is one of our specialties. Google Place listing optimization involves many components and proper optimization is a living-and-breathing science.  We highly recommend Google Place listing optimization as an ongoing management service!

Here is an example of an optimized Google Place Listing:

 

Google Place Listing Optimization: 10 Elements

 

We have indicated that there are 10 Key Elements of Google Place Listing Optimization.  Here is a brief explanation of each:

1. These are all the “Required Fields” that Google needs for your Place Listing. Make sure that you include the proper and accurate title for your business.  Do not try to improve your search results by placing your business city location in the Company/Organization section!  Include your full address and company’s main phone number!

2. A company website is optional for Google, but it is extremely important to have an optimized business website that is connected to this account. Please see the SearchEngineLand article at the bottom of this post for more explanation.

3. The Company Description is very important!  It’s important for your Google Place Listing Optimization, but a carefully constructed description has another huge value for search engine optimization.  You probably have your business listed with various listing services, some you might not be aware of.  As you come across, or we find them for you, your company description needs to be updated with one central business description.  We recommend you use this description in your Google Place Listing. Always remember, one of the prime goals of the major search engines is to ‘enhance their user’s experience!’  In other words, the user’s experience is not enhanced if the search engines find multiple descriptions about your business.

4. The Category section is your “keyword” section.  And, “keywords” are extremely important for any type of search. Google has predetermined categories for all businesses.  Choose them wisely and choose them accurately!  If you do not find a category that you feel adequately describes one of your services, you can create a custom category. We also recommend that you double check your website’s Meta Keywords to ensure that your category ‘keywords’ are included!

5. The Service Areas and Location Settings are self explanatory.  Just remember, you do not want to try to fool Google.  For example, if you are a dentist, Google knows that you probably do not service customers at their locations.

6. Complete the Hours of Operation section.  If you have a business, make sure your customers know when you are open.

7. Specify how customers pay you in the Payment Options section.

8. The Photo Section is very important!  This is an opportunity for you to show-off your business.  One of the key elements in search for photos is file name and tags.  We like to create keyword rich file names and tags for the 10 photos we submit for our clients.  This can significantly impact local search in favor of your business.  Again, anything that enhances the user’s experience is going to favor the search engines.

9. The Video Section allows you to upload video… again, to highlight your business.

10. The Additional Details Section is a final way for you to inform your potential customers about your business.  Google uses several examples. We have done several things here as examples for you in this section.  We show you how you can use links to provide value added to potential customers.  One example shows how our client is simply telling people about his service area; and another is pointing them to a very credible and authoritative website that explains to them how they can save money on their heating and air conditioning bills.  Passing additional value to consumers enhances the user’s experience.

 

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