There are a lot of articles out there about small business SEO.

Some of them are written by experts, and others are written by people only pretending to be experts.

If you want to know what the true search engine optimization heroes do to keep their websites and blogs at the top of the search results, here are their top ten tips:


1. Start using Google+.

It isn’t any secret that Google is giving a boost to websites whose owners use Google’s own social network.

Start with a personal profile, but make a business profile, too.

Fill out that profile with as much specific information about your business as possible, especially regarding its location.

This is one of the ways Google finds local businesses, and if your small business focuses on a specific location, you’re more likely to be included in Google’s local three-pack if you have a Google+ business profile.


2. Diversify your keyword portfolio.

One of the biggest mistakes small businesses can make is to focus on just one or two keywords, even if those keywords are local ones.

You need to diversify your selections.

While you might have a few keywords that perform very well, you are probably missing out on keywords that, yes, may not give you the same high rankings, but still could pull in significant traffic.


3. Update your design and content.

You already know that Google prefers fresh content over old content.

What you might not know is that it also prefers fresh design over old design.

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Just like any other type of design, the website design goes through trends and phases.

Even a website that is just two years old can start to look old and run down.

The best way to deal with this? Regularly make changes to your website.

This doesn’t mean that you have to pay for an entirely new design every year, just that you should work with your developer to keep your website looking modern.


4. Use the free tools given to you.

There are lots of free tools only that can help you improve your search engine optimization.

Many small businesses will stay away from these tools, believing them to be too complicated, only for professionals, or only for big businesses, when the opposite is actually true.

If your website is built on WordPress, start with the free Yoast plugin.

Use the free tracking and analytical tools.

None of these things take that much time or and very few of them require any money.


5. Review your local listings to make sure all of the information is correct.

There is nothing more frustrating for a consumer than seeing your working hours listed as 9:00 am – 7:00 pm, only to show up at your office or storefront at 6:00 to discover that you’ve been closed for an hour.

Take the time to review all of the local listings you can find to make sure that the name of your business, its address, the phone number, and operating hours are exactly the same.

Consistency is key.


6. Solicit your staff for content ideas.

The people on your team probably have lots of great suggestions for blog topics or ways to improve your webpage content (or pages to add to your current site), but they might feel like they do not have an outlet for providing those ideas.

One great way to open up the lines of communication is to share a document with your staff and encourage them to put in an idea, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem, whenever they have one.


7. Learn to write.

This might sound harsh, but not everyone is a writer.

We’ve all abandoned blog posts that are not just valueless, but are actually painful to read.

You don’t have to be a Henry David

Thoreau, but having a firm grasp on the language you are writing in is a must.

One of the best ways to improve your own writing is to read great writing.

Find a blog that you enjoy or an author that you like, and read, read, read.

You’ll naturally become a better writer.


8. Keep it concise.

At some point, some big SEO firm did a study that showed that longer content performs better.

This led to a rash of overly long, boring, and fluff-filled pieces of writing—articles stuffed to the brim not with information, but with overly effusive and repetitious syntax.

Long pieces of content perform better because they usually contain more useful information, but a blog or a piece of webpage content should only be as long as is necessary to cover the topic.

If you’re grasping at straws trying to make something longer just for the sake of it being longer, it’s already long enough.


9. Don’t be afraid to hijack a Quora thread.

You may get verbally assaulted in online forums for hijacking a thread to talk about your business—but you probably won’t be attacked if you do it on Quora, as long as the information you are providing answers the original question.

Posts on threads on this website are considered high value and high authority, and you can even link back to your website or blog “for more information.”


10. Make a video.

People love watching videos. It’s almost encoded into our DNA.

Google knows this, and seriously boosts the ranking of any page that has a relevant video on it.

Luckily, hosting a video is free, and it’s easy to embed it on your website, without slowing down the page load speed significantly.

A video creates more exposure, period. That means you need one.

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