You’ve already heard that search engine optimization is important for a small business.

Every established business will laud its effectiveness and every marketer will regale you with tails of why it is so important. It gives your business weight and makes it easier to find on the internet.

Content that is easy to find, engaging to read, and valuable to the reader can up your authority and legitimacy scores and gives your potential clients, customers, or patients a variety of different avenues that eventually lead them back to your business.

Your business might be entirely offline, like a dentist’s or lawyer’s office, or you might have some aspects of your business online, like an ecommerce store that draws products from your physical store.

Either way, you have to have an established and findable online presence in order to be successful.

Consumers now turn to the internet when they are looking for a product or service, instead of to their local yellow pages.

Making your business as visible as possible should be the goal of every small business, and SEO is one of the best ways to do that.

Here is a checklist of tasks that can make your small business SEO much more effective:

1. Use Google Analytics

One of the biggest mistakes a small business can make with search engine optimization is to not track their efforts.

You should be tracking everything—that means everything from the moment that you launch your website onwards.

While there are lots of ways you can track what is happening with your website, Google Analytics is usually the best choice for small businesses.

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 It is free, easy to start, and provides all of the information you need in order to see where your website is and decide where you need it to go.


2. Use Google Webmaster Tools

Like Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools has a lot of great resources that can make it very easy for you to determine what improvements you need to make to your website.

For example, Webmaster Tools will tell you how many impressions your website has been getting, as well as how many clicks it is getting.

It can also provide you with information about how quickly your pages are load and if site visitors are encountering any errors.

It is also free and only requires a Google account in order to start using.


3. Make sure your title tag is optimized

If you are just starting to optimize your website, the best place to start at the top of your page, with your <title> tags.

Some SEO practitioners believe that this is one of the most important tags on your page.

This tag is what tells search engines your page’s topic and is a great opportunity to include a keyword, especially a local keyword.

You only have seventy characters for this space, so be very mercurial when it comes to choosing which keywords you want to use and what information you want to include.


4. Optimize your page headers

These are essentially the headers on each of your pages.

Sometimes called the H1 (header one) tag, these tags are longer and provide a little more flexibility when it comes to including keywords naturally.

This is another excellent location to add a location-specific keyword.

While many small businesses do use the internet to operate on a national or even international scale, your primary business may be working with local customers, so targeting those individuals with a local keyword is always a good idea.

This should also include the name of your business and a little information about what you do.


5. Write an effective meta description

Your meta description is the little blurb of text that shows up under your link in search results.

This plays two important roles.

First, it tells search engines about your business and second, it convinces searchers to click on your link.

While the keywords in this section won’t have a significant effect on your page ranking, they will have a significant effect on whether or not searchers decide to visit your website.

Making this text something convincing and compelling, something that will make them interested in clicking on your link is always a good idea.


6. Include a subscription box

Email marketing might not seem like a part of small business SEO, but the two marketing campaigns go hand in hand.

You draw site visitors in with valuable content and then convince them to subscribe to your email marketing campaign in order to receive more content like the content they have just enjoyed.

Including a subscription box on every page of your website gives them the ability to provide their email address is return for some sort of report or simply in return for the promise of more helpful content in the future.


7. Avoid over-optimizing

Is there such a thing?

Unfortunately, yes.

This is a penalty that Google can slap onto your website if the algorithm senses that you are working too hard.

If it appears as though you are trying to manipulate search results in your favor or are stuffing too many keywords into your content, they simply penalize your website and prevent it from achieving the high rank that you want that website to achieve.

How can you avoid over-optimizing?

By thinking of your users first and foremost.

By considering what the humans want to read and see, you will probably automatically be optimizing for the web crawlers.

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