I meet plenty of business owners in Atlanta through networking events and casual dining and I’ve noticed that a lot of Atlanta SEO agencies are really giving the industry a bad name. As a result, several entrepreneurs who have seen a bit of success, but want to take it to the next level, are definitely NOT looking to hire an agency. It’s a shame, really, because search engine optimization is crucial for any business to survive in today’s economic landscape. Maybe ten years ago it wasn’t this way, but no longer can a business owner sit back and just hope that people find him or her through directory listings like Yelp or YP.com.
The Atlanta SEO Agency Horror
First of all, the landscape of the online world is very competitive in large metropolitan areas. If you take a look at what this Atlanta SEO firm is doing, you’ll see why it’s so competitive. They say that if you can make it here, then you can make it anywhere. Just think of Atlanta’s population compared to other markets. It’s huge! And there’s definitely a lot of businesses that are targeting that population through social media marketing, internet marketing, search engine optimization (organic SEO), pay per click ads, and the list goes on.
Given the size and scope of Atlanta, some little rinky-dink agencies are trying to promise the world when talking about SEO to their prospects, knowing that they will not be able to deliver the results. These churn and burn business models (if we can call them a ‘business model’) are the type of thing that is sending out the wrong message.
Hey, I get it. I’m a business owner. Although, I have an extremely talented staff of online marketing experts on my team. But many of these businesses do not. They’ve heard horror stories of people suckering them out of money by saying that they can get them first page rankings by just optimizing their website for the search engines and are only going to charge them five hundred bucks. Now, to the average business owner, this makes sense. It’s very little risk. But let’s just think about that for a minute. The industry of search optimizing is huge and believe it or not, expensive to have done. There isn’t a school that just teaches someone how to optimize an entire website or even just a webpage for the search engines. That doesn’t exist in the real world. Therefore, you’re going to have to hire an expert.
I feel that hiring an Atlanta SEO agency is one of the best things a person can do for their business. However, they just have to make sure to hire the RIGHT ONE!
Want to be seen online? Read these search engine optimization tips for small businesses who are just getting started in online marketing. Should you decide to hire an SEO agency, you want to be able to ask some questions that give you an insight into the campaign that they are going to be running for you. In other words, you don’t want them to just throw out a bunch of technical jargon with the intent to overwhelm you so you end up hiring them. Furthermore, just following these search engine optimization tips will give your website a better ranking in Google, Bing, etc. You may not even need to hire a company to do the work for you.
General SEO Tip for Small Businesses
Since you are running a small business, your search engine optimization efforts are most likely going to be aimed at a local region. This is the best way to start to gain traction in the search engines. Of course, we all would like national customers and want our businesses to get huge overnight, but that just doesn’t happen. You need to start off small and gain credibility in the search engines before you can go after larger national terms that have more competition. Local terms are much easier to rank for and you can be fairly successful by targeting these sort of terms.
Example: “Blue Shoes” vs “Blue Shoes in Glendale Arizona.” The first term has 474 million search results that you’ll have to compete with when you decide to go national. The local term only has 5 million. Thus, it will be much easier to rank with these search engine optimization tips for small businesses listed below.
Small Business SEO Tips
1. Gain some domain authority.
Since your website is most likely small and/or new, you are going to have to gain some authority. The way that people optimize their websites for the search engines these days is by getting free authoritative links from social media sites like Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. There are several services out there that can do this for you, but you can easily do this task yourself. This isn’t really an SEO tip for businesses. It’s really a ‘must-do.’
Search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and Google aren’t going to pay much attention to your site if there aren’t any links going to it. The amount of quality links going to your site can play a significant role in where your website gets listed on the search engines.
2. Get listed in local directories.
These types of listings are known in the search engine optimization world as “citations.” These play a significant role in your local rankings and even determine if you get a maps listing. The information listed in these directories needs to be the exact same as your Google my Business page. In other words, you don’t want to have your business listing on Google list your address as “123 North Street” and your citations in other directories list your address as “123 N St.” Everything must be exact, including your phone number.
If you get enough quality citations, you are almost guaranteed a first page ranking. This is due to all of the main search engines optimizing their own listing of businesses on their first page with their maps markup.
3. Go after long-tail keywords.
I was on a webinar the other day and someone was discussing a new SEO client they had begun to service. This person didn’t know why their website wasn’t ranking and asked this consultant to have a look. Everything looked fine, but there were no specific keywords targeted on the site, meaning, there were no signals to the search engines stating what the person’s site was about. The consultant asked the person what she was trying to target and she said, “I don’t know.”
So, if you are new to search engine optimization, then this tip for your business is definitely where you should start. Also read this guide. Get extremely specific with your keywords and make sure that your site’s pages are optimized for those terms. Extremely specific keyword phrases aren’t going to get a bunch of traffic, but if you compile enough of them, you’re good to go. I would rather do SEO on 10 pages for easy keyword phrases that each get only about twenty to thirty searches per month. This will yield top rankings for a total of 200-300 searches per month. If you are just starting out, I highly recommend going this route.
All-in-all, SEO isn’t really that hard if you just break it up into its individual pieces. Just follow these search engine optimization tips for small business and shoot me an email if you have any questions.
If you are new to online advertising, than this search engine optimization tutorial for beginners like yourself will take your marketing to the next level. Which exact level? Well, more than you know right now. So, lets look at this as more of a phase one of several.
The fundamental idea of SEO (search engine optimization) is to outrank your competitors. When you get further along in the subject, you will also be able to look at other aspects like planning and proper keyword research that will help you pick out a profitable niche. For now though, let’s just stick with the basics like on-page optimization. This alone won’t get you first page rankings, but without it, you’re doomed.
Search Engine Optimization Tutorial: A Beginner’s Guide
If you are new to internet marketing, than you probably have a lot of enthusiasm, but very little knowledge. I remember back when I was at that stage. I was really wanting to get my website to the first page of the search engines with optimization techniques that I had learned from a beginner’s guide much like this one. That guide has since been taken offline – I guess the webmaster didn’t want to keep up with it – but the algorithm of the search engines has change since then anyway. Here are the basic things you need to keep in mind when optimizing your website for the search engines.
Thin vs Thick Content
If you want your article or website to rank well, then make sure that you have some meat and potatoes in the content. Your one page blogger website is not going to rank well with just one post. Any article you create should be at least 700 words filled with relevant content.
The search engines know if you are adding valuable information to the online conversation surrounding a niche or industry. They also know if you are just mimicking what someone else says. So along with making sure you have a lot of great content, be sure that it is unique and original.
It used to be that if you wanted to rank your website or article for a certain term, all you had to do was make sure that you stuffed that keyword as much as possible onto the page. It didn’t really have to read very well and the search engines would rank it because OBVIOUSLY, that’s what your page was about.
Since then, the algorithm has become a little bit more elegant and refined. Therefore, your keyword should be no higher than 2% of the words on the page. There were several updates over the last couple of years that penalized sites and articles with a keyword density above 2%. Some internet marketing “gurus” had a super high keyword density, upwards of 10%-25%, and their sites got smacked to the 100th page of the search results. Don’t do that. Keep it in between 1% to 2%.
Emphasize Words for SEO
The search engines look at optimization as a way for readers to have the best experience with your site. In order for this to happen, your audience has to know what is important. No one really reads through an entire article. They simply skim the information to find what they are looking for. A lot of search engine optimization tutorials miss this one, but be sure to BOLD or ITALICIZE your keyword just once. This not only tells your readers what is important to look at, but the search engines as well.
In order for the search engines to know what your website is about, you targeted key phrase must be in the site’s TITLE. Just like readers need to know what an article is about, so do the search engines. Regardless if you are trying to rank a website, article, Facebook page, etc. this is a constant. It is one of the strongest signals that you can give both your readers and the search engines regarding what you website or page is about.
After you have made sure that your targeted keyword is in the title, you also want to make sure that it is in your HEADERS. Headers are used in articles to designate sections of text or information. Instead of one long run-on article, headers make it easier for your readers to navigate to the sections that they are mainly concerned with. It also allows your readers to dictate whether your article or website will give them the information that they are looking for. In SEO terms, the search engines scan your page for the same reason. Header tags help establish what your website or page is actually about.
In WordPress websites, these are very easy to apply. Just hit the drop down menu that is defaulted to ‘Paragraph’ and you will see the headers options pop up. Proper search engine optimization techniques imply the use of only one H1 tag. Followed by H2, then H3, and finally H4. There are many different ways to use these tags, but this is the most basic.
SEO Alt Tags in Images
Instead of just copying images from Flickr and popping them on your site, do one better and rename your image. Heck, do two better and make your own images. If you are trying to optimize your site for the term “Widget Makers in Australia,” then rename your image to that on your hard drive before uploading it to your website. Then, add that as an ‘alt tag’ in the image.
This is actually pretty easy to do and there are a lot of technical reasons to do it, but the long and short of it is search engines can’t see images, they can only read file names and html. So, let them know what your image is by using a descriptive name and alt tag.
Hopefully you’ve learned a little something from this search engine optimization tutorial for beginners and you are now on your way to creating the perfectly optimized website that has the potential to rank on page one.
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