As Google continues to become more sophisticated as it continues on its quest to better serve searchers’ queries, coupled with the need to continue to become more sophisticated in order to ward off spam sites and black hat SEO gamers, the list of SEO Dos and Don’ts constantly evolves. Businesses of all sizes should place SEO among their lists of the top 5 most important marketing tasks, but because I work with small businesses, I tend to see the same types of SEO missteps over and over again. Some SEO missteps can be harmful to search engine rankings, and others are simply unhelpful (and perhaps look super cheesy to your website visitors). Here’s a list of 6 common small business SEO tactics and whether or not they are worthwhile.
6 Small Business SEO Tactics & Whether or Not They Help
- Add a long list of cities served or keywords in the footer of your home page No. This is not helpful. Any type of important keywords you want to rank for need to be included (naturally) in the main copy on the page. Simply plopping a chunk of keywords in the footer of your small business site isn’t going to cut it. And in general, any type of keyword stuffing activity isn’t going to be helpful, including those people who utilize the meta description area to load up on keywords. In fact, keyword stuffing in the meta description can actually be harmful to you because while your website page may rank well based on your page’s title tag, there’s not much of a chance that a searcher is going to click through on your search listing after reading your word salad meta description.
- Forcing your city and state repeatedly in your website copy No. Not only does Google want you to write for humans instead of robots (and repeatedly jamming in your City, State looks super cheesy to any human reader), Google’s approach to personalized search makes the inclusion of your specific location less important. Try doing a Google search for “Best pizza…” or “Hardware store…”, for example, and before you finish typing, I bet one of the suggested search phrases ends with, “near me”. That’s right – people don’t even need to list their location in their search queries anymore because Google knows!
- Adequate website copy on each website page Yes. Google strives to serve up valuable, relevant content to its searchers. If someone visits your page and doesn’t find the answer they are looking for, they’ll click back to their search results. That is bad news for you. Also, it’s going to be difficult to get your small business site to rank high if there’s not enough relevant on-page content to correspond to the SEO work you are doing “behind the scenes” using your SEO plugin.
- Separating out small business services or products by page Yes. If you are a personal training business, for example, it’s difficult to rank well in search results for any of your personal training classes if they are all listed on the same page. Adding to that, consider the website visitor’s experience. Say you are a website visitor looking for a prenatal fitness class… would you (want to) scroll through paragraph after paragraph that talked about men’s classes and group classes and private classes and bootcamps and women’s classes before getting to the information about the specific prenatal fitness classes being offered? Chances are the answer is “no”. A better solution is to have 1 page dedicated to each service/class type offered, optimizing for each specific service, and then adding all of those pages to your site’s main navigation.
- Adding a bunch of pages for the sake of having more pages to SEO No. If you are creating content on your site just so you can try to optimize for every variation of your important keyword phrases, Google will pick up on that. Google considers links like that to be of low quality.
- Repeating the same exact keyword phrase over and over and over No. Remember, Google wants you to write for humans, not bots. Google has been engineered for semantic search and searcher intent. It knows, for example, that a car is a vehicle and kids are children. Think about all the times you are speaking to customers and answering the same types of questions. You don’t give the same, word for word explanation every time you are asked that question. We all, as humans, have natural, conversational variations that we speak to make the same point. Google knows that and looks for that.
The good news is that, while it may seem like there are a lot of SEO rules, Google’s changes are actually making it easier for ‘regular folks’ to handle their own SEO and do a good job at it. Google doesn’t want tricks or games. It wants good content that answers questions people are asking.