Small business owners: Give search engines and your customers what they want

The search engine optimization landscape is always evolving. Google and Bing are constantly updating their algorithms to help people get the information they want.

The search engines are getting smarter and smarter. Gaming the system is not a long-term option and is getting less and less possible: online press releases have been devalued, guest blogging has gotten sites penalized, and content sharing services have been blacklisted.

Who wants to risk get delisted by Google? Not you.

Where does that leave your small business and search engine optimization?

In the position to set yourself apart from your competition by becoming an authority in your niche. Here are a few ways you can do that:

1. Create and share valuable content:
Write content that’s specific and relevant to YOUR customer. Make the content useful and not sales-oriented. Share it on social media, via email, shout it from the rooftops.

2. Grow links to your site:
Take advantage of the associations and organizations that you’re a member of. Many associations will let you add your link to an online profile, write an article for their email newsletters or websites, or share news online. Create a starter outreach list with your professional organizations, your alma mater, and local Chamber of Commerce.

3. Own your user review profiles:
Yelp and Google Places are just two of the sites where customers can review businesses. Be sure you have ownership of your listings on these two platforms and fill them out completely – images, business description, website address, hours of operation, everything. Find the review sites that are right for your niche. For example, Angi is terrific for services and TripAdvisor is important for hospitality. Once you have your account, you have the ability to respond to reviews and control (and correct) the information being shared.

These three steps can take to help grow the authority of your small business website and help your search engine optimization. Questions? Ask them in the comments.

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