Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

SEO Blog

SEO Tactics And Statistics That Every Small Business Should Know

Learning about SEO is an investment in your business.In today’s world, it comes as no surprise that search engine optimization (SEO) has become one of the most important aspects of marketing for small businesses.

SEO is a collection of practices that affect the online visibility of your website online. These techniques are used to rank it higher in the unpaid search results, commonly known as organic search results.

Having a website is not sufficient

Whether you already own a small business or plan to start one, just creating a website won’t lead to success. You’ll have to direct quality traffic to it to increase your leads.

According to a 2017 SEO research published on HubSpot, 61% of marketers say that improving SEO and increasing rankings in organic search is their inbound marketing priority.

SEO techniques include link building, page speed optimization, creating top-quality content, introducing SSL security on your site, and a lot more.

Two essential approaches to SEO

Basically, there are two different but complementary SEO approaches – on-site and off-site.

Understanding SEO is worth the effort.On-site SEO deals with improving your keyword visibility by optimizing context, images, refining code and structure, or anything else that is directly related to your own website.This ensures you’ll be included somewhere in results when people search for those keyword phrases.

Off-site SEO, on the other hand, involves increasing the ranking of your site by relating it to outside sources such as trustworthy sites (link building), social media, citations blogs, etc.

Neither approach is sufficient by itself. On-site SEO gets you included (somewhere) in search results and off-site SEO gets you ranked closer to the top of those results.

Search algorithms are fluid

Search engines update their algorithms on a daily basis, which is why it is hard to keep up with all the latest trends in the industry. Luckily, the infographic below is here to help you.

It takes you through the 72 stats that will help you understand the most important trends in 2019. It’ll explain common SEO concepts and techniques and provide you with a quick look at the evolution of search engines.

You will learn what you have to do in terms of SEO to improve your site’s ranking in search results, attract more visitors, and increase conversions (converting visitors into customers).

Last but not least, you’ll learn what else you need to do if you own a local business.

All about hoe to rank highly in search in 2019.

About the Author

Tina NikolovskaHristina Nikolovska — As the Marketing Manager at SEO Tribunal, part of Tina’s daily engagements involve raising awareness of the importance of digital marketing when it comes to the success of small businesses. As her first step towards this journey was in the field of content marketing, she’s still using every opportunity she gets to put her thoughts into educational articles.

7 Trends for Successful Digital Marketing (Infographic)

There’s a lot going on in digital marketing lately. For your small business to compete successfully, you need to be aware of and respond to current trends and changes in internet marketing and digital marketing more broadly. Here are the 7 top trends to be aware of:

  • SEO
  • Social media
  • Video
  • Email marketing
  • Paid advertising
  • Lead generation
  • Content marketing

Below is an excellent overview of the most important trends in digital marketing you need to watch. Thanks to the folks at Serpwatch for all their hard work on this.

7 trends in digital marketing for small businesses to be aware of.

Things Small Business Owners Should Know About SEO

Growth of revenue from better online visibility via SEO

In a world that is fully immersed in the Internet, it sounds just about right that small business owners now recognize the value of having a website. Many of them, however, haven’t come anywhere near to optimizing their sites. Some of them may have never even heard about SEO or search engine optimization.

SEO is an assortment of techniques that anyone with a website can use to enhance their rankings in the search results of Google and other search engines. It works around the premise that the higher your pages rank in the search engine results pages or SERPs for keywords that are most relevant to your business, the better their chances of getting clicked by search engine users. With more people clicking on the links to your pages, the more organic traffic you get, generating leads and potentially, conversions for your business.

Here are more things small business owners should know about SEO.

Mobile SEO is a must.

If SEO is about ranking higher to become more visible to as many people as possible, then all website owners should do mobile SEO right away. After all, mobile website traffic now accounts for more than half of all online traffic worldwide.

To say that optimizing your website for mobile devices is important would be an understatement. If anything, mobile SEO is critical, especially when there are now more people browsing the Internet using smartphones and tablets than those who do it on desktop computers. And with Google now basing its rankings and search listings on mobile versions of websites with the Mobile First Index, optimizing for mobile has become imperative for all small business owners who run websites.

The things you can do to optimize for mobile include ramping up page loading speed, making sure your text is large and legible enough so there’s no need to zoom in, and using images sparingly, among other things.

On-Site and Off-Site SEO

On-site SEO is about the things you can do within your website to make Google notice it. Adding meta tags, writing meta descriptions, using the appropriate keywords and phrases, and creating unique, informative, and engaging content are some of the on-site SEO activities you can do.

Meanwhile, the things you do outside the website like guest blogging, submissions to article directories, and social media engagements are some of the off-page efforts you need to make, often to get quality backlinks, which are among the top ranking factors set forth by Google.

White and Black Hat SEO

Avoid black hat SEO techniques; it's not profitable to piss off Google.

SEO has a set of best practices that will most definitely help your website rise in the search page rankings, because they play by the rules set by Google et al. These methods are referred to as white-hat SEO, and they include quality link building, keyword research, creation of original and high-quality content, internal linking, and speeding up loading time.


On the other side of the coin are methods and actions that are unethical and not in keeping with the standards set by search engines, and they are appropriately called black hat SEO.

Among the black-hat SEO techniques that could get you on the bad side of search engines are keyword stuffing, spam comments, invisible text, link buying, and duplicate content.

Interestingly enough, these techniques used to be the norm in SEO for many years since its advent a couple of decades or so ago. Despite having low-quality backlinks and spammy, duplicate, or useless content, many websites topped the SERPs without fail while relegating those with so much more to offer to the bottom pages of search results.

Thankfully, Google made earthshaking alterations to its algorithm a few years ago which have changed the face of SEO since.  What used to be routine SEO practices have become black hat SEO, and anyone caught using them will be facing penalties that lead to a significant drop in rankings and traffic.

SEO is a long-term game

Never get swayed by promises of quick SEO results, because there is no such thing. If anything, search engine optimization is a long-term game. For decent SEO work to get any results, you will have to wait about four months to six months, and the results wouldn’t even be that great. However, SEO results grow over time, and that means a sustained SEO campaign will get you the results you want eventually.

Once you hit your ranking goals, you must not rest on your laurels. Keep in mind that you have competitors, and they’re all working hard to get the top spots for specific keywords for themselves. If you slack off on your SEO efforts, then don’t be surprised to find your competition occupying the number one spot in the SERPs one day, and your site is nowhere to be found.SEO has been around for some time now. It’s not yet an exact science, and there’s still so much to learn especially since it’s an ever-evolving field. If you’re thinking about optimizing your website, then learn what you can about SEO, and never stop learning.

About our guest blogger

Shawn Byrne is the founder and CEO of Shawn started his career in I.T. troubleshooting workstations, servers and networks, then went on to doing SEO as a side project and quickly found success in ranking websites. It was easy for him to grasp not only the algorithms but also the technical side which most SEO strategists miss and neglect because of its complexities. SEO Phoenix then grew based on its own rankings and referrals.

Your perspective adds to the value here. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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Do you find yourself struggling with the complexities of SEO for your business? At Rank Magic, we can fix that.

Your Website Needs Calls to Action!

This Buy Now button is a clear call to action.

Not having calls to action (CTAs) is one of the ten most common SEO mistakes small business owners make.

What’s a Call to Action?

An Add To Cart call to action buton is essential on any product or service "Buy" pageA CTA is a direction that asks or tells your reader to do something. It’s an image or line of text that prompts your reader to take an action, like download, buy, learn, request, sign up, subscribe, join, phone, ask, get help …

Why are CTAs important?

If you want people to comment on your blog posts, you nered to encourage that with a callo to action button like this one.

Do you want more orders? More inquiries from potential customers? How about more readers for your blog? More social shares? None of that is likely to happen without good calls to action.

If you’ve ever ordered a fast food burger, you were almost certainly asked “Do you want fries with that?” That’s a call to action, and it sells a lot more fries than if they don’t ask.

This call to action button for downloading something is more effective with nearby text extolling the valkue of the download.

It’s a very important part of getting your website visitors to convert into customers, and it’s often overlooked in writing website content. A call to action can determine whether or not a visitor on your website does what you want them to.

Small Business Trends claims that 70% of small business websites lack a call to action.

And customers actually expect them. When they get to a breaking point in a page or reach the bottom, they often look for direction to help them move on to the next step – whatever that is.

How to create and use Calls to Action

There are a few guidelines for effective use of CTAs. Here are what I consider to be the most important of them.

  • Almost all of your marketing content needs calls to action:
    • brochures
    • emails
    • blog posts
    • web pages
    • coupons
    • print ads
  • Get more subscribers with a CTA like this.Make them brief. Occasionally for SEO purposes, a call to action may be longer for the sake of including keywords, but in general they tend to work better if they’re brief.
  • Make them clear – ambiguous CTAs don’t work.
  • Demonstrate a benefit. Give your readers a reason to take the action you want them to take.
  • It never hurts to emphasize that something is FREE!
  • Use strong action verbs:
    • Download
    • Buy
    • Sign up
    • Subscribe
    • Join
    • Get Started
    • Call Now
    • Ask Us
    • Get Help
  • Wherever possible, avoid weak directions like “click here” or “learn more”.
  • Make your CTA as specific as possible:
    • Download my E- book
    • Call to talk with us
    • Sign up for our email newsletter
    • Ask us a question
  • Make your call to action stand out visually on the page.
  • The best locations are at the end of a blog post or web page, in between separate topics on a page, in a side panel, or in a pop-up or slide-in.

Some in-depth reading

The Daily Egg has a nice article on examples that work.

Neil Patel suggests avoiding CTAs like Sign up — Buy now — Learn more. He offers some detailed advice on how to write calls to action that are more likely to convert visitors to customers.

And here are a few CTA’s of our own:

We welcome your opinion. Join the conversation in the Comments below!

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Need more traffic so more customers can see and respond to your Calls to Action? Rank Magic can help! Ask me how.

The Top 7 SEO Things Small Businesses Screw Up

SEO mistakes are easy to make.SEO Mistakes Are Easy

Owners of small (and very small) businesses are usually highly skilled in what they do. But they often have insufficient experience with SEO. Despite our company name, there’s no “magic” in SEO, but it’s not intrinsically obvious either. I hope it’s helpful for you to know these pitfalls.

The Top 7 Things Small Business Owners Screw Up

1) Not starting SEO soon enough

Start your SEO as soon as possible.It’s very common for small business owners to recognize very early on that a website is indispensable to their business. They will often spend a great deal of time and effort in creating a website that is robust, full-featured, attractive, and even sexy. Often it will include a blog with months or years of laboriously crafted information.

But without SEO, all of that information may be inaccessible to potential customers. It’s like a Billboard in the Woods. Want to find out if your site is a Billboard in the Woods? Conduct a simple test.

Once you realize that your beautiful website can’t be found, SEO becomes a priority. And at that point, it may require you to make major changes in your website design, structure, and content. The sooner you start your SEO, the less work you’ll have to re-do on your site.

2) Writing for Google

Google's G logoYour audience is people: current and future customers or clients. But out of zeal to achieve high visibility in Google, many small business owners focus on Google instead of on their customers.

That can result in practices that violate Google’s standards, like creating doorway pages. It’s always a bad idea to try to fool Google into ranking you higher than you deserve. But even without that, thinking too much about Google and too little about your customers often results in content that goes overboard in terms of keyword inclusion.

Keyword stuffing makes a web page read awkwardly and creates a poor user experience which may well drive people away. A few years ago in Google’s Penguin algorithm update, they specifically focused on penalizing keyword stuffing.

3) Not understanding the customer

As business owners, we’re always focusing on what we do and the advantages or features of our products and services. It’s natural to write about that on our websites.

But that misses the point.

Don't put your customer tyo sleep by emphasizing features instead iof benefits.Customers don’t care what the features are; they care about what it will do for them. To get customer to buy from you or patronize your services, you need to explain what’s in it for them. What benefits you offer, not what features you have built into your products or services.

It’s also important to write with a customer focus in mind. If your web pages talk all about what “I” or “we” can do, it misses the marketing message. Your web content needs to talk about whatever desire, pain point, or purpose the customer has in conducting the search that brought him or her to your website. Good marketing copy is YOU-focused, not ME-focused.

4) Choosing unachievable keywords

Some keywords are dominated by big, national companies.It’s natural to want to focus your SEO on search phrases that people search for a great deal. Optimizing for a phrase that people search for hundreds of thousands of times a month instead of phrases that people search for 20 or 30 times a month. The problem with that is that such keyword phrases are usually way too competitive for a small business to compete with.

On the bell curve, keyword phrases that fall in the middle of the curve get the most searches, but are also the most competitive. Long tail keyword phrases — those out near the edges of the curve — can be finely tuned to focus on your unique selling proposition and good rankings are much more achievable for them.

Don’t optimized for car repair. Optimize instead for brake repair. And transmission repair. And each of your auto services. Even better might be to optimize for brake repair in [your town or county].

Don’t optimize for New Jersey lawyer. Optimized instead for New Jersey workers compensation lawyer. Or New Jersey child support lawyer. Or NJ real estate attorney.

5) Not writing enough

Copywriting for marketing and SEO is a valuable skill.Too often small business owners want to keep their pages short and “punchy”. You may recognize that people don’t have the patience to read a great deal of content. The Internet expression TL:DR has become popular lately. It means “Too Long: Didn’t Read”.

The mistake here is that people don’t read a web page the way they read a novel. They scan or skim, looking for subheadings to find the morsels that they are particularly interested in. If your copy is constructed well with frequent subheadings, it won’t be intimidating to the visitor on your site. And they can find what they need to know easily.

Beyond that, though, if you’re optimizing a page for two or three different but related keyword phrases, you need at least 300 words of copy to help Google understand what the page is all about. To include those keywords  on the page enough with fewer than about 300 words inevitably requires you to do keyword stuffing.

6) Having a single Services page

List of ServicesThis is a critical error I see a lot. In order to present the website from growing too large, a business will include a  page titled Services. On that page they may have a bulleted list of all the different things that they do, possibly with a sentence or two of description about each of them.

If a page is about everything you do, it can’t possibly be “all about” any one thing that you do. Let’s say your car repair shop does transmission repairs. If that is only one item out of a bullet list of a dozen or two services you offer,  Google is never going to want to show that page to somebody who’s looking for a transmission repair shop.

If, however, each item listed on your Services page links to another page that is truly all about that specific service, those are the pages that Google will like.

7) Forgetting about the code

Craft your meta description carefully.This is understandable. As a small business owner, you probably know little about HTML code — the computer code that tells a browser or phone how to display your page — and care about it even less. But there are certain things in the HTML code which the visitor to your site never sees but have a critical role in your SEO.

The page title tag is the most powerful place to have keyword phrases appear. That’s in the code; it’s not the main headline on your page.

The description meta tag often appears as a snippet in the search engine results even though it doesn’t appear on your visible web page. That can play significant role in whether someone clicks on your listing in Google or one of the listings below you.

There are a lot of coding techniques that can help your SEO. You ignore them at your peril.

8) Failing to monitor results

Google rankings can suffer unexpectedly.Your search rankings are going to bounce around a bit, and that’s inevitable. But if you’re not paying attention to them, and your rankings begin to slide, you may not notice it in your revenue numbers until much later. You should always monitor your rankings, your web authority, your competitive position, your social media presence, and your citations across the web. It’s also important to run periodic site crawls to reveal whether Google or other search engines are running into difficulty understanding what’s on your website.

Sometimes changes in Google’s ranking algorithms can begin to hurt you even though everything you have done up to that point is effective. For example:

  • Having a mobile-friendly website that’s easy to use on a phone was unimportant just a few years ago. Today it’s critical, and is a ranking factor at Google.
  • We didn’t used to pay too much attention to how quickly a web page loads in a browser, but now slow pages can hurt your rankings.
  • A few years ago, secure websites with URLs starting with HTTPS only applied to websites that collected personal information like credit cards and email addresses. No longer. Secure websites now enjoy a boost in rankings compared to those that are not secure.

As a small business owner, you can’t be expected to stay on top of every change in how Google ranks websites, but if you monitor your results you’ll know when something is going wrong. Only then can you take steps to fix it.

Rank Magic can help!

That’s rather a lot of stuff to be aware of and to deal with. And as a small business owner we know you have your hands full just running your business. That’s where Rank Magic can help.

If you’d like us to explore your website over the phone with you and highlight any problem areas you may not be aware of,  just give us a call. The call is free, but the advice can be priceless.

We welcome your opinion. Join the conversation in the Comments below!

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