DIY SEO Tips for Small Businesses

In the Capital District and Upstate NY, SEO for big business and small, local shops, libraries and national associations is no longer just an option. The Internet has become a vital part of any organized group’s marketing and communication program. One of the best ways to take advantage of the power of the Internet and your website is through an effective Search Engine Optimization program. A professional SEO strategist can bring your business to the next level, whether conduction on-site optimization strategies, or through SEO consulting. There are still a number steps individual website owners looking for SEO in Albany and Upstate NY can take to promote their website. The SEO tips offered below can help you started.

It All Starts with the Basics

Remember, you have a website for a reason – provide information, sell a product, offer a service. If your website doesn’t look appealing, is difficult to navigate or fails to load half the time, it won’t matter how many people get to your site. They will most likely just click the back button when they get there and never return. You need to make sure you have a solid website that is ready for the traffic of both your target audience and the web crawlers of the search engines.

Build Your Brand = Links are Secondary.

A major part of the search engine puzzle is link popularity. Search engines rely on other websites to tell them which sites are good sites. If website A has a link to website B, that is like website A telling the search engines that it believes website B is a quality site. But don’t ask other businesses for links, instead, focus on building your brand.  Write an article for a well-known industry publication, do something newsworthy, share high-quality content from your website on social media and when your customers and peers think that information is valid, they will share that information as well, creating truly relevant high-quality backlinks.

Learn what People will Use to Find Your Website

Do research to find out what keywords users type into the search engines to find your type of product or service. These are the terms you will want to focus on when you build your SEO campaign. No sense in ranking high for terms that 1) people are not searching under or 2) have nothing to do with your site. There are both free and paid online tools to help you do this keyword research.

Start Local

Typically it’s easier to rank higher for a specific search term (think ‘big green fuzzy 6 sided rear view mirror hanging dice’) than a more general search term (think ‘soda’). Many companies can take advantage of this by targeting local or regional versions of keywords (i.e., ‘capital region dance studio’ vs just ‘dance studio’). In many instances, it also makes sense since because web users outside of a specific region may not be able to use the service anyway, so the traffic generated by a generic version of a term would not be convertible. In conjunction with this, be sure to have your physical address visible on your website, and take advantage of the free listings search engines have in their local listings.

Optimize Your Maps Listings

If your customer’s research on Google, get on Google Maps, if your customers use iPhones to find your brick and mortar business, get on Apple Maps, if your customers use Bing, Optimize your Bing Maps listing, if your customers use Yelp, claim and optimize these listings.  Not sure how to do this, call us we’ll point you in the right direction or share the price for doing this for you.

Be Honest

It’s the best policy, right? What we mean here is that some people may try and give you shortcuts to the top of the rankings. There are no shortcuts. Some tricks may give your website a slight boost for a short time, but in the end, the search engines usually find out, and the harm in the rankings this can do far outweighs any benefit gained.

Hire a Professional

This may seem like a bit of self-promotion on our part (which it is), but we also want to make sure that if you are looking at SEO companies, hire a professional. You get what you pay for with an SEO company. We recommend getting multiple proposals to see which companies best understand your needs and can help achieve your goals. You’ll probably see pricing differences, and you’ll want to ask why that is. In the end, make sure you are comfortable not only with the cost, but also that you are comfortable with the company.

Measure Results for Any Efforts

We told you these were basic SEO tips. You measure all your marketing, right? This is no different. You need to make sure you have some sort of website analytics program or measurement system in place to analyze what you do. You need to know what is working so you can continue and improve it, and what isn’t working so you can stop it. Remember: SEO is not a destination – it is an ever-evolving part of a business.

In the end, the best tip we have for you in regards to search engine optimization is to make sure that whatever you do, it should be done with your objectives in mind.

About Sara Mannix

Sara Mannix is the CEO of Mannix Marketing, Inc., a Digital Marketing Agency headquartered in Glens Falls, NY. She founded Mannix Marketing in 1996 with a goal to get clients "found" on the web through organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The company now serves over 1500 clients worldwide and employs a team of nearly 30 specialists, still operating under the tagline "We Get You Found On The Web." This multifaceted company is an industry leader, specializing in organic SEO, Conversion Rate Optimization, SEO-friendly Website Design, Online Advertising, Social Media and more. Mannix Marketing also has one of the largest portfolios of tourism and city guides in Upstate New York. These guides, which include Albany.com, Saratoga.com, LakeGeorge.com, GlensFallsRegion.com, CliftonPark.com and Adirondack.net, reach over 10 million visitors a year. Corresponding social media profiles for the region extend this reach to millions more on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and more.