This post by guest blogger Cathy Tibbles appears as part of our series Small Business 500

tips for small businessWe are constantly contacted by SEO Consultants who want to help us get on the front page of Google. The thing is, no one can promise to put you on Google. Their algorithms change approximately 1.4 times per day – making it impossible for SEO companies to keep up with those changes.  While promises from SEO companies are ridiculous in this field, there are some things we can do to make Google “like” us more. 

1. Don’t undervalue guest posts

Take the opportunity to guest blog in your niche for others that have more clout than you.  You will get more eyeballs on your content, spread your brand, authority and usually receive a link back to your site. 

2. Write fresh content

Write content that is fresh, relevant, and contains your keywords. Images, videos, podcasts, news, and recipes can have specific search engine-readable formats too (See schema.org for a list of formats supported by Google, Yahoo, and Bing). Don’t forget to use your keywords.  Put these words in your content, title, and headings.  If possible, also put them in the descriptive image and/or video that accompany your article. If you know a little bit of html, use “alt” and “rel” tags in links and images and use headings properly (don’t just bold your text).

3. Do NOT buy links

Do not buy links on other sites or do anything that’ll be seen as attempting to deceive your friendly neighbourhood search bot.  That‘s against Google’s guidelines and if caught (which is likely) you will be kicked out of Google’s database.  If you sell ad space on your site, use rel=”no-follow” tags so search engines don’t penalize the receiving site (just be prepared to explain your reasoning to advertisers as they don’t like this). 

4. Relate to the search bots

Keep your site’s code up to date with a fast loading time and make sure your information is readable to the search bots.  You can see what your site looks like to a Google Bot by logging into Google Webmaster Tools and clicking on the “Your Site on the Web” tab. Check your page speed at pingdom.com. 

There’s no need to stuff your page full of metadata as the meta tags are no longer highly valued by search engines.

 5. Moderation is key

Advertisements that are the same color as your text/background or that otherwise obscure your content are going to be devalued in search results. 

Help your intended audience find you.  Give them a good experience with valuable content on a fast-loading and readable site. Write for readers but be mindful that bots are reading and be wary of SEO Promises.

Cathy is the founder and project manager at DSWP Website Services, a company that creates profitable websites for small businesses. She is a WordPress consultant and specializes in the Genesis Framework and Inbound Marketing.  

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