Ultimate Guide To SEO for Small Business

  • May 12, 2016
  • by Jakub Szyszka
  • 14 comments

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the first steps small business owners should take to improve their website visibility. It makes the website easier to find and understand for users (and if those activities are successful, they can turn into potential customers). But it’s not the only advantage, search engines are not as smart as people, but they are still developing. And that’s why SEO is a hint for a search engines to notice the website faster. 

We want to introduce an Ultimate Guide To SEO dedicated to small business!

The most important factors which affect search results
How to assess the quality of the website?
Main online tools to measure SEO effectiveness
Utility maximization
Guides and Lists like TOP 10, TOP 20, TOP 30, TOP 100, TOP 101
Infographics
Link Building Methods
Guest Posting
Website verification methods
The most popular methods useful to boost a brand
How to write engaging e-mails?
Correlation between SEO and Social Media
How should comments and forum posts look like?
Google Search Operators
SEO and time
The other promotion methods

The most important factors which affect search results

Currently, there are more than 200 known factors that affect final website analysis and its position in Google search engine ranking. However, it is possible to mention a couple of most important ones – their optimization significantly contributes to increasing the website position in Google search ranking.

According to one of the most accessible research, here are the areas which determine search results:

  • keywords (phrases) – words typed in the search engine, e.g., Google,
  • backlinks – links from other websites leading to your website,
  • Trust Rank – evaluation, which is familiar only with Google. It sets out how much Google trusts your website in search results,
  • Title – the name of each subpage of the website which is encoded in source code,
  • URL address – words in your website/subpages name,
  • Time – a period since Google has to know about your website existence and since when it has been registered.

Each time when actions are taken, they should be compared with risk associated with website position and its value for Google ranking. Theoretically, only White SEO actions are in line with Google guidelines (they are not involved with any bans, global decrease, or algorithmic filters). Google defends against manipulation in search engine results by applying new safety features in its algorithm.

The proper optimization should be focused on SEO actions helpful in gaining new visitors to the website. Unethical methods would sooner or later reduce search engine traffic. There is a contractual divide between SEO actions (considering a risk associated with Google penalties): White SEO (small risk), Grey SEO (higher risk), Black SEO (the highest risk).

How to assess the quality of the website?

Checking how high is a website in search engine rankings by typing the chosen keyword is an excellent method to achieve online promotion success, but not the only one. The other features, which could increase the number of conversions, are:

  • increase of website entries (using organic traffic, direct entries, backlinks from other websites),
  • number of new visitors on site,
  • number and positions of keywords the site is gaining (measured by paid semrush.com or  Google Analytics, which is free),
  • increase of conversion not from Google search results only.

Main online tools to measure SEO effectiveness

Free:

  • Google Search Console – a primary tool that allows communication with Google. Alerts and data provided by Google Search Console are one of the significant factors which should be considered during website optimization. Those are, e.g., link indexing, links to the website, how comfortable it is to use for mobile users, private messages sent through the communicator.
  • Google Analytics – it allows checking the recent state of site and its popularity, including the demographic of users, the number of users, conversion sources,      
  • Screaming Frog Spider – a tool which allows to find out the potential mistakes in “title” part, in internal linking and images and headlines optimization as well,    
  • Google Keywords Planner – a tool helpful in keywords prediction,  

Paid:

  • Semrush– a tool which allows determining types and positions of keywords leading to the website,
  • Majestic – an app that measures the quantity and quality of keywords leading to the site. It is used to track competitors’ activity as well.   
  • Copyscape – a tool that allows checking if published content wasn’t copied from anywhere and articles provided by copywriters weren’t copied from other sources.   
  • Piktochart – a tool helpful in creating infographics and simple graphics based on templates.

Utility maximization

One of Google’s factors determining a substantive and practical website value for users is its adequate editing and moderating. It gives a website value and utility.

A readable content shared on the Internet, which is widely commented on forums, and social media, are the factors that affect Google Trust Rank in the first place (through the Page Authority given by Google), which causes the global changes in keyword positions. An additional advantage is content creation, which supports conversion rate increase. However, it’s quite tricky, because those articles are often treated as sponsored content, which decreases their objectivity.

The well-known methods of drawing attention

  • issues which have never been previously described,
  • emotions using,
  • being an expert who should be confirmed in the next articles,
  • openness and sensitivity,
  • accessible data,
  • big, readable photos that draw attention,                                                         
  • a lack of hard sell.

An outline of a useful article

The following crucial features of an article should be planned and processed:

  • subject – popular issues, niche subjects,
  • title – informative: “Shopify promotional methods,” superlative: “Best free Shopify Apps,” explaining: “How to increase sales in Shopify store.”
  • layout – a slideshow, an article with images, video with comments,
  • writing style – objective, subjective, personally.

There are many different information sources on the Internet, and they affect the role of headlines. The most engaging are:

  • the best and the worst, e.g., “The best Shopify reporting apps,”                
  • uncomfortable situations, e.g., “The most frequent mistakes in Shopify stores,”      
  • scandal, e.g., “I lost my sales in a day by Google mistake,”                          
  • important issues, e.g., “Reporting apps for online stores,”                             
  • money, e.g., “The most expensive Shopify apps – value for money?        
  • Big happiness, e.g., “I earned my monthly salary in three days thanks to this one trick in my online store.”

Guides and Lists like TOP 10, TOP 20, TOP 30, TOP 100, TOP 101

All types of guides allow raising many links from different websites. Titles should be engaging so that users could connect them with valuable content, a significant area of knowledge from the field.

Here are some of the headline examples:

  • encyclopedia of basic terms for e-commerce web developers,
  • a dictionary of marketing terms,
  • a catalog of safe sources for your website traffic increase,
  • a list of the best copywriters,
  • a guide through the Presta system changes,
  • a guide for a Magento store.

There are some features which can be useful when creating guides about Internet issues:

  • content doesn’t need to be exhaustive; it just has to pretend to be comprehensive,  
  • details should be taken from reliable sources,
  • if an article is ready, the author should contact people who are writing about the same subject. Messages should be personalized,
  • it is fashionable to put some numbers in the article, informing us that there is more than one issue discussed. It prompts users to think this is a guide. One of the most popular items on the Internet are “TOP of the…”.
Meme

Source: http://www.stateofdigital.com

Infographics

One of the most popular ways to create an engaging content are guides able to read them on a website or to download. The more valuable guide is, the more attractive it is for website users.

Creating engaging summaries is another way to engage people – especially infographics, which mean graphics where results of research, reports, presentations or others are shown graphically. They are much more precise than tables or charts. 

Here is a list of websites where infographic submissions are accepted:

http://infographicsbin.tumblr.com/
http://infographicsite.com/
http://submitinfographics.com/
http://videoinfographic.com/
http://behance.net
http://visual.ly
http://weheartit.com
http://bestinfographics.co.uk/
http://bestinfographics.info/
http://thecloudinfographic.com/
http://infographicpost.com
http://omginfographics.com/
http://bestinfographics.co/submit
http://infographaholic.com/
http://infographic.ca/
http://infographic-directory.com/
http://infographicsamples.com/
http://carbonmade.com
http://flickr.com
http://infographicsshowcase.com
http://infographicjournal.com/
http://coolinfographics.com
http://slideshare.net/
http://www.reddit.com/
http://imgur.com/
http://nerdgraph.com/
http://vi.sualize.us/
http://datavisualization.ch
http://ilovecharts.tumblr.com/
http://photobucket.com
http://deviantart.com
https://www.infographicportal.com/

Link Building Methods

There are a couple of ways to build links which, given their specific situation, are not belong to the high-risk ones. There are couple of  ways to make potentially safe links described:

  • websites which belong to the family, friends or partners– it is advisable to get links from all the possible partners and people who are engaged with project, 
  • professional affiliate websites – mostly our integration partners and their websites or websites where we can potentially promote our app,
  • places in Internet where competitors usually advertise their services are the possible sources of link building.

Image placed above shows all the main domains which are linking to competitors websites. A detailed list is a trustworthy source of link building and it’s able to download from majesticseo.com

Data collected in table number 2 show the possible places to promote a web app. There are domains where an app can be included (details are provided by majesticseo.com). Some of the websites will require additional descriptions. Some of them may require long reports or objective app summaries.

Guest Posting

It means posting our own articles on other blogs, websites, industry portals and social media after asking their owners for a permission. This is usually a message sent to the owner or a poke on his social media (Facebook, Twitter),

It is advisable to mention  an interesting content which has never been published before while contacting with administrator.

Articles should be engaging and unique.

According to netiquette they have to include a frame with author’s personal details and a link to his website (sometimes with a small piece of text). We should focus mostly on the administrator’s profits, not only on our website.

Only unique descriptions should be used. Articles written for blogs and portals as well as app descriptions published on other websites should be based on unique content, because it increases significantly the value of link. The places where links are published should also be diversified (homepage, “Partners” tab or in the article).

Google claims that links to website should appear in search engine randomly. If we would toss a coin 1000 times and get tails 10 times in a row, it would be approved by Google. That’s why we should remember about diversification and randomness while optimizing.

One of the possible guest posting methods is buying articles on Fiverr.com.

  • first, you have to choose an offer (mostly from this category),
  • Click “order now” and then choose the payment method. In “order details” you can choose optional services like premium quality images etc. Then you should click “proceed to payment”.
  • make a payment,
  • then you are able to contact with an author . Type the most important details like title, subject or keywords.
  • an article is ready. You can accept it or request revision. It is worth to check it with Copyscape before.

Another way to promote is making engaging videos – short movies or webinars.

Website verification methods

  • keywords matching – if a keyword used in the article matches  blog keywords,
  • the number and popularity of keywords leading to the website – it can be checked with semrush.com,
  • the number and quality of links leading to the website – it can be verified with majectic.com (Trust Flow and Citation Flow under 15 means that website may be trustworthy)
  • no signs of spam on the website – it can be seen in links placed in footer, text which is written in the same color as used in background (cloaking) or other methods forbidden by Google.

The most popular methods useful to boost a brand

  • online voting contests – it’s a good way to build links, because participants often send links to their friends asking for voting for them using forums or private messages. The most popular subjects are the prettiest online store design, the most interesting case study about selling online,        
  • there is also a way to boost the brand by press releases. It affects the number of brand requests and creates authority as well, which can motivate people to link to the promoted website,             
  • research results – it would be advisable to carry out a survey, e.g., with 500 online stores about the indicators they usually track. Then the results should be published on an industry portal because it’s a way to reach way more people,             
  • link for an image – a good way to build links is by sharing images using Creative Commons license. It means that the image can be used everywhere, only if link to the website where it was originally published would be attached,

An appropriate e-mail construction increases the likelihood that the article will be published. Here are the features worth to suggest:

  • proposed article is valuable and applies to what blog is about,
  • a website to which article is linking is trustworthy,
  • an email is written in person and to the person, so it shouldn’t be treated like spam,
  • more than one subject is proposed,
  • it’s objective.

There is also a method called Broken Link.  It’s a process that consists of looking for subpages and 404 errors on them (a website cannot be found). Then it is advisable to contact the webmaster and to put your link there (e.g., a link to a blog article). There is a free tool helpful in finding broken links – Screaming SEO Frog.

How to write engaging e-mails?

There is an exemplary e-mail presented below:

I have recently found your blog in Google Search and I’m really inspired by the articles. The most interesting are the ones describing income growth using few proven methods in Shopify. We are producers of the Shopify application which is linked with this subject. On our website we’re also blogging about online shopping news, questions and answers.

Is it possible to make a guest post on your blog? Our app is quite popular among Internet users and Anna Henson, our writer, is one of the specialist writing about Shopify apps on Quora. That’s why I think we can say something interesting to your readers and share our knowledge and experience with them.

Wishing you all the best and looking forward to hear from you.

Correlation between SEO and Social Media

A strong relationship exists between search results, SEO, and social media. For some time, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter profiles appear in search results. The most popular websites are Instagram, Pinterest ( mainly used for image posting), Reddit, Quora (questions/answers), YouTube (video).

Social media are also possible content distribution channels. If they generate website traffic, they are useful for SEO.

Link force depends on how the website treats a promotional profile. It means that the newest profiles, without any experience or points gained for creating valuable content or gaining the audience  usually generate weaker links. They are typically visited less often.  Comments with links are treated most frequently, like spam.

Meditation Session

Source: http://joyoftech.com

How should comments and forum posts look like?

  • All the automatic activities like posting the same comments everywhere are usually removed by Google; comments should refer to the article or a thread,
  • sometimes if better to publish a comment without link first. Then, if you will earn the author’s trust, try to post a comment with the link
  • if your comment wasn’t accepted before, it doesn’t mean that it won’t ever be allowed; it’s quite likely that more extended and more valuable feedback would be accepted.

Google Search Operators

Using individual search operators on Google, you can find subjects you are interested in within personal websites, e.g. „site:blogspot.com Shopify” searches for all the subpages in the blogspot.com domain associated with “Shopify,” „site:quora.com Shopify” searches for all the subpages in quora.com associated with “Shopify.” There will be indexed articles in the results, of course.

SEO and time

Google delays accepting new sites in search results, as a result of fighting with spam. If a particular website hasn’t been updated for a year, it couldn’t get to the top. Everything has changed since 2009.

There are the following periods:

  • 0-3 months – a massive website traffic should not be observed. The website can appear in search results after typing niche keywords or long-tail keywords. We should focus on valuable content creating instead of link building,
  • 3-6 months – a website appears after typing quite popular keywords on pretty high search results. You can acquire some backlinks but only if they are valuable,
  • 6-12 months – this is a time of thorough and consistent work. Results are sometimes impressive – a website appears at the top of search results.
  • More than 12 months – a systematic website content creating and promotion gives us more significant opportunities in link building. Still, we have to remember to control how many websites are linking to our website.

The other promotion methods

Buzz marketing

It’s a method used for engaging app users to share their feeling about an app. It’s based on customers’ trust. It should be pointed out that websites where we can share submissions also allow us writing a review.

How an app is popular depends most often on website requirements.

An advertisement placed on the main page or top of the list will be more efficient for sure, which will translate to a higher number of downloads from pages like shopify.com. Additionally, scoring and the number of downloads as well show potential customers how the particular app is accessible, which affects their decisions and then conversions.

As a part of buzz marketing, we can:

  • engage people to rate the app on other websites (e.g., via e-mails),
  • affect their decisions through the communication, e.g., via live chat,
  • motivate them with, e.g. an additional feature when the user confirms his rate on partner’s website.

Google Adwords

Promoting in Google sponsored links is a popular, but also quite expensive method.

It’s divided into advertising in search results as well as in ad network (except for text ads, graphical and display ads are allowed) on websites which participate in Google Adwords.

Mailing

Another way to engage people with the app is creating an e-mail campaign to all the people who may want to download app. An appropriate campaign should be based on following steps:

  • Obtaining a customer base (via double click method), e.g. from Shopify administrators,
  • Creating sales emails templates,
  • Measuring the effectiveness of sales emails using A/B testing having regard to: open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, spam complaints and unsubscribe from email lists. 

Affiliate programs

Participation in an affiliate program allows to convert from external websites. A potential customer can find an app on partner’s website. It’s settled by:

  • cost per click – an advertiser pays for when a potential customer visit a website where download an app is possible,
  • cost per lead – advertises pays when an app is downloaded,
  • cost per sale – advertiser pays a commission for every sale.
We all know how time is important when you want your website to be successfully optimized for search engines. Support it with trusted time tracking solution!
Jakub Szyszka

Content Marketing Specialist at TimeCamp. Passionate about being another frustrated musician ;) Most recently immersed in the adventurous world of content marketing and brand building.

14 Comments

    Reply
  1. morganjoxfizz
    May 19, 2016 at 15:05
    (Edit)

    Also, SEO service is not a one-time thing. This type of duty is ongoing. If you want to reach the heights that your site is capable of, hiring an SEO firm that will be beneficial. The professionals will be able to provide valuable information about the steps you can take to maintain a presence with your target audience.

  2. Ola Rybacka
    July 16, 2016 at 09:25
    (Edit)

    You’re welcome, feel free to visit us more often!

  3. infographics
    June 26, 2018 at 17:04
    (Edit)

    Hi Ola Rybacka thanks for sharing the great list

    can you add these site to your list http://www.infographicsrace.com

  4. jasmine dora
    July 27, 2018 at 07:01
    (Edit)

    Really it’s just an amazing article that I have ever found. You explained each and everything about SEO that anyone wants. I got your every point very helpful. You explained every point very clearly. Anybody who wants to learn SEO, I will strongly recommend following this article. I encourage you to continue your work just like that, God bless you. Thanks, a lot.

  5. Softnos
    August 7, 2018 at 15:31
    (Edit)

    Also, SEO service is not a one-time thing. This type of duty is ongoing. If you want to reach the heights that your site is capable of, hiring an SEO firm that will be beneficial.

  6. smpclippingpath
    September 6, 2018 at 11:48
    (Edit)

    thanks for the great list It was a very useful blogs that u gave to us ! i really found what am looking for Keep updating more.

  7. udit khanna
    October 9, 2018 at 09:40
    (Edit)

    I have my own business, I’m using these techniques, I really appreciate your work.

    1. Ola Rybacka
      October 9, 2018 at 19:10
      (Edit)

      Thank you, Udit!

  8. Irsa Chaudhry
    November 20, 2018 at 11:30
    (Edit)

    really great article. SEO and Social Media both are important aspects of Digital Marketing and it can really give you good results but in long time. Whereas Adwords can give instant results in short time but the cost might depend upon your niche.

  9. ari
    January 4, 2019 at 08:48
    (Edit)

    Hi, Paweł Kijko
    we are going to start SEO on a ecommerce site. so, how can i improve my SEO plan and link building strategy

  10. lekha
    January 30, 2019 at 02:13
    (Edit)

    Can you add our website to your list infographicsrace.com

    Thanks

    1. Ola Rybacka
      February 5, 2019 at 20:56
      (Edit)

      Sure, feel free to do it!

  11. Digital Udit
    April 14, 2019 at 08:15
    (Edit)

    SEO is not only about search engines but good SEO improves the quality of a website. SEO helps bring the site to the top of a SERP by the selected keyword. SEO is good for the promotion of your web site socially. This blog was wonderfully written. Thank you for sharing it.

  12. SEO DC
    June 3, 2019 at 12:48
    (Edit)

    SEO is constantly changing. Successful SEO methods from 2 years ago are very different from successful SEO methods today.

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