The Ultimate Guide to DIY SEO for Small Businesses: Boost Your Online Presence

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It's not uncommon for small business enterprises to feel completely overwhelmed by the number of online digital marketing strategies out there. The biggest question that most businesses are pondering is: How do I stand out from the crowd when everyone else is online and trying to do the same? 

This is where SEO comes into play; you may have heard briefly about it or thought it was only for the big boys and industry leaders with budgets in the thousands of dollars. This is where you are wrong.   

SEO (search engine optimisation) enhances your website to rank higher in search engine results when specific keywords and phrases are used by individuals online. While SEO and implementing it yourself can seem like a monumental digital nightmare, it isn't. 

With the right tools and strategies, you can quickly apply DIY SEO techniques that can remarkably impact your site's presence, entice customers and generate leads.  

This is the ultimate guide you will ever need to boost your online presence and drive traffic to your site. Whether new to SEO or looking for more options, this series of tools, tips and strategies will ensure you have everything you need to take your business to the next level.

Ranking

Ranking

Search engines are complex systems that permanently run algorithms which flag your website and push it up along web rankings. Though algorithms constantly change, a few key factors can boost your ranking. These include:   

Content  

Your website shouldn't be filled with irrelevant content and word padding but provide valuable content relevant to your target audience.  

Keywords  

Your site should use solid keywords and strong search phrases your audience is likely using concerning your product or service.  

Also, become familiar with what a long-tail and short-tail keyword is. 

Long-tail: Hold three to four words, for example: "how to make pizza." 

Short tail: Makes use of one to two words only, like: "pizza." 

Use both, focusing on the long tail keyword, as it holds less competition. 

Backlinks  

These are other sites that link to your website, indicating to search engines that your site provides credible, high-quality information. You can do this by posting your business information to online business directories, submitting blogs, and participating in forums, with embedded links that track back to your website. (We discuss these further on, so keep reading).  

User experience  

Ensure your website is user-friendly and easy to navigate with virtually no loading time. 

Google business profile 

Claiming or creating a Google Business Profile is essential to your online visibility. It seems worth mentioning, as many businesses do not bother with it. It not only flags your business location but all other company information. Use it similarly to a social media platform by including your business information, website URL, description and photos. 

By focusing on these basic strategies, you are well on your way to starting the next phase of your DIY SEO journey.   

Keyword research and analysis  

As mentioned, keywords are essential to ranking, so it's worth identifying the right keywords. Start by brainstorming a list of phrases and words your customers use to find businesses, products and services aligned with you. Once you have a list, use a reputable keyword research tool to determine which keywords are searched for more than others.   

With the right strategies and tools, owners can easily implement DIY SEO techniques that will gradually yield results. You can get your website and business to where it needs to be within the digital world.  
Keyword research

Tip: When choosing keywords, look for keywords with a high search ranking but low competition.   

On-page techniques  

On-site techniques refer to what you can alter and improve directly on your website. There are several strategies you can use, including:   

Title tags  

Your page's title tag should include keywords and provide a clear description of the content that is on your page.   

Meta descriptions  

Your page's meta description should briefly overview your page's content and include keywords. Meta descriptions should be between 150 and 160 characters.  

Header tags  

Your page's header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) should be used to organise your text/content on your site and, yes, you guessed it, include keywords.  

Image optimisation  

Your images should be sized to ensure your site loads at lightning speed. Ensure your images are sized to 2400 x 1600px and saved as a jpeg. Don't forget how to add alt tags to your images that include your search terms.   

Content optimisation  

Beware of content stuffing. The belief is that using every keyword in a segment on your website may harm your ranking. Focus on educating your customers in fun, exciting ways that provide value. Always write for humans first before writing for search engines. 

Studies have also shown that long-form content (content that holds more than 1200 words or more versus short-form) performs better in the SEO world, so including a news or blog section on your website is a worthwhile investment. 

URL structure  

Keep your page's URL short, sweet, and to the point.  

Here are some helpful tips:  

small business
  • Include a strong keyword 
  • Ensure your URL is less than five words 
  • Use hyphens to add separation between words 
  • Your URL should all be in lowercase 
  • Do not use hashtags or apostrophes in your URL 

Poor: exmaple.com/blog/wft87s.html 

Excellent: example.com/blog/how-to-make-pizza 

As with on-page techniques, there are also off-page optimisation techniques which are simple to adapt to your website. Let's take a look.   

Off-page techniques

Off-page optimisation refers to different processes you can take to impact your ranking. The following strategies make for a good starting point and include the following:  

Social media  

Social media

Promoting your website and content on multiple social media platforms can attract individuals to your site and increase your website's online visibility. Ensure that your posts are catchy and include links to your site, plus a CTA (call-to-action) that persuades customers to take a closer look and click through to your page.  

Guest blogging and forums

Writing guest blog posts for other websites can help build your authority compared to your competitors; the popular choice among many is Medium.  

Always ensure you link to your website within the article and blogs written by others and hosted on the blog platform. Use sites like Unsplash, Pexels, or Pixabay for quality images and tools like Grammarly or Hemingway App so your spelling and grammar are on point.  

Forums are another great way of creating backlinks to your site. Popular forum sites include Reddit and Quora. Be mindful of spamming by posting links throughout your content from the start. Moderators do not take kindly to these and will remove you from these platforms and delete your content. Replying to questions with educated responses is critical.

Online directories  

Listing your website on online directories can help as well. Compile a list of regionally based directories, state, country, and worldwide options. Once a comprehensive list is compiled, begin to work through them. Make sure that every profile is unique regarding the description of your business.   

Metrics

You must analyse your efforts to gauge if your strategies are working. There are several metrics you can use to track your website ranking in SERPs (search engine results page), including:   

  • Keyword ranking: Track your ranking and any changes for specific keywords and phrases over time.   
  • Organic traffic: This allows you to monitor the traffic your site receives from organic search results. These are searches based directly on someone's search terms versus non-organic search results when users click through to your website via a paid online advertisement.   
  • Bounce rate: Though Google has repeatedly stated bounce rate is not a ranking factor, it remains a useful metric in understanding what people do when they visit your site.   

These statistics will help you understand and implement what works and spend less time on the strategies that don't.   

SEO mistakes to avoid  

SEO is a powerful tool and can easily be used to your advantage, but there are also several common mistakes that newcomers make. They are:   

SEO
  • Keyword stuffing: Use too many keywords and search terms in your site content.  
  • Duplicate content: All content you produce for your website or any other platform should be unique.   
  • Ignoring user experience: Aim to provide a positive experience for website visitors with no load times and easy navigation.   
  • Local SEO: If you serve a large local audience, paying attention to local SEO can help your business's visibility in the local search results. Always include globally recognised keywords and phrases paired with local keyword searches.   

Final words

With the right strategies and tools, small business owners can easily implement DIY SEO techniques that will gradually yield results. You can get your website and business to where it needs to be within the digital world. 

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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