May 14, 2016 By Suzanne Robertson

Three little letters “S – E – O” are enough to make any small business owner anxious. No SEO means no visitors from search engines.

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The good news is that the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization tend to remain relatively consistent. That doesn’t mean that you can ignore how SEO is evolving but it does mean that putting good SEO practices into place when you establish your business can set you up for success. Below are some ways you can help customers discover your small business online.

Create Local Places Pages on Google

Make sure that you have a local business page for the most popular search engine. Create a page for Google by providing basic business information like hours, address, etc. Optimize your page with quality photos and copy and be sure to categorize your business correctly to enhance local search.

Use Stronger Keywords

Optimize for keywords that are closer to your niche and have fewer competitors. Google Trends and Google’s Keyword Tool in AdWords are free tools that should give you all the data you need.

Use Clean URLs

Your URLs should have a breadcrumbs trail and feature the content on the page clearly. A “breadcrumb” (or “breadcrumb trail”) is a type of secondary navigation that reveals the user's location in a website. Avoid using numbers or random strings of text in your URLs.

Update Your Blog Often

If content marketing is part of your overall strategy, more content is always a good idea. Of course, that content needs to be high quality and relevant to your target audience. Create a content calendar and post to your blog regularly.

Add Internal Links

An internal link connects one page of a website to a different page on the same website. In an internal link, the source domain and target domain are the same. To increase SEO, link relevant pages of your site together. This improves the user experience and helps Google better understand relationships between pages on your site.

Optimize Images

Optimize your images for SEO by using appropriate titles, adding descriptive alt tags and keeping each in the proper format.

Improve Loading Speed

There are several ways to make a site faster, such as reducing image sizes, adding a caching plugin, switching hosting providers and deleting unnecessary plugins.

Optimize for Mobile Devices

The majority of Google search occurs on mobile devices. If your site doesn’t display correctly, you could miss out on a lot of traffic. Additionally, Google will not display your website prominently in mobile search results if your website isn’t mobile-optimized.

Explore Backlinking Opportunities

Existing relationships are an instant source of backlinks. Your vendors, partners and customers may link to your site if you ask.

Seek Expert Advice

If you’re stretched too thin to concentrate on SEO, consider hiring a firm or outside consultant. Check out this article before you start shopping around: 10 Questions to Ask When Hiring an SEO Consultant.

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