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Unlike a brick and mortar store on a street, a digital business can’t catch the eye of a random passerby who decides to pop inside. You have to be intentional about online marketing if you want your business to be visible to potential customers.

The best way to be found online is to appear on the first page of Google, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help you achieve that goal. But there are many ways to approach SEO.

So we asked 12 business owners, “What's your best SEO tip that can help a business with a minimal online presence establish more visibility?”

Learn about effective SEO strategies below.

Start a Blog

No matter the industry you’re in or the products you sell, consider starting a blog. The reason having a blog on your website is so critical for SEO is because it helps with several specific ranking factors. When you have a blog that’s updated regularly with fresh content that is high in quality and on topics relevant to your target audience, Google will recognize these things and move your website up the rankings.

- John Yardley, Threads

Find Your Keyword Sweet Spot

When it comes to finding keywords that will improve SEO, there’s a ‘sweet spot,’ keywords that are popular enough to generate a reasonably large amount of traffic, without being so popular that there are already lots of other websites dominating search results for them. To figure out what keywords you want to rank for on your site, you’ll need to use a dedicated keyword research tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs or engage the help of a digital marketing company to help drive your sales.

- Peter Babichenko, Sahara Case

Utilize Other Platforms

If a small business, for one reason or another has no physical website, at little to no cost, I would recommend the business open an Instagram account, sponsor a Yelp / TripAdvisor Page or actively update on a blog platform such as LinkedIn, Facebook or Glassdoor, that would allow customers to search for the brand and see results hosted by trusted platforms.

- Meghan Chayka, Assistant Brand Development Buyer

Remember ‘Rank Brain’

Over the past few years, SEO has been heading down the route of “rank brain,” meaning that in the past, ranked content was bigger, longer, better-presented content. This is not so much the case anymore as now the new “rank brain” algorithm looks for search intent that is most relatable to the user, no matter how long or short it is. To counter this, you must look for the search intent of each keyword or phrase you are looking to rank for.

- Derek Lenze, Floating Authority

Produce Relevant Content

If you’re wondering, “How does SEO work?” it starts with putting out optimized content that adheres to your branding and showcases what your company is about. This ensures that when you're starting to create an online presence, your efforts are mindful and align with the mission and purpose of your business.

- Danielle Ganon, Markitors

Get Google Reviews

There are still ways to achieve strong Google rankings with a minimal online presence. One great way is for businesses to optimize their pages around a target search keyword (like Personal Training Phoenix). By doing this, Google can easily understand what the business offers. When Google can understand what the business offers, it will lead to higher search rankings. One easy technique to increase rankings is to get existing customers to write Google reviews. Reviews are a large part of Google's local search algorithm. By having a well-optimized website backed up with numerous great reviews, many businesses could start ranking even without building a ton of backlinks.

- Axel DeAngelis, NameBounce

Backlink, Backlink, Backlink

Backlinks are essentially links from other websites to your website. Google considers backlinks as “votes” for a specific page. Pages with a higher number of votes, or backlinks, tend to have higher organic search engine rankings. To gain more visibility to your site, contribute content to relevant websites, or provide quotes in articles like this one, as ways to help build your backlinking strategy which will aid in converting website sales.

- Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional

Focus on Your Copy

As a copywriter, I would have to say to focus on your website copy. It's easy to get caught up in your business idea and forget that your customers are all at different stages in the customer journey. You need clear and effective content for the awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy stages. Don't just look at what your competitors are doing, try to offer much more than that! If you signpost your website content with H1 and H2 tags, use internal linking for ease of access, and tag your images correctly, you should start to see your website rank naturally. Once you've built some authority and you're starting to see website traffic, you can start to think about a more aggressive SEO campaign.

- Laura Howarth, Left Field

Compare Your Target Keywords to Competitors’

Compare keywords your biggest competitor uses with your own keywords. Keywords are the building blocks of your SEO strategy. This will give you insight into how big companies use SEO for their benefit and how you too can have an online presence and establish more visibility. Do not imitate it. Innovate. Once you have the right keywords in place, this will connect you to your target audiences who are looking to buy what you’re selling.

- John Howard, Coupon Lawn

Set up Google My Business

It's mind-blowing to me how few businesses take advantage of the Google My Business resource. This is a free tool offered by Google that allows you to dominate the search engine results page (SERP) for your brand name. They mail a letter with a confirmation code to your headquarters, and you input the code online. This confirms to Google that a real business is operating at this location. After setting up Google My Business, searchers will see a knowledge graph with information about your business right in the SERP. This makes it convenient for potential customers to contact your business directly.

- Calloway Cook, Illuminate Labs

Keep Your Domain Authority in Mind

Most of the big players focus on ranking for the higher-volume keywords. If your website is not an established authority in your industry, then you will have a hard time competing. However, by focusing on the smaller volume long-tail keywords and creating regular articles on these topics, you can more quickly build the authority of your site on those specific topics. Many people don’t realize that although the long-tail keywords have lower search volume, they often have more buyer intent.

- Steve West, Entrepreneur Nut

Build and Register Your Structured Sitemap

That also means creating that code-based structured sitemap in the first place, which shockingly few website owners do, fearing it's beyond their tech skills. Think of sitemaps like a table of contents written exclusively for search engine crawlers. Sitemaps are one of the core tools search engine crawlers use today to survey your entire website, index all its pages, and — ultimately — make your content appear and rank in search results. Essentially, not having one is like a mayor asking someone to draw a map of their city, but blindfolded.

- Ty Stewart, Simple Life Insure

About the Author(s)

 Brett  Farmiloe

Brett Farmiloe is the Founder & CEO of Markitors, a digital marketing company that connects small businesses to customers through organic search. He enjoys converting insights from small business owners into high-quality articles for brands.

Founder & CEO, Markitors
12 Ways to SEO Optimize Your Website for Online Sales