5 SEO Tips Every Small Business Needs to Heed

SEO seems to be a pretty essential buzzword floating around out there right now, but why? Simply put, good SEO drives business. SEO is especially important for small businesses and e-commerce sites that are want to compete in their vertical.

1. Make sure you only have one h1 tag per page

The h1 tag should have up to 150 characters of text that succinctly describes the contents of the page. You can also use h2 through h6 subheadings throughout the page should you need to further organize text.It's also important to note that every page should have an h1 tag. Search engines depend on these tags and headings to discern the contents and organization of a site, so making use of these tags correctly makes it easier for search engines to register your page.

2. Alter your title tags

Title tags, or title elements, determine the title of a document. You'll find them on the SERPs (search engine results pages) displaying a preview of a designated page. The title tag should accurately and quickly describe the content of the page. If it is successful, it will help both the users and SEO. Google usually displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag, so it's good practice to try to keep it under 55.

3. Make good use of internal links

These types of links target the same domain as the domain that the link is found on; in other words, the link will send you to another page on the same website. From a user viewpoint, these are great because they help users navigate a website. From an SEO standpoint, they are especially useful because they help spread link juice, or ranking power, around your website. If you don't know where to start on internal linking, there are tons of resources on internal linking out there.

4. If you haven't already, make the switch to SSL (secure sockets layer)

Not only is this a good idea from a security standpoint, since users will know they are making a secure search, but it's also a good idea when looking at it through SEO-colored lenses. Last month Google announced that ranking preferences would be given to sites with an HTTPS over those with HTTP (no "S"). Since then, there has been a significant difference in how search engines rank HTTP (non-SSL) versus HTTPS (SSL) versions of a site. Those that are secure are ranked quite a bit higher. So if you're still in HTTP mode, make the switch to HTTPS as soon as possible.

5. Carefully craft the structure of your URL

A URL is a human-readable set of numbers and letters that replace the IP addresses that computers utilize to interact with servers. When creating a URL, there are some things you'll want to take into account. First, keep in mind that users often look at the URL to get a basic idea of what the page offers. If the URL contains a lot of intelligible information, it will be hard for the user to gage what is being offered. That being said, you'll want to use hyphens to separate words when you can without overdoing it—using too many can look spammy. Be descriptive but brief. If a site's structure has several levels of navigation and files, make your URL indicate this with folders and subfolders, e.g. by using a forward slash.

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