If I were to ask any of my small business colleagues how they were conducting their search strategy, most would 'freak out' in response to the question. Search, or SEO, for many of them is a dark science, one that is full of weird and uncomfortable terms such as 'black hat', 'white hat', keyword optimisation, indexing robots and sitemaps. Who could blame them? In this post, just 10 steps-  I am attempting to demystify some of the important elements of search, for them and for any of you who feel this post is relevant to you.


1. Do a keyword analysis   

Keywords are the foundation of your search engine strategy. They target searchers. You place your keywords in your pages and in links pointing to your pages as a bait to attract people to yuour site. Pick the wrong keywords and you are targeting the wrong people. Use the free google keyword tool to find out how prospects are searching for your products or services. This will take the guesswork out and enable you to create content based on real information rather than assumptions or your own intentions.


2.Make sure your pages are readable.  

In other words make sure that the search engine spiders are able to read your pages. Here is a relevant read on this subject of website design


3.Create keyword rich( but not stuffed) pages.

It is one thing to have pages that are readable to search engine spiders. I t is another to ensure that the keywords are placed in the right places and in the right format. Ensure the keywords you wish to use are in the <TITLE>TAGS  and the Description Meta tags, Header tags  and image tags, as well as in the body of your text; search engines have a natural bias toward Web sites with a large amount of content so it is important to include keywords there too.


4.  Conduct Competitor analysis

 Getting to the front page of Google will require you to 'snatch' positoning from competitor sites. Tools such as www.seospyglass.com  make this process easier and will even create a report for you on your plan of attack.


5.Go for Local search 

 Clearly this is only relevant if your business sells locally as opposed to globally. Local is the fastest growing vertical out there, at least one in every four searches is local and with the explosion in mobile computing services and smart phones, the importance of local is on the up and up. The emergence of Google Places and inclusion of businesses in Google Maps means that national establishments want to ensure it's possible to find their individiual locations. Register with Google Places at http://www.google.com/local/add/,  with Yahoo! Local  at http://listings.local.yahoo.com/;  Here are some additioinal tips:

  • Include your full address in your Web  pages. This means your street, city and Post Code. Have this at the top of your page somewhere
  • Include in all your pages the names of all your relevant business locations. You could,for example include in your footer or sidebar a list of all the cities you serve with links to pages with information about each of these cities
  • Create a Contact Us page for every location you have
  • Include your city name in your <TITLE> AND DESCRIPTION meta tags
  • Include your city names in link text when linking from other sites to yours


6. Register with the search systems.

When your pages are ready for the world wid web, you need to let the search systems know about it and get them to include the pages in their indexes and direcories. You can do this by submitting an XML sitemap to Google Webmasters (www.google.com/webmasters) and MSN/Bing at www.bing.com/webmasters

It may also be worth submitting to secondary systems such as:



There are also registration services you may want to have a look at such as www.addpro.com  and www.ineedhits.com

A few submission software programs are available as well such as Dynamic submission where you can find at www.dynamicsubmission.com and SubmitWolf at www.trelloian.com/swolf

The advantage of these software programs is that you only pay once rather than each time you use a service.


7. Get other sites to link to you.

In the early days this is tricky however free tools such as www.seospyglass.com make this much easier.


8. Register with the shopping indexes.

If you are selling products then it is very important to list your product with the product indexes. Most product searches are probably not even carried out through the general search engines so you really need to read this post.


9.Create loads of great  content.

The more the better.Granted, this is difficult, even if you happen to like writing.  If you really don't like writing, use free articles from sites such as ezinearticles.com, or hire a freelance writer from a site like guru.com


10. Create video.  

YouTube is the second largest search engine and people go there in search of brands

It is important though to optimise it for SEO; do the following:

  • Label the video: Use a keyworded label or short description of the video, use an <H> tag
  • Describe the video using a longer description, again with good keywords
  • Transcribe the video and post the transcribed text on the page. There are video transcription services which will do this for you inexpensively and efficiently
  • Name the video: Use keywords in the video's filename and URL
  • Link to the video: Create links on your site and other sites you own to the video page, using keywords and the term video in the link.
  • Tag the video: Use keywords plus the word video in the <TITLE> AND DESCRIPTION tags
  • Make sure you always use the word video in your copy as you are telling the search engines what it is. Use the term in your <h>tags,  the description, the filename, links, <TITLE> tag and DESCRIPTION meta tag etc

The ranking of video on upload sites is based on a range of considerations including:

  • how often the video is viewed
  • the ratings given to the video by viewers
  • the number of times the video was shared
  • the number of comments
  • the number of people subscribing to the channel after viewing the video
  • the number of embeds the video receives on viewer's own websites

TIP: As is always the case with internet marketing, you will need links pointing to your video. Resources such as TrafficGeyser.com automates the process and will upload your videos to video hosting services, and will also post links to the videos on social networking sites.



Photocredit: www.flickr.com/photos/respres


9.Embrace Social Media. Find out where your customers are 'hanging out' and make sure you have a presence there too. Follow us on Twitter for more great tips!

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Ihubbusiness is an information hub for small businesses who wish to learn about internet marketing. The site was founded by Lola Bailey in 2010. Lola is a member of the Institute of Digital Marketing and has over 20 years sales and marketing experience. She is also a full-time copywriter at www.write-upcommunications.co.uk, a copywriter consultancy which she founded. Email: editor@ihubbusiness.co.uk

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