When the cursor hovers over a link, depending on the browser and graphical user interface, some informative text about the link can be shown, popping up, not in a regular window, but in a special hover box, which disappears when the cursor is moved away (sometimes it disappears anyway after a few seconds, and reappears when the cursor is moved away and back). Mozilla Firefox, IE, Opera, and many other web browsers all show the URL. In addition, the URL is commonly shown in the status bar.
If you check out some of the suggestions below this though, you're likely to find some opportunities. You can also plug in a few variations of the question to find some search volume; for example, I could search for "cup of java" instead of "what is the meaning of a cup of java" and I'll get a number of keyword opportunities that I can align to the question.
Reviews are important to your small business because having reviews—especially positive reviews—is a ranking factor on Google. People are also more likely to click and visit your business if it’s listed with a lot of good reviews. To get reviews, start by asking your loyal customers and even your staff to leave reviews on major sites such as Google and Yelp.
Think about the words that a user might search for to find a piece of your content. Users who know a lot about the topic might use different keywords in their search queries than someone who is new to the topic. For example, a long-time football fan might search for [fifa], an acronym for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, while a new fan might use a more general query like [football playoffs]. Anticipating these differences in search behavior and accounting for them while writing your content (using a good mix of keyword phrases) could produce positive results. Google Ads provides a handy Keyword Planner34 that helps you discover new keyword variations and see the approximate search volume for each keyword. Also, Google Search Console provides you with the top search queries your site appears for and the ones that led the most users to your site in the Performance Report35.
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I did want to ask you about the section on “Don’t Focus on Long Tail Keywords”. This is topical for me as I actually have a tab opened from a recent post on the MOZ blog from Rand Fishkin that details reasons why you should focus on long tail keywords. I know you have said that “they have their place”, but as I say as a newbie to all of this, ever so slightly differing opinions from two authoritative people in the industry (that’s you and Rand of course 🙂 frazzles my brain somewhat and I’m not sure whether to turn left or right!
One of my best pieces of advice when it comes to SEO for small businesses is to truly spend some time understanding your audience and their intent. Even if your website is perfectly optimized, if it’s done for the wrong audience, you will not see good traffic. Google is taking audience intent into account more and more, as updates like RankBrain try to understand the semantics of a search query and not just the literal definition of the words. If you can comprehensively answer the questions your audience is asking, your site will rank highly in Google organically.
Stellar post as always Brian! For marketers who have the time and budget we can do all of these things, however for most people who run small/local businesses they simply don’t have the time to do most of these things, and then it’s not cost feasible to pay someone to do this because that would require a full time position or paying an agency $xxxx/month which they can’t afford either. It’s a quandary of a position they find themselves in and makes it almost impossible to compete in modern day search against established giants. I wish Google would place more emphasis on relevancy and what’s actually on the page versus domain authority. Maybe one they’ll move towards that, but for now, all I see in the serps is giant sites then comes relevancy.

Next, log into Google AdWords and click “Tools” > “Keyword Planner.” Once you’re on the Keyword Planner menu, click “Search for new keywords using a phrase, website or category.” Complete the form that appears; to start with, search for your type of business and location. For example, if you own a hair salon in Chicago, you would want to enter “hair salon Chicago.”
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