Hi Brian! I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while and had a good amount of success. 🙂 I have a request, similar to what someone else mentioned. It would be nice to learn the HOW to the tips you give, including details like which pro designer you hired, or at least where you found them, what their credentials should be (for which tasks), etc. Example: you used a custom coder to change the “last updated” date. So how do we find our own custom coder, and what coding language would they need to know. Same thing with jump links. Also, which pro graphics designer do you use, or at least, where did you find them, and what type of graphics skills do they need?

Hi Brian, a very useful post, thanks for sharing. These things turned to be very useful for us: blocking thin content/pages from Google index, adjusting meta titles/descriptions and content of popular articles, improving internal links, improving page speed, implementing schema (didn’t notice a big difference here), optimizing images and their alt tags, making sure the site is mobile friendly and there are no accessibility issues (Lighthouse in Google Chrome helped a lot), some link building activity (long term) and of course keyword research and mapping. Thanks again for providing valuable info, regards.
When someone searches for the name of your business specifically, Google will pull information from your Google My Business page and display it in a panel on the right-hand side of the search results, increasing your business’ exposure. This is great for small businesses, because not only do you get a lot of space on the first page of Google’s organic search results, but you are also able to immediately show what your business is about. Again, the panel is only available to those who have set up their free Google My Business page.
Make it as easy as possible for users to go from general content to the more specific content they want on your site. Add navigation pages when it makes sense and effectively work these into your internal link structure. Make sure all of the pages on your site are reachable through links, and that they don't require an internal "search" functionality to be found. Link to related pages, where appropriate, to allow users to discover similar content.

You may find that your business doesn’t appear for relevant searches in your area. To maximize how often your customers see your business in local search results, complete the following tasks in Google My Business. Providing and updating business information in Google My Business can help your business’s local ranking on Google and enhance your presence in Search and Maps.


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.
Thank you Brian. This is SOLID stuff. I appreciate your mindset for SEO and SEM. What’s the use of SEO and all of this backlinking effort if it can’t stand the test of time? Plus these back links are like little promotions, little ads throughout the internet vs. just a backlink. Plus it makes a lot of sense to maximize promotion efforts to have our on page stuff liked by search engines but also have our on page stuff maximize clarity to what the user is looking for getting them excited to share and link back. Man I’ve got a lot of work to do! Thank you!
Google’s aim is to provide the most relevant result for any given query. Their entire business model relies on them being able to do this, consistently, across hundreds of billions of searches. For that reason, they’ve invested heavily into understanding the intent of queries, i.e., the reason a person typed a specific thing into Google in the first place.
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.
Local results favor the most relevant results for each search, and businesses with complete and accurate information are easier to match with the right searches. Make sure that you’ve entered all of your business information in Google My Business, so customers know more about what you do, where you are, and when they can visit you. Provide information like (but not limited to) your physical address, phone number, category, and attributes. Make sure to keep this information updated as your business changes. Learn how to edit your business information

I have two tabs open. This article and another one. Both written in June. Each with a different opinion on keywords in URLs. Its so hard to follow SEO nowadays when everyone says they have the best data to prove stuff yet contradict each other. The only way around it is to test test test on my own stuff but it would be great if there was concensus.

In a series of books and articles published from 1964 through 1980, Nelson transposed Bush's concept of automated cross-referencing into the computer context, made it applicable to specific text strings rather than whole pages, generalized it from a local desk-sized machine to a theoretical proprietary worldwide computer network, and advocated the creation of such a network. Though Nelson's Xanadu Corporation was eventually funded by Autodesk in the 1980s, it never created this proprietary public-access network. Meanwhile, working independently, a team led by Douglas Engelbart (with Jeff Rulifson as chief programmer) was the first to implement the hyperlink concept for scrolling within a single document (1966), and soon after for connecting between paragraphs within separate documents (1968), with NLS. Ben Shneiderman working with graduate student Dan Ostroff designed and implemented the highlighted link in the HyperTIES system in 1983. HyperTIES was used to produce the world's first electronic journal, the July 1988 Communications of ACM, which was cited as the source for the link concept in Tim Berners-Lee's Spring 1989 manifesto for the Web. In 1988, Ben Shneiderman and Greg Kearsley used HyperTIES to publish "Hypertext Hands-On!", the world's first electronic book.[citation needed]



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.


Many small businesses fail to write clear, concise headlines on their websites. Headlines are a big ranking factor for Google and other search engines. Because headlines are big and important looking, many small business owners are tempted to write clever or fun headlines, but this is a mistake. Instead, write headlines that convey a single who, what, where, when, or why statement that summarizes the content that follows. Imagine someone only reads the headlines—will they understand the content on your page? Clearly written headlines will help your readers and search engines understand your content.
Once you claim your Google My Business listing and verify it, you’ll need to take plenty of pictures of your office (both internally and externally), as well as plenty of photos of your staff. Get in the habit of snapping photos of your business in action, before-and-afters (if applicable), and post all of these assets to your Google My Business profile. A verified and optimized Google My Business profile stands out in search results, especially among customers in the local area. The more information and visuals you provide, the more likely they are to call or contact you online.
When someone searches for the name of your business specifically, Google will pull information from your Google My Business page and display it in a panel on the right-hand side of the search results, increasing your business’ exposure. This is great for small businesses, because not only do you get a lot of space on the first page of Google’s organic search results, but you are also able to immediately show what your business is about. Again, the panel is only available to those who have set up their free Google My Business page.
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