An important factor in ranking is review signals, which refers to the quality, quantity, velocity, and diversity of reviews you get from customers. This rank factor is intriguing as it has jumped up year-over-year in importance. Google reviews are the most important, followed by third-party reviews (Yelp, Facebook, and other sites). It’s also important to get your product/service mentioned in the review. There is even some suggestion that responses to reviews are a factor in rank.
To prevent users from linking to one version of a URL and others linking to a different version (this could split the reputation of that content between the URLs), focus on using and referring to one URL in the structure and internal linking of your pages. If you do find that people are accessing the same content through multiple URLs, setting up a 301 redirect32 from non-preferred URLs to the dominant URL is a good solution for this. You may also use canonical URL or use the rel="canonical"33 link element if you cannot redirect.
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.
Links to online articles and websites improve the richness of online text and increase its search engine optimization. You can reference almost any website by copying and pasting the link into your email, text message, or document. The procedure may differ slightly depending upon the computer, device or program you are using. If the address is very long, you can use a link shortening service.
If you find any broken links on topically related websites, you can immediately contact the website owner and inform him about it. Since you will do him a favor by pointing out a broken link, you can also kindly request a replacement with a link to your relevant resource. Of course, the replacement – your article – must be informative and useful for their audience.

In order to optimize your site, you need to make sure you are including the keywords that you want to rank for multiple times throughout your site. Also, ensure your site has complete and up-to-date contact information, that you’re using appropriate meta tags, and that you include pertinent business information as text—not text on images that Google can’t search.


Contentious in particular are deep links, which do not point to a site's home page or other entry point designated by the site owner, but to content elsewhere, allowing the user to bypass the site's own designated flow, and inline links, which incorporate the content in question into the pages of the linking site, making it seem part of the linking site's own content unless an explicit attribution is added.[13]

Because the act of linking to a site does not imply ownership or endorsement, you do not need to ask permission to link to a site that is publicly accessible. For example, if you found a site's URL through a search engine, then linking to it shouldn't have legal ramifications. There have been one or two cases in the U.S. that implied that the act of linking without permission is legally actionable, but these have been overturned every time.
Provide full functionality on all devices. Mobile users expect the same functionality - such as commenting and check-out - and content on mobile as well as on all other devices that your website supports. In addition to textual content, make sure that all important images and videos are embedded and accessible on mobile devices. For search engines, provide all structured data and other metadata - such as titles, descriptions, link-elements, and other meta-tags - on all versions of the pages.
Unfortunately, high rankings rarely happen by chance. Even the most skilled and knowledgeable marketers struggle with getting the top-ranking spot. So, how can a regular business owner hope to achieve this feat? While there's no way to absolutely guarantee high rankings, this post will look at some strategies anyone can use to seriously increase their chances of claiming that #1 spot.
Longer content not only helps in adding more keywords to it, but there is also a natural emphasis on information. The authenticity of a post increases with longer text, which means that Google would recognize it as something more relevant than a shorter and concise text. As search patterns are synonymous with long tail keywords nowadays, a longer text also improves the chances of your article/website to be on a higher ranking than others.
Ha! I love this post, which took an entire evening to read, because I needed to follow up on a lot of the links that branch out from here. I am a beginner but I was delighted to see you last section on how succint, strong, active and snappy writing helps to reduce bounce rate 😉 I think you might add using humor to the mix. You use it a lot, too. (And I’m only half joking).
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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.

Google updates its search algorithm frequently. For example, on February 23rd, 2016, Google made significant changes to AdWords, removing right-column ads entirely and rolling out 4-ad top blocks on many commercial searches. While this was a paid search update, it had significant implications for CTR for both paid and organic results, especially on competitive keywords.
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.

The great thing about the long tail for new sites that have no backlinks and no authority, is that it is possible to rank for these terms, assuming great on-page SEO, quality content etc.. So therefore focusing on the long tail is a strategy that is often recommended and in fact Rand himself (and indeed others of good repute) have cited 4+ words and lower LMS to avoid the med-high volume kws due to their kw difficulty. Have I completely missed the point in your guide or do you indeed have a slightly different view on the long tail?
One of my favorite ways to give content a boost is to run ads on Facebook targeting people with interests that are relevant to the content. It’s fairly low cost since you are offering a free piece of content. By targeting people with relevant interests to your content, you drive the right people to the content and into the top of your funnel. And if your content resonates with them, they’ll share, link, and engage with the content in ways that will help Google see its value.
All sites have a home or "root" page, which is usually the most frequented page on the site and the starting place of navigation for many visitors. Unless your site has only a handful of pages, you should think about how visitors will go from a general page (your root page) to a page containing more specific content. Do you have enough pages around a specific topic area that it would make sense to create a page describing these related pages (for example, root page -> related topic listing -> specific topic)? Do you have hundreds of different products that need to be classified under multiple category and subcategory pages?

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A Google My Business (GMB) page is a free business listing through Google that allows your business to show up in organic and local results. Having a Google My Business page is necessary in order to rank in Google’s local results, but how highly you rank within the results is determined by factors such as the quality of your account and your volume of good reviews.
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