To get started, you will need to either claim your current business page or create a new one, depending on whether or not a page already exists for your business. If you are unsure, you can go to Google.com/business to search for the name of your business. For more information, read our step-by-step guide to setting up your Google My Business account.
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.
This is not to say that small businesses can’t show within the top organic results. If your business is located in a less competitive market or industry, like a nail salon in a small town, you have a better chance of ranking high in organic results. Most small businesses find it easiest to rank within local results, though small businesses can also rank high in organic results by investing in search engine optimization efforts.

For example, a plumber could first find a service that has search volume on Google, but may not be talked about that in-depth on their competitor’s websites. In this example, a service like “leak detection” may be listed with a small blurb on your competitor’s sites, but none of them have elaborated on every angle, created FAQs, videos, or images. This represents an opportunity to dominate on that topic.

Basically, what I’m talking about here is finding websites that have mentioned your brand name but they haven’t actually linked to you. For example, someone may have mentioned my name in an article they wrote (“Matthew Barby did this…”) but they didn’t link to matthewbarby.com. By checking for websites like this you can find quick opportunities to get them to add a link.
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.
Users will occasionally come to a page that doesn't exist on your site, either by following a broken link or typing in the wrong URL. Having a custom 404 page30 that kindly guides users back to a working page on your site can greatly improve a user's experience. Your 404 page should probably have a link back to your root page and could also provide links to popular or related content on your site. You can use Google Search Console to find the sources of URLs causing "not found" errors31.

The first step that I take is to do a quick Google search to find pages on my domain where I've mentioned the keyword in question so that I can add an internal link. To do this, I'll use the following search query, replacing DOMAIN with your domain name (e.g. matthewbarby.com) and KEYWORD with the keyword you're targeting (e.g. "social media strategy"):
This is another master piece. You’re not only a top SEO but your writing skills are also amazing. Good to see that I am doing most of the things already that you mentioned under On-Page SEO tips. The only thing I am currently struggling with is to get my content published on top sites. Can you come up with a detailed article about how to approach top sites in your niche and get your content approved? Thanks
Hi Brian – I couldn’t agree more on the tip “delete zombie pages” to raise rankings. We’ve been blogging for 11 years now, and have been through the dark times when you were supposed to publish 400-600 blogs posts per minute in order to rank. Needless to say we had a lot of thin content… A few years back we embarked on a journey to cut out the dead wood, combine the good stuff, and create the long form content you espouse on your website. And guess what? Over those 2 years, traffic us up 628%. We’re down to around 72 pages / posts and couldn’t be happier. It gives us time to update the content when necessary and keep it fresh, rather than scratching our heads trying to figure out what new and exciting way to spin divorce mediation!
You can confer some of your site's reputation to another site when your site links to it. Sometimes users can take advantage of this by adding links to their own site in your comment sections or message boards. Or sometimes you might mention a site in a negative way and don't want to confer any of your reputation upon it. For example, imagine that you're writing a blog post on the topic of comment spamming and you want to call out a site that recently comment spammed your blog. You want to warn others of the site, so you include the link to it in your content; however, you certainly don't want to give the site some of your reputation from your link. This would be a good time to use nofollow.
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).
In certain jurisdictions it is or has been held that hyperlinks are not merely references or citations, but are devices for copying web pages. In the Netherlands, Karin Spaink was initially convicted in this way of copyright infringement by linking, although this ruling was overturned in 2003. The courts that advocate this view see the mere publication of a hyperlink that connects to illegal material to be an illegal act in itself, regardless of whether referencing illegal material is illegal. In 2004, Josephine Ho was acquitted of 'hyperlinks that corrupt traditional values' in Taiwan.[14]
In United States jurisprudence, there is a distinction between the mere act of linking to someone else's website, and linking to content that is illegal (e.g., gambling illegal in the US) or infringing (e.g., illegal MP3 copies).[16] Several courts have found that merely linking to someone else's website, even if by bypassing commercial advertising, is not copyright or trademark infringement, regardless of how much someone else might object.[17][18][19] Linking to illegal or infringing content can be sufficiently problematic to give rise to legal liability.[20][21][22]Compare [23] For a summary of the current status of US copyright law as to hyperlinking, see the discussion regarding the Arriba Soft and Perfect 10 cases.

Hi Brian – I couldn’t agree more on the tip “delete zombie pages” to raise rankings. We’ve been blogging for 11 years now, and have been through the dark times when you were supposed to publish 400-600 blogs posts per minute in order to rank. Needless to say we had a lot of thin content… A few years back we embarked on a journey to cut out the dead wood, combine the good stuff, and create the long form content you espouse on your website. And guess what? Over those 2 years, traffic us up 628%. We’re down to around 72 pages / posts and couldn’t be happier. It gives us time to update the content when necessary and keep it fresh, rather than scratching our heads trying to figure out what new and exciting way to spin divorce mediation!


Participate in Forums – Getting involved in online forums, such as Reddit and Quora, can help increase the number of unstructured citations for your business. To maximize the potential of getting citations here, make sure your user bio includes your business website. Also, use the forums as a way to provide helpful information and not as self-promotion.
Once you've set up an alert within Mention, go to your settings and then 'Manage Notifications'. From here you can select the option to get a daily digest email of any mentions (I'd recommend doing this). You also have the option of getting desktop alerts - I personally find them annoying, but if you really want to stay on the ball then they could be a good idea.
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.
Can you offer any commentary that is more specific to web-based stores? I definitely see the value in some of this and have made a few positive changes to my site, but I’m not a blogger and am ideally looking to direct more traffic to the site through other means. As it stands, we get only a few orders/month, and I’d like to dive deeper into how we can simply (though not necessarily easily) expand our market.
Creating high quality content takes a significant amount of at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill. Content should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive. So, for example, if you describe your page as a recipe, provide a complete recipe that is easy to follow, rather than just a set of ingredients or a basic description of the dish.

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.


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?

Participate in Forums – Getting involved in online forums, such as Reddit and Quora, can help increase the number of unstructured citations for your business. To maximize the potential of getting citations here, make sure your user bio includes your business website. Also, use the forums as a way to provide helpful information and not as self-promotion.
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