A guide for the modern web for small businesses

The online world, it is a changing. Google updates their search engine all the time and what worked before may not only not work anymore, but it may be hurting you.
Also, SEO is a long game. Old tricks may provide bumps in traffic here and there but a clean implementation will provide steadier gains over the long haul.

Back to basics

First and foremost, you want to make sure you’re done with the basics.

  • WHO is coming to my site?
  • WHAT are they doing on my site?
  • WHERE are they coming from? How are they getting here?
  • WHY are they here?
  • WHEN do I have the most traffic? Weekends? Early morning?


Do you know how many visitors your site has? Is your traffic mostly from desktop browsers (Desktops, laptops) or from mobile browsers (iPhone, Android Phones, Windows Phone, etc.) If the answer to this question is no, go ahead and install Google Analytics on your site. Adding Google Analytics to your site allows you to start tracking your site’s performance and see how many people are coming to your site, where they’re going on your site, and how long they’re spending on each page of your site. You can even get fancier by using Google Analytics to track events on your site (downloading a brochure, for example).

If your site is comprised of static HTML files, you’ll need to add the block of code to each of your pages.
Most modern content management systems (Drupal, WordPress, Joomla) will have some plugin that can facilitate your integration. For this site, I use the WordPress plugin Google Analycator and and it makes integrating Google Analytics very easy. The plugin also has an option to disable Google Analytics tracking when I’m logged in so my tests don’t count towards the analytics.

Do you know how your visitors got to your site?

Google Webmaster Tools was recently re-branded to Google Search Console. If your site isn’t showing on Google, or if some of your newer pages aren’t showing in search results, used Google Search Console to add an updated sitemap containing entries for your new pages.

Additionally, Google Search Console allows you to see how your site performs for different searches and allows you to track the change in search performance over the previous month.

Old/ “Black hat” techniques that need you need to stop right now

If your site has been around for a while and you added links to your site to all sort of random places around the web as a means of building links to your site, this may actually be hurting you. Google’s Search algorithm updates (Panda, Penguin) have started identifying these sorts of site and have assigned negative points to the sites linked to them.

Just like having a well indexed site linking to you helps your Google ranking, having a site that has received penalties linking to you will hurt your rankings. If you’ve noticed a dip in your rankings, do what you can to remove the links to your site and see how your traffic is affected over a couple weeks.

SEO and Search Page Rankings

SEO as it’s been known in the past few years is not so much dead as that it has evolved. The old mantra of “Content is king” still stand but now it’s also about how your data is presented in search results. What is your business’s social footprint? Yelp/Facebook/Google+ ratings and reviews, mentions on Twitter for mobile searches (http://techcrunch.com/2015/05/19/google-adds-tweets-to-its-mobile-search-results/)… these social signals can help your rankings and also improve how your business is presented in the search results.

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