Four years ago, Carrie Hill wrote a brilliant guide on how to market a small business website. However as the world of online business marketing is a tumultuous place, the 2012 article was well overdue for an update.
So here we present a brand new guide, full of updated information and tips to give your online business a boost without the need of a credit card.
Please note: some of the tips below are from Carrie Hill, but have been updated to reflect any changes.
1) Set up and verify your Search Console account with Google. Here you’ll be able to monitor your site’s performance, identify issues, submit content for crawling, remove content you don’t want indexed, view the search queries that brought visitors to your site, monitor backlinks… it’s all good stuff.
2) Set up a Bing Webmaster Tools account and verify it, because it’s not all just about Google.
3) Update or create your XML sitemap and upload it to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
4) Claim, verify, and update your Google My Business listing. This is extremely important. It’s free and will enable you to appear in local search results for queries specific to your products or services.
5) Install Google Analytics, even if you have existing tracking software on your site. The program will open up a world of data and analysis which you can take advantage of. Especially if you monitor your visitors behavious on-site and see what content they love.
6) Send a press release. Yes they do occasionally still work. Here are a few of the best free press release sources you can use, as recommended by Carrie Hill…
7) Send the press release to any niche media outlets that may be interested in what you do.
8) Find a niche social media site or forum within your industry and participate. Be helpful, provide relevant and useful information, and your word of mouth advertising will grow from that engagement.
Here are some examples provided by Carrie Hill:
9) If there isn’t a forum out there for you, consider starting one.
10) Setting up a joint benefit with local businesses or other companies in your niche can help you reach new audiences.
11) You could also try cosying up to a social influencer. Although remember if your trading goods or services for promotion, this will need to be labelled as ‘sponsored content’.
12) Comment on other websites and blogs within your industry. Offer original, well thought out, sensible information, and be sure to leave your URL.
Chances are there will be a nofollow tag attached so you won’t gain any ‘link-juice’ but you could gain a bit of traffic and some credibility as an authority. As Carrie Hill states, “This is not blog comment spamming, this is engaging in a conversation relevant to your website’s topic.”
13) Write a “how-to” article that addresses your niche. Make it clearly formatted with lots of nice images. Google loves easy to read explainers.
14) Use an article to answer a question in your niche. Answer boxes are becoming more prevalent in SERPs, and this content is pulled in from the most authoritative resource. Here’s a guide to answer boxes that will help you become that resource!
15) Write unique meta title tags for all of your pages. This is still extremely important from both a user perspective and for SEO.
16) Write unique meta descriptions for all of your pages. This is again, extremely important. Make sure the copy is as appealing and easy to read for humans as much as possible.
17) Start a blog. There’s nothing wrong with getting the basics of blogging down by using a free service from Blogger or WordPress. You could even try using Medium for an extra SEO boost.
18) Make sure your Bing and Yahoo Local listings are up to date.
19) Use your Bing Webmaster Tools account to look at your incoming links. How do they look? Are all of the sites relevant and on-topic?
If not, reevaluate your link building practices and start contacting any of the irrelevant sites you can and ask them to take down your link. A clean and relevant incoming link profile is important; cleaning up bad links is a necessity until we can tell Google and Bing which links we want them to ignore.
20) Make a slideshow of your products or record an original how-to video and upload to YouTube. Be sure to optimize your title and descriptions for YouTube. Once it’s uploaded, write a new page and embed the video on your own website. Add a transcription of the video if possible.
21) Try a new free keyword tool for researching website optimization. There are lots of free ones you can try in our expert-recommended list of free SEO tools.
22) Build a Facebook Page and work to engage those that are interested in your product or service. Facebook is a lot more difficult to master than it used to be if you’re not paying for reach, thanks to News Feed algorithm changes, but it’s still worth doing.
23) Start Tweeting or start doing it much better than you are now – it’s a great way to network with like-minded individuals. Also your Twitter feed will now show up for branded searches on Google.
24) Pinterest is still hot. If you have visually stimulating content that is relevant to the site’s demographic, you can find great success right now. Be sure you’re using solid practices for optimising Pinterest for search.
25) Create a list in Twitter and follow profiles of industry experts you know and trust. Use this as your modern feed reader. As Carrie Hill states, “I don’t use RSS feed readers anymore. I like content that has been vetted by my peers and is worthy of a tweet or two.”
26) Try a new way to write an ad for a struggling PPC ad group or campaign.
27) Review your Google In-Page Analytics and take note of how users are interacting with your page. Where to they click, what is getting ignored. Make changes based on this knowledge.
28) Make sure your business appears in Google Maps and add descriptions for your storefront, locations, and nearby useful points of interest. Make your map public and embed it on your own website. Add links back to relevant content on your site if possible to each point of interest.
29) You can make your search results appear more attractive by adding Schema markup to the HTML of your pages. This can help turn your search results into a rich media snippets, adding star-ratings, customer ratings, images, and various other bits of helpful info…
30) Try submitting your website to Google News. You can check whether your site is eligible here. Bear in mind that you will have to verify your ownership of your site and make sure your using meta-tags correctly.
31) Make sure you website is mobile responsive and is of a decent speed, as these are both ranking signals. You can check both these very important factors using the Google Mobile and Speed Test.
32) Keep reading Search Engine Watch for more free tips and tricks. Yeah!