SMB SEO Checklist: 3 Ways to Improve Rankings

I’m trying to make more income to cover expenses at school. My parents are helping as much as they can, but I’ve started a small online business to try and make a bit more. My friends all like what I’m selling, and when people do visit they usually buy something. But I’m not getting as many hits as I need. How can I improve my rankings so my website gets found when people search?

Your website could look great on the main page but be underperforming due to technical issues that can’t be seen easily from the outside. The only way to be sure what’s going on under the hood is to do a thorough SEO audit. An audit will help look at the following technical issues.

Duplicate Content

If your website is using duplicate content available elsewhere on the web, this could have serious consequences to its rankings and ratings. If another site has stolen material from your site, you should aggressively address that issue. If the duplicate content is on your site, even inadvertently, get rid of it quickly.

Page Optimization

A common problem for a small business is having a great front page on the website while the rest of the pages aren’t optimized. An audit will flag up if certain pages are causing a problem due to a lack of optimization.

Loading Speed

If pages are taking forever to load, particularly on a mobile device, your site will not rank highly in search. Users do not want to wait for a page to load, and search engines take that into account as they rank websites. Some common culprits here include having too many photos or outdated flash content.

Broken Links

If there are links on your main page pointing to other pages that contain information about a product or service, those links must work properly. Broken links send users to nowhere and earn a site penalty from search engine web crawlers.

Link Strategy

You might be aware that you need links to and from other websites, but you might not realize how much the quality of those links matters. If your site has low-quality backlinks, this makes it seem as though you’re trying to game the system, and that earns a penalty from Google.

What your site needs are high-quality links that point back to the website. High-quality links come from independent websites with good domain authority that are not linked to you directly. (Links from your own personal blog, for example, won’t be considered high-quality by Google).

These links also have to appear naturally in a way that convinces the reader that clicking on that link to reach your site is in their best interest.

How To Optimize Your Link Strategy

Getting good links involves a tremendous amount of effort, and it can be almost impossible for you to do this on your own, especially if this a part-time gig for you. Building a link profile requires constantly creating quality content and then finding a way to get the attention of the right people while avoiding attention from spammy sites. Your site’s rankings will be hurt you’re linked to poor quality sites. can give you the edge you need to compete by providing professional, proven link-building strategies and other SEO service packages. For most small business owners, partnering with an SEO expert is a financially feasible way of building the kind of links that make a difference in rankings.

Photo by Wilfred Ivan at StockSnap

What To Include In An Optimization Strategy

Whether there is just one single page causing problems or your whole website needs to be revamped, optimization is more than just putting a few keywords on your pages.

Every page within your site must be sensibly structured as part of the larger website and streamlined to run smoothly no matter what device customers use to access it.

Pages must load quickly, function properly, and look good: but what does that mean, exactly? An optimization strategy should include all the following:

  • Long-tail keywords that target your specific customer base
  • Concise, easy to scan content
  • Meta descriptions with backlinks that work properly
  • Titles, subtitles, and appropriate keywords in heading tags on every page
  • Graphics that don’t take too long to load and don’t distract from the text