I watched a webinar from Hubspot today, presented by VP of Inbound Marketing Mark Volpe, that covered ways small businesses can can market and promote their business besides Google PPC Ads. The presentation covered things like blogging and publishing articles, videos and podcasts as well as Search Engine Optimization. Mark broke the process of optimization of the small business website into two main parts: On Page and Off Page SEO.
SEO is a must, especially for small businesses who don't have large advertising budgets to get top spots in Google PPC Ads. We have implemented several strategies to imrpove our SEO at OfficeClip, but I have not seen SEO broken down into these nice categories before; makes it very easy to understand.
On-Page SEO is your page title at the very top, which should have keywords that match what is on the actual web page. Also, it is important to have a clean URL, headers throughout your HTML code (the search engine picks up on these and it can make the content easier for visitors to read!), relevant, thoughtful content, and Meta descriptions. Yes, you still need meta tags and the Meta description is important because it is what the search engines will display in the organic rankings.
Off-Page SEO refers to inbound links, which act as recommendations for your website and product. Inbound links are URLs on other sites that link to your website and search engines look favorably on this, as it implies your website is important. You can have a link to your site listed on another site and you can also have Anchor Text which is if the website mentions a keyword of yours and links to the page on your website that contains those keywords. This is very powerful, as it shows a great match for the search engine as it goes in to rank your site. Finally, getting links to your site from big, trusted sites like Cnn.com or Business.com are good. If that is not possible (which often isn't for us very small businesses!) then a page that is at least ranked by Google will be a great alternative.
It seems like a lot of work, but the payoff is that you can show up in organic rankings, ideally on the first page. When people click on your link, you are not charged as you are with PPC Ads! So good luck implementing SEO and check out this great site, http://www.bruceclay.com, for more info on SEO and some great free tools!