21 SEO Resources For Growing Your Business
As the Internet has evolved we have come to rely on search engines as an extension of our minds. Any question or information that we’re seeking we simply “Google it” and within seconds we’re reading answers. Science has even found that our brains are wiring differently as a result of the “Google Age”.
This is truly crazy:
There are over 6 BILLION SEARCHES performed every single day on Google. And, many of these are potential customers for your small business.
What’s more is that SEO leads are EIGHT TIMES more effective at closing leads than outbound leads (such as direct mail or print advertising). SEO is also highly trackable so you can clearly see your return on investment.
Contrary to sometimes popular belief, SEO is definitely not dead! 🙂
Below you will find a list of resources to help you get started and/or take your efforts to the next level.
Introductory SEO info
1) Beginners Guide to SEO by Moz — This is the most up-to-date and easy to follow guide to SEO on the web. It is the perfect place to start if you have any interest in SEO. We think you should pay close attention to search traffic because in our experience it is usually the best quality, lead-generating traffic for any small business and if done right it can be 100% free!
2) SEO Starter Guide by Google — This guide is provided directly by Google and covers different information than the guide by Moz. It is a few years old but still fully relevant. As it points out, creating “unique and accurate page titles” is the most important starting point for all SEO and is surprisingly overlooked even by big websites
3) Beginner’s Guide to Link Building by Moz — If you’re a little more adventurous and want to know more about the secret world of SEO link building, then this is a fantastic starting point. All search engines depend upon crawling links to determine whether a webpage should be ranked higher or not. Building quality links is of the utmost importance for ranking in this ever-competitive search engine landscape.
FREE SEO tools
Since the tools listed below are all free you should use them all at least once to see if they’re of use for your business needs. Many of these are provided directly by Google and are essential for analyzing and improving your website and therefore search engine rankings.
4) Google Analytics — Premium, most popular website analytics and reporting tool available. Tells you everything from which state your visitors are coming from to what keywords they used to get to your site. Google Analytics is as good or better than competitors that cost countless thousands of dollars. This tool is a must have from the first day you launch your website.
5) Google Webmaster Tools — Get data, tools and diagnostics for a healthy, “Google-friendly” website. It has some features that aren’t included in Google Analytics; helps you communicate with Google directly about your rankings; and notifies you if there are any errors in your website.
6) Google Keyword Tool — Keyword research is the starting point for any successful SEO campaign. This free tool from Google gives you an estimate of the search volume for your target keywords. It’s an invaluable tool to help you determine your “title tags” and keyword focus for each page of your website.
7) Google Preview Tool — This tool is a sister tool to the keyword research tool. It enables you to simulate search results anywhere in the world. For example, you can see how your Google listing appears for the given keyword in San Diego vs Los Angeles vs New York. This is helpful for both PPC and organic SEO.
8) SEO Toolbar — Firefox add-on that aggregates all the best SEO tools to help analyze the SEO of any website that you visit. It tells you things like: PageRank, number of links, age of domain, traffic and value of traffic.
9) Moz Bar — Another Firefox add-on that displays the “page authority (PA)” and “domain authority (DA)” below each search result and on any webpage you visit. It’s handy for getting a sense of how strong the competition is for any keyword.
10) WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast — WordPress is one of the best platforms for building any website. Yoast offers an excellent free WordPress plugin that enables you to easily do all the technical SEO edits for each page of your site. It allows you to do custom title tags, meta descriptions and so much more.
11) Google Trends — Enables you to explore the trending keywords in Google now and historically. It’s fun to put in your top keyword or even your business name to see how interest varies over time in each country.
12) Compete.com — Competitive analysis tool allowing you to see how much traffic your competitors are getting. Although, it typically only works well for sites that have very large traffic volumes (such as Facebook.com shown below). They also have a comprehensive paid version of the tool with much more functionality but it is pricey.
13) Whois Lookup — Allows you to see who is the owner of a website, where the site is hosted and who the domain registrar is.
14) Wayback Machine — An historical snapshot record of any website or webpage. This tool allows you to see how a website has changed over time and can be useful for SEO purposes. It’s fun to check out big sites like Amazon or Apple (shown below) to see how they looked when they launched in the 1990’s!
Pay Per Click Advertising
Pay per click (PPC) advertising is paying to be listed in the search engines. This is the fastest way to get quality traffic from Google but the catch is that you have to pay for every click. Certain keywords have become very expensive and so it is important that you know what you’re doing before you start burning your cash.
15) Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords – We recommend this book on Amazon to learn quickly everything you need to know to run your own successful PPC campaigns.
16) $75 free credit for Google Adwords – If you spend $25 Google will give you an extra $75 to spend. This is a great way to do a little test with setting up your ads and seeing if they will bring you business. Although, to be statistically significant, you will probably need at least a few hundred clicks to your website.
Paid SEO Services
Paid search engine optimization services help your company to optimize your small business website in order to rank better in the search results. As a business owner or manager it is difficult to be an expert at everything, especially something as technical and complicated as SEO. Hiring experts can be the secret weapon to beat the competition.
Below are a few services worth checking out:
17) Rankpay — Performance-based SEO services. This means you only pay if you get the desired results.
18) OrangeSoda — Natural SEO and PPC management services. This company offers affordable services to get you higher ranking in both paid and natural search results. They specialize in local and regional markets but work with national companies as well.
19) Wordstream — PPC software to help reduce the time it takes to optimize your campaigns. Very helpful if you have large sets of ads, keywords and landing pages.
Paid SEO Tools (which also allow you to spy on the competition!)
Generally it’s best to leave SEO to the experts. However, if you are planning to bring your SEO efforts in-house we recommend these two tools:
20) Ahrefs — Very effective SEO backlink checker. Analyzes your own backlinks as well as those of your competitors to help you understand what they’re doing differently. They have basic functionality for free as well.
21) SEM Rush — Great organic & paid SEO competitor analysis tool. This enables you to see which keywords bring traffic to your competitors and also to see how much they are spending in SEO advertising. They also have basic functionality in their free version.
These SEO resources provide all the tools needed for helping you take your small business website to the next level. The area that we see most commonly overlooked is the title tags on all pages of a website. With some simple keyword research you can title your pages more appropriately and this is the single most important thing for on-site SEO, plus it’s free!