Secretly, you wonder, don’t you? How does that competitor rise suspiciously fast in the search engine rankings. He comes out of nowhere, and suddenly, everyone is giving him money. How does he do it? Here’s his secret.

Fixing Your Onsite Optimization With Responsiveness

If you own a small business website, you’re probably wondering how you can optimize it yourself in lieu of paying someone else to do it for you. Most small business owners don’t have the budget to pay thousands of dollars to a web developer and they want to do it themselves. While you probably won’t be able to do a full-blown SEO campaign, you can do some basic things like switching to a responsive website.

If you want to see an example of a responsive site, view Mann Countrywide online.

A few years ago, it was fashionable to use mobile-only websites. But, new browsers are capable of understanding different sized screens. So, there’s no need for a dedicated mobile browsing experience. All you need to do is specify the screen size in your stylesheet and your website will resize itself to fit whatever device users happen to be accessing it from.

Google and other search engines are also giving preference to these types of sites, so you’ll find yourself falling in the search engines if you don’t do this on your site.

Double-Check Your Website Links

It’s easy to miss a broken link. And, all it takes is one crucial link to send visitors bouncing away from your site. Test the email links on your site, as well as your contact form. The last thing you want is for people to not have a way to get in touch with you.

Also, check the menu links to make sure they’re taking site visitors to pages they’re supposed to. Test your legal disclaimer and terms of service page. This is especially important if you’ve had staff changes and you need to be sure that emails are properly routed to the right place.

Do Your Research

Keyword research is something that not many business owners bother with, unfortunately. They either don’t know how to do it, or they’re not very good at it. And, so, it gets ignored. You might find that some of your terminology, however, is outdated and it’s no longer being used by your market. If they’re not using it, then how do you expect to be found in the search engines?

For example, a term like “staff development” used to be very popular. Today, it’s “team development.” If you’re still bidding on “staff development,” then you’re not going to capture the traffic that you should be.

Also, you should be spying on your competition to make sure that you’re snagging all the right keywords. Odds are, if it’s working well for them, it’ll work well for you. Tools like SEMRush allow you to easily type in your competitor’s URL and see which keywords and rankings your competitors are snatching up.

Get Better At Content Creation

Do you have the same content on your website as when it was first launched? If so, then it might be time to freshen things up a bit. Give your site a bit of a refresh and search engines will love you. There will be a reason to crawl your site and index more of it. The reality is that the more you update your site, even when there’s nothing technically new on the site, and even if all you’re doing is updating a few words or adding or deleting a few paragraphs, search engines love the fact that it’s being updated.

Optimize Your Headings

Make sure you’re using what’s called “H1” tags on your site for headlines. Only use one H1 headline per page or post, and use H2, H3, etc. tags for subheads or header sections throughout the page.

Optimize Images

Don’t forget to optimize images, either. Use captions where appropriate, and always include meta information so that the search engines can figure out what the image is supposed to be about. Include an alt text and description so that people who may not be able to see images still know what the image is supposed to represent. Image tags are used by those with vision impairment to help them, so make sure you also include these.

Stay Local

If your business caters to the community only, and you can’t really translate sales into a national campaign (you’re a flower shop or restaurant, for example), then focusing on local SEO is probably the most important thing you can do. Encourage and incentivize people to leave local reviews through Trip Advisor, or Google, Bing, Yelp, and Yahoo Business pages.

Horace Cain is a small business owner who has a background in SEO. He likes to share his knowledge with others, and writes simple strategies for getting found online for business blogs.