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50 web marketing tips for small business owners – Part 1

February 6, 2012

These tips were written by the Bytestart team. We’ve been optimising and publishing content sites since 1998 – with some success (and mistakes made) along the way. Hopefully these tips will help small business people increase the visibility of their websites on the Internet and save you time along the way.

Top 50 web marketing tips

1. Domain Names – If you are creating a new website, try to secure all key domain name types as well as .co.uk (.com, .net and .org). This will secure your web identity and will prevent competitors from muscling in on your online presence.

2. Frames – Once a popular way of publishing on the web, people very rarely use Frames these days, as search engines find them hard to index.

3. If your site is for a UK audience, make sure your web hosting is based in the UK. If you have a .co.uk domain name, but the hosting is based in California, your site won’t appear on Google UK’s search results!

4. Internal Navigation is as important as gaining external links. Make sure your site is well linked together, and that pages are not buried too deeply within your site’s navigation structure, otherwise the search engines may not find them.

5. Don’t hide “white” text within your web page, hoping the search engines will rank your page higher using hidden text. Your page is likely to be banned.

6. Try to place some of your keywords within your page URL’s (e.g. “pet_food_uk.html” instead of “123298798324_uk123.html).

7. Take time creating your TITLE tags – this is the tag Google takes most notice of; the “Keywords” tag has less and less importance these days to search engines.

8. It will take many months before a new domain name is even ranked by Google (a phenomenon known as the “sandbox effect”, so if you are planning on getting a new domain – buy it now, set up some hosting and upload some good content, so that you don’t have to wait as long once you are ready to set up your site fully.

9. Make sure you target keyword PHRASES as well as single keywords. Search engine marketing is so competitive now, that you’re better off targeting lots of phrases and gaining a few visitors for each one, then targeting a very competitive keyword and getting nowhere.

10. Make sure your target search engine phrases actually match your page content – you cannot trick the search engines into believing your site is about “sheep”, when it all the content is about “horses”.

11. Try to use unique content on your site. Duplicate content may be penalised by the search engines and may not even make it to the main indexes if it appears elsewhere on the web.

12. Try to exchange links with your competitors. Links from sites of a similar subject are more valuable than links from sites of a completely different subject area to yours.

13. Google completely dominates the search marketing world – often over 80% of all site visitors are generated by Google. Make sure you optimise your site for Google first before turning your attention to other engines such as Yahoo! and Bing.

14. Use an HTML checker to ensure that your code is accurate. Pages with messy code may be penalised by the search engines.

15. Check your site for broken links, as your site may be penalised for such errors.

16. Check your page load speed. Not only will Google frown on very slow loading sites, but visitors will leave right away if your site doesn’t load instantly.

17. Place relevant “anchor text” within your links to other pages on your site, instead of the usual “click here”.

18. Place your favourite keywords within the “alt” text of image tags. As ever, don’t overdo it, just some sensible words in a few places should suffice.

19. Do not embed links within Javascript code, as search engines won’t read them.

20. Create a dedicated “Page not Found” (404 page) in case a page on your site cannot be found. Ideally, this 404 page should contain a tidy site map for your site.

21. Update your site with relevant, unique content on a regular basis. Once the search engines know you regularly update your site, they will visit on a daily basis.

22. Try to gain links into your site from pages with a healthy Google Pagerank (the green bar on the Google Toolbar will display Pagerank). A Pagerank of 4 and above is often said to be a good starting point.

23. Try to be included on links pages with only a few links in total. If someone gives you a link from a page with 50 others, the link back to you will not be worth very much from a search engine ranking point of view.

24. Take your time building links. Gain good quality, relevant links over a reasonable period of time. Gaining hundreds of links in a few days may set off the alarm bells and imply that your site may be using “unethical” search engine techniques

25. Never use “doorway” pages. These are small, text rich pages which attempt to fool the search engines into ranking a page higher than it ought to be. Such tricks are used less and less now as the search engines get wiser each day to unethical web marketing practices.

For the final 25 tips, click here.