Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex discipline, but you don’t have to be an SEO guru to help improve your website’s visibility in search engine results.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex discipline, but you don’t have to be an SEO guru to help improve your website’s visibility in search engine results.

With a little effort and adherence to some best practices, you can help ensure your website gets found online by people looking for the types of products and services you offer.

Four On-page SEO Tips for Small Business Owners

Below are some simple ways you can help your website rank better in web searches.

Include variations of appropriate keywords and phrases relevant to the page’s focus.

To help search engines figure out the context and intent of a webpage, make sure your content includes relevant keywords and phrases and variations of them. Consider what words and phrases your prospective customers might use when looking for products or services like yours. Especially focus on long tail keywords, keyword phrases that are more specific and that usually have much less competition than shorter, popular keywords. You can find many resources online that explain how to do keyword research effectively.

Format content to provide a logical hierarchy of the information on the page.

Use headers (H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, H6) to give structure to your writing. Headers break content down into a main topic, sub-topics, and sub-sub topics, and so on. For example, let's say you run a wholesale greenhouse and are writing content about annual plants. Here's how you might structure your headers to make it clear what the main topic and varying levels of sub-topics are:

H1 (Main topic) – Wholesale Annuals

H2 (Sub-topic) – Geraniums

H3 (Sub-sub topic) – Regal Geraniums

H3 (Sub-sub topic) – Ivy Geraniums

H3 (Sub-sub topic) – Common Garden Geraniums

H2 (Sub-topic) – Petunias

H3 (Sub-sub topic) – Grandiflora Petunias

H3 (Sub-sub topic) – Multi-flora Petunias

H3 (Sub-sub topic) – Supertunia Petunias

And so on.

Keep spacing concise between the elements of a list.

Whether you include a numbered list or one with bullet points, don't add extra spacing before or after the elements within your list. Search engines might find it hard to tell that everything belongs to one list, and if they have a hard time understanding the structure of your content, it might impact your SEO negatively. Link to relevant internal website pages and reputable external sites.

Within your content, provide links to pages deeper into your website. Make sure these links have a purpose and that you're not gratuitously adding them for the sake of having them there. The goal is to make navigating your website easier, so you're providing a good user experience and keeping people on your website longer.

Where it makes sense to do so, in blog posts for example, also consider including links to other websites. External links to trustworthy websites that offer reader’s helpful information and that are relevant to your webpage’s content can improve the credibility of your website and improve the authority of your site.

Resources to Help You With Your Online Marketing and More

For help with your SEO and online marketing efforts, consider working with a reputable SEO professional or internet marketing firm that has a proven track record of success. And for guidance on all aspects of starting and running a business, contact SCORE to talk with a mentor.

You’ll find a wealth of small business-related information, resources, and training, plus free, confidential counseling from more than 12,000 business experts. For more information about contacting a mentor or volunteering contact the SCORE Lake of the Ozarks Chapter at, by e-mail at or call 573-346-5441. Serving Mid-Missouri with offices in the Lake of the Ozarks, Columbia, Jefferson City and Lebanon.