As a website owner or business owner you’ve likely heard of search engine optimization before, but you probably have never signed up for SEO services with a firm or taken the time to make changes to your site that would help it rank higher in search results. Search engines are the new yellow pages, they’re the place that over 80% of consumers turn to before making a purchasing decision. That’s why it’s critical to have your business or website show up on the first page of results and ideally as close to the number 1 spot as possible.

If you’re in a competitive niche or a large market, you’re likely going to need to sign up for an SEO package to get your website on top, but if you’re in a small niche or small local market then there are a few things you can do yourself to try and get your website on page one of search results:

(1) Do some Spring Cleaning on your Website

If you’re slightly technically inclined, you can go into your website and make some small changes to the coding and content. When it comes to coding, you want to make sure you have optimized title tags, meta information, and anchor text. That means using your keywords that you want to rank for strategically in these locations to tell search engines what your website is all about.

On top of this, you also want to have quality, original content on your website. That means adding content when needed and making sure that you update this content regularly. The best way to add content is through regular blog posts on your website. This will help keep your site fresh, which search engines love, and it will help generate natural links to your website from 3rd party sites.

(2) Have a Properly Coded and Structured Website

So many small businesses hire a friend, neighbor, or kid down the block to build their website, and they end up with low quality websites that aren’t properly coded. This means websites that are made in flash, websites that are missing title tags, and websites that don’t convert well. Before you can market your website, make sure it is worth marketing and represents your business well. Your website is the first impression people will have, so make sure it’s a good one.

(3) Build some Inbound Links to your Website

Link building is a critical part of search engine optimization, so don’t be afraid to build some links on your own. You can do guest blog posts, submit articles, or try to get mentioned on a local news website. All these links will count as a vote for your website and tell search engines that your site is important and deserves to rank higher.

Again these three steps won’t rank a site in a highly competitive niche, but they certainly can rank a site in a small local market or less competitive niche. It’s a great place to start and if you find that you don’t have the time or expertise to rank your site on your own, there’s always companies out there who will take the online marketing burden off your shoulders.

This is a guest post by Brendan Egan, who is the owner of Simple SEO Group, an online marketing, web design, and SEO firm that helps small businesses improve their web presence. Brendan can be reached by visiting