Last week I caught up with Stephen Woessner, the author of The Small Business Owner's Handbook to Search Engine Optimization.  In his book, Stephen outlines a 15-step process to help improve the performance of your website in organic search.  In our chat, Stephen gave me some insight into his latest SEO book.

[Manoj]: Your book is targeted at Small Businesses, talk to us about the importance of small businesses understanding the foundations of SEO in order to really kickstart their website(s)?
[Stephen Woessner]: A small business owner needs to take advantage of every possible competitive advantage, especially during this challenging economy -- and having an effective Web presence is one of the best strategies to increase sales. SEO is a proven, low-cost strategy for increasing Web site traffic, and a business owner does not need technical skills to get substantial results. By following the 15-step process in The Small Business Owner's Handbook to SEO, business owners will see a dramatic increase in rankings within 30 days or less and a doubling of Web site traffic in 90 days or less. SEO provides any business owner with measurable results and proven performance.
[Manoj]: If small businesses could focus on just 2 or 3 main strategies in your 15 step process what would you want those to be?
[Stephen Woessner]: Great question! My advice would be to focus on Steps 3-6 initially. Step 3 teaches business owners how to select keywords that are proven performers so no time is wasted on words that don't matter. Step 4-6 teaches business owners about the three most valuable pieces of real estate on any content page: 1) Page title, 2) META keywords, and 3) META description and how to optimize these fields using the keywords selected during Step 3. However, the power of my 15-step SEO process is using all the steps in unison, but if a business owner did nothing else, they should absolutely take advantage of Steps 3-6.
[Manoj]: This book has a lot of great information and can be digested in very little time - is this what you envisioned before you started writing?
[Stephen Woessner]: I am glad you think so and absolutely! My goal in writing The Small Business Owner's Handbook to SEO was to make it very practical and tactical. I wanted to include a specific step-by-step process that any business owner could sit down, read, and begin using right away. I wanted to take a no-nonsense approach and provide a handbook that delivered efficient and effective results.
[Manoj]: Do you think SEO still provides one of the best ROIs compared to other online strategies?
[Stephen Woessner]: Definitely! I cannot think of another online promotional strategy that is as effective as SEO with a little to no-cost investment. SEO should be the promotional foundation to any Web site.
[Manoj]: You mention article submissions in your link building chapter, how effective is this strategy?
[Stephen Woessner]: Writing and submitting articles to the free distribution sites that I highlight in my book is the single most effective strategy for building high-quality, in-bound links to a Web site. The articles also demonstrate a business owner's expertise in their given industry. The link building strategy I explain in detail within Step 15 will generate hundreds of new, high-quality, in-bound links within 90 days or less. The additional links will also increase a Web site's site popularity within Google, and as a result, the site's rankings will go even higher.

December 17, 2009

Manoj has been in the Digital marketing industry for over 10 years with experience at some of Canada's largest companies: WestJet and Shaw Communications. Manoj first started in the search marketing industry with Enquiro Search Solutions, where he spearheaded web analytics, SEO Training and the development of cutting edge search marketing solutions for clients. Manoj is also an entrepreneur in the Mobile and Local Deals space.

Manoj is a Professional Speaker having participated at events such as Web Analytics Congress (Amsterdam), Emetrics, Web Analytics Xchange, WebTrends Engage, Internet Marketing Conference, Social Media Innovation Summit and Search Engine Strategies. He has also contributed to several leading online publications such as: Search Engine Land, Marketing Pilgrim, WebProNews, Search Engine Guide and the Web Analytics Assocation.

He founded and successfully sold Web Analytics World (a top 100 Digital Marketing Blog – and was voted #39th Most Influential Digital Marketer in North America – 2009 (see:


Great interview Manoj!

There is some really good content here man.. Being a Internet Marketing Consultant to small business owners within my town it's hard to relay the message to them with a clear vision on how SEO and simple SEO will help their presence on the web. Within this post, I have got out of it a lot of valuable information that I can take to the sales table. Thanks for the great content.

Jason Braud

Nice interview. I agree that SEO has a great ROI for small businesses. Small businesses have a great opportunity to leapfrog the competition with well-executed SEO strategy. I do disagree, however, that META keywords are a top three priority. I'd rather spend time looking at page names, page titles and H1, H2, H3 tags.

Sorry to be a heckler, but if among Woessner's most important tips include "META keywords" this guy doesn't know what he's talking about. Every one knows that this tag is dead. Matt Cutts of Google has even publicly acknowledged that Google doesn't even look at the META keywords tag. Oy...

You lost me at "META keywords" being one of the "three most valuable pieces of real estate on any content page." Really? More important than the content itself? Content isn't even mentioned.

And the META description tag has little, if any, real SEO value. It can provide help with click-through from a SERP, but that is much different than SEO value.

Thanks Manoj for that interview.

Am just starting to appreciate (and hopefully understand) SEO and reading your post helps. Reading different views and opinions helps too like this one from a comment about -

"Sorry to be a heckler, but if among Woessner's most important tips include "META keywords" this guy doesn't know what he's talking about. Every one knows that this tag is dead."


Good interview. Completely agree that SEO returns great ROI for small businesses and SEO should be the promotional foundation to any Web site. As there is no other way out.

Thanks for sharing.

You have touched upon some excellent points and I really like the step-by-step layout! Although I have noticed that some business owners -- especially smaller ones -- don't seem to have enough time on their hands to complete even a set of simple steps, but I still believe that everyone should go through the process themselves. Even if they are going to be overwhelmed and will eventually outsource it, the guide like this one will provide a much deeper understanding of traffic generation and SEO in general. Great job!

Good interview. As a small business owner in NYC, it is so difficult to find the time to go through these steps. I have a small staff and they are swamped with work so I end up trying to do some of these things late at night after the family is sleeping. It is definitely worth it and hopefully I can start to see some results soon.

I know a small Hardwood Flooring business owner and he is trying to get a website going, however it seems to be rough for a small business to compete with fortune 500 companies over the web :(

META Keywords?

I understand how this would be beneficial to small businesses.

My question is how would you apply those techniques to search optimise a new directory or a new deals engine?

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