Updated: Oct 14, 2018
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the act of aligning your website to how search engines find what people are looking for. SEO for a website requires working with multiple strategies at once in order to get results.
Is SEO good for small business?
Many people ask if SEO makes sense for small businesses. Is social media, pay-per-click ads or TV spots the better option? The simple fact is that every business should be investing in SEO. SEO amplifies all of your other digital marketing efforts.
Lets take a look at some simple SEO strategies any small business can use.
Set your benchmark
How do you know what you need to improve? Here in lies the first step, benchmarking. You can invest in some paid tools for an in-depth look at your site or make use of these free tools:
This tool provides you with some incredible information like:
Google search console
This is a separate tool. It helps you understand the following:
How often you appear in searches
What keywords cause you to appear in searches
What % of search appearances earn a click
How many websites are linking to yours?
This is Bing's version of Google Search Console. It can be helpful to see how people interact through Bing search engine.
Social media analytics
Each of your social media platforms will have their own version of an analytic tool. Make use of these to see who and how your audience is interacting with you through these accounts.
Develop a responsive web design
Small business SEO begins with a responsive web design. Without it, any efforts you make will have little to no impact on your traffic.
Search engines like Google pay attention to how visitors interact with your site. If people are clicking away within seconds, Google will reduce your visibility in searches. That reduces traffic. A responsive web design includes three major components.
In the words of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, "design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works".
How does someone navigate through your site? Is navigation intuitive? Do you give them too many choices? Like most things it's important to keep this one as simple as possible.
Kissmetrics Research Firm studied the impact of site speed on ecommerce sites. They found that a one second delay can slash conversions by as much as 7%. If your page is loading at 4-5 seconds, that means significant lost revenues.
You can start using Google PageSpeed Test to check your website. It will make suggestions for speeding up your site.
Check your URLs
A URL is another word for your web page address. Many modern content management systems like WordPress or Wix, create default URLs based upon page and blog titles.
When creating a new page, make sure you create a short descriptive URL with two to three words max.
Be visually appealing
Your web site should be visually-appealing. Include crisp and relevant high-resolution images and well-organised text. If the page looks like a mess, visitors will leave quickly.
Know your target audience
SEO is not only about getting more traffic... it's also about attracting the right traffic. If you apply strategies that bring in the wrong people, you'll have low conversion rates.
Creating a series of customer avatars is a very important tool in helping you to target your digital marketing strategy and knowing who you are creating your web site for.
Create the right keywords
Once you're clear on who your target customers are, you can begin doing keyword research. These keywords are what search engines use to find your web site based on what your audience is searching for.
You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner, to research keywords. You can also use paid tools like Ahrefs, Moz, etc. Look for a combination of low, medium, and high-competition words. Gaining traction on the low competition words helps you tackle the competitive ones.
Each page on your site should have its own keyword to avoid having your own pages competing with each other for top spots.
Take this article, for example. Google can tell that this article goes in-depth because we use keywords that show that we are covering topics like:
Search engines reward articles that present well organised, in-depth information.
Just remember you can not cover everything, you need to pick the keywords that best represent what you are presenting.
Create effective content
Content is everything that people consume on your webpage. It includes things like:
Your content must serve a purpose. It may be to display the benefits of a product you sell or the services that you offer. Or it may be brand awareness. To create effective content for small business SEO, get very clear on what objectives you strive to meet with the content. To understand the importance of content creation check out our recent article on this topic.
Be sure to only publish exceptional quality content. Bad content is bad for your brand and your SEO.
Create content around topics that people are actually interested in.
Use multimedia to provide visual content.
Leverage social buttons
Social shares don't directly impact small business SEO, but they do help increase brand awareness and engagement and this can increase traffic. If this traffic interacts well with the site, it demonstrates to search engines that your site deserves higher ranking.
Apply local SEO
Google understands that a small local businesses don't have the power to compete with Amazon-type companies. And importantly they don't think you should have to.
In order to reap these rewards, you must apply local SEO strategies like including your city and state in:
Image alt titles
Try not to over do it...But include it in several places.
Make SEO work for your small business
Small business SEO can help you increase your search engine ranking. With more visibility, you'll get more, high quality, traffic. This means higher conversion rates, increased revenues and a healthier ROI on your marketing budget.
Each strategy we discussed isn't hard to implement by itself. But to maximize results you need a comprehensive plan that puts these strategies to work. If you need help pulling all these things together, contact us today.