Small businesses that want to be successful in their industry need to implement search engine optimisation (SEO). It doesn’t matter if you offer excellent products and services, if people don’t take any notice, your business may as well be invisible.
The purpose of SEO is to inform search engines that your business exists and to lead potential customers through your ‘online doorway’.
With a suitable SEO strategy, your website will enjoy increased traffic, greater brand visibility, enhanced opportunities and more revenue. However, without SEO, expanding your online presence will be a challenge and in fact your competitors may be able to steal business away from you.
This article covers all the essential details of SEO for small businesses.
The fundamentals of SEO
By utilising SEO, you will be able to optimise your website and enable search engines to find and index it. Here are the fundamentals of SEO that you should apply to your site.
Keywords are the terms and phrases that potential clients type into search engines such as Google. For this reason, it is recommended that you discover what words people are utilising to find:
- Businesses such as yours
- Information about your business
- Matters relating to your product or service offering
Once you have identified these keywords, it becomes easier to create useful content. In order to find these keywords, you need to regularly monitor the trends relating to your business. You can also check your competitors’ keywords by using tools such as BuzzSumo and SEMrush.
2. Content marketing and copywriting
Informative and engaging content can entice your target audience to read an entire page. If people remain on your site for longer, Google may push your pages to other people who could be interested in this type of content. Copywriting can help you create high-quality content that readers will want to read from beginning to end.
Meanwhile, content marketing involves incorporating a specific keyword in your blogs. So, how can you determine what keywords you should include?
- Create a landing page using a competitive keyword that has significant search volume
- Link back to that page through your blog posts
- Make sure that your blog includes other related long-tail keywords (longer and more specific phrases used by visitors who are more likely to avail of your services)
This strategy will allow you to create a page that both readers and search engines will easily be able to find, pushing your site to a higher ranking.
3. Building links
Your sites need two types of link:
- Internal – Make sure you have enough links to the existing content on your site.
- External – You can approach and persuade other sites to link to your content. For this type of task, it is often prudent to hire an SEO specialist.
Google will give your website a higher ranking if authoritative sites link to your content.
4. User interface (UI) and user experience (UX)
Visitors will rarely stay on websites that take too long to load or which are difficult to navigate. Accordingly, you must ensure that your site has a user-friendly interface that will encourage visitors to stay longer and find out more about your services. If the loading time is more than three seconds, it is imperative that you find a way of speeding it up.
5. Local SEO
Local SEO follows the same tactics but focuses on the area close to your business. You should use this approach to:
- Write blogs about local topics
- Encourage reviews from local customers
- Link your content to other local sites
What SEO strategies should you implement?
Without an effective SEO strategy, pushing your website to a search engine’s top page will be a struggle. Online visibility is crucial, even if you have a local customer base, as studies have shown that nine out of ten people will use the internet to search for local businesses such as yours. Here are the various SEO strategies that are suitable for small companies that are intent on making considerable revenue from their online presence.
1. Technical SEO
Although it is useful, high-quality content is not enough. You also need to ensure that the technical side of your website is optimised and up to date. With this in mind, you should consider the following tactics:
- Create a sitemap for Google – If you are a WordPress user, you can take advantage of Yoast SEO to generate a sitemap and then submit it via Google’s search console.
- Improve your ranking by removing or editing pages that do not generate enough traffic.
- Remove or replace any broken or outdated links.
- Optimise your image by adding suitable captions, preferably with keywords included. Don’t forget to describe the image using alt-text.
2. Local SEO
Almost one out of three mobile searches is location-based. For instance, when a user types ‘shop near me’, the search engine’s algorithm will first show the places close to the user. If your target market is near your place of business, local SEO will help you connect with it.
The first step is to create a Google My Business (GMB) profile. This is a free platform and the listing only takes a few minutes to complete. With your contact number and address posted, customers will now have a way of reaching you. You can also answer questions posted by visitors who are thinking of using your services.
Besides GMB, you can also register with other local directories such as Yellow Pages. Remember, each local online listing can help you generate potential customers.
3. On-page SEO
Creating exceptional content involves incorporating keywords. In addition, to ensure people can easily find your posts during a search, you should consider optimising the following elements:
- The page title and headline – A catchy headline will convince people to click on it. Make it short and sweet – around 60 characters.
- Header tags – Each header should be understandable to readers and include a suitable keyword.
- Meta tags – These are content descriptions and you can use the site’s content management system to incorporate them on your site. Meta tags are useful as search engines will be able to match your site’s description to the content.
4. Identify and use your customers’ keywords
Once you have determined your target customers’ keywords, you can then use them to create helpful content. One quick way of discovering keywords is via Google. Type in a potential keyword and then analyse the suggestions provided by the search engine’s autocomplete feature. These will be the most searched-for words and phrases. You can use this list as a starting point for creating content.
5. Improve your content marketing strategy
Content marketing requires time, effort and money, resources that many small businesses cannot afford to waste. Fortunately, there are ways to maximise your marketing budget. You can use:
- Templates – Create a format that you can use for some of your blogs and landing pages. This can save you time and a great deal of effort.
- Videos – It may be easier to create videos rather than writing a blog. In fact, your audience may even prefer videos. Wistia is marketing software that will enable you to optimise your output.
6. Use links to build your website authority
You can build your local links by creating a network of potential contacts who will be willing to link to your blogs or website. Another way of sourcing possible backlinks is to find out where your competitors got theirs. There are online backlink tools available that you can use for this task.
SEO strategies are crucial if you want to stand out from the competition and increase your revenue. In all likelihood, most of your optimisation efforts will focus on these basic concepts: keywords, content marketing and copywriting, link building, and local SEO. Ensuring that your website is user-friendly is also important in terms of encouraging visitors to stay on your site and search for your services. If you play your SEO cards right, you may even be able to outsell your larger competitors.