Every small business needs a search engine marketing strategy.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that everybody uses their phone to find out more information about local businesses.
It’s important that it’s YOUR business that’s showing up when people are searching for products, services, or additional information in your local market.
Even if you’re not worried about local customers, small business SEO is the best method to generate more leads and grow your business.
In this post we’re going to take a look at the best SEO strategies for small businesses.
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What is SEO?
You probably seen this term before, especially if you’re looking for small business marketing strategies.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
It’s the process of improving your website for better rankings and higher visibility in search engine results.
Experienced SEO strategists will use a number of different strategies customized for each website.
All of these different strategies and tactics work together to deliver results businesses are striving for.
Optimizing your website for better online visibility is the best way to start increasing website traffic and generating more leads for your small business.
Can SEO Help Your Small Business?
Yes – SEO can help EVERY small business with their online presence.
With more than 90% of people going online to read reviews about local businesses your NEED to be focusing on SEO and digital marketing.
Implementing a local search engine strategy is no longer up for debate.
Taking advantage of small business SEO has the potential to bring you more customers, increase your revenue, and grow your business without having to rely on overpriced and expensive traditional marketing methods.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a dentist trying to get more patience or a tree removal company looking for trees – SEO will make your website the best and most visible it can be.
SEO Strategies for Small Business + Helpful Tips
Today, it’s no longer about whether or not SEO is worth it for small businesses.
Having a well-optimized website is now the price of entry.
Without one it’s impossible to compete with heavy hitters in your industry or market.
It’s harder to grow the online presence of your business.
So why even bother focusing on online growth?
Because everybody is using their phones these days, even before shopping locally, and it’s important that it’s YOUR business that shows up.
Once the website traffic and new leads start piling up you can take your small business in any direction you choose – until then, let’s take a look at some great SEO for small business tips and tactics to get you started.
Start With a Solid Foundation
It’s important to start your small business website properly from the beginning.
There’s no point in optimizing a website that isn’t providing value to its visitors or that is it going to convert into solid leads/clients/sales.
Start by integrating these free tools into your website (it’s easy assuming you’re using WordPress):
This is the best free analytics tool that every website needs to start with.
It’s easy to get started with Google Analytics.
The data it provides is invaluable for growing the online presence of your small business.
To get it working you’ll have to add a unique tracking code to your website theme.
Once installed, Google Analytics will share some information about your website like:
- How many visitors you’re getting
- Where your visitors are coming from
- How long people are spending on your website
- The specific links people are clicking
- The most popular pages and content
- Specific demographics about your visitors
This information makes it easier to optimize any website and can be applied to your own small business digital marketing strategy.
Google Search Console
Along with Google Analytics, Google Search Console is another amazing analytics tool.
This tool shares data on your websites appearance in the search engine results.
Google Search Console can be used to improve website rankings and generate more traffic and leads for your business online.
Some other data this tool provides includes:
- The most popular keywords for your website
- How often your website appears in searches
- Your Click-Through-Rate from search engine results
- Comparisons of previous time-frames
- Current backlinks and any manual penalty reporting
Most people will find the combination of Google Search Console and Google Analytics to be the best free SEO analytics tools there are.
Social Media Analytics
Small businesses need to be participating on social media and interacting with their target market on social platforms.
There are a number of different social media analytics tools to choose from depending on your preferences and social media goals.
Not currently implementing a small business social media strategy?
Consider contacting me to discuss a social media management plan for your business.
It depends on your industry and niche to determine which social media platforms you should be most active on.
They don’t all deserve equal attention – instead find the best platform(s) for your industry and focus your efforts there.
Improve On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is the optimization done to the specific pages (blog posts, home page, etc) on your website.
This strategy helps to improve your small business visibility in search engine results for more website visitors and leads.
Each page on your website needs to be optimized following the on-page SEO best practices.
Here are some helpful on-page SEO tips to get you started:
Relevant Keywords in the URL, Title, and Content
It’s important to use keywords related to your small business in the URL, title (headings), and content on each page of your website.
At this point you should have a good grasp on finding small business keywords for SEO.
If not, these are search phrases like “tree removal Ottawa” or “emergency plumber London” – keywords that small businesses want to rank for.
It’s ideal to use these keywords, and those related, throughout your website in the areas mentioned above.
Headings on Each Page (H1, H2, H3, etc)
Headings are weighted higher by search engines than your content.
Using the series of headings on each page helps to give Google a better idea of what your website and content is about.
Including relevant keywords in each heading helps to optimize your ranking for local search results.
Headings also makes your content easier to read resulting in a better user experience.
On Google, the first 3 to 5 words of your URL are given the most weight for ranking.
Short URLs are also better to look at and can lead to an improved CTR from search engine results.
Using WordPress it’s easy to change your permalink structure under the settings menu on the dashboard.
Check out this helpful on page SEO guide over at Backlinko for a more in-depth look at this strategy.
Claim and Optimize Your Google My Business Listing
If you’re a small-business targeting a local market you NEED to have a properly optimized Google My Business listing.
The GMB listing is a detailed listing of your business. Google shows to local search users.
The information includes:
- Direct link to your website
- Directions to a physical location
- Review rating and current reviews
- Hours, phone number, and address
These listings also include user-generated content like third-party reviews, user-suggested information, and user-uploaded images.
Optimizing the GMB listing can increase your chances of showing up in the Google Local 3-pack and having your business displayed on Google Maps results.
Create Helpful Content Regularly
Sharing helpful content on your website blog is a great way to boost your small business SEO.
Unfortunately, most small business websites showcase their products, services, contact details – and that’s it.
Creating amazing content that actually helps your website visitors can make an amazing first impression.
There are so many different topics to blog about in every small business industry.
Each blog post will act as a doorway to your business generating new leads and growing your website traffic.
Keep in mind that it will be hard to rank a blog post in a highly competitive market.
Choosing the right keywords to create content for is another factor that can’t be overlooked.
Include long-tail keywords and consider using those with a buying intent.
As a small business there’s no need to blog every single day.
Creating and sharing helpful content once a week is all that’s needed to make a noticeable impact.
Implement Responsive Web Design
Every small business SEO strategy starts with your website.
Without a website that can be easily used across all platforms and devices your efforts for driving more traffic will be wasted.
Google tracks how visitors are interacting with your website.
User experience is a key Google ranking factor and an issue that every small business owner needs to consider.
If people visit your website and click away within seconds your website visibility will be reduced in search engines.
This leads to less traffic and a poorly designed website can do more harm than good for your small business.
So how do you avoid issues like these?
You need to take advantage of a responsive web design – basically a simple website that’s fast, easy to navigate, and functional on every device.
Here are the three major components of responsive web design:
Every small business website one core goal:
- Convert website traffic into paying customers or clients
This means that your website needs to be designed to easily convert visitors.
It should be easy to use and completely functional.
The easier it is navigate your website the higher your conversions will be.
Visitors don’t want to waste time clicking around and searching for what they want.
Instead, your key products or services need to be easily accessible and readily promoted across your website.
Google uses website speed as a ranking factor.
Even something as small as a 1 second delay can slash your website conversions by up to 10%.
Can you imagine if your visitors are delayed by 2 or 3 seconds?
A five-second delay can be devastating and can significantly impact your revenue.
That’s why website speed is an important factor for any small business SEO strategy.
A fast website that’s easy to navigate will generate more leads and better quality traffic.
To get started, head over to the Google PageSpeed Test tool to check your website.
From the results you can use the recommended suggestions to start making improvements and speeding up your website.
Use Attractive URLs
The URL is the web page address for your website (www.yourwebsite.com).
All of the best blogging platforms allow you to change the URL structure, or permalink structure, or your page and blog titles.
Use short and descriptive URLs that are easy to remember.
Don’t forget to use a relevant keyword in the URL for a slight edge in the search engine rankings.
Another benefit to using shorter URLs is that they’re shared more by people on social media.
Most blogging platforms allow you to change the URL structure of your website posts and pages.
Stick to short and descriptive URLs that contain relevant keywords for your small business.
Build Quality Backlinks
One of the most important Google ranking factors is backlinks.
These are links to your website from other websites.
Each of these links acts as a vote in the eyes of Google – the more votes your website has the more popular it’s going to be in the search engine results.
Keep in mind that not every backlink is weighted equally.
Links from higher authority websites are worth more than those from poorer quality, lesser authority sites.
There are two different types of backlinks gained from any small business link building strategy:
These are links that don’t pass any value to your site.
For example, you’ll find no-follow links in places like blog comments and social media profiles.
This type of link isn’t worthless and should still be built.
No-follow links are needed to build a diverse link profile.
Don’t expect any direct increases in rankings from no-follow links.
These are the bread-and-butter of every link building strategy.
Since do-follow links are worth more for search engine rankings they’re harder to obtain.
This type of link will have a direct impact on your website rankings.
How do you get do-follow links?
Some of the best strategies for do-follow links include:
Content marketing with direct email outreach
Guest posting on relevant websites in your industry
Collaborating with other businesses or websites