Every small business wants more visibility online and a better ranking in the search engines. That’s just what small business SEO can do for you and it doesn’t have to break your budget either.
Even though you are a small business, it’s still possible to develop a consistent and effective SEO strategy that helps you stay competitive in your local market. In fact, because you are a small business, you have an advantage over larger, national competitors in your area simply because you’re local.
Read on for Surefire Local’s small business SEO tips to improve your rankings and get seen online.
What is small business SEO?
Small business SEO is simply what you do for your online presence to increase your search engine rankings and gain visibility in the search results. Done right, it should ensure that your business comes up when searchers ask questions related to your products or services. With more visibility and more chances to appear in the search results, you should find that you grow your audience, build trust with them, and increase your conversion rates.
Note that small business SEO isn’t the same as local SEO, though there is some crossover in what you do to gain visibility, and if you are a local business, then you should also include local SEO in your marketing mix.
Is SEO good for small businesses? Well, only if you like running a successful and thriving business that makes a great profit!
Seriously, you can’t afford to do without small business SEO. You need a consistent approach that keeps your online presence fully optimized for SEO.
SEO Strategy for small businesses
We’ve got ten straightforward steps below to help you improve your small business SEO and attract your ideal audience. Work your way through them to build your presence online and gain visibility in the search results:
1) Conduct keyword research
You can’t just guess which keywords to use in your content. You need to know for sure which ones will do you the most good when included in your content. That means digging into keyword research for your small business and ensuring that you include both main keywords and phrases and related keywords and phrases in your copy. If you run a locally based business, you’ll also want to research and include local keywords.
You can start by thinking about what your audience is likely to ask and what they’re likely to search for when wanting to buy from a business like yours. But don’t just go with what you come up with. Use a tool, such as Google’s own free Keyword Planner to check what your most effective keywords and phrases are.
2) Create a logical site structure
When people come to your site, they want to easily be able to navigate and find what they want quickly. Your site should be well organized for your visitors and should have clear menus and easy to follow navigation. If it doesn’t then you could be sending visitors away to your competitors.
Equally as important, however, is organizing your site in a logical way for the search engines. You want Google to be able to find every page on your site and index it. Great navigation also helps the search engines to work their way through your site and find everything. However, in addition, you need to include what’s known as schema markup, which is code to tell the search engines what your site is about. With schema markup, you’ll get what’s known as a rich snippet in the search engine listings with more information about your business for searchers. This can include things such as ratings and reviews to quickly impress searchers and get them to click. For the search engines, your schema markup helps guide them through your site so they can more quickly index it.
You’ll also want to organize the content on your site using structure data – again to help the search engines navigate your site and make your site more visible. There are different types of structured data that you could include. For example, how-to structured data tells Google that your content is a how-to page. Find out more in Google’s step by step guide on using structured data.
3) Optimize your meta titles and descriptions
Now you know what keywords to use, you can optimize your meta titles, content, images, and meta descriptions to include suitable keywords.
Your meta title describes what your content is about on the page in a short heading. Your meta description gives a longer explanation of your business, which is visible in the search engines.
Create quality descriptions that summarize what your page is about and include one keyword in your meta title and at least one keyword in your description.
You can also add descriptions and keywords to your alt text on your images to give your SEO results a boost. Not only that, but it helps visually impaired visitors to “see” your site as they can have that description read to them.
Obviously, you need to include your relevant keywords and phrases naturally in your content, not forgetting your directory listings and social media posts too.
4) Get backlinks to your site from reputable sources
A backlink is simply a link from another website to your site. What matters is that you want to get them from reputable sites with high authority. The more of these you can get, the more Google will trust your site and, you guessed it, increase your search engine rankings.
There are several ways to gain backlinks.
- You can write guest posts for other related sites as most will let you include a short bio with a link to your site or to a landing page.
- You can sign your business up to quality directory listing, such as Yelp, and to any local or industry-relevant directory listing. These sites have usually been around for a long time and are very well known, which gives them great domain authority. A backlink from these types of sites can help you gain more visibility online and establish trust in your business.
- Include your website link on your social media platforms. You can do that in your profile, but don’t forget, you can also link back to various relevant pages on your site as you post on social media. Sharing your blog posts, with links, on social media not only gives you backlinks, but is a great way to send people back to your website for more information.
5) Monitor page speed
With fiber broadband and massive speeds, no one is prepared to wait around for your site to load. Generally, no one will wait more than three seconds before they’re gone, potentially to the competition. Your site speed is also taken into account in your rankings, so it’s definitely a good idea to pay attention to it.
You can use a site speed checker to gain insights into any problems and see what your current speed is.
Depending on how you’ve built your site, you can add plugins such as Lazy Loader, which will only load the top of the page until people scroll down, or other plugins to increase speed, such as Total Cache. You can also minimize the size of your images and larger files to help your pages load faster.
6) Use relevant copy on your site pages
Seriously, this could be number one on your list, it’s so important. They don’t say “content is king” for no reason.
Without great content, no one knows what your business does and how you can help them.
Take the time to write great copy for your website, with clear calls to action. Guide your visitors through your site and make it clear what you want them to do. You can then educate them, show them how you can help them, build trust, and guide them through your sales funnel to hopefully buy from you.
That’s the power of good content and it’s a must if you want to appear high in the search engines too.
Consistently adding great content through blog posts, videos, and other formats can help you get found in the search engines and build your company’s reputation.
And don’t forget your keywords in your meta titles, descriptions, headings and sub-headings, alt image text, and throughout the copy.
7) Keep your information up-to-date
If you add a new store, move locations, change phone numbers, add another email address, or any number of other changes, you must get that information updated on your website, social media platforms, and on your business directory listings.
Google considers your NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) when looking at your online presence. If your NAP is different in some places than in others, Google is likely to rank you lower because the bots don’t know which is the right address. That’s not helpful for your customers either, so check your current listings and sites and make sure everything is consistent. And, if anything changes, update it all immediately.
You can make short work of this and save time by using Surefire Local’s marketing platform to update over 80 business directory listings at once.
8) Create an optimized Google Business Profile
If you haven’t already done so, claim your Google Business Profile and fill in every part of it. An optimized profile is one that is as complete as possible, with your categories selected, business information included, quality images, and more.
Create an engaging and interesting business description and add your services and products in the areas available. Answer questions in the Q&A section, and ensure you include everything customers could want to know about your business.
A fully optimized profile could get you listed in Google’s Local Pack on Google Maps, which appears right at the top of the search results, so it’s well worth doing.
After that, it’s a case of managing your profile regularly and consistently, by managing, asking for and responding to your reviews, answering questions, posting news and offers, and making your profile a vibrant and interesting place to visit.
Again, do include your relevant keywords in each section.
9) Optimize your website for mobile devices
So many people use their mobile phones to shop now that you are missing out if your website can’t be easily read on a mobile phone. Shoppers should be able to find what they want, shop for it, and checkout without having to use a laptop or other device.
Not only is that convenient for your customers, but Google also pays attention to that as a ranking factor. In fact, for Google, it’s mobile first every time.
Ensure your site is easy to navigate and fast loading, and that the mobile version is as attractive and easy to use as your desktop version.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform demo
Small business SEO can make a huge difference to your visibility online, but it does involve some effort.
Instead of trying to do everything manually, let Surefire Local’s business intelligence marketing software take some of the load off you. You can manage your business directory listings in one place, create and post quality content, manage your social media, manage your Google Business Profile, and so much more.
In fact, our platform helps you manage the most important online marketing activities within one platform as well as adding greatly to your SEO efforts.
Optimize your lead generation, reduce your cost-per-lead and generate more revenue for your business using Surefire Local’s all-in-one marketing platform. Why not book a demo today?