Being a startup or a small business and trying to compete with large companies is never easy. Because of the small number of employees, small business owners often don’t have the time to learn SEO, which, if you think about it, is fair.
Large company owners have the commodity of hiring someone else to do their SEO for them, while, if you’re a small business owner, your budget is kind of already stretched thin.
To help small businesses with their rankings and SEO, today we are bringing you a blog on how to improve small business SEO with a number of tips, which we sorted into 5 categories:
We spoke of Google My Business plenty of times already and we cannot stress how important it is.
Google offers this service for free for all businesses, small and big, and it enables them to manage their online presence and grow their businesses. So, when it comes to small business SEO, having a GMB listing is of huge importance.
This service enables businesses to add photos, a phone number, work hours, a link to the official website of your business, and also allows customers to add reviews and give you a rating. A GMB listing can be edited at any time and gives people all the information about your business that they might need.
If people leave positive reviews, it might convince other people to give your business a shot. Additionally, reviews and comments are a valuable source of feedback, as well.
A well-made listing with all the necessary information displays professionalism and shows people that you care about how your business is presented on the internet.
Having a blog in this day and age is quite important, as it allows you to post content and rank for keywords that said content contains. Also, never underestimate the power of content.
It’s well known that content is one of the most important things when it comes to SEO, which bots scan through when your website is getting indexed. It does not only include text; content is also images, videos, slides, audio and many more. In short, it everything that people come to your blog for.
Now, if you want people to visit your blog, you need to make sure that the content you’re providing is relevant, helpful, and maybe most importantly, interesting.
Writing articles about topics that are popular and relevant to your target audience and then promoting those articles on social media can bring you quite a few new customers. Let’s say that you have a small business that makes cakes and cookies.
It is no secret that cooking channels and social media accounts are beloved by people of all ages. Cooking and baking related short videos and images always get tons of views and shares on social media, which impacts your SEO, as we concluded in a blog from last month.
Also, think of all the people who are looking up recipes and decoration ideas on Google every day. If you post blogs about those things, those people could easily find your business and get interested in your products.
Whether your business is small or big, posting content related to what you do and ranking for keywords through it is definitely beneficial and interesting and original content is what will make you stand out among other businesses.
Now that we discussed Google My Business and the significance of content, it is time for tips that are a bit more technical.
We already mentioned indexing and bots, which are both part of so-called technical SEO. In order for your website to get displayed on the search pages of a search engine, it first needs to be crawled through by bots of a search engine, and then indexed. These bots index everything that is on your website, including both content and the technical side of things, that we don’t often see.
This side of SEO is concerned with the infrastructure of your website and technical elements, so let’s look at what they are and how to get the most out of technical SEO.
It is recommended that you decide right off the bat if you want your domain to contain www or not. Websites can be accessed via both www and without it, but while this is okay for users, it can confuse search engines. When purchasing your domain name, make sure to choose and stay consistent with this decision, because some search bots can sometimes see your one domain as two different websites, if you jump from a domain with www to one without it.
When it comes to URLs, there are certain rules you should follow: use lowercase characters, make them short but descriptive, get rid of any unnecessary characters and words, and use a hyphen to separate words. Another important tip: include your keyword in the URL but not more than once.
Keep in mind, short URLs are beneficial not only for SEO but also for when you’re sharing them on social media
An HTML title is the title of the page shown in a browser’s title bar and the name of a page in bookmarks. It is recommended to have longer and descriptive HTML titles as opposed to short and generic titles. The best length is 55-60 characters, as search engines usually tend to display only this many characters. Additionally, most SEO experts see this element as the most important part of on-page SEO.
Another HTML element significant for SEO is the meta description tag. It is important because it is another piece of information that is displayed in the search results. This tag is the description of the page, and as such, needs to contain important information, one of which is your keyword.
Let’s use the example from before and say that you run a cookie baking business. The meta description for the homepage of your website would probably contain the words ‘homemade’, ‘fresh’, ‘delivery’, ‘custom’ and ‘cookies’, as this is what will make people visit your page and purchase your products.
Next up, header tags. They make it easier on both bots and readers to navigate your content and figure out what’s it about. Studies show that more than half of total readers (about 55%) only skim through content and for about 15 seconds. Use headers for hierarchy and to make your text more readable.
Having an image on your page means nothing if the bot that’s crawling through it doesn’t know what’s on it.
This HTML tag allows you to provide information on an image, and so it is important to be as descriptive and coherent as possible, while avoiding keyword stuffing. If you’re using an image of a cookie, include the name of the dough, toppings, icing, colors, and everything else that describes it.
Now that we finished with the HTML tags, let’s look at some other important small business SEO technical factors.
Another thing that makes it easier on the bots to scan your website is a good website structure. You want your website to be easy to navigate and fast, so the user experience is as best as it can be and so bots can get a better understanding of what your website is about. If it’s easy for them and your website is coherent, your pages will rank better.
What you can do to optimize your website structure is to plan out the structure in advance, separate all pages into relevant categories, optimize those categories, use HTML and CSS for navigation (important for bots and crawlers), and make a sitemap (good for users).
That’s it about HTML tags, let’s move onto other useful small business SEO tips.
Backlinks, as the name suggests, are when one website leads to another and they are important because of a number of reasons: they give you credibility in the eyes of readers and they are extremely beneficial for SEO.
They tell search engines that there are websites that value your content, thus the bots indexing them will know that your website has actual worth.
In order to get backlinks, the first step would be to write quality content that people will want to feature on their websites. Make sure that the content is relevant to what your business is about and theirs, as well. Imagine if your content got featured on a really popular website that has hundreds of visitors, it’d be a huge boost.
Small businesses can always cooperate and feature each other’s links, helping each other out in the process.
Aside from Google My Business, there are other factors that affect local SEO, which is especially important when it comes to small businesses. They all start off as local first and then become bigger, hence why local SEO matters.
Statistics show that 72% of people visit a store within 5 miles of their current location after performing a local search. Additionally, 80% of local searches convert, while 46% of all Google searches are for local businesses. This is the true importance of local SEO for small businesses.
To improve your local SEO and searches, here’s what you can do: fully optimize your Google My Business listing (this means to include all information, keywords, and photos), include keywords in everything that you do, do quality backlinks, and maybe most importantly, make sure that your website is optimized, responsive and fast.
If you’re a small business owner, chances are you are very busy, but small business SEO is definitely worth learning, as it can largely boost your sales and bring you tons of new customers.
What you can do to boost your small business SEO is to claim your Google My Business listing, which enables you to do control and edit your online presence. Write quality content that is worth linking to and that people will want to read and share. Both of these affect local SEO, which is especially important for small businesses, no matter if they’re just starting off or have existed for a while.
When you have some free time, dive into the more technical side of SEO and learn how to optimize things that are not content and will make it easier on the search bots to index your website, which improves your search page ranking.
We wish you all the luck with your small business SEO and thank you for reading!