SEO In Small Business
Pay Whether you’re self-employed, have a small business or are a corporate giant, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important factors in receiving traffic to your website. SEO for small businesses can even make or break the traffic you receive to your website.
SEO can be loosely defined as following a search engine’s (primarily Google) algorithm to optimize your website’s search results under a given keyword. For example, if you sell cookies in Cleveland, you’d want your business to show up as the first result when someone types in “cookies in Cleveland” into a search engine. This is where SEO comes in – following the best SEO practices can help your business reach the coveted top spot in a search result.
Some see SEO as an expensive and time-consuming method to highlighting your business. However, it’s entirely possible to implement the best practices within SEO by yourself. Here are three strategies to implement SEO best practices on your own time without spending much money or time.
1. Focus On Local SEO To Make The Largest Impact
Local SEO refers to the practice of optimizing search results for a specific area. For example, the “cookies in Cleveland” reference is an example of local SEO. This is imperative for small businesses to master because it can drive so much traffic to you without having to compete against giant companies. These local optimizations can be incorporated for a region, city, county, or even state.
You can do this yourself by optimizing your business or brand’s website and the content within it. Try citing and linking to other local businesses or events as well as creating a blog that others can use to refer to your website. These two things can help your website be seen as an authority in a subject, field, or area.
Using local SEO for small businesses also means keeping a strong emphasis on review websites. This includes Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Yelp, Google, and more depending on your specific area of business.
Tools to Use
Be sure to also register your business on Google My Business. This will help your business appear in geographic searches. This will help increase traffic from those who are searching for your product or business in the area you’re in. Plus, it only takes a few minutes to do.
Make sure you’re also utilizing social media as a way to promote the content you create and positive reviews you receive as well. This will help attract consumers to your business in more than one way.
Effectively using all of these strategies for local SEO doesn’t need to be time-consuming. Start by writing one or two blog posts a week to bring consistency to your website. Positive reviews come from positive experiences, which is something your business should already be working towards. Try encouraging customers to leave a review in-person or by using social media.
2. Use The Resources Available To You
Understandably, if you’re a small to medium-sized business, it may not always be possible to hire an individual or team to fully optimize your website. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible or not worth it to do alone.
There is an unbelievable amount of websites and applications for you to use that can make incorporating best SEO practices a breeze.
Resources and apps to consider when using SEO for businesses
- Google – This may be the single best resource offered to you: the search engine itself. It can show you who top ranking websites are under a keyword you’d like to optimize for, it can show you who is authoritative in your space, click-rates, advertisement rates and more. It’s likely your first stop in your researching journey.
- Google Search Console – Provides diagnostic information that will help you identify the areas that your business needs to improve in.
- Screaming Frog – SEO Spider – This is an incredibly powerful tool to add to your arsenal of weapons for tackling SEO best practices. Find out information on meta descriptions, URLs, page titles, links, bounce rates, and more. The first 500 pages are free so a small business should be able to fully utilize this at no cost.
- Yoast – If you have WordPress, you should be using Yoast. This is a free plugin that will analyze and evaluate your content from an SEO standpoint. It’ll tell you where you stand in terms of being SEO-friendly and offer suggestions on how to improve the content.
- Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO – If you’re new to the SEO game, this is a great place to start. Moz is a leading website that offers information on the world of search engine optimization. They offer free and paid-for tools. What you should be taking advantage of is their guide for beginners. It’s composed of 10 chapters and will teach the basics for optimizing your website in terms of SEO best practices.
Social Media & Blogging
- Hootsuite – This app is perfect for maintaining all of your social media profiles (which you should be doing) in one spot. It’ll allow you to connect your social media accounts and post simultaneously. It’ll also let you set posts for the future so you can set a post for an upcoming community event a week in advance. It’s great for those who cannot have someone else manage your social media profiles.
- WordPress – This resource is a blogger’s paradise. This is a tool that allows you to publish content on your website. It’s a free application and is perfect for creating content that can help boost authority, credibility, backlinks, and more.
3. Improve Your Website’s User Experience
The point of SEO is to increase traffic to a given website. However, that may not necessarily be the ultimate or final goal of creating the best website possible.
Ideally, you want a clean, stylish website, with good SEO best practices incorporated, that also provides the user with a positive experience when leaving. It’s great if SEO can get a consumer to your website, but if they don’t have a positive experience they may not come back again – even if you’re the number one result on the search engine.
Good SEO will always improve the user experience. This means improving your website’s loading times and ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.
There are a few different ways that you can quickly improve these factors on your own.
Doing It Yourself
It only takes a few minutes to improve some of the most important factors when it comes to user experience.
The loading speed of your website is a huge contributing factor when trying to improve a user’s experience. Consumers are known to bounce off of a webpage within 10 seconds if the page doesn’t fully load. Because of this, it’s important to lower the loading speed as much as possible. This can be done in many easy and simple ways.
Here is a list of things you can do on your own:
- Optimize your images – Minimize your pictures and remember that high resolution images take longer to load and absorb more bandwidth. By making them smaller or adjusting the resolution, you’ll make the webpage load faster. This can be done in a generic photo editing program found on most computers.
- Lose the redirects – If your mobile webpage is using redirects it can increase the time needed to process the page. Deliver a mobile webpage directly using a responsive website design to do away with redirecting.
- Optimize caches – Make sure that your mobile browser is using local memory to cache resources. If you fail to do so, you may experience unnecessary server requests.
- Use a responsive website – A responsive website is a design that ensures that all the content and information is the same no matter which device you’re accessing the website on. However, because it’s a responsive website, it’ll present them differently based on what device is accessing it. Because your website will be responsive, it’ll save processing and loading times for those who aren’t viewing your website on a standard computer.
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) – A good example of a CDN is Amazon’s Cloudfront. Use a service like this to access a server near your user’s geographical location. This can help connect them to your webpage as fast as possible.
This article is far from everything you need to know about SEO. Pat attention to how SEO changes because it’s always changing and can be difficult to keep up with. However, by now you should understand some of the basic and easy ways to incorporate SEO best practices for your small business. There’s also plenty of online resources to help grow your business as well!