SEO Starter Guide for Small Businesses

Juliet D'cruz

Updated on:

The modern business world is full of various businesses of all shapes and sizes. So, trying to penetrate such a market – although quite thrilling and exciting – can be quite challenging. This is especially true for small businesses. No matter how well you’ve done your research, came up with a great business idea, secured your starting capital and created an awesome website, you’ll still be at the very beginning of your journey.

The fact of the matter is that no business can thrive without customers. So, your next step is to find ways to attract as many people as possible to your business. What’s more, this is absolutely not a one-and-done thing. Instead, it’s something that requires constant work.

Luckily, in this day and age, there are plenty of things you can do to encourage people to not only interact with your business, but keep coming back for more. One of the best ways to do so is by investing in online promotion. But do know that simply creating a business website that your audience finds appealing won’t be enough. Instead, you also need to get on the search engines’ good side if you wish to gain greater exposure and thus boost your website traffic. And that’s where SEO steps in to help you out. 

What is SEO and how can a small business benefit from it?

Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is a multi-layered online marketing strategy designed to hep boost business exposure and secure greater visibility. As such, SEO doesn’t solely focus on a single marketing strategy, but it actually combines various practices and means that help businesses reach greater visibility. 

What this means is that SEO involves everything content marketing and keyword research all the way to technical optimization of your business website. On top of that, its purpose is not only to attract more customers your way but to actually encourage Google and other search engines to promote your website over your competition. 

That being said, it’s also important to mention that creating a good SEO strategy can be quite difficult. Not only will you be trying to compete with numerous other businesses that are doing the same, but you will also need to pour a lot of time and resources into your SEO efforts – both of which are assets small businesses usually don’t have too much of.

That’s why, small businesses need to be smart with their SEO efforts. The truth is that you probably won’t be able to compete against large companies that have been building their online presence for years. But chances are you’re after that audience either. With that in mind, here are some things you should focus on.

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Determine your niche

First things first, as a small business you need to define the part of the internet that will be your virtual hunting grounds, so to say. If you try to stretch your efforts too thin and reach a particularly broad audience, chances are you’ll more likely fail than succeed. That’s why you need to clearly determine your niche which will help you focus your efforts where it makes sense the most. For instance, if you try to rank for a “web design” term, the competition you’ll be facing will be significant. However, if you go for “web design Chicago” instead, you’ll be catering to a more specific audience and thus boost your chances of success. Determining your niche – and thus your audience – will help you find your spot online more easily. So, instead of trying to reach out to anyone who’s just browsing the internet pointlessly, focus your attention to people who are looking for precisely what you have to offer.

Know who you’re up against

Next, you need to realize that your business is probably not the only one of its kind. Nowadays, coming up with an entirely unique idea is almost impossible. But just because there are plenty of businesses like yours out there, that doesn’t mean that only one of them can reach success. However, you will need to try and make your business stand out from the crowd at least a bit if you’re hoping of reaching success. The best way to do so is by researching your competition to try and see who you’re competing against. See what other businesses from your niche are offering and try to pinpoint any areas they may be lacking in. Also, try to find out what those websites are ranking for, research the quality of their link structure and see how many pages they have index. All of this will help you immensely with your own SEO efforts.

Eliminate any technical issues

In this day and age having a subpar business website is simply irresponsible. That’s why your next step is to ensure that your website is of high quality and performing great. What this means is that you don’t only need to pay attention to the design of your website but you also need to make sure that every aspect of it is working as it should be. Since the future of serivce is digital you need to make sure that your website visitors don’t come across any broken links, duplicate content or unresponsive pages on your website. On top of that, you’ll also need to make sure that all the pages on your website have proper loading speed – preferably under 2-3 seconds – as well as that your website is mobile friendly. All of these are extremely important ranking factors, so you need to make sure you pay attention to all of them.

Create stellar content

In the world of digital marketing, content is king. This is particularly true when SEO is concerned, as high-quality content is essential in search engine optimization. Therefore, as mentioned earlier, make sure you do the necessary research and identify quality keywords you want to rank for. Create content that’s unique, informative and easy to digest. Make sure you structure your content well and include subheadings, timestamps and other helpful tools that will enable your audience to skim through your content or get straight to the thing they’re looking for. Most importantly, make sure you use internal links to help search engines better understand your content, which will help them match it with user intent more efficiently. 

Focus on local searches

As mentioned previously, small businesses don’t have the as many resources at their disposal as big companies do. That’s why it’s always a better idea to try and rank for local searches instead of trying to reach a global audience right off the bat. This is actually great news for small businesses as being able to attract local customers will do wonders for your business in general. Therefore, make sure you list your small business on Google My Business so that the audience that’s looking for a business “near me” can find you more easily. Additionally, make sure you include the area your business is operating in in your keywords. An excellent example of this is ranking for keywords such as digital marketing instead of trying to rank for a much broader term.

Being able to master SEO for a small business is not something you can do easily overnight. Instead, it will require hard work and dedication. But if you keep some of these tips in mind and stay on top of the ever-changing SEO rules, you’ll easily reach success sooner than you think.

Author bio:

Tomas is a digital marketing specialist and a freelance blogger. His work is focusing on new web tech trends and digital voice distribution across different channels.

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