In our blog, we have spoken so much about search engine optimization (SEO), its benefits for business development, incredible potentials for growing online, and conquering the market, stressing the global aims and wide scales. Middle and small-business owners might think that SEO is a marketing strategy more suitable for “big ships” in the ocean, and they could get by with simpler and less time and effort-intensive marketing strategies. However, SEO is important for small businesses in the same way it is for the big ones, and not just in terms of visibility in search engines, but the quality of service and user experience as well. Let me explain what I mean.
SEO For Small Business Owners Guide
Search engine optimization strategy at its core supposes a sequence of actions performed on the website and outside it with an aim to increase the value of your internet source in the eyes of the search engine (predominantly Google) and get higher ranking positions in corresponding search queries or how we also call them, keywords requests. Basically, it includes on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO (we will dwell on these concepts a little bit later). To understand why small business owners should invest and work on their small business SEO, I suggest checking out what benefits SEO for small business may give you in terms of your business development.
The Importance of SEO For Small Business
Quality organic website traffic
Business always aims at getting customers, selling, and increasing revenue. The users who visit your site are potential future customers and opportunities for your business development. However, many business owners, irrespectively of the size of their companies, face a problem when they get traffic, but it does not convert. Why does it happen? It may be explained by the quality of traffic when the users are directed to your website by incorrect and irrelevant queries. It is all about quality and relevant keywords, blog content, and so on.
Trustworthy web experience for customers
Experience with your company is not just about the quality of products and/or services you provide. The whole interaction between you and your client starts far before he/she actually decides to buy something from you. It starts when your potential customer gets to know about you and decides to check out a little bit more. Basically, modern people do it online either by visiting your website or social media accounts. This is where your site loading speed, design, text and visual content, blog, user-friendliness, simplicity, and clarity of navigation matter. Believe me, the user will not stay long on the page that does not load or when he/she cannot find what they need at once. And if they do not stay, they never buy!
Improves brand recognition
People tend to trust and choose brands and companies they already know. That is why when working on your SEO, you manage to get higher in the search results and increase the visibility and recognizability of your company. It does not mean they start buying from you right away. But at least, they will get to know about you and with time, maybe, decide to become your customer.
So, what exactly should your SEO strategy for small businesses include to bring all the described-above benefits?
On-Page, Off-Page, & Technical SEO for Middle & Small Businesses
I have mentioned the three basic “whales” previously SEO stands on. When we say on-page SEO, we mean all the content of your website: textual content, graphic content, meta tags, alternative texts, blog posts. It implies not just the presence of these elements on your web pages but also their appropriate optimization in relevance to the keywords essential for your business to be easily found online.
Off-page SEO includes the actions performed outside your site. It is also known as link-building. Despite the size of your business, the algorithms of search engines are still the same, and they rate higher internet resources that have some background of links from the other more reliable resources. Thank is why to improve your rankings, become an expert in the field, and beat competitors, place posts on other platforms with links to your landing pages or any other web page on your website relevant to the topic of the post.
Technical SEO is crucial for the users’ experience on your site. It includes optimization of the loading speed, is friendly to the users and Google’s crawlers, and provides a generally positive experience of visiting your company’s website without any technical difficulties.
Meta Titles and Descriptions
These are the general titles or names of each of your pages. They do not necessarily appear on the page itself, but they are exposed on the search engine result pages. Basically, you should make sure that each of the pages on your site has such a title that is interesting, engaging, eyecatching, and relevant to the content of the page. It may also include the name of your company for the additional brand-building effect, as well as some graphic elements like slashes, ticks, etc., for better visual perception.
For small businesses, a great SEO tip is to include your location or the area you are working to attract local potential customers. For example, if your business deals with the repair of household appliances in Toronto for example, your SEO optimized and relevant meta title could look the following way:
Household Appliances Repair Services – Same Day Service| Toronto
This is just one of the possible variants, but it includes the essential elements:
- Household Appliances Repair Services – relevant keyword, which is actually a description of the provided service;
- Same Day Service – the name of the company;
- Toronto – the location where these services are provided.
The title is one of the main factors that determine whether the person is going to click on the link or not.
Keyword search is real art or even a science of understanding the people’s, in our case, search engine users and potential buyers’ way of thinking. Keywords are words, word combinations, or phrases (search query) that people type in the search engine search bar when looking for something online. And your task is to find the keywords and implement them into the fabric of your texts on the website pages to make it easier for users to find you and increase the search volume. In the case of small business, the local SEO strategy simplifies for you the task as can add the location to narrow and specify the search. Still, you have to do the keyword research of your target audience to improve the local ranking of your business.
It may relate to your company in general or some specific product or service. And your task is to build a content creation strategy on your small business website in such a way that it will catch as much as possible of the relevant search traffic for your keywords.
Page Load and Mobile-Friendliness
Slow loading is dangerous for your ranking factors from two perspectives. The first point is that it decreases the level of customer satisfaction with your site. When waiting for the page to load for more than 30 seconds, most of the visitors will leave it. And the less time people spend on your source, the more it affects your search engine rankings. There is a separate post on our blog with all the SEO work on how to improve your website loading speed.
Another point is mobile-friendliness. We live in the era of mobile devices, and the mistake small business owner may make, trying to save budget, is to not optimize the site for smartphones and tablets. The thing is that when someone hears about your company, he/she would like to check it out immediately using the phone. When websites are not optimized for mobile devices, using them becomes extremely uncomfortable and ineffective, and who gives you any guarantee your potential customers will remember to check on you when they get back to their laptops?
The smart, comprehensive, and attractive visual design of your website also plays a significant role and helps to build brand awareness. From a psychological point of view, people tend to pay more attention to the things that look more attractive and pleasant. Moreover, it can help you to create a unique corporate style.
Except for visual effect, it has to be user-friendly again to improve the users’ experience on your site and get higher positions on Google search engine results pages. I don’t know whether it is good or bad, but web design is not something you do and forget about it. As the world changes, so do the trends in the web world and design, and from time to time, you will need redesign (global or just “cosmetic” it is up to you). But it is important to improve the experience of the users when visiting your company online, keep in pace with the time, and improve local SEO, of course as well.
It is actually a synonym for off-page SEO. In this section, I will speak on it in more detail. “Young” websites meet extremely high competition on the Internet, and it is really challenging to improve local ranking when just launching a site. However, your SEO efforts will get more success if you post your content with the links to your website on other already known and visited platforms. The more respectful the platform is, the better the marketing return it brings. The key is that Google regards that when other sources refer to your page, it means it offers qualitative and relevant information. Thus, your small business’s local SEO strategies work faster and better when they have a backup with other bigger platforms.
Google My Business Account
Among all the tools offered by Google, Google My Business is one of the most effective in terms of promotion, especially local. If you take a little time and effort to optimize your account, add all the appropriate data and information, photos, description of your business, product, service, and so on (we have a whole article on the topic of how to create and optimize your Google My Business profile). It may incredibly boost your SEO for small businesses’ efforts and increase your chances of getting leading positions in Google search, beating the competitors.
If you ask why SEO is important for small businesses? The answer is evident. We live in the global era of digitalization and the Internet, where everything can and must be found online. It increases the competition among the companies, who struggle to get higher positions and get new customers. Unfortunately, if you do not catch the wave, you are out of a game. On the local level, the race may not be that tough, but if you learn how to run small business SEO, you will be ten steps ahead of those who didn’t. SEO is one more powerful channel of winning more customers and developing your company. Do not neglect this chance! If you are confused, don’t know where to start, or just need a hand of help with any SEO question or issue, do not hesitate and contact us.