A Small Business Approach to SEO
Search engine optimization or SEO and other fancy online marketing terms are for big businesses with millions of dollars in their budget. Small businesses can’t afford such luxuries. And this stuff is not all that important for small businesses anyway. Right? Wrong.
Yes, SEO can be expensive. But given how the modern business landscape is changing, digital marketing processes like SEO are no longer just nice to have. They have become extremely important for the growth and sustainability of all kinds of businesses, regardless of their size.
As far as the money that’s spent on SEO is concerned, that’s an investment. And this investment can generate huge returns for as long as your business lives.
Okay, so SEO is important, even for small businesses and yes, everyone can get it done. But there’s already so much competition out there. How can you break through that?
Small Business SEO: Steps to Break Through Mounting Competition
If you are reading this, you are probably convinced that your business needs SEO. The thing that bothers you is, your seemingly rich competitors can invest in all those shiny updates and technologies with their million-dollar budgets, while you are limited in your capacities, right?
While budget is an important part of SEO, you can still outrank and win over your competitors without breaking the bank.
Here’s a roadmap for how you can set yourself up for SEO success, despite being a small business:
Choose the Right Keywords
Keywords are the foundation that supports the building we call SEO. They act as the bridge that connects your target audience, people who are interested in your business offerings, with your business.
Keywords comprise the search terms people use when looking for a business. For example, someone looking for an SEO service in New Jersey might type “SEO NJ” in the search box.
A small business offering SEO services in this area will use the search term “SEO NJ” as a keyword and optimize its website using it.
Now, the question is, how do you find the right keywords? You can start by brainstorming keyword ideas. Once you have a list of potential keywords, there are many keyword research tools out there that can help you check if these keywords are worth investing in or not.
How will you know if a keyword is good?
Normally businesses with deep pockets would go after prime keywords, those that have high search volume regardless of the competition for those keywords. That’s because they have the resources to beat the competition and rise to the top by leveraging the very best and most used keywords.
But what should you, a small business owner with not-so-deep pockets do? Go after keywords that are not so prime. Less prime keywords may be the ones that have lower competition but also a smaller search volume.
These keywords may not promise as much traffic, but they may bring enough customers to help your business gain a competitive edge. And most small business owners don’t want all the customers anyway. All they need is more customers than they already have.
Leverage Local SEO
Local SEO is an excellent approach to help small businesses get customers, despite big competitors playing in their field. It helps your business gain exposure to customers that are close to your business and enables you to engage people who are more likely to shop with you, helping you maximize foot traffic and sales.
This is why local SEO can prove to be the key that unlocks the doors of new opportunities, especially for small businesses.
You can optimize your website to rank for local searches by including local keywords within the content. Local keywords are the ones that have the area mentioned in the search term like “SEO NJ”.
Apart from keywords, ensuring your business’s presence in online directories such as Yelp and Google Business Profile is also a free and powerful approach to gaining local online exposure. Just make sure your name, address, phone number, and other information are accurate in online directories to ensure maximum search performance.
Local SEO is an affordable marketing technique, almost free at times, but when done right, it can help you engage customers and get them to shop with your business.
On-page optimization is not rocket science. All you need to do is optimize your website’s meta tags, URL, and images along with the content that’s on every web page and you are good to go.
Meta tags include title tags – the title of a web page – and meta description – the description that appears below a link on a search engine results page.
Consider writing an optimized title tag that explains what the content is about, clearly and briefly. The same applies to meta descriptions as well. It can be a little longer than the title though. Don’t forget the primary keywords here!
Image alt text is the text that describes what’s in an image on the web page. Alt tags give you another opportunity to include a keyword within your content. More importantly, search engines give weight to optimized images that have optimized alt tags.
On-page optimization is not only about tags. It is about content as well.
You might think that since you are a small business, you don’t need to worry about content. But if you want to rank higher, you need to pay attention to what goes up on your website.
Content helps your website communicate with the target audience and plays an important role in shaping the experience that your website delivers. And user experience is said to be an important search engine ranking factor. Therefore, you can’t take it lightly.
Writing great content is critical for a website’s success. You need to make sure the content you put up on your website is concise, comprehensive, readable, and most importantly, valuable for its intended audience.
Also, since you want your content to help your website rank higher, you will need to include keywords here as well. Remember, your target audience is both your human customers as well as the search engines.
Stuffing keywords after every third sentence on a website is not the best idea. It destroys the reader’s experience and makes your website look bad. So, use keywords, but carefully. Don’t overstuff your website and be strategic with where your keywords appear. Search engines have evolved to be able to detect keyword stuffing so your site can incur a penalty if this practice is discovered.
A keyword at the start, one at the bottom, and another somewhere in the middle might do. Also, the website’s URLs and tags are all great areas where you can use keywords.
On-page optimization is on the front. But there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes on a website. And this behind-the-scenes stuff needs to be optimized to help your website fit and give your big competitors a tough time.
Technical SEO takes care of the website’s backend and helps you ensure that all crucial elements of your website are optimized.
There are many steps involved in technical SEO like adding a Secure Sockets Layer or SSL to a website. With SSL, your website URL will have “HTTPS” in it and will signal to Google that it is safe to browse. This will help you earn some ranking points.
Customers love quick-loading websites. The elements present on a web page can often drag the load speed down.
Technical SEO also involves optimizing a website’s load speed. This helps you ensure that your website is not driving the customers away with its slow speed.
Another important area where technical SEO is at work is on is your website’s code. Sometimes a website performs poorly in search results because the code on the backend is way too messy for the search engine bots to comprehend. Technical SEO cleans and minifies that code. This makes the website easier to understand for the search engine. Not just that, minifying the code also helps the website load faster. That’s two birds with one stone!
Track Your Website Analytics
Doing SEO without tracking results is similar to shooting arrows in the dark. You keep shooting without knowing what’s hitting the target and what’s completely missing.
So, don’t forget to track your efforts using website analytics to see if your strategies are working, identify areas of improvement, and continue optimizing.
Remember, SEO is a never-ending process. This is why, it often becomes impossible for small business owners to keep up with its nuances.
Most of them either end up abandoning SEO or delegating the task to SEO professionals. Those using SEO professionals have the best chances of growth and giving a tough time to their deep-pocketed competitors.
Landau Consulting offers SEO NJ and nearby areas and helps small businesses build a stable presence in the search engine space. With SEO experts, web developers, and professional writers on the team, Landau Consulting offers comprehensive SEO solutions tailored to small businesses and their unique needs.