Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a discipline of digital marketing that is especially useful to small businesses. The utilization of SEO means that a small business owner can perform competitively in Google’s search results.
Achieving a higher SERP (search engine result page) ranking can be achieved by any level of business by becoming familiar with some simple SEO tips. These methods, while best understood by an SEO consultant, can be implemented by any small business owner.
The following will detail some of the simplest yet most effective SEO tips that a small business owner can implement.
Knowing the audience
While this is probably the most basic rule in preparing any kind of marketing, it warrants mentioning before other SEO methods are explained. Without an understanding of the target audience, your SEO efforts will be wasted.
An effective marketing strategy means knowing the audience and an effective SEO strategy means knowing what the audience is using the internet to search for. This entails basic research into who your audience is, how they would search online, what wording would they use and the kind of on-page elements they are most responsive to.
Keywords are the primary words or phrases that search engines use to filter content for its users. An SEO strategy requires foreknowledge of the keywords the target audience is using.
Using common sense to infer the keywords your target audience will use isn’t enough, especially for a small business where the most obvious keywords will be highly competitive.
A competitive keyword means that it is in high use on the internet and is normally being targeted by an industry leader who can pay high prices to rank for it. This is why keyword planning is so important for a small business because it informs you of the less competitive keywords that can be cleverly targeted.
Tools like the Keyword Planner in Google Adwords are able to both suggest keywords based on a topic area and rate the competitiveness of the results. These tools are easy for anyone to use and give powerful insight into the keywords that can be taken advantage of.
Avoid overusing or ‘stuffing’ keywords
This is a basic rule that all good SEO practitioners follow and for good reason. In more primitive versions of search engine algorithms, they would score the relevancy of a webpage based on the number of related keywords present.
This fact was taken advantage of by dodgy digital marketers who would deliberately overuse keywords in a page’s copy so that it would rank higher. This shady tactic is known as ‘keyword stuffing’ and whether done intentionally or not will damage a page’s discoverability in modern search engines.
Keywords are critical to improving SEO but can prove to be a double-edged sword if not used in an organic way that is designed to benefit users.
Provide a means for the audience to engage or leave reviews
Search engines like Google are constantly improving themselves to provide a better user experience. This means that the sorting algorithms of these search engines are trying to determine the most authoritative and reputable SEO results for their users.
With this fact in mind, it’s no wonder customer reviews and engagement with a business’ website are amazing benefits to SEO. This is the internet equivalent of ‘word of mouth’ marketing, where the voluntary contributions of the target audience add to the legitimacy of your business.
Make sure your website is mobile friendly
The importance of a mobile-friendly website layout cannot be overstated. As more people use mobile phones over desktop computers to browse the internet, businesses need to change their focus from traditional website layouts to ones that scale for small devices.
Mobile friendly means nothing if the website takes too long to load. Optimizing the loading time of your website will both retain users and rank it higher in search engines.
Search engines like Google actively promote web pages that are mobile optimized for ones that aren’t so failing to meet this standard will mean a big setback for your SEO efforts.
Implement a blog or news section
Blogs or news sections of a website are great for SEO because they imply that your business is attentive and up-to-date in its industry. This adds to the authoritativeness of your website and ultimately helps its SERP ranking.
It’s not enough to simply have a blog with a few articles on it; it needs to be regularly updated with high-quality content that’s relevant to the target audience. Search engines know when a blog has been arbitrarily included on a website so it’s only worth doing if you are going to commit to its quality.
Start Guest Posting
A guest posting it is a good strategy that every website owner can do at low costs. There are many websites available on the internet that offer guest posting on their websites. In order to optimize your guest post strategy, you might also use one of guest posting apps.
Above all, deliver quality
Ultimately all of the technical tips and tricks in the world won’t be able to replace the most important tip of all; delivering something that’s valuable to the target audience.
A business website that understands its audience, knows its industry and delivers a great user experience will automatically tick many of the boxes in good SEO. If your small business can continually self-improve whilst targeting its keywords in a clever way it will be able to get the most out of SEO in the long run. Leave a comment below and share your opinion on how small businesses should use SEO.