If you are a small-to-midsized business (SMB) owner or entrepreneur, you have probably heard the phrase “search engine optimization” in many business discussions, podcasts, or business journals. Although much of the available SEO campaign information is geared towards large companies and global organizations, implementing SEO is crucial for small business success.
Search engine optimization (SEO) uses front- and back-end strategies to generate web visibility, boost brand awareness, and increase revenue. Simply put, SEO helps make your business’ content relevant to its target audience.
Here are seven tips to help you maximize the power of SEO
Get crystal clear about your current state and your goals
What SEO marketing techniques do you already have in place? How are most of your customers finding your small business’ website? Do you have the right staff to buff up your SEO for small business marketing strategy? If not, have you allocated funds to outsource the help?
Do you want your business to remain local? Would you like to appeal to a more global market? How much of your budget will you spend on developing quality SEO marketing?
Take some time to sit down, alone or with your team, and ask some of these tough questions. Do not be afraid to set lofty goals – you want to make it to the first page!
Identify high-leverage keywords
Roughly 53% of all web traffic comes from unpaid, organic search results. It is nearly impossible to meet the needs of this organic audience without first researching those needs. To begin your research, go back to some of your question asking: what are the most common keywords your target audience uses concerning your small business? Include keywords throughout your site – in the written content, title tags, meta descriptions, image alt-texts, and even page URLs. However, don’t fall into the trap of abandoning quality for keywords.
Create quality, engaging, relevant content
Content comprises your website’s written, visual, and video content. It’s everything someone can see or hear when they visit your website – blogs, social media posts, infographics, newsletters, and even the landing page. Each piece of content should represent your business, using keywords as often as possible without sacrificing quality. Your written and embedded content should aim to provide value for your audience. Leverage your expertise, cite your sources, and create something unique. Content is king – don’t get keyword heavy and ensure it is relevant.
Go local with long-tail
As the number of competitors increases in the business marketing world, so does the importance of local SEO. Local SEO can help you enhance your online presence and gain traction within your area.
If you own a vegan cake decorating business in Ruidoso, New Mexico, that is designed for local patrons, your focus should not be on “cake decorators” as a keyword. Why? “Cake decorators” generates about 7,890,000 results on Google’s search engine, most of which are nowhere near Ruidoso.
Instead, using the long-tail keyword “vegan cake bakery in Ruidoso, NM” will generate 65,900 results – and everything on the first page is local. The process of making it to the first page no longer seems daunting, and you are well on your way to being a contender in your market.
Link it up
Internal links point to other content within your website, which helps Google understand the context of a page and how it relates to other pages on your site.
External links point to content outside of your website. You can build reader trust by linking to reputable sources – a crucial part of Google’s E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) principle. It is woven into its Search Quality Rating Guidelines and, therefore crucial to the overall success of your SEO marketing strategy for your small business.
Play the long game
Remember, the goal of a quality SEO marketing strategy isn’t just to get more web traffic. Instead, the goal is to draw visitors who want to stick around and interact with your site.
Contentsquare’s 2021 Digital Experience Benchmark report states that the average time spent on a page across all industries is 54 seconds. However, that data varies greatly when broken down into industries.
When looking at your time-on-page statistics, is it above average for your industry? Are consumers spending enough time on your site, according to what you deem necessary to understand your business and/or product? A higher time on-page typically indicates that your content is accessible, pertinent, and targeted to the right audience.
Measure results and conduct regular audits
The landscape of SMB marketing and SEO is constantly evolving. It is important to look after your investment in SEO and analyze your current strategy’s benefits and shortcomings. Regular audits – we recommend once per month – are crucial to maintaining an effective SEO for your small business.
Today’s most relevant keywords may not hold the same power in three months. Likewise, content that you wrote five years ago may not be as applicable to your target audience. Your business is constantly changing, therefore, your SEO marketing strategy should, as well.