7 SEO Tips for Small BusinessesAuthor: Nadine | Created: 15-10-2021
- When running a small business, you should always be on the lookout for cost-effective marketing techniques to help you grow and build your online presence.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a great strategy for a small businesses to use. It is a long term approach, so results won’t appear straight away, but gradually over time. But you can begin to implement SEO without being an expert, with free tools and simple methods. That makes SEO ideal for small businesses with no dedicated marketing department and without hours of spare time.
What is SEO?
If you’re not familiar with SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This is the process of ensuring every part of your website is reaching its highest potential for impressing search engines, so it can rank highly in search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher you rank, the more likely it is you’ll be found by potential customers or clients.
You can optimise your website in many different ways, but it’s important to have good site health, a high domain authority, and lots of well-written content relevant to your business.
Why does a small business need SEO?
Small businesses need SEO to be discovered online, and build up an online reputation.
When you search for a business or product you need on Google, or any other search engine for that matter, how often do you scroll past the first page of results? Not often, we’re guessing.
That’s why SEO is absolutely essential for growing your small business. You want to be high up on those SERPs so anyone searching for topics related to your business will find you with ease.
1. Keyword Research
Keywords are the backbone of SEO. Without doing thorough keyword research for your business, you cannot fully utilise search engine capabilities.
Keywords are usually not just words, but phrases, that are highly relevant to your business, your products or your services. They are what your target audience will be searching for on search engines. For example, if you own a hair salon, your keywords may include ‘haircuts’, ‘best hair stylists’, ‘affordable balayage’, ‘where can I get my hair coloured in arundel’ and so on.
There are different types of keywords, and some are more effective than others in terms of getting your website to rank highly.
Keyword research is a major aspect of SEO and there are many different influencing factors, it’s far too big a subject to fit into one paragraph of this article. But you can easily begin keyword research with a free, basic and accessible tool: Google Keyword Planner.
By searching for phrases related to your business, you can find hundreds of similar search terms that your potential customers may be searching for. Collate a list of around 50 keywords (to start with) that you can refer to when writing any content for your website, or social media.
2. Utilise SERP Features for Local SEO
When you search for businesses ‘near you’, you often see Google’s Local 3-Pack. This is the map image you see that displays a list of businesses that are related to your search, as well as the details of 3 local businesses.
These 3 businesses have their Name, Address and Phone data (NAP data) displayed, making it ultra easy for potential customers to find their business.
To get on the Local 3-Pack, you have to make sure that your company is registered on Google My Business. Once this is done, fill out all the information about your business, especially photos and NAP data. This ensures that if you are being seen, customers can use this listing to contact you or visit your website to find out more about you.
3. Clean Up Your Site for Technical SEO
When search engines rank web pages, they are doing so to deliver the best User Experience (UX). They want to deliver the most relevant, useful and functional websites to people who are searching. Google will be able to tell if your site is spammy, slow or riddled with errors, and this can affect your ranking on the SERPs.
Have a look over your website and make sure it is something that you’d like to browse through if you were a potential customer. Some things Google pays attention to are: site speed, readability (consider accessibility for those using screen readers), formatting including headers and bullet points. Responsiveness is key. This means ensuring your website is just as functional and easy to use on a mobile device as it would be on a desktop.
Make sure your site is in full working condition, removing any broken links or setting pages to redirect if necessary. If there are old pages on your website that do not serve any purpose, remove them in order to speed up your site, deliver a better UX and make sure you don’t waste your crawl budget. If this needs improving, consider compressing your images, using a different site theme, or a different web hosting platform.
Backlinks are SEO gold. A backlink, put simply, is a link that refers to your website from another domain. When other websites have linked to you, this tells search engines that your website is trustworthy, and authoritative on your subject.
As with most things, it is quality over quantity, and not all backlinks are equal. It won’t do well at all to get your website linked on hundreds of poor quality websites, or open up new pages to link to yours. In fact, this can do more damage than anything. Getting quality backlinks to raise your domain authority takes time and effort, but is highly worth it.
So, how do you raise your backlink profile with high quality referrals? Scour the internet, do some research and find potential referrers. These can be industry new sites, online business directories, influencers, the list goes on. Reach out to these websites and offer to write guest blogs, or sign up to online directories that have a high domain authority. Just make sure that the link will make sense - if you’re a baker, don’t write a guest post for a car mechanic, as it won’t drive the correct traffic, and will seem spammy to search engines.
5. Check your on-page SEO
On-page SEO refers to, quite literally, everything that is on the pages of your website. This includes long-form copy across your site, page titles, photo captions and so much more. These elements are crucial. Not only do they help guide your users to where they need to be, but also they tell search engines what the page is about, and therefore who to show it to.
On-page SEO includes:
- Page Titles (Meta Titles). This is the title of your page as it appears in SERPs, so it must include information that lets a user know what they can find on the page, as well as relevant keywords.
- Headings (H1 tags). Segmenting the content on your website with headings is incredibly useful to the users of your site. When these headings are clear, and optimised with keywords, this can boost your SEO efforts as well as session durations and reduce your bounce rate.
- Meta descriptions. This is the short description of a web page that appears on SERPs, and is absolutely vital to getting clicks. Meta descriptions should be attention-grabbing, include a call to action and utilise relevant keywords.
On-page SEO involves basic elements of your website, however it can prove difficult to manage sometimes when you have a lot of pages. Using an SEO plug-in like Yoast can help ease this process by managing your on-page SEO in one place.
6. Write a blog and keep it updated
We’d love to tell you that this blog you’re reading has been written purely for the joy of it. But that’s not true, nor is it true of the majority of blogs on the internet. This blog’s purpose is to inform you, the user, and simultaneously let you know that Rococo Digital is highly knowledgable in SEO and dedicated to helping small businesses like yours. Maybe you asked Google a question about SEO, and we have been the website to answer. This blog also provides an opportunity to place some relevant keywords on our site that might not naturally fit into the other pages.
As a small business, blog writing might not seem like the best use of your limited time and resources. You also might believe that a blog isn’t relevant to the products or services you offer, and that blogs are for certain types of businesses. But you’re missing out. Blogs can provide unparalleled benefits to your website and your business, as long as they’re well written and thought out. Have a look online for trending topics in your industry, find some inspiration and get writing.
7. Utilise Social Media
Google and Bing are the most typical examples of search engines, and the most popular. But social media is often used as a search engine too. Have you ever typed a product or service into the Facebook search bar in order to find local or small businesses that can help with your query? A lot of people look to social media to find businesses, products and services, and you don’t want them to miss you.
Social media is incredibly important to building an online presence, and it goes hand in hand with SEO. Depending on your business type and target audience, you might want to look into marketing on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter - even TikTok. Use keywords in your profile bio and your posts, and make sure you’re linking back to your site as often as possible (without looking spammy or salesy).
As a small business, SEO is absolutely vital for organic growth and promoting your company. If you work consistently on your SEO strategy, you will gradually see the benefits. Organic growth can result in targeted traffic, and more conversions or sales.
If you’re looking for a place to start, we offer a free SEO audit to give you a better idea of where your site currently stands. This knowledge is incredibly valuable and a great jumping off point for building your small business SEO strategy.