As a small business owner, you will more than likely implement best practices on a daily basis and you probably are not even aware of it. The simplest tasks such as making sure all your books are up to date and the payroll is done are just two great examples.
The exact same holds true if you are a small business owner and you’re trying to beef up your marketing efforts and just how your business is found online (SEO).
When you’re a small business owner, it is possible to take charge of your online presence, and it all starts with the three-letter acronym SEO. In order to produce the best end result, you need to be steadfast in your approach to implementing best practices which are discussed below.
Firstly though, what exactly is SEO and why is it so important? In short terms, SEO is the process of optimising your website, social media profiles and Google accounts with proper information in order to make it easy to find online. This process is exactly how new and existing customers will find your business online.
Having poor SEO will affect the bottom line of your business in many ways. For example is someone is attempting to locate a business in your niche, you will run the risk of not showing up in a local search if your sites SEO is not done properly. Your business could also face an additional issue of showing up in a search query, but not until the tenth page – which will drastically reduce your chance of being noticed by potential new customers.
In order to improve your overall SEO strategy, there are three best practices that you need to do. This includes on-page SEO, local search optimisation and authority and link building.
On-page SEO is the continued optimisation of site content and meta tags. What type of SEO elements you as a small business owner use to optimise your site?
For starters, title tags, meta description tags, content, URLs as well as image alt text. Optimising these elements often leads to site visitors to a good user experience. They will also help your business appear in the relevant searches. The overall process however of optimisation does take some time.
Secondly, optimising the content of your website. When you are writing new content for your site it’s important to conduct a keyword search, this is likely to be one of the most important research tasks that you will perform, as this is what could lead to an increase in business on many fronts.
Keywords are words that you most associate with your business. They should be both unique and naturally sprinkled throughout your site, however, they must not be overused as it can come across as spammy for Google’s algorithm, which measures user experience, relevance and other criteria. You can always improve your use of keywords and target more relevant ones too.
Google indicates user experience as an element of ranking and will lower or raise your search ranking accordingly. So for example, if your content has a title which is misleading and the content is entirely unrelated, you will be penalised for it.
Optimise For Local Searches
Optimising for local search all begins with opening a Google My Business account, which lets you add in details like your business address, phone number, customer reviews and also hours your business is in operation.
Essentially, Google my business let’s small business owners take charge of their online presence by providing tools to update local listings. The platform also enables you to interact with your customers from your phone, computer or tablet via its FAQ section.
As a result of its inability to add FAQs, the platform provides small business with the chance to avoid fielding long calls and emails. Finally, you can view key insights that pertain to your business and searches it has appeared in.
The key to success in this regard is to ensure all of the information you have entered is indeed accurate, as once you have made those updates, your business will appear in a local search with all the correct details.
So, When is Local Search Relevant?
Local search optimisation is important for when you want to gain the business of new and retain current local customers. One of the most obvious use cases is when someone is travelling and in need of a service. They might need to perform a search for “best places to buy *insert product name here* in London”. If your site is optimised for local search, you will more than likely appear in these results and your chances of capturing new businesses increases.
When it comes to optimising your small business website for local searches, it’s important to not cut any corners! It is free but will require a small investment of your time. When local search is optimised properly, it pays off in the form of more traffic to your site and physical location over time. There is always the potential for increased sales as well as this is usually a byproduct of good local search optimisation.
What Has Social Got To Do With It?
Social media optimisation is paramount simply because search engines often present social media information in a search query. Optimise many of the same elements you were able to edit when creating your Google My Business account to once more ensure the accuracy of information for those searching.
When a search query is made, all of this information will appear, providing valuable information about your business to the local searcher.
The final component of improving your website’s SEO is establishing authority. Lets, for example, say someone performs a search on “Website Builders” Although the use of such generic keywords is somewhat discouraged if your business shows up on the first couple pages of a Google search with this query, your SEO game is already fairly strong.
This is often not the case for most businesses, but there are however a few good ways to begin establishing authority.
The process is pretty simple and it’s called link building and its when other credible websites link to content on your site due to your content being seen as informative and relevant.
Another aspect of link building is sharing your knowledge of other small businesses in the form of educational content that appears on outside websites under your byline. The post should include links to your website’s insightful content that still fits the publication’s audience.
You should also place links on your site that point to other pages on the site. This alerts Google that your site has not only a solid structure but multiple pieces of relevant content on similar or the same subject matter, which can lead to a much better user experience.
Remember, Google considers user experience as a ranking factor when deciding where your page should be placed in a search. Link building or backlinking can be done in three easy steps:
- Identify credible and authoritative publications, then select a topic that will provide value to its readers. The topic must also be something that relates to your business but doesn’t push a product too much. For instance, you can provide tips to smaller business who are just starting out.
- Next, reach out and offer your unique perspective.
- Follow up if you do not hear back within a few days, it may take even several follow-ups but keep your emails short, sweet and direct to the point.
All the above are best practices and can easily put you on the path to small business owner success.
Remember, the process of optimisation is ongoing, so, for example, to make sure you are creating the best and most informative content you can. Doing so may also naturally lead to credible publications beginning to notice and link to your content.
Also, don’t forget about the local searchers as they are an important piece of the puzzle too. In most cases, they are willing to spend money on the services they need.