25 Oct The Ultimate Small Business SEO Guide
What Is SEO aka Organic Search?
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is the practice of increasing organic traffic on the search engine results page (SERP) for your website and landing pages. It is also known as organic search or listings.
If you want to rank well on Google, you need to apply SEO to increase your rank.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
• Why SEO? Is It Necessary For A Small Business?
• Benefits Of Ranking On Page One Of Google’s SERP
• The ROI Of Small Business SEO
• Who is King for Small Business: SEO or Content?
• Why Small Businesses Need Smarter SEO Strategies
• How Much Does Small Business SEO Cost?
• What determines how much SEO costs?
• Learn more about the average cost of SEO services
• How To Research Keywords For SEO
• Local SEO For Your Small Business
• Refining Your SEO Marketing Strategy
• A Checklist Of Any SEO Campaign For A Small Business
• Glossary Of terms of Basic SEO Terms Small Businesses Need To Know
• Do’s And Don’ts Of SEO
Yes, SEO is very necessary.
SEO makes your website visible to your potential customers. Through SEO, you’ll have more traffic and hence more opportunities to convert prospects into customers. Google handles 3.8 million searches per minute on average across the globe. That comes out to 228 million searches per hour, 5.6 billion searches per day, or 2 trillion searches per year!
Your website is one among billions – SEO helps people find your website.
Page 1 rankings on Google organic search drives visitors to websites and those visitors can create sales. Those page 1 rankings also deliver an important message to two groups; your existing customers and potential customers.
Existing customers feel better about doing business with you because your expertise is evident.
Potential customers develop a favourable view of your business that can be trusted.
If you have a solid plan in place and collaborate with a partner who knows how to achieve results, SEO is worthwhile. About 93% of online encounters start with a search engine, and SEO leads have a far greater close rate than leads from conventional marketing. Consequently, SEO offers a remarkable return on investment (ROI)
As a small business, there is untapped potential you are probably missing out on by not conducting SEO practices. One question you should be asking yourself at this stage is “How much business am I losing each week by NOT using SEO as a marketing technique for my website”.
One thing you need to keep in mind when marketing your website is that there will be some trial and error. No one has the secret recipe for successful SEO. Instead, SEO professionals all have ingredients or methods that are known to work and are continuously testing and searching for patterns to find improvement for keyword performance.
But once you are immersed in the deep rivers of SEO, the growth potential for your business could be massive.
Here are the returns you could receive from a well-managed SEO program:
• Access to more customers through organic search
• Creates a trustworthy web experience for customers
• Improved brand awareness
• It benefits other marketing initiatives
• It gives you a competitive advantage
• It supports content marketing
• It boosts your credibility
And if you need help with offsetting and managing an efficient SEO campaign for your small business, we are more than happy to help.
Having worked with tons of small businesses in helping them with their SEO programs, we show how small businesses have built very large followings simply because of good SEO and content.
Content Marketing is the hallmark of all SEO. Content is central to successful SEO (although backlinks and external links rig the game significantly in your favour). The variance in content quality is the basis of Google’s ranking.
Google wants the best possible content for their users. If their users are happy, then that means more money for them. Hence, one of Google’s main priorities is to rank content that is informative, authoritative and a solution to their user’s queries.
Here are some tips for writing good quality content:
• Make sure to write for your readers,
• Make your content readable (Use bullets, headings and subheadings),
• Match search intent with your goals,
• Be trustworthy,
• Keep your content up to date and work on your site structure.
The end result will be attractive content that your readers will appreciate
The playing field in the SEO scope can be unfair at times. Small businesses are not judged the same way by Google. They are critiqued on a tighter, more limited frame compared to the well established brands.
As such, you need to have strategies tailored to ensure you can ride the wave. Strategies that would allow you to remain afloat in the SEO world. Pick content from the original blog. Here are some simple strategies that would be effective for your small business:
1. Off-Page And On-Page Strategies
On-page SEO involves optimising the actual website in terms of design, content, HTML tags (title, meta and header) and your site’s images too. Whereas off-page strategies refers to actions taken outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages.
Off-page SEO simply tells Google what others think about your site. For example, if you’ve got a lot of valuable links pointing to your pages, search engines will assume that you’ve got great content that provides value for users.
For a small business, implementing these two strategies would be massive for your SEO rankings. We would especially try to leverage the off-page strategy as it’s much simpler in approach.
You might have content that people love, but will never see if you don’t show up on page 1 of Google. To get there, you need a lot of high-quality backlinks leading to your site. Backlinks are critically important because Google’s web crawling bot has no reading comprehension capability. It doesn’t know if your content is excellent or mediocre. But backlinks coming from other sites are considered as votes to your page. The more high-quality backlinks your page, the more reason for Google to rank your page.
2. The Keyword Strategy
Ranking for a short-tail keyword is very hard. This is because it’s more general and the interpretation by Google can take wide scope. Let’s say you want to rank for the keyword, “Digital Marketing”. There are hundreds of thousands of websites using this keyword. And as a small business, outshining them is merely impossible.
You see, Google has a whole list of websites indexed in their systems. And all these websites are trying to rank for certain keywords.
So what does Google do?
For the short tail keyword, Google assumes that the big brands know what they are writing about. Since they have already established authority, Google will undoubtedly rank their content higher.
So how do you tackle this as a small business?
Simply target long-tail keywords. They are much easier to rank for as they are more specific. It’s highly likely that the long tail keyword answers a specific query as input by the Google searcher. Try and tailor your content to be as specific as possible – making it easier to answer the searcher’s query head-on.
I’ll give you a good example.
“How To Fully Learn Everything On Digital Marketing” is a long tail keyword that would be much easier to rank for than the “Digital Marketing” keyword.
The long-tail keyword strategy is actually the best small business strategy in my eyes.
3. The Topic Strategy
As a small business, you have to remember you are just getting started. In front of Google’s eyes, you still lack authority. Even if your content is good and share-worthy, Google doesn’t have enough justification to rank your content.
So, what do you do?
Instead of going for the big topics and competing with the ‘big guns’ in your industry, you can attack more personalised topics.
What do I mean by this?
Let’s say you are a small business specialising in finance coaching. Rather than going for a blog topic such as “The Best Finance Tools 2022”, you could write a more personalised one like “Our Favourite Finance Tools”.
In hindsight, the two topics present the same information. But the first one will have a harder time ranking as it will be competing with bigger and much established brands.
For small firms, SEO typically costs between $750 and $2,000 each month, or between $5,000 and $30,000 for one-time tasks. Smaller businesses investing in SEO consulting services could anticipate paying between $80 and $200 per hour.
A few different factors determine the average cost of SEO services:
• The fee schedule for the consultant or agency
• Experience of the consulting firm
• The objectives of the SEO campaign The SEO campaign’s timetable
• The required equipment, software, or resources
Do you need social media?
Social media is one that doesn’t suit every company, but if it works for you then you should definitely use it. Much like the blog posts on your website, your social media profiles need to give value to your audience. Be of aid to your audience’s needs, help them with their queries and always try to engage with them when they send you comments and messages.
The trick with social media is to post consistently and always churn out content that is useful and amusing.
When it comes to SEO, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed by all the technicalities and processes behind it. As a small business, you might be unmotivated to step up in your SEO practices because it might seem like a hard nut to crack.
SEO takes a lot of time, and good writing skills, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it all by yourself, so, if you need any sort of assistance in your SEO endeavours, be it in the setting up aspect or even optimising your current SEO campaigns we’ve got you covered and we would be happy to help.
Feel free to reach out to us here.
How To Research Keywords For SEO
Your blog post’s or page’s content is well-described by a focus keyword or phrase. It is the main keyword or phrase you want Google to index that page/post for. Your focus keyword will be in the title, URL, meta description, and text of your post even if it contains numerous other target keywords if it is lengthy.
Three or more words are used in long-tail keywords. They are certain expressions that buyers are more likely to employ later in the buying cycle or while utilising voice search. When there is a lot of rivalry in your industry, a long-tail keyword strategy is especially beneficial. By focusing on long-tail keywords, you can stand out from the crowd when vying to rank for short, well-known terms. Long-tail keywords, in general, drive more relevant traffic to your website.
Search volume is the average number of monthly searches for a keyword or phrase. You can look up the worldwide search volume for a keyword, or you can narrow it down to a specific city, county, state, or country. A higher search volume means more potential traffic for you and your website.
Ranking on Google and other search engines for your target phrases is a crucial objective of keyword research. You can tell how difficult it is to do that through competition. If in your target market your ideal keyword has a large search volume but little competition, you don’t want to target keywords with higher competition as you’re only setting yourself up for a tough battle if you choose those keywords, try to rank for the lower keywords first and build up authority, then you may be able to rank on more competitive terms.
Let’s say you work in a sector where competition is fierce. If so, it would be better to focus on long-tail keyword phrases with low search volume and little competition rather than attempting to rank for highly competitive keyword phrases while building trust with Google. It’s also important to understand that paid and natural competition are two different things showing on the search results pages, don’t get fooled thinking the first three or for results are organic, they are usually paid advertising, just have a quick scan to see if the word “Ad” is next to them then you know.
Local SEO is an approach to search engine optimisation (SEO) that makes your company appear more prominently in Google’s local search results.
Local SEO is beneficial for any company that has a physical location or serves a specific region. Local SEO can assist you to expand your business if, while searching Google for any relevant keywords for your company, a map with three entries displays beneath it (a situation known as a “map pack”).
It’s crucial to create local pages for each of your locations – especially if you run a multi-location business. You should not only include your business name but also its details like address and phone as well as optimise their title tags, and meta descriptions, and adhere to SEO best practices.
Localised content and local link popularity are factors, just like they are in Google’s traditional search algorithm. This needs to be taken into account in your content marketing and link-building plan as well.
Additionally, local citations from data aggregators, review signals from your local customers, and having a business listing in Google My Business are all location-based variables that are taken into account when determining your local SEO rankings.
Unlike other marketing processes, SEO is a much slower process that requires patience.
Small businesses especially need to be patient because in Google’s eyes, you still lack authority. It may take up to 6 months for your blogs to start gaining traction and appearing higher on the SERP rankings. One thing I would suggest is setting up a Google Analytics account to track your progress. Google Analytics is a completely free tool offered by Google.
Google Analytics gives you the tools to understand the customer journey and improve marketing ROI. You’ll see how many visitors you’re getting, what pages are attracting the most search traffic, how long they’re staying on your site and more.
Analysis of your website’s performance can help in refining your SEO marketing strategies.
If for example, a given blog is receiving little or no traffic at all, you might consider going back to the drawing board. You might decide to rewrite it optimising keywords that actually receive traffic and have little competition.
We offer digital consultancy in case you need help in your SEO marketing strategy if you’re feeling stuck or not sure what is happening and why.
Let Us Help You Refine Your SEO Marketing Strategy
Not knowing where your SEO campaign is at or how effective it might be is a real thing. Most small businesses don’t even know if their SEO efforts are actually receiving any returns.
In view of this, realigning your SEO marketing is something you should definitely consider. It’s essential that you get your SEO efforts back on track and destined for success.
We can help you do that.
1. Keyword Research
Keyword research is the foundation of all SEO activities Any sort of ranking done by Google is through keywords because that’s how they match your content with the searcher’s query. The amount of traffic you’ll get if you are ranked organically is determined by how well you did your keyword research.
2. Understanding Your Competition
There are a lot of other brands trying to rank for the same keyword you are after. It would be better to try and rank for keywords that are less competitive. The sweet spot for the best keywords are those with low or medium competition but high traffic returns.
SEO analysis can help you make strategic decisions to improve your site’s ranking in search engine results pages. With SEO analytics, you can identify areas on your website that need improvement and discover how they can be improved. You can track metrics like your page ranking, conversion rate optimisation, page speed, and site’s crawlability.
Google analytics is a great tool when it comes to SEO analysis.
A phrase of one word or more that Google uses to match your content with the searcher’s intent.
It’s the process of looking up relevant keywords that you will use to bring traffic to your site.
Short tail keyword
Short-tail keywords are general search queries consisting of one or two words.
Long tail keyword
Long-tail keywords are more specific phrases that consist of three to five or even more words.
This is the display view of results you get after submitting your query on Google.
An incoming hyperlink coming to your site from another website or platform. Consider backlinks as votes for your site. They are simply indicators that tell Google your site is rank worthy.
Sitemaps are blueprints of your website that helps Google in finding, crawling, and indexing all of your website’s content in their systems.
Google Answer box
Sometimes called featured snippets or rich results, the answer box is a small box with an excerpt from a page near the organic search results that links to that page. Featured snippets usually answer a question or share some basic information about a topic that Google thinks you’ll find useful
1. DO use long-tail keywords.
2. DO use related keywords.
3. DO create the best possible user experience.
4. DO create title tags and meta descriptions.
5. DO track site metrics.
1. DON’T ignore user search intent.
2. DON’T keyword-stuff.
3. DON’T allow for slow page speeds.
4. DON’T use misleading linking methods.
5. DON’T neglect responsive design.
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