Small Business SEO basics

Small Business SEO basics

My small business clients are asking about SEO and it makes me so happy! Search engine optimization is no longer a term exclusive to web developers, designers and digital marketers. It’s becoming a widespread understanding among business owners that SEO is vital for a functioning, effective online presence.

SEO basics

In fact, a great SEO strategy can be just about all the marketing some small businesses need.

As I’m answering these questions in consultations and strategy calls, I thought I’d offer a quick crash course for any curious small business owners wondering why the buzz about SEO and what simple tricks you can apply to improve your online identity. Let’s do it FAQ style, shall we?

Q. What exactly is SEO and why is it important for my business marketing? Isn’t it more of a big company, technical web thing that I don’t need to worry about?

A. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Digital marketing is heavily based on the online behavior of your target audience which means any size business needs to adapt to this behavior. Online search is a mega part of nearly every internet user’s behavior. People are searching all over the place. On Google. On Bing. On Amazon. On YouTube. On Pinterest. On retail websites. Search is THE method for finding things online. The more easily your audience can find you as they search, the more business you’ll do.

Q. How does SEO relate to my business exactly?

A. For small business owners, SEO is usually going to apply the most to your website. A nicely done website acts as the central hub of your online marketing. Read more about that here. Once your website is ready to represent you well, you’ll want to start driving as much traffic to it as possible. That’s where SEO comes in.
Without good SEO, your website likely won’t do much for you unless you buy ads which is always an option. Most entrepreneurs on a budget prefer to do as much organically as possible which means SEO becomes critical. You do not want a great website that just sits there and does nothing for you.

Q. Okay, I’m convinced. So what can I do to improve my SEO?

A. First, let me be clear. SEO can be a black hole of technical application. If you want first page rankings and to pop up above a spendy competitor, SEO becomes a full-time job and requires fairly in-depth web development knowledge. SEMRUSH has a great course on this if you really want to go ham on your SEO. For the rest of us who have other things to do for our small businesses, there are some basic ways to improve SEO.

Easy ways to improve your website SEO:

  • Search-friendly copywriting. Your website copy needs to include commonly searched phrases and address the questions your audience may be asking the way they would write those questions into a search bar. Write your website copy for someone you’re trying to explain your services or product to who has no context. Make it very plain, direct and concise.

  • Backend SEO. This is usually the secret domain of a web developer but fortunately DIY website platforms like WordPress and Squarespace have made it easier to accomplish this even if you’re not very website-savvy. There are spaces hidden from the viewer and linked to your webpages where additional business information can be written. This is where you get to elaborate with descriptions and key phrases that can be found in search without it appearing on your website but still available to search engines. You do have to know how to find where this SEO goes but once you know, it’s a fairly easy process to do.

  • Link to other reputable websites. Any opportunity to mention another organization with a good website is an opportunity for link building on your own website. Adding a section for professional partners or sourcing good outside info to help your audience research are two ways to get links on your site. Make sure the website isn’t junky or appears neglected though. This can have a negative effect.

  • Drive traffic. Whether it’s by linking to your website on every possible other account you have, sending emails to a list that contain reasons for your readers to go to your website (think blog, product sales, enter a giveaway…) or paid ads, a steady flow of traffic will help your website register as worth a higher ranking. Here are more ideas on how to do this.

Honestly, there are endless ways to improve your SEO and several more easy wins I like to apply for clients when I’m onboarding their business marketing. To find out how to improve your SEO, as well as your online presence overall, check out our digital marketing audit services.

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