Some say SEO is dead—that with Google’s ever-changing algorithms, it’s just impossible to keep up and optimize your small business SEO to rank.
Actually, it’s mostly just more nuanced now than it was in the good ol’ times of keyword stuffing. Google’s new algorithms are making SEO a quite complex game. We’re not writing for computers anymore—we’re creating content for humans.
So, it might be a little more difficult, but is it dead?
Not at all. If there’s one thing I know about SEO, it’s that it is perfect for small businesses like us! It doesn’t cost as much as PPC or traditional marketing, it’s fairly easy to do, and it can lead to amazing-quality traffic.
Sure, it takes effort and time, but great results can definitely be achieved. Here are some of the best practices regarding small business SEO to keep in mind to get traffic and sales.
Start working on your small business SEO now!
First off: you want to start creating and optimizing content for search engines as soon as possible. Waste no time.
Before even launching your business, you should have a website, and on this website should be content already optimized for search engines.
Like all good things in life, SEO takes time, so the sooner you start, the better.
You should create lots of content as fast as possible, but don’t just create ANY type of content—create content that is useful and relevant for your niche.
Find your niche
If you’re a small business, chances are that the very popular keywords are way out of your league.
SEO is a little like dating: if you’re not settling for anything less than a Brad-Pitt-level of good looks, you might end up single for quite some time.
Same goes with keywords. If you try to rank for very popular keywords while having a pretty low domain authority, you’ll most likely end up with no traffic at all, and all your efforts will be in vain.
Remember that being on the second page of google basically means you’re invisible. In fact, 75% of internet users never scroll past the first page. So you HAVE to rank high. And how do you rank high? You choose keywords that fit better for your particular niche!
For example, if you are in the hospitality business in New York City and you rent mostly very romantic honeymoon suites (the kind with champagne and rose petals), you might feel tempted to rank for broad terms like “Hotel” or “New York City Hotel”. However, you have a better chance of ranking on the first page if you are more specific, choosing long-tail keywords like “Romantic Honeymoon Suites in New York City”.
Fewer people will search using these long-tail keywords, yes, but the traffic you do get will be better-qualified traffic, looking exactly for what you have to offer.
It’s like swiping right on people you’re actually interested in on Tinder instead of swiping right for everyone: quality beats quantity every time.
Be relevant to your buyers
The biggest difference between SEO now vs. ten years ago? Relevance. When you create content, you can’t just stuff it with as many keywords as possible, without caring about what you’re actually saying. Those days are long gone!
Now, you have to make sure you create content that’s useful for your audience if you want to build your SEO as a small business. Create content that people could really use as an added value in their lives. Don’t you dare create a bad landing page or a boring blog just because you think it might rank!
Small businesses sometimes try so hard to rank for everything that they end up creating content that isn’t really in line with their product or company—content that doesn’t answer any relevant questions for their audience. And Google recognizes this: it knows everything.
If you’re irrelevant, you’re not ranking. End of story.
However, beware the trap of being relevant to the wrong audience.
Here’s a quick example:
Let’s say my company is a dating app. (Yes, I’m going through with the dating theme!)
I see that a lot of people are searching for keywords like: “Is my boyfriend going to propose?” I say to myself, “Wow, what a great SEO opportunity!” So, I create a blog post that goes into details about that topic.
But is someone with a steady boyfriend (Googling to ask if he’ll propose!) really going to download a dating app?
I hope not, for the sake of that imaginary couple.
Even if this blog brings some traffic, that traffic really isn’t qualified, and they won’t buy/download my product.
And at the end of the day, if your traffic doesn’t convert into clients, what’s the point?
You have to make sure your content is relevant, not only to gain traffic, but to gain buyers. Once again: quality over quantity.
It might take you a little longer to analyze the best small business SEO opportunities and work on really great content, but it’s better than living in fear of a sudden SERP drop when Google launches a new algorithm update.
Don’t even try to cheat
Remember: Google knows everything! It’s basically Santa, knowing when you’ve been good or bad. It’ll know if you hired robots or incredibly cheap writers to fill up your website with low-quality content. It’ll know if your content doesn’t answer the search question properly or if your website has nothing to do with the topic you want to rank for. Trust me, Google will know. And it will absolutely hurt your ranking one day or another.
Plus, quality content that really helps your readers will get organically backlinked and shared, and ultimately will rank and give you a steady flow of potential buyers. You ultimately want to sell your product, and only quality traffic, the kind that comes from positioning you as an expert in your particular niche, will help you do that.
Now go out there and create new and relevant content to get tons of qualified traffic!
Want to learn more about boosting your small business SEO? Get our Ultimate Guide to Small Business SEO here.
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