Whether you have a service or a product to sell, a big company or a small one, small business SEO is important. Collectively, we’ve worked on SEO strategy for over 10 years. We’ve learned the best ways to quickly get started with your own small business SEO. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to answer the following questions:
- What is SEO?
- Why is SEO important?
- How do I implement SEO for my small business?
What is SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the way a website gets listed, for free, by Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. The free listings on search engines are also termed “organic.” This means they’re reliant on their ability to assess where the website should appear relative to what people search for (a.k.a. keywords). The non-organic listings, or “paid” listings, are advertisers paying for placements.
Search engines use automated crawlers (think of this as robots that scan your website from the homepage through to all other pages for content and technical data) and monitoring tools to evaluate the relevance of your website to keywords (or things people type into Google).
Why is SEO important?
SEO is essential for promotion of your website. It creates an easily findable source for people to discover your brand. Interestingly, people who find sites through search engines are much more likely to click on the top five results listed.
Organic search can often be the primary source of traffic for most companies. In addition to boosting your search engine rankings, good SEO implementation can improve the user experience (i.e., how readily people perceive and navigate) on your site.
SEO is relatively inexpensive to implement. This makes it an affordable way to increase brand awareness/discoverability as a small business. Furthermore, ranking on search engines lends credibility to your brand as you are indirectly given authenticity from widely known and trusted search engines.
First 3 steps to implement SEO strategy for your small business
- Write unique meta descriptions and titles for each page
- The meta fields (a.k.a. meta tags) of descriptions and titles sound super technical, right? Actually, it’s easier than you think. On a search engine, say Google, a user types in the listings for a keyword. This usually includes a headline and some description text underneath. This text is literally your meta title and description. It is your way of telling search engines what to write about you.
- It’s important to understand how much to write (i.e., the number of characters allowed by search engines) in your meta tags. Search engines frequently update character count restrictions. Try to keep meta titles around 60-80 characters (including spaces) and meta descriptions around 160 characters.
- You can find meta fields (tags) easily within content management systems (like WordPress), but if you are not using a CMS, you may need to add these manually into your website code.
For WordPress users: strongly consider using the Yoast SEO plugin. This will help with all of the above. There are both free and premium versions.
2. URLs – Use readable and meaningful urls.
(e.g. ‘/seo-tips’ can become ‘/7-seo-tips-for-improving-search-engine-rankings’)
Sites with lots of pages, (e.g. blogs) should aim to categorize and/or organize url structures.
Try keeping a document that lists existing and future urls. This will help with keeping track of where you are with your website and make improving your small business SEO easier.
3. Create Unique and Shareable Content
Focus on generating content that is natural, easy to comprehend, and read. This will help people understand your site better and it will make it easier to create unique content. Unique content is a vital measurement for search engines. It helps with their need to determine which website to list that is the most relevant. If you have duplicate content, (e.g., copy and pasted content throughout your website), then it confuses search engines as to what to display.
Focus on the most naturally written and unique content that you can. Shareable content is great because people can spread the word about your site and its awesome content easily. When people share your content, search engines will take note and add that to their assessment of your website. This goes a long way in improving your ranking.
One last small business SEO tip:
Don’t forget internal and external linking. Within your content, link to other sites with similar content as well as relevant content on your own site. Notify an influencer if you link to them. If you’re lucky they will link back to you. This helps search engines establish your credibility.