7 Things Small Business Owners Should Do to Improve Their SEO
Have you been told that you need to focus on your SEO, but don’t have the slightest clue what that means? If you answered yes, that’s okay, because SEO can be overwhelming for business owners. Let’s face it, most business owners don’t have the time to master each of the complex components of SEO. But you should have a firm grip on the subject if you want to have any success online.
One major barrier between businesses and SEO is the lack of technical expertise. Business owners are smart, ambitious, and passionate, but not all of them know their way around a computer. Luckily, this guide will turn any SEO newbie into a rising star. We’ll cover everything from Google My Business to refining your website to be more search engine friendly. But first, why is SEO for small businesses important?
Why Does SEO Matter for Small Businesses?
According to Oberlo, Google receives over 40,000 search queries per second. That should give you an idea of how many people rely on Google for their information. You may have even found this blog post through Google. To put it clearly, your potential customers are using Google every day. Wouldn’t it be nice if your site was the place they landed?
SEO is a way for you to get new customers, establish authority in your industry, and improve the user experience of your website. Without an SEO strategy, you risk wasting a ton of time and money creating content that gets virtually no exposure. You should always have local SEO in mind when planning and creating any piece of content. Otherwise, your efforts may be wasted.
If you own a brick-and-mortar small business, SEO can help direct search engine traffic to your physical location. If you sell goods or services online, SEO can drive traffic to your site to generate (qualified) leads and sales. Not only will SEO make you more money, but it will also save you a ton of cash on paid advertising. There’s no doubt that local businesses thrive after they master the fundamentals of SEO for the UK.
However, it’s important to know that SEO success doesn’t happen overnight. It can take months or even years to see any traction. That being said, the best time to get started is right now. The information in this guide will allow you to bypass common mistakes and succeed faster.
7 Steps Towards SEO Success
Here are seven steps to build SEO for a small business:
1. Google My Business
Have you ever Googled something like “restaurants near me” and found a list of local businesses pop up? That’s because those businesses are listed on the Google My Business (GMB) directory. Getting listed on GMB is one of the first steps you can take for SEO. This is an easy way for you to show up in the Google search results and start getting more traffic. To qualify, you need to provide an address, phone number, operation hours, and payment options for your business.
Google has improved the quality of their GMB feature over the last couple of years. You can add photos, reviews, and other helpful information to attract customers. Businesses who put in the effort to optimise their GMB listing see the best results. Don’t make the mistake of adding your listing and leaving it be. This will lower the quality of your listing and ultimately decrease your chances of ranking in the Google search results.
Here are a few ways you can easily optimise your Google My Business listing:
Add All The Information Google Requests – You’re not going to get very far if you just add your address and phone number. Google wants to provide its users with the best experience possible. That means the more data you give them, the more they will reward your listing. Besides, adding in this information doesn’t require much time or effort.
Be aware that if you leave any information blank, users can “suggest an edit” on your listing and literally put anything there. Your competitors could even tamper with your listing to try and get ahead. Always fill out the requested information, and check your dashboard habitually to see no changes have been made.
Post Within GMB – Google allows you to post within your GMB listing. These could be photos of your interior, customers, or products. You can also post tiny advertisements for your services. Posting is a great way to give people an inside view of your business. It also makes you look more relevant than those who never post.
Add A Booking Button – Does your business rely on appointments or reservations? GMB has a neatly embedded scheduling software that allows users to book directly on your listing. This function is great because it allows you to get appointments directly from your GMB listing. All you need to do is set your available times and wait for the magic to happen.
Allow Messaging – This enables customers to send you a text message directly from your GMB listing. It’s a quick and convenient way for them to contact you for more information, and for you to engage with potential customers. It’s highly recommended to integrate messaging into your GMB listing if you’re a service-based company.
2. Provide Good Value and Content
You’ve heard that content is king. But how do you know what kind of content to put out? For SEO, it all boils down to how much valuable information users get from your content. As mentioned above, Google wants to provide its users with the best experience. If your content is valuable, Google will push it to the top of the search engine results. But what makes content valuable?
People want an answer to their question, and Googling something is by far the fastest way to get one. Search engines are responsible for crawling the internet to find the most useful piece of content related to the search query. Long story short, if your blog post is informative and written correctly (stay tuned), it’s likely you’ll appear at the top of the search results.
Here are a few things search engines look to determine if the content is valuable:
Expert – If you come across as an industry expert, you’ll have a higher chance of ranking. This can be determined by how long viewers stay on your website, or how many people leave your site without visiting other pages (bounce rate).
Figure Of Authority – You’ll need to prove why people should listen to you and not your competitors. For this, you’ll need backlinks from other valid sources.
Trustworthiness – Can you and your website be trusted? This can be determined by the security of your site, recent reviews, and other digital footprints.
One of the easiest things you can do to avoid your content being labeled as “low quality” is to make sure your site doesn’t have any errors on it. You should also delete pages that aren’t relevant or don’t provide any value. Finally, avoid shady tactics such as keyword stuffing or plagiarism. As long as you’re providing unique and relevant content, you’re bound to win.
3. Mobile Friendly
Big-time advertisers are spending over 50% of their budgets on mobile ads. That’s because they know that mobile usage is skyrocketing. So if you want to make the most out of your presence online, you’ll need to focus on mobile-friendly SEO.
Being mobile-friendly means that your site and content is optimised for mobile devices. Building a mobile-friendly site today is easier than ever, yet many small businesses are neglecting this important aspect. Sure, your site may look beautiful on desktop, but it could look like a jumbled mess on a smartphone. When someone lands on your site from their mobile device and they see it’s not optimised, they’re going to lose trust in your business.
On the flip side, if your site is optimised for mobile, you’re going to be able to attract more customers. That’s because more than 70% of people are surfing the web on a mobile device. You don’t want to miss out on 70% of the action, so make sure you’re doing everything you can to make your website mobile-friendly.
Here are a few of the best ways to make your site more mobile-friendly:
- Improve your site’s loading speed
- Design a responsive website
- Avoid pop-ups and other distracting elements
- Build an easy navigation bar
- Create mobile-friendly content
- Have clear call-to-action (CTA) buttons
Luckily, most developers know how to build a responsive mobile-friendly site. If you’re building a website with a ‘drag n’ drop’ builder like Wix, they also have a tool to help optimise your website for mobile. It’s a crucial step that can make or break your local SEO success, so make sure not to sweep it under the carpet. Otherwise, you’re going to have a tough time growing your business online.
4. Secure Website with HTTPS/SSL
If you’re not tech-savvy, don’t be alarmed by this section. It may look intimidating, but the HTTPS/SSL component of your website isn’t too complex.
In simple terms, an SSL certificate is what makes your browser session secure. This means your privacy is protected when connecting between the browser and the host service provider. An SSL certificate is an absolute must. The SEO of a company can be compromised without it.
Without an SSL certificate, hackers can easily steal information from users. That’s why Google will avoid sending traffic to an unprotected website. An SSL certificate scrambles data and makes it impossible for hackers to read or steal. This includes but is not limited to:
- Personal information
- Payment information
- Private messages
Most hosting providers will allow you to purchase an SSL certificate for a low cost. When it comes to SEO, small businesses should always make sure they’re using an SSL certificate on their website.
5. Link Building and Reaching out to Other Bloggers for Links Back to Your Website
There’s no better way to earn credibility than to have others talk about your business. By having other bloggers add links to your site in their blog posts, search engines will recognize your website as a credible source.
Some companies offer backlink services for a fee, but be careful. You don’t want to work with a company that uses shady tactics to improve local SEO rankings. You could end up having your site blacklisted from a search engine, and all your hard work (and money) will be wasted.
Instead, reach out to bloggers in your industry. You would be surprised at how many are willing to provide backlinks for a reasonable cost. This is by far the best way to build boost your organic search results.
6. Share Content on Social Media — Be Active and Add Value
Sharing your content on social media is a great way to rank higher in the search engines. If you have a solid social media following, this will increase the chances of others commenting and sharing your posts. Search engines will recognize this activity and list you higher in the results. Social media is a powerful tool, so make sure to use it to your advantage.
7. Good Site Structure, UX, UI, and Navigation
Small business SEO is typically weak due to bad site structure. When we talk about site structure, we mean the quality of the design and experience users have on your website. Search engines are able to determine whether or not a website has a good structure or not.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your site structure:
- Make sure your site is easy to navigate
- Make sure relevant information is easy to find
- Avoid a colour scheme that makes the text difficult to read
- Write meta descriptions (meta descriptions are HTML tags that provide a brief summary of a webpage)
- Provide a smooth internal link arrangement
Small business SEO can be a daunting task as a local business. There’s a lot to manage and it can end up becoming a full-time job. That’s why companies hire experts who handle everything so that they can spend more time growing other aspects of the business.
However, as a small business owner, it’s important to know the fundamentals of SEO for small business even if you plan to outsource it. We hope now you have a solid foundation of small business SEO and can now start to grow your business online with these simple SEO tips.
If you need a reliable person to do your SEO for you, check out our SEO service.