For small businesses, discovering your most effective — and efficient — path to SEO success usually hinges on making a few critical strategic decisions. Here are nine tips you can use to help get your small business moving in the right direction.
Organize your SEO strategy
Any SEO strategy should pay attention to shaping search engine perception of your site on three key fronts: optimizing your onsite content, strengthening technical components, and increasing offsite reputation through quality backlinks.
1) Optimize each web page to focus on one specific keyword.
Each website content page is likely to have more SEO success if it targets a single keyword. Small businesses need to research the most relevant keywords for their brands and customize high-quality content that focuses on – and uses – each of those keywords (along with smart meta tag SEO). Audit existing pages to bring them into line with this practice and use this technique with newly published pages in the future.
2) Make sure your site is friendly to search engines (and visitors) from a technical standpoint.
Practicing good technical SEO means optimizing your site’s speed, mobile experience, indexing, crawling, architecture, data structure, and security. A comprehensive SEO checklist and website audit tool can simplify this process by identifying site and page needs – and suggesting improvements. Engaging in technical SEO also provides sites with the solid foundation needed to deliver high-quality user experiences. High user engagement can improve search engine rankings, which in turn leads to increased traffic.
3) Engage in link building campaigns to earn (high quality!) backlinks to your site.
Search engine algorithms – and potential customers – view your site as more respected and authoritative when other influential websites link to it. Earning these backlinks should be a key part of your SEO strategy. To do this, use SEO tools that can analyze where your competitors and others in your industry have established backlinks, and discover the high-quality opportunities among them. Look for guest blogging opportunities and produce shareable content that can go viral, such as infographics, white papers, videos, and more.
Maximizing Small Business SEO
4) Create content that meets the needs and goals of your audience.
SEO success requires your marketing strategy to deliver the content your audience is looking for the most. This means providing material that answers common questions from potential customers and details solutions to specific problems they face. Offer always engaging content will boost your site’s position in organic search rankings and make your site a go-to resource.
5) See – and imitate – what makes similar sites successful.
Again, take advantage of SEO tools to discover other sites that are reaching your target audience and research what they do well that your small business could also do. Investigating sites outside of your own industry – but still reaching your ideal audience – will often help you expand your strategy with new creative approaches.
6) When it comes to keyword competition, compete where you can win.
If your small business is just beginning its content marketing efforts and has a limited number of inbound links pointing to your site, focusing on low-competition keywords first is probably your best bet. Investing in high-competition keywords is likely to be much less effective until your site establishes greater traction. As your site moves up the search rankings, aim progressively higher.
SEO mistakes to avoid
7) Don’t neglect SEO – and don’t wait to get started.
Content marketing and SEO efforts are a long-term investment, where the right actions today could yield substantial (and ongoing) benefits in the future. If your small business hasn’t pursued these efforts yet, the best time to start is today. Small businesses that focus instead on paying strategies and faster results may end up relying on these channels, the costs of which increase dramatically with scale.
8) Create content for your audience, not algorithms.
Companies sometimes make the mistake of designing their SEO strategies as if algorithms are their audience, rather than human customers. Make sure your content matches the real search intent of your audience and helps them achieve their goals. Ultimately, content that successfully engages your audience will be similarly successful in winning search engines.
9) Avoid the mistake of targeting broad search terms and missing long-tail opportunities.
All too often, small businesses are tempted by broader, generic search terms because of their high volume. In reality, these general terms usually come with extremely high competition. They are usually just the starting point for buyers, which means audiences for these keywords are far from a purchase decision. Instead, target very specific long-tail terms to reap the benefits of low competition and an audience that is usually much closer to making a purchase.