With businesses big and small prioritizing the need for a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, it can be difficult to know which tactics are best suited for small businesses and which are best for return. on investment. Unlike large companies, small companies have different overarching business goals.
Most SMBs emphasize short-term ROI, rather than having all of their tactics based on mid- to long-term results. For example, a large company that is well known and established will normally have the budget to spend on branding and general awareness campaigns. These tactics take time to measure and directly correlate to sales. Small businesses, however, typically focus on direct mail or targeted advertising, where results can be seen fairly quickly.
Both small and large businesses will most likely use the same online channels. Whether it’s social media, their websites or Google Adwords, the results of these campaigns will be different for small and large businesses.
When it comes to your online ranking strategy, what should your small business focus on? What small businesses need first is a good foundation for continuous online optimization. Second, they must be able to easily identify the results.
Here are some key things small businesses should incorporate into their SEO strategy.
For small businesses, getting your keywords right is critical to your success. What are your potential customers typing into Google? What are their wants and needs? There are several ways to find the keywords you need. To start, it is good to choose a selection of 10 to 20 keywords.
One way to gather keywords is to listen to your customers. Is there a common question they ask you? Is there a common service that represents the majority of your revenue? For example, a small electrical company may find that the majority of its work is based around the exterior needs of the house. Therefore, a keyword or phrase might be “external electrical services”.
If you already have a website, review the results coming from the search function on your website. Customers can type their specific needs into your search bar, and these are great keywords to focus on.
Also, don’t forget the keyword tools. There are tools such as Google Keyword Planner or SEO Book Keyword List Builder. They are easy to use and can help you explore different types of keywords and their popularity.
Once you have your keywords, you will need to enter them into a spreadsheet. Set up your sheet so you have space to accurately record their ranking from month to month.
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Popular online directories help in two ways. First, they are an ideal external resource for showcasing your website’s links. When you have an external authority website, which most well-known directories are, linking to your website, it helps boost your online rankings.
Second, being featured on these sites increases the credibility of your business. Most businesses these days are online, whether it’s having their own website, social media pages, or being listed in online directories. The more you are featured on these online avenues, the more reliable and well-known your business will seem.
Popular directory sites include Yelptrue local and hot frog. Just make sure that you post your ads on authoritative sites. There are many directories online, and not all are viewed favorably by Google. With ads, quality is better than quantity.
Regular, optimized, advice-focused blogging is at the heart of your small business strategy. It will be the fuel that will allow your SEO strategy to work and improve. The more content you have, the more your target market will be able to find you online.
The purpose of a blog is to create something that is informative and/or provides value to your market that attracts them to engage with your brand. Blogs can give advice, tell a story, provide a case study, highlight trends and much more. It’s about connecting with your audience, showcasing your expertise, and building a relationship with your current and potential customers.
When it comes to blogs improving your online rankings, they allow you to create various unique keyword-focused URLs, content to share on social platforms, in addition to driving traffic to your website and showcasing your words. keys that facilitate organic searches.
As a general rule, limit blogs to around 750-2000 words, focus on one keyword for each blog, include relevant images, and include a few internal links.
External links refer to authority websites that link to your website. Like online directories, they help build your online presence and show Google that your website is the right one to refer to on a particular topic. However, gone are the days when you would just do various postings on article sites thinking that would do the trick.
Today it’s all about reaching relevant bloggers and online publications. Having trusted sites linking to your website also increases the overall credibility of your business and helps you stand out as an expert in your field.
If you already have a website, do you know if it has been optimized? Whether you created it yourself or had it created by a service, having a properly set up website is crucial. It’s the backbone of your strategy, and you need it to ensure future tactics don’t go to waste.
The basics of optimizing a website are to ensure that each page contains the following elements:
- Properly placed headings, e.g., H1, H2, etc.
- Keyword-driven meta descriptions
- Keyword-focused alt tags
- Keyword-focused URLs
If you’re not sure, get an SEO company to audit your website and fix any gaps, if necessary.
A good strategy requires analysis. A perfect way to do this is to use a keyword ranking tool. There are various tools online that allow you to enter your keywords into their system, and it will tell you how your website ranks for those keywords. If you do this every month, you will have a clear overview of your progress.
Also check Google Analytics monthly. Specifically, look at your bounce rate, traffic volume, and top pages. This will give you an overview of your strategy’s progress and flag any concerns. Examine the type of traffic you receive and where it comes from. Google Analytics will tell you if it’s organic, referral, or social traffic.
Look at your resources
Now that you’ve laid out the basic ingredients of your SEO strategy, it’s time to look at the resources and find out who will actually do the work.
A big difference between small businesses and large businesses is that resources are often limited, including staff. Any type of business marketing takes time. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, being a CEO, salesperson, accountant, and marketer can be a lot to take on. Also, an online strategy is one of those time-consuming marketing activities.
Unlike other marketing activities, such as a magazine advertisement, where you normally accept a price and ask the publication’s in-house designer to advertise for you, SEO is an activity that involves research, content writing and analysis.
Who will manage the selection of keywords? Who will write regular content? It’s important to sort out your project plan before you jump into the actual tasks. If your staff is limited, how can you make room for an online strategy?
Look at what you can actually take on yourself. Also, are there certain jobs where you might be the best person to handle them? For example, keyword selection is a job that a small business owner might like to work closely with. After all, they know their target market best. Although there are keyword tools to help you, you will know which keywords are not the best fit for your business.
Also, you don’t need to hire more internal staff for your strategy. You can outsource elements of your work. Look at the tasks that will take the longest time to complete. One of them is usually content writing. Outsourcing content, such as text for landing pages and blogs, can allow your strategy to run on autopilot in the background while you continue to run your business.
Also, external links can take time. Most business owners may not be aware of the top websites that link to their content. Finding an SEO expert who has the connections to implement these strategies, as well as monitor campaigns, will save you a lot of research time.
Depending on your skills and your time, set up ad hoc activities, such as online directories and a the Google Business page, may be a task that you think you can handle yourself or perhaps delegate to another staff member who takes care of the administration.
Once you have these elements in your plan, you have a solid and scalable strategy for your small business. Don’t forget to include keywords, directories, blogs, external links, website optimization, analytics and resources.