The Beginner’s Guide to Small Business SEO
Search Engine Optimization, better known as “SEO,” has become a critical component of modern business. Being present online is about more than simply having a website–with SEO, your brand is making a concerted effort to generate traffic, offer value to prospects, and nurture leads through the funnel.
Of course, SEO is not a one-time event. SEO is a practice businesses invest in for the long-term and it doesn’t offer instant results. By nature, earning rankings in the search engines takes time, but with diligence and best practices, you can begin to generate traffic for your company that’s reliable, organic, and highly targeted.
So, let’s dive in to SEO and how it works for small business.
How Does SEO Work?
The goal of SEO is to improve rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs). Better rankings (i.e., being on the first page and as close to the top of the results as possible) means more organic traffic.
The traffic is “organic” because you have not paid to display and ad or target the person–Instead, the person has entered a search term into Google or another search engine and they happen to click on your site because it had a title or description that piqued their interest.
The question is, what SEO activities do you need to do in order to improve your rankings? The answer is quite complex. In fact, the ranking algorithms that determine which websites rank where, and for what keywords, are so complicated that not even the engineers behind them can fully explain what they do.
Don’t let the complexity of algorithms fool you, though. The team here at Design NI has spent years acquiring knowledge of SEO so you don’t have to. SEO really is a full-time job, so reach out to our team if you need help.
The Basics of Small Business SEO
For starters, every small business should:
- Ensure their website features their hours, phone number, and location.
- Set up their Google My Business page.
- Get a pin on Google Maps.
Let’s break these activities down to give you a better understanding of how SEO works.
Find and Target Keywords
Keywords are central to SEO, especially local SEO. Fortunately, targeting keywords is a matter of adding a blog to your website and relevant service pages, allowing you to create unique content built around each of the keywords you identify in your research.
Keyword identification can truly be as simple or complicated as you want it to be, but luckily, most small businesses can start with local keywords. Generally, to find local keywords, you simply need to make variations of your niche/service followed by your city/region.
For each keyword you identify, you need to create a standalone blog post or page. Only one piece of content should target a given keyword, or you’ll end up competing against yourself.
Seek Out Backlinks from Authority Websites
The other major component in SEO is having a lot of inbound links coming to your site from relevant websites on the internet. This helps tell search engines that your content is valuable and worth sharing, which is exactly what they look for.
As a small business, submitting your business to directories is one of the quickest and easiest ways to build backlinks, but it doesn’t stop there. Reaching out to local and regional sites that may be interested in linking to your business is also worthwhile.
For instance, a real estate agency may have a page where they recommend local service providers, and that’s a great place for a home inspector, plumber, electrician, etc. to seek out a reputable backlink that can drive lots of valuable traffic.
Things to Avoid When Implementing SEO
Lots of SEO beginners make costly mistakes that can harm their rankings and their reputation. Overusing keywords in content, failing to create relevant service pages, and not including meta data top the list.
Here at Design NI, some of the biggest mistakes we see can be revealed in a website audit, which is why we offer small businesses a complementary audit to give them a headstart in their SEO journey.