It’s never easy to compete with the industry giants especially if you have no money to invest in an expensive marketing campaign. SEO gives small businesses an opportunity to compete with the best with a minimal budget and beat them in terms of rankings. If you own a small business then you need to start with the SEO basics. Without a lot of SEO resources to invest in a costly campaign, you need to be aware of some of these basic SEO tactics and techniques used by small businesses to boost their online visibility. Here we have a few SEO tips for small businesses that can come in handy from the setup stage.
Basic SEO tips for small businesses
Let’s look at 20 essential SEO tips that every small business owner should know.
1. A long-term SEO commitment
Search engine optimization is not something that you do today and watch your rankings increase tremendously overnight. The best strategies do not work overnight so do not be in a hurry to see results and give up even before you begin. You need to be committed to work in those techniques for the long term.
2. Be patient after employing SEO strategies
There are SEO strategies that you will apply but they will not yield instant results. It may take a few weeks, or sometimes months, before you see any admirable results. For new businesses, it takes a much longer time to gain visibility online and all you need is patience.
3. Hire the right SEO team
Before you hurry to hire the lowest bidder, make sure you understand what kind of SEO strategies the company uses to boost your rankings. Do some research to be certain that the SEO company will only conduct white hat SEO techniques. There is a lot of risk involved when you hire the wrong company.
4. Learn as much as you can about SEO
If you don’t have the budget to hire an SEO team to help you out then take your time to learn the basics in SEO. There are so many online resources that offer information on SEO. Become a student and read as much as you can about SEO. Start by understanding the term SEO here.
5. Keep track of your progress always
There are many SEO tools that can help you to track what is happening on your small business website and one of them is Google Analytics. You only need a Google account to access the analytics software. It will help you to keep track of your website visitors and know what is working for you and what’s not.
6. Make sure your site is user friendly
You might show up on the first page of Google but if you don’t have a great site, you will have a high bounce rate and low repeat visits. Is your site one of the best in the industry? Is it user friendly and well optimized for search engines? If it’s not, do something.
7. Have a site map page
Site maps are used to enable search engine spiders to crawl and index your site. When they do this, they are able to understand what your site is about. Your web designer should create a site map for the site after designing it. If your site doesn’t have one, make sure you get a sitemap as soon as possible.
8. Use keywords in all URLs and file names
Your website URLs and file names should be SEO friendly. You can use hyphens on URLs and file names to separate words instead of underscore. Hyphens are treated as space. Don’t overdo it otherwise users will see them as being spammy.
9. Proper keyword research before initiating the SEO campaign
A great SEO campaign is centered on using the right keywords. There are so many online tools that can help you to find effective keywords. Focus on the volumes because it is very important to use keywords which people are actually looking for online. Don’t target keywords which are highly competitive.
10. Open a PPC account
As a small business, we do understand that you are working on a very tight budget but you should be able to afford opening a PPC account. A PPC account will cost money but it is a good way to get some real search volume for your keywords.
11. Optimize the title and meta descriptions of every page
There are several on-page SEO factors that will affect your site rankings and page title is one of the most important. if you want to rank for a certain SEO term then make sure it is part of the page title. Meta descriptions do not really affect rankings but that is the text that appears below your listing. It should also include relevant keywords and be written to entice searchers to click. Keyword meta tags are no longer supported by major search engines so you can ignore them.
12. Write engaging and relevant content
As much as it is important to have your website search engine friendly, remember that you are targeting people so the content must be written for users. The only way you will build a great online reputation is if your business offers searchers what they are looking for. Great content will boost your online visibility for years.
13. Be unique
Your business is probably selling a product or service that other businesses online can offer. What will make searchers click on your listing and visit your site again? Make unique pages that give your competitors a run for their money. Have creative punch lines and website slogans. Offer exceptional customer service and build trust every day.
14. Link internally using relevant keywords as anchor texts
Anchor texts will always help search engine spiders to understand the information on the linked to page. Having keywords instead of statements like ‘click here’ will enhance search engine visibility for your site.
15. Avoid poor link building tactics
Over the years, link building has been used wrongly to gain rankings. Make sure all the link building techniques which you use on your site are not spammy. Create great content so that you can get social media links and get links from trusted web directories in your geographical area. Focus on quality link building rather than concentrating on the numbers.
16. Issue press releases
Press releases can help your site to rank highly within a short time but they must be relevant and effective. Only write a press release when you have something newsworthy to report. This can be a very effective link building tactic.
17. create a blog
If you don’t have a blog for your small business website then you are making a big mistake in terms of SEO. Blogs are a great way to boost exposure and also release fresh content that can help you rank. You should also read and comment on other blogs. Make sure your blog is under your website domain.
18. Social media marketing
Your business should have social media pages where you can share more information, posts and interact with customers and prospects. Find out which social media networks are important for your brand and create a page today. Be active on these social networks because people do not like inconsistent business pages on social media.
19. Sign up effective search engine tools
Search engines offer a wide array of tools that you can use to track your website performance. Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools are just a few of the tools that you need to sign up for today.
20. Local search
You need to ensure your small business website is ranking for local searches. To make this possible, include your address and location on all pages and submit your site to free local listings. Use local directories like Yelp to list your site. Encourage people to review your site as well.
Do not rely on search engines
Most importantly, make sure you have something that will hold on to your customers when the search algorithm updates hit and your site is affected. Customers can be following your site due to the great content or social media page. Do not always rely on search engines to market your brand. Using these simple SEO tips for small businesses will help kick start your online marketing campaign with an eye for the future