The all elusive question many small business owners ask themselves… what does SEO mean for my small business?
And the answer should be everything. Ok, well that might be a little bit drastic, but you get the picture. In this quickly moving digital world, we are in it is extremely important. And SEO is a huge part of that. For your website, Instagram hashtags even and Pinterest.
If you have a small business, then you need a digital presence and that generally means a website. You really can’t afford not to have a website these days even if you have a bricks and mortar shop or an office. You still need a website to complement and support the bricks and mortar.
Gone are the days of people using phone books to find a business. Currently, everyone turns to Google. With a whopping 40,000 searches per second per day, you can see why you need a website.
What does SEO mean for my small business?
In a nutshell, it basically means ensuring your website is visible in Google first and foremost but other search engines too. But if you conquer the Google gods then you generally don’t have to worry about whether you’re doing it right for other search engines as Google is the leader of search engines.
To break it down though as a lot of people hear those three letters – SEO and their brain shuts down. For your small business though, your SEO strategy should include:
1. Keyword research
Knowing what you should be ranking for and focusing on is the be-all and end-all. Your keywords should even help determine your site structure when it comes to your URLs ultimately. So, it is extremely important to determine what your keywords should be during your website planning stages.
- You should only focus on and allocate one keyword per page.
- Utilise synonyms of that keyword too.
- Don’t just overstuff your keywords everywhere.
Ensure you need to write for your readers first and Google second.
Don’t panic though if you already have a website and haven’t thought about your small business SEO as everything is fixable and can be done after the fact. It’s just a more streamlined approach if you do it initially. And the sooner you do SEO optimise your small business website the quicker your organic search results will improve.
Remember with SEO too that success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long-term strategy!
Your keywords are then used everywhere from your:
- page titles
- file names
- alt tags
- body copy
- H1s and H2s
- internal links
- meta description – although this doesn’t have an SEO effect as such. It does help immensely with click-through though.
So, you can see why I say do your keyword research first as you don’t want to be redoing all that if you can help it.
It’s important that your website is crawlable too. Google and other search engines need to be able to crawl the content on your page to be able to index it. If you have broken links or extremely slow sites or pages, then the search engines can’t access the content to crawl your website resulting in crawlability issues.
With so many websites out there, you need to make Google’s job as easy as possible. So, maintaining your site against any issues is super important and utilising your sitemap. It’s another way to make Google’s job easier.
And for the love of all things, SEO don’t just delete pages, blog posts, products. This will throw a 404 error. Which Google doesn’t like at all! You can delete things but just make sure you redirect them to an appropriate page, post or another product or category that will give your visitors the best user experience you can.
Speed is also super important. Ideally, you want your site to load in 2-3 seconds. To see where your site is actually having speed issues checkout Pingdom which is a great free tool.
Some things to slow your site down are:
- Images: getting rid of chunky images to speed up your site is quite a simple thing. The idea is to make your images as small as you can without losing quality. Think about the actual size that they need to render and load them at that size. There’s no need in having a high res photo that’s 1000 pixels wide if it only needs to display at 200 pixels.
- Plugins: if you’re on WordPress you’ll no doubt be using plugins. Review these and get rid of any that are unnecessary. Consider if there’s any that you can consolidate too. As every little bit adds up and will help improve things.
- Hosting: if your server is poor then your site’s speed will be poor. Check where the server used for your hosting is located. If you’re located in Australia but your host uses an overseas server then it’s going to be slower than one in Australia.
Ensuring your website is responsive when it comes to your website design is so important too. Mobile-first indexing is the be-all and end-all now. So, your site MUST be responsive on all mobile devices. It makes for a better user experience which normally means the customer spends longer on your site too which Google likes. And we want to impress Google.
It’s always good to see what your clients are using to view your site – mobile device or desktop as sometimes depending on your industry a mobile device isn’t always the preferred option. You can check this all out with Google Analytics. It’s free so if you don’t have it definitely set it up. If you’re not comfortable with that sort of thing we can do it for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out.
It’s important that the structure of your site is easy to navigate around as this plays an important part in keeping people on your site. If they can’t find what they’re looking for then they’ll quickly bounce back off and on to the next one. Which we don’t want!
A good rule of thumb is that the end-user should be able to get where they need to go in 3 clicks. Test it out now. Go to your home page and pick something you want to find. Can you find it within 3 steps?
6. Building your Google authority
Building your authority with Google is also important in getting your site to rank. Google wants to know your site is trustworthy and secure, so they look at the quality and quantity of links back to your site which is what a backlink is or link building.
You want good quality links pointing to your site. A great way to do this is to collaborate with others that have the same target market as you. A directory listing will generally give you a backlink, but you need to be careful of the quality of the site to start with as a bad backlink can do your site damage too. Which you don’t want!!! Some links from directories are no follow too so aren’t any good in getting you an actual backlink. So just keep this if you look at directories.
If you’ve got a serviced based business, this is particularly helpful for building your SEO as serviced based business websites are pretty much static. And Google doesn’t like websites that aren’t being regularly attended too. They like well-maintained websites that are being maintained regularly.
Which if you’ve got an e-commerce website it’s relatively easy to do as you’re adding new products regularly (generally). But when it comes to service-based websites blogging is a great way to do so. But just remember when it comes to blogging it all hinges on your keywords. You want to be writing about things people are searching for and will be of interest to your readers. And you also need to put the relevant details in the relevant places like a normal website page – page title, headers, file names, etc.
How is your SEO?
So how does the SEO on your small business website stack up? Is SEO a part of your marketing strategy? Are you doing any of the above, some of the above, none of the above or all of the above? Comment below with what you are doing or what you would like to be doing better. Or even comment below with what you would like to learn more about, and I’ll try and do a blog post covering that.
Want to have a chat?
If SEO isn’t your thing, then we can handle it all for you. Or if you want to have a crack, we do offer SEO consultations too. We can talk you through what you should be doing or if you’ve made a start, we can chat through how you’ve done. So get in touch now to start your SEO journey with us.