Dec 21

Small Business SEO

 It’s exciting to own a small business, isn’t it? It’s even more exciting to be starting a new one or growing an existing business. But this endeavour is also going to be a lot of hard work, especially if you want to grow your business to become more than just you and your mates working out of a single room. Unfortunately, there are a lot of great ideas that are hidden by unfortunate gaps in knowledge. One of the things that a lot of businesses get stumped by is the various aspects of what it means to have a presence on the internet. Small business SEO can be a daunting task if no prior knowledge of marketing exists in your organisation.

Many businesses fail in their first year and one in every ten startups fail because founders often focus too much on building the product as opposed to marketing it properly. In this article, I want to specifically look at things that a small business can do to improve their marketing efforts and what tools they can use.

If you own a small business and have never done digital marketing, you can read a simple explainer on what is SEO and how it works on our SEO page. If you wish to get started on SEO we have a small list of things to do before you are set to reap the rewards from Google’s SERPS ( search engine result pages ).

Small Business SEO Tips

Following are some tips for small business that is just starting out or has very little to no knowledge about marketing themselves online.

Make a great website

Whether you are a coffee vendor selling coffee beans or a restaurant get your website first. Think of your website as a virtual shop front. If you put the shiny new display in your retail store, then make the same efforts for your website. Small business SEO is not hard especially if you run a storefront.

In this day and age, it’s well known that it is essential to have an online presence to succeed. But just having a presence isn’t enough. You need to think of your website as a store like any other.

When you see a building on the street there are some things that will influence you in taking the extra few steps to enter into its walls:

  1. Does it look well cared for?
  2. Is it aesthetically pleasing?
  3. Does the style work well for the business?
  4. Do they have a good volume of products?
  5. How are the employees presented?
  6. Does it have user appeal in UX/ UI?
  7. Are the users landing on appropriate pages or finding the products they are looking for?
  8. Have you shared a little bit about the culture of the company?

Great simple usable website

If the building for a lolly store is dark and dilapidated, then you are unlikely to go inside. A website is the same way. If your online storefront is clunky, slow, and confusing to navigate, then chances are nobody will even try to do so.

Think carefully about the presentation of the website too, particularly the tone and theme. Having a well-made website is important, but the effect can be negated if the design clashes with your business’s sensibilities.

A quick checklist on once you go live.

Web Dev Checklist

Courtesy – Web Dev Checklist

Call to action

Marketing 101 suggests that you must have what is called a ‘call to action’. This is a message or idea that convinces the public to invest or buy your product.

And you know what? They are right. Every person is a potential customer. Search engines employ tracking mechanisms via analytics, browser behaviour to track visitors actions, time on page, time on site, relevancy to search query and a whole range of other aspects to optimise search results.

Call To Action example

Through carefully worded and well thought out expression of that great idea that you are offering, you can allow them to, of their own volition, choose your business as the place to be. Now, this doesn’t have to be as overt as a flashy slogan or phrase. Your call to action could be creating a way for people to become aware of your product.

Whether through advertisements or carefully planted word of mouth, your business can become the place that everyone thinks of when they need gym supplies, ground coffee, organic brews, or whatever! Make your business’s niche the most important thing in the world to the right people.

Combine this message with the unparalleled exposure offered by online storefronts and you’ll reach customers who will love your stuff from all over the world.

Small Business SEO Content Strategy Template

Your message is only as good as your product, and that goes for content.

Think hard about how and through what means you can are presenting your business:

  • Is the text-based content on your website interesting and well written?
  • Are there enough pictures on your website, or other forms of media to keep the reader interested?
  • Are there enough pictures on your website, or other forms of media to keep the reader interested?

Good Content Example

If you are e-commerce store

  • Do your products have appropriate descriptions?
  • Do your products have care instructions?
  • Do they have technical information?
  • Does your website have well-written content?

Content is key to ranking generic terms and your business higher in search engines. The higher you rank the better the chances of people discovering your business. Some good examples of small business SEO for E-commerce strategy include the following.

small business SEO example description

Track and measure everything

There will be a lot of transactions and developments that will occur through your business’s lifetime. Creating and keeping track of all of the information when your business is young will make it much more manageable when it is more prominent.

Your online store only makes this more important to keep in mind. While the expanded customer base will be great for the health of your business, it also means much, much more data. This data is beneficial for when you decide to think about search trends and SEO. Putting a solid, logical plan to keep track of all of these bits of information should take as much priority as anything else.

google analytics example

Google analytics installation on a WordPress or a Magento site is very easy. Once installed, you will get to see a range of data including visitors, time on site, source of visitors, bounce rate, top performing pages. Other essential segments include top pages with customer action, better acquisition pages, customer segmentation, types of customers including their demographics, devices used to access your site and so on. If you want more data open source projects like Piwik or OWA are also good choices. You can find a comparison for Google Analytics Vs Piwik here.

Local Listings

Whether strictly in terms of SEO or not, it’s a good idea to focus on your website as a local business.

Most stores, online or physical will always do best when they cater to the area around them. Just as a physical store will be designed for the people and the town that it is in, online stores should optimise themselves to the same degree.

Local Listings example

Try using methods that make your website appeal to local or visiting users:

  • Use language that reflects the area
  • Include terms that any resident will know well to make them feel at home
  • Make sure to use the correct spelling of the region, the surrounding areas and the landmarks around the area
  • Include content and imagery relevant to the area
  • Implement a map of the location with your business marked

These features won’t just appeal to the local sensibilities, a careful use of location-specific keywords will also work well with your audience. Make sure you keep an eye out for any reviews for your business. Your online reputations are as important as your offline reputation.

Reviews

Email list

When you have built up your website through SEO or good old-fashioned content, you will want a way to stay connected to your customers. Just like the mailing list of yore, an email list is a collection of contacts (email addresses) for each of your customers that have subscribed to your website.

Newsletter Box Example

These are the people that you want to stick around, and you can do so by keeping them up to date with messages about promotions, competitions, and significant changes to your business. Your business is only as good as its customers, so it essential to make them feel as valued and involved as possible.

About The Author

Ajay Chavda is the co-founder of Weboptimizers, an SEO agency in Melbourne and has been involved with SEO for over 15 years. Between the digital properties and security forums he has managed, his articles have been read by approximately 50 million unique visitors.

1 Comment

  1. Name (required)Frank
    May 5, 2018 at 12:18 am · Reply

    Interesting and informative article I learned quite a few things I wasn’t aware of prior to reading this that I look forward to implementing on my own site. This site is full of useful knowledge on optimizing your site for success! The internet is such a wonderful place for marketing and networking you want to be sure you’re taking advantage of it as much as possible.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *