Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital to any website, but is particularly important for small businesses. However, optimizing your site is no easy feat, and can require a lot of patience. Small business owners are often already working at full capacity – leaving little time for this additional task.
Fortunately, there are a number of simple SEO tactics that you can implement to grow your brand and give your organic search presence a boost. In turn, this may lead to an increase in conversions and site traffic.
In this post, we’ll explain why optimizing SEO is important in more detail. We’ll also discuss some of the key strategies you can implement on your small business site. Let’s get started!
Why SEO Is Crucial for Small Businesses
SEO is the process used to increase a website's position within Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Search engines categorize available web pages, and rank them in order of quality and relevance. Hundreds of factors go into making those decisions – despite the fact that the process typically takes less than a second.
There are many things you can do to boost your rankings, such as including header tags in your content and encouraging backlinks. The use of keywords is also incredibly important, since these tell search engines what your content is all about.
Developing a strong SEO strategy for your business can help drive traffic to your site, and improve your conversion rates. This is especially vital for small businesses that are just starting out, since driving organic search traffic can be a very cost-effective way of promoting your content.
Due to the nature of the Google algorithm, the SEO strategies that are considered the most effective are subject to change over time. Fortunately, however, there are a few ‘big hitters’ that are unlikely to ever lose their magic.
3 Key SEO Strategies for Small Businesses
At this point, it’s important to note that a high ranking is never 100% guaranteed. However, by carefully crafting a strong SEO strategy, you can dramatically increase your chances of placing high in SERPs. The following three techniques will help you do just that.
1. Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
SEO experts originally believed that targeting keywords was all it took to grab Google’s attention. However, successful SEO now depends specifically on long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are phrases that are more precise, and a closer match to the queries your audience will actually make. People tend to search using phrases and short sentences, rather than one or two words. For example, rather than searching for “web hosting”, someone interested in buying a plan might enter something like “how to get web hosting”.
In other words, long-tail keywords more clearly reflect what the searcher actually wants – and this is exactly what search engines like Google look for. These phrases are thought to send about 70% more traffic to websites and blogs, making them an ideal solution for small business looking to get their content out there.
Fortunately, the process of researching and implementing long-tail keywords is the same as it is for more traditional keywords. What's important is to focus on more natural phrases that are three to six words long.
2. Build Mobile-Friendly Pages
Google now ranks websites that are mobile friendly above those that aren’t (on average). This is because mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches by a significant margin. Mobile users also account for more than 52.2% of all web traffic worldwide, so it’s important to consider their needs.
If your small business website falls short of Google's standards, you could potentially lose customers and page views, and see your competition rise in the search rankings instead. Therefore, it’s now essential for your site to work just as well on a mobile device as it does on a larger screen.
A good place to start is by ensuring that the multimedia content on your site is viewable on mobile browsers. You should also make sure that all text is readable, your loading speeds are high, and any pop-ups you use are unobtrusive. Google's Mobile-Friendly Test is an excellent way to assess your site’s mobile compatibility, and get some suggestions for improving it.
3. Leverage Your Social Media Profiles
Social media is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. You’re probably already aware of how effective social platforms can be for marketing your content. However, you may not realize that social media can also be a smart way to boost your SEO.
Many marketers believe that including links to your website via social media accounts can have a noticeable impact on your rankings. These links help search engines understand what websites are most popular and trusted, and decide where they should rank for relevant keyword phrases.
What's more, social sharing contributes to a brand’s credibility in the same way that external links do. Likes, shares, favorites, replies, and retweets are all considered forms of social sharing, and the best way to solicit these is by creating content that your audience can engage with.
You can also try asking your followers directly to share content, and even provide an incentive for doing so. For example, you can run a competition or offer a discount code. When it comes to SEO, the more online activity there is that's centered around your brand, the better.
SEO is important for a lot of reasons, but it's especially relevant for small businesses looking to get established. Effective SEO strategies can help you maximize your site's SERP rankings, and establish your brand’s presence online. This, in turn, can lead to increased site traffic and boosted conversion rates.
In this post, we've discussed three simple (yet highly-effective) SEO strategies that can benefit your small business. You'll want to:
- Focus on long-tail keywords that mimic real user queries.
- Ensure that your website is fully optimized for mobile use.
- Use social media to link back to your content and encourage social sharing.
Do you have any more questions about how to perform SEO effectively as a small business? Let us know in the comments section below!