seo for small businesses

Should you use SEO for small business

Is SEO suitable for your small business?

SEO For Small Business

SEO can be used by any business, no matter how large or small. As a small business, you can do much more with local SEO at your fingertips. This guide to small business SEO will help you develop a better understanding of search engine optimization, and how to make it work for your small business.

Small business SEO vs SEO

The biggest difference between small business SEO and regular search engine optimization is deciding where you want your small business to show up. Additionally, you need to understand the difference between local SEO vs SEO. Regular SEO will help boost your business regardless of location, but local SEO is all about optimizing your pages and sites for location specific searches. For example, when you do a “near me” google search, your business won’t show up unless properly optimized for local SEO. This is important if you want to draw in more than just website traffic, and also want to focus on real foot traffic.

Fortunately, optimizing for local businesses generally follows the same process as regular SEO. Fear not, our SEO Toronto guide will explain the basics of SEO, as well as extra tips for small business owners and how to utilize local SEO.

What do Search Engines care about?

When conducting SEO, whether it’s small business SEO or local SEO, you need to understand what search engines are looking for. These are the main factors that they take into consideration:

  • Is your site strong in terms of functionality?
  • Are you a local business? If yes, are you close to the person conducting the google search?
  • What product or service do you offer, and is it relevant to their search?
  • Does your brand have a strong online presence?

If you want to start optimizing your site in order to rank higher in organic search, then this is the right place! In the rest of this article by our SEO Toronto Experts, we’ll discuss all of these factors in more detail so that you can start creating quality content for your local business.

Improving your websites

There’s a lot more than just one factor to consider when carrying out your website search engine marketing strategy. You need to include multiple factors, such as brand awareness, link building, your customers and so much more. We’ll give a quick overview in this article, but it’s important that you have a solid understanding of what a good website looks like before you launch your SEO strategy.

If you are a complete novice to everything, then you might want to consider using something like WordPress to help you get started. Even then, it’s important that you customize your website for your small business and customers. As well, it’s always good to have done at least some research on your competitors to give you a better idea on what your small business SEO strategy should look like. As well, don’t forget about technical SEO!

Another big part of building your website is branding, which we touched upon a little bit already. The idea of branding is to make sure that your small business is recognizable online, and to any other potential customers that see your ads. Although you might think that this is only necessary for big companies, it’s actually very important for small business SEO too. Not only will it provide a unique user experience for potential customers, it will also help build up your client base and online presence.

To help Google understand where you’re located and increase your local ranking results, it’s essential to have up-to-date contact information in all the right places. So it’s very important to make sure your information matches up on all the different platforms.

Let search engines find you

Although it may seem relatively obvious, your customers need to know how they can find you, and if you’re located near them. This can be done by just adding a contact page, as well as ensuring you have details such as addresses, phone numbers, hours and more available on your site. Other things you should add are geographical locations like city, state or province and country. This should be done using local business structured data in order to make sure it’s easily available to search engines. This is another aspect of technical SEO that ties into a small business SEO strategy.

Take advantage of Google's services

Our SEO Malaysia suggest you to set up a free profile using Google My Business? This will help your local business show up in search results as well as Google Maps. This is extremely helpful for small business owners that are looking to increase their local traffic. This will also provide you with another method to communicate with your customers, as well as see their interactions with your business. You’re also able to add details such as photos, hours of operation and links to your site to your profile.

Make sure that you are being consistent across the board with your name, address and phone number on all of your blog posts, website and profiles like Google My Business. This will help search engines like Google better understand that everything is linked, which will help you rank higher in search results and increase your online presence.

Create content for your website

Your website shouldn’t just be focused purely on your services, but you should also have content marketing like blog posts, marketing pages, title tags and more. These are great for increasing your online presence and also good for drawing in more potential customers because they searched up something related. Although you can just get by without having any of these extra pages, without them, you won’t be able to reach a higher rank on search engines.

Before you start creating content, you need to consider what best appeals to both your small business and your customers. This will help you decide which keyword/keywords you want to target, and this will also dictate the content you create.

Why is selecting a keyword important?

Understanding what appeals to your company and customers is vital to a successful SEO plan. Once you know what to focus on in terms of content, keyword research and technical SEO, then you know what exactly to do next in each stage of your plan. This will also allow you to have a stronger marketing strategy in general as it will appeal to users most likely to actually buy your products. Once you figure out your niche, even local businesses can compete with international brands, regardless of marketing budget.

A large part of keyword research is making sure to conduct research on your customer demographic and what keyword/keywords they tend to use when describing your product or service. This is especially important because other people will most likely use the same keywords to find related products or services, increasing their chance of finding your local business. Keyword research should be a big part of your content marketing strategy, as they can really help optimize your small business SEO, especially when you begin narrowing down the keyword/keywords you want to focus on. SEO Singapore firm encourages you to continuously research your customer demographics as these are always subject to change.

Content Creation For SEO

Small business SEO will always benefit from great content. Having just products or services with contact details is not enough for a good website! Not only will search engines like Google fail to recognize it as a trustworthy or relevant website, it leaves out a lot more than you’d think! For example, you can integrate your company branding into your website for a unique user experience, and also draw in more website traffic. It’s also important that you consider technical SEO when creating content, as great content needs to look appealing as well. Sure you might provide high quality content and have multiple blog writers, but if your pages look unappealing then you can definitely expect little to no website traffic.

Not sure what to write about? Remember that you can always have more pages focusing on various keywords and discussing different aspects of your company. You can discuss more than just what your business handles, but also developments or events that are related to your field. These are just a few tips on how to write quality content to boost your marketing plan.

When creating content like a blog, you have to understand the purpose of the content. It might not necessarily rank first place in search traffic, but it is a great tool for social media and as a general marketing tool. Make sure that you also understand how competitive your field is, and adjust your expectations accordingly.

Going back to the idea of keyword research, SEO Singapore is stressing that it’s important that you optimize for more than just keywords related to your business, product or service, you also need to include the local area you’re targeting. This should be added to your site, but also other facets of your business such as social media, a blog post, or other pages. Make sure that when you create content it has the intent to make users talk about your company in a positive manner.

Establish your online reputation

Once everything is in place in terms of links, content and websites, our SEO Singapore team will make sure to maintain an active status in your field and with your buyers. Positive user interactions will only help your small company, and will go a long way in establishing your business in search results and also by word of mouth.

Partnering with other small businesses will also help your search engine rankings. Not only will links from other local businesses indicate that you’re trustworthy and friendly, it will also help establish your reputation. You can significantly increase your website traffic through partnerships, as well as having great social media interactions. Remember that happy users are more likely to refer your services to other people, which will help you build a trustworthy image for returning and new customers.

As mentioned before, having links on relevant sites will go a long way for your small agency. This is incredibly important for small business SEO as you generally have a more restricted budget and can’t afford widespread advertising. Although this differs depending on the industry that your agency is in, your search engine marketing campaign should include getting links onto sites like Bing, Yahoo, Apple Maps and more. Aside from the obvious reasons that you should get a link on other websites, this will also make your company a lot easier to find. Make sure that you’re using relevant websites though, as there’s really no use in having your jewelry agency linked to a bakery website.

Aside from getting links onto other local businesses, you should also try to link your agency with other business in the same industry. Since search engines like Google look through the internet one link at a time, if your business is linked to another in the same industry, it will do you a world of good.

Social media marketing

Although recent updates to social media have allowed businesses to sell directly off of them, we as a SEO company don’t recommend that path to you. Rather, social media should be used as a marketing tool that has links to your pages, a blog post or other related sites. Social media is great for promoting your company’s brand, establishing yourself as a small business and for directing the right traffic to your pages. As well, social media provides a great platform for you to interact with your clients.

You want to think of social media as a farmer’s market, where local owners will refer visitors to go look at another product or give services credence to their claims. You want to make sure that you’re using social media in a way that will get people to start talking about you, and send potential users to your links. Social media marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools if utilized properly.

Ratings and reviews matter

Remember Google My Business? This program actually allows reviews of your business and will be able to be viewed by everyone. In general, if you have a relatively high rating then people are more likely to click your links to your pages. It’s important that you monitor and maintain your reviews as well as reply to them. If you have any negative reviews, reply and offer to fix the problem, and afterwards you can request the client to change their review afterwards. Reviews and ratings should be taken advantage of and used to increase the overall opinion of your brand.

Putting it all together

Great, now you’ve read all of these SEO tips, you may be a bit confused at how to put it together. No worries, lucky for you, we’ve written a step by step guide so you can can figure out how to make SEO work for your business.

First, it’s important to make sure that the search engine you’re focusing on actually has your website indexed. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll assume you’re using Google. Indexing is essentially just making sure that your website exists to Google, because if not, no matter how many SEO tips you read and employ, you’ll never show up on Google.

There’s two easy ways that you can check to see if your website is indexed or not. The first being Google Search Console. If you’re not already using Search Console, you should, as it is quite accurate and precise. Using Search Console, the number of pages found should match the total number of pages on your website.

The second method is to type in into Google. It should return a number of results, and this number should match the amount of pages you have. However, this method is generally less accurate than Search Console.

Done? Let’s move onto the main guide.

First, it’s important to make sure that the search engine you’re focusing on actually has your website indexed. For the purposes of this guide, SEO Miami team will assume you’re using Google. Indexing is essentially just making sure that your website exists to Google, because if not, no matter how many SEO tips you read and employ, you’ll never show up on Google.

There’s two easy ways that you can check to see if your website is indexed or not. The first being Google Search Console. If you’re not already using Search Console, you should, as it is quite accurate and precise. Using Search Console, the number of pages found should match the total number of pages on your website.

The second method is to type in into Google. It should return a number of results, and this number should match the amount of pages you have. However, this method is generally less accurate than Search Console.

Done? SEO New york team is going to move onto the main guide.

1) Create a structured website

It should be easy for any user to navigate your website design, regardless of their demographic. Your homepage should have links to important pages like contacts, hours, services etc. And these specialized pages should also be linked to other more specific pages. As you can see, link building becomes a core requirement. Although this seems to be relatively obvious, it’s actually easy for the structure to disintegrate as pages continue to get added and the website updates.

The trick to fixing this is to put yourself into a potential user’s shoes and navigate your website. If you start at the homepage, are you able to navigate to all of your important pages in a quick and easy way? If not, you may need to rethink your website design.

Here are some common things that you should watch out for:

  • Extraneous links purely for the purpose of SEO – these will only make your website appear to be spam-like to both search engines and site visitors.
  • Excessively long drop-down menus – these should be trimmed and kept at an acceptable length to prevent your website from appearing sloppy.
  • Messy headers and footers – these should only contain necessary information, and should be free of any extra links or sponsors.

2) Watch for broken pages and links

Broken pages and links on any website is never a good sign. This is bad for both SEO for small businesses and also just search results in general. A website that’s full of broken pages and links essentially indicates to users that the owner doesn’t care enough to keep it functioning. For small businesses, this could potentially be crippling as it could lead potential buyers to think the business has closed permanently.

Lucky for you, there’s actually a super easy way to figure out what broken pages your website has. If you conduct a website crawl, you should be able to look through your site audits, and look for errors such as the common 404 error. Although innocuous on their own, you want to make sure that none of these pages have backlinks, as any visits to your site through these links don’t count simply because they’re “dead”. Although you may not need to necessarily “delete” all of your broken pages, you should remove all links to them, as they waste link equity and decrease the customer experience.

3) Include meta titles

Meta titles and descriptions should be a basic requirement for every page on your website. Not sure what a meta title is? Essentially, this acts as a name tag for a specific page of your site, and the title will be displayed as the name of the tab as well as what you see when searching on Google. Meta titles will also help optimize your SEO plan for your site.

There are a few things you need to consider when creating your meta titles and descriptions. First, you need to determine the length that your search engine will cut it off at. Next you need to make sure that your titles and descriptions are worded enticingly to draw traffic to your site, and if possible contain your target keyword. All of these will help you increase your rank in organic search as well, and not just SEO.

Here’s a checklist of what you should watch out for:

  1. Missing titles or descriptions: Create and add one for each page of your site.
  2. Too long. There are online tools that you can use to check your description and title length, if it’s too long then it will get cut off by the search engine.
  3. Bland/boring: Put yourself into a potential customer’s shoes, if you saw this search result on Google would you want to click it? If you struggle to say yes, then rewrite it.
  4. Forgetting your target keyword: As mentioned before, you want to include your target keyword in your meta titles and descriptions, especially for site pages like product pages, blog posts, homepages. However, if it doesn’t fit naturally, or the page is something like a contact or about page, then it’s not necessary. Forcing in keywords will decrease your success on Google.

Now that everything has been said, you may start to realize that this requires a lot of time, after all hunting down each page on your site and checking for meta titles and descriptions can be time consuming. If your budget allows, then your company may want to outsource to a SEO agency as they not only have the tools required to deliver services, they also have better quality work. However, this may not be feasible for small businesses, instead they might want to turn to a freelancer instead.

4) Make sure to look over your work

This is a crucial aspect of optimizing your site. Aside from the logistics like quality article writing, understanding the nuances of Google and other tools, you still need to check over your sites one last time. This might also be a good time to outsource your work, and hire services or professional content writers to read over your work. This is also relatively feasible for small businesses as the service will only last a short duration, since you’ve already done the bulk of the work, now you’re just paying for an expert to look it over. A fresh outlook on your sites will help you catch any mistakes, and you can also use this as an opportunity to see if your site has the intended impact on a viewer who has never seen your site before.

5) List your small business in relevant places on the web

Although it’s good to focus on the SEO aspects of web marketing, search engines like Google will look at off-page SEO factors too. An example of this is citations. Citations are essentially mentions of your business, whether that’s on their site or other advertisements. These could display any of the following: your business name, address, and phone number.

For small businesses, citations is an extremely important factor. These are one of the top local ranking factors for both local searches and general organic search ranking. You also need to realize that although we’ve been focused on Google for the intents and purposes of this article, there are a lot more free search engines out there on the web. For example, there are specialized websites to help you find a specific person, such as trusted tradespeople for services like plumbing.

For Google specifically, one of the most important tools is Google My Business. Whenever you search up a business, you might notice that some local shops will pop up, and these are known as a “map pack”. Often, these beat out organic search rankings, so even if your sites are at the top of organic searches, they’ll still be beaten out by the map pack. Assuming your Google My Business profile has already been set up, you’ll want to focus on the following aspects to optimize your profile:

  • Ensuring you’re in the right category
  • Adding categories as necessary
  • Updating photos
  • Including hours of service
  • Include service/product details
  • Additional means of contact

Remember that there’s so much more than just Google My Business. There are also industry specific directories that you should consider using, such as Hotfrog or Axicom. As well, you can use tools to see what websites your competitors are on to ensure that you’re not losing out on that front.

6) Partnerships with related businesses

Link building is an essential component especially for small businesses. To build links is a relatively easy task, but you want to make sure that these links are either on affiliated businesses or other businesses with who you have relationships with, such as your supplier.

If your products are stocked in other businesses, make sure they have a link back to your website on their pages!

Small Businesses Need Local SEO

SEO for small businesses actually isn’t that much different from traditional SEO. For small businesses, your site can benefit a lot just from following these tips. However, if you’re unsure or want some help with SEO, outsourcing is always a plausible path.

If you ever need more help with SEO, check out some of our other pages or contact us today for a consultation.