Running a small business is no simple task. In most cases, small business owners are wearing multiple hats at any given time. That means you might be CEO, web developer, and marketing lead all at the same time. With so much on your plate, it can be easy to miss out on the little things that make a big difference. One thing that can become forgotten is SEO.
SEO is one of the best tools in your small business toolkit. You might not have the volume as the big guys or the money to spend on advertising, but you can compete if you know how to optimize your web presence and get your site to rank on Google.
We’ll look at how important SEO is, how to do it, and when to look for outside help:
- What is SEO?
- Why is ranking high on search engine results pages (SERPs) important for your small business?
- How to create an SEO strategy
- Should you handle SEO by yourself?
Find What You’re Looking For
What Is SEO?
This is done through a variety of techniques, but it largely is a matter of following best practices for your site to make sure that it gets listed in search results so that potential customers can find you easily and quickly.
Search engines use crawlers or automated tools that scan every page on the internet and index them so that they can be found when people search for certain content. SEO helps to format your pages so that these crawlers see them and rank your website and content higher in search pages.
Why Is Ranking High on SERPs Important for Your Small Business?
One of the most important things to consider when working on SEO is the SERP. This is the unique collection of search results that a search engine produces based on the terms searched for.
Many variables go into these results, including the content of the search, the location of the person making the query, their past browsing and search history, and a variety of other elements.
To get your website to rank high on SERPs, you need to optimize your content to make it appeal to both the search engine and the person making the search query. By performing these tasks, cleaning up your content, and making it digestible for both the web crawlers and for humans alike, you’ll rank higher on the search results.
This is very important for a small business. The reason is that most people don’t make it past the first few search results. Everyone is looking for a result that meets their needs quickly. As many 25 percent of searchers click on the first result that they’re provided. A whopping 95 percent of people won’t visit the second page of search results and only look at what appears on the very first SERP. Getting on the first page is of utmost importance to your business.
It also lets you compete with other major players on a level playing field. If you can get your site within the first few results, most people won’t care if they’re familiar with your site or not. They trust that your site may have what they’re looking for because it came up so quickly. This gives you a shot to convert a visitor into a customer.
How To Create an SEO Strategy
Performing SEO work can seem complicated, but much of it is common sense. Search engines like websites that are well put together, easy to navigate, and have the type of content that satisfies searchers. Search engines want to populate SERPs with high-quality content, and your site can fall under that category with just some basic SEO best practices.
Here are some simple strategies you can use to improve your SEO and improve your rank on SERPs:
- Keyword optimization: Keyword optimization is probably the thing that you think of when you think of SEO, and it’s an important element. If you want your website to appear when people search for certain terms, the best way to do that is to use specific keywords to associate your site with those search terms. Don’t overdo it as some search engines penalize you when it’s clear you’re trying to work the system and fill up on keywords in a nonsensical way. Natural language and sensible placement are essential.
- Website structure: It’s important for users to be able to navigate your website. It’s important for a web crawler to be able to do so too. If you have dead pages or pages that aren’t linked to one another, your site may get penalized. It’s also harder for visitors and customers to navigate to the content they want, so it serves no one to have poor structure.
- Fix broken links: Do you link out to pages that have moved or no longer exist? Are you planning to add a page but it isn’t live yet? It won’t help you with your search results if you have broken links on your website. Check to make sure you’re linking to high-quality content and pages that exist to improve your ranking.
- Meta descriptions and tags: Meta descriptions and tags may not seem important to your customers and visitors because they all exist under the hood, but they’re essential to getting your content seen by your audience. Descriptions and tags are scanned by web crawlers and used to archive and index your content. Making sure these fields are fine-tuned and filled out helps to get your content seen by more people — and by the right people.
- Citations and linkbacks: If you want to rank higher in search results, one way is by getting other high-ranking authorities to link to you. It’s like those sites vouching for yours. Don’t pay for placement on another site or get linkbacks through shady means like blog comment spam. But legitimate linkbacks are a great way to improve your SERP ranking and give your site more authority.
Should You Handle SEO by Yourself?
Mastering SEO techniques can be a full-time job, but executing the basics is something that just about anyone can do. If you have some extra time, go through your site and fine-tune the content, fix any broken links and pages, and improve your keyboards to improve your SEO and rank higher in SERPs. These are things that you should be able to do for yourself if you built your own website. SEO software and tools are also available to help you handle these tasks.
If you’re looking for more out of your site, consider hiring an expert. If you want to produce lots of additional content to help bolster your site, you may need a writer who understands SEO and can write natural-sounding content that engages readers and improves your ranking.
Other tasks that are time-consuming and require a fine-tooth comb, such as meta tags, may be given to a pro so they can apply their expertise. But you should start your SEO process on your own and grab some low-hanging fruit.
SEO can be monotonous work that requires some research before engaging with. You want to understand the best practices for website building and implement a strategy to improve your content and SEO without doing things that penalizes your site or annoys visitors.
But a little SEO can go a long way for a small business. Getting your site on the first page of search results allows you to perform well above your weight class and compete with much bigger names in your industry. SEO is a great equalizer for a small business and worth investing in.