You started your website, so now it’s time to help people find it! Unfortunately, just because you build a site, it doesn’t mean that anyone will find it. Unless of course, you show up where they are! That’s where Search Engine Optimization or SEO comes in. This article will help you to improve your SEO and get your website seen with some of the most important website SEO tips for small businesses.
Need some tips for developing and publishing your website first? Check out the article: Guide to starting your business Website.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. At it’s very basic levels, SEO is the practice of optimizing your website’s performance in search engine searches. In other words, when customers go to a search engine, such as Google and type in what they are looking for in the search bar, SEO determines the likelihood that you show up in the search results. Since about 70% of searchers use Google vs. other search engines, we will primarily focus on Google as our reference in this article. However, there are other search engines used, such as Bing, Baidu, and Yahoo. If your websites ranks high in the google algorithm, then it will come up in the top search results.
So what determines if you rank high, low, or somewhere between? Well, unless you are the one writing the algorithms, it’s difficult to know exactly. However, there are certain criteria that Google has confirmed they use to determine ranking in searches, so we will stick to those basics here. The algorithm changes frequently, however. Sometimes, Google will make tweaks, strengthening the importance of links, for example. Other times, Google will make much larger updates that could more significantly change your ranking. The most important thing here is to know what Google considers important and not get too caught up in the algorithm.
What is most important in SEO?
Well, first and foremost, is accessibility and functionality – the ability for Search Engines to index and crawl your website. This is critical so they know you are there and can assess the information on your sight. The next important area for SEO is great user experience. There are many components to this, but they all ladder up to ensuring that when the user is directed to your site, they find relevant, valuable, and credible content. We will get into the important SEO Tips for Small Businesses to achieve these two primary goals below.
Know Your SEO Metrics
Before we even get into the SEO tips for small businesses, you need to first make sure that your site is indexed. To do this, simply go to Google Search Console and sign up for free. Here, you are able to see if your site url is indexed, meaning that Google knows it exists. It can also flag if there are any pages within your website with issues.
Next, make sure that you sign up for Google Analytics. This will track your traffic from any source and so many other important metrics, such as users, sessions, bounce rate, demographics, landing pages, and more. This is important so that you can track your website’s performance today and overtime how that improves.
SEO Tips for Small Businesses
Ensure Website functionality and usability
Once you’ve verified that your website is indexing, the next step is to ensure that it’s running properly and easily for the user. This means that your site is easy to navigate. Customers should find exactly what they are looking for in just 1-2 clicks. Make sure that you have a clear and concise menu, a search bar, and that the mapping makes sense for your user’s primary needs.
Next, make sure that the content within the pages is easy to read. You want the font to be large enough, the sentences to be short and concise enough, and the paragraphs to be logically broken up into easy to navigate sections. Use images or icons whenever it makes sense to guide the user through the page.
Finally, make sure there are no broken links. This means that when the user clicks through to another page, it takes them quickly to that page. Broken links are when the user clicks and gets an error message. This obviously hurts the user experience.
Get Your Business Listed with Link to Website
Your site is indexed, it’s functional and easy to navigate without any major issues. So, now it’s time to direct customers that are looking for you or a similar business in your location directly to your website. The best way to do this is with Google My Business. Not only is this important to help customers that do know your business name to find you, but it can also help with SEO. The information, related content, and links on your Google My Business account signals to Google that your business is the right one to display for related searches in your geographic area.
Identify Keywords To Rank For
Keywords are the terms that are typed into the search engine search box by the searcher. They can be one word or many. For any page on your website, you have the ability to select which keywords you want search engines to look at for ranking your site. By identifying the keywords, you are telling Google, ‘this is what this page is about’ and if anyone then searches for those keywords, Google gives all the sites that have selected those keywords in the results. Now, of course, where your site falls within the list depends on everything else in this article! You could be on page 1 or page 20. Using a plug in, such as Yoast makes it super simple to simply plug in your keyword for every website page.
Here are some tips for selecting keywords
Find topics and keywords that are relevant to your customers. You can do research based on your customer journey, customer feedback and comments, or performing competitive review. You can also look on Google Trends.
Select keywords that are achievable to rank for. In other words, if you are a new website and trying to rank for a keyword that gets 50k searches per month, you are likely to rank very low, show up on page 10+ of the search results, and never be seen. This is where Long Tail keywords come in. These are longer phrase keywords that are more specific. For example, for Starthub, rather than trying to rank for ‘Coworking’, perhaps selecting a long tail keyword, such as ‘Coworking spaces in Miami’ would be easier to rank on Page 1 in the Google search results.
Use apps and tools, such as Spyfu, Semrush, keysearch.co or KeywordsEverywhere.com to help you research and select strategic keywords. These apps can also help you to track both your website and competitors.
Next up, is to make sure that you have the proper structured SEO data for each page. This includes, an SEO title and meta description that both include your keyword, that search engines will pull through as preview snippets.
If you have a wordpress website, the easiest way to make sure you have basic meta is with an easy plugin, such as Yoast.
Adding Links to Content
One of the most important SEO tips for small business is to include Internal Links. These are links from one page to another within your website. They not only keep the reader on your website, but they show expertise and credibility to search engines, such as google. Be sure to include at least 1-2 internal links on every page within your website. Here are a three tips when using internal links.
First, the link should be within the content as much as possible. Google does recognize the difference between in-content and links that are in a list and favors those that are naturally within content.
Second, the anchor text should ideally be the title of the next page, or some variation of it. The reason is that this tells google exactly what the link is for, which adds to the expertise of your website and helps Google to know what information can be found. If the anchor text is ‘click here’, Google does not get this same information.
Third, try to have internal links higher on the page. If all links are at the end, readers are not likely to see them and Google values them less.
External Links can be helpful to your reader, but not critical for SEO. They will also take your reader away from your website, so be cautious in how these are used. When they are used, make sure to have them open in a new tab so that the reader is still on your site as well.
For more tips on how to promote and market your content, check out this article: Content Marketing Tips and Resources
SEO Tips for Small Businesses – What Comes Next?
Keep in mind, SEO is a long game. The impact of your efforts does not happen overnight. However, stick with it and continue to track your performance because you will start to see the benefits. For more articles on how to use your website to grow your business, check these out: