Search engine optimization, or SEO, can be a challenge for small business owners, particularly those who have to juggle a lot of different tasks. However, failing to understand the importance of SEO can also be detrimental for a business that’s trying to generate and build its online presence. Small business owners can implement helpful tips to improve SEO without sacrificing time spent on other important tasks.
1. Identify an SEO Strategy Before Designing a Website
The overall design and appearance of a website play a major role in its appeal and success among visitors, as well as where it ranks in search engines. Small business owners often make the mistake of starting the design process before defining their SEO strategy, which requires them to go back and make changes to the design when implementing best practices that improve search engine optimization.
The structure of the site includes the menu navigation and hierarchy, while the URL structure can impact the user-friendliness of the site navigation. When a small business owner identifies these key elements and how to tie them into their SEO strategy, designing and building the website can incorporate these important aspects immediately.
2. Use Google Tools
Google is one of the most highly utilized search engines, and the company behind it offers various tools for businesses working to improve their SEO. One option is the Google Keyword Planner, which allows the user to research the search volume of specific keywords and phrases. Using this tool allows for the comparison of which words and phrases are used most often, and thus which to incorporate in the content of a website.
3. Review Competitors’ Sites
Performing a competitive analysis of sites that compete with a small business can help the owner determine what works and what might not be as useful. A competitive analysis should assess:
- The structure of the site
- Which keywords the competitor is using
- Frequency of keyword use
- How the competitor uses external and internal links
- Title tags and meta descriptions
- The quality of the content
By assessing these key elements of a competitor’s site, a small business owner can modify their SEO strategy and implement those that work best.
4. Create and Submit a Sitemap
After the site is designed, the owner of the domain can create an account with the main search engines. Part of the design process involves creating a sitemap, which the owner should submit through each search engine account. Submitting a sitemap ensures that a website is indexed properly. Setting up the account also provides access to helpful information, including which keywords are used most, any external linking to the site, and errors that may pop up.
5. Test the Site on Mobile
Most customers browse the internet on their mobile devices, so it’s important to have a site that’s mobile-friendly. Small business owners should test their sites regularly on mobile to make sure that all functionality is working properly and the site provides a positive user experience.
6. Consider the Audience
Understanding the audience is important in creating an SEO strategy that works. A small business owner should know what a member of their target audience is looking for, what content they gravitate toward, and how they spend their time online. Identifying elements of their online activity can make it easier to target content to the target audience members’ needs and desires.
7. Lengthen the Content
Although short, scannable content might seem like the better option, long-form content tends to rank more highly from an SEO perspective. Incorporating various lengths of content on a website can appeal to a wider audience while improving the results that come up on a search engine.
8. Blog Regularly
Adding new content to a site can keep it fresh and help it remain higher on the search engine results. The easiest and most efficient way to refresh the content on a small business site is to add to the blog regularly.
9. Use Evergreen Content When Possible
When creating new content, aim to make it as evergreen as possible to avoid making the site look outdated. Evergreen content can address customer questions and concerns without talking specifically about time periods or events in the past. Since this type of content has a longer shelf life, it can help to achieve better search engine rankings over a longer time period.
10. Request Reviews
Customer reviews benefit a small business in multiple ways. Many prospects use reviews to determine whether to make a purchase from a business, so positive reviews can drive conversions. Additionally, reviews help to drive local visibility when someone searches for keywords in the area in which a business operates.
11. Continue to Research Keywords
After building a website, a small business owner may consider it to be completed. However, commonly searched keywords and phrases can change. Continuing to perform research on keywords and adding any new or revised options can boost the site’s SEO.
12. Create a Business Listing
Google My Business is an important resource for any small business owner. It’s another tool that helps to increase search traffic and online visibility. A business owner can also use this listing to determine what information is available to potential customers. Ensure that the information on the listing is accurate and updated regularly.
13. Use Video Content
Videos are among the most engaging types of content on the web, so creating and adding more video content to a site can help boost engagement and improve SEO. Google also features video snippets at the top of its search results, so offering valuable video content on a site can help a business appear higher on the list of results.
14. Keep Users on the Site
Keeping users on a website can also boost search engine optimization, so it’s important to use internal links and provide valuable content to encourage people to remain on a small business site. Some of the factors that affect SEO include the average time spent on a page (dwell time), and bounce rate.
15. Use Various Platforms
A small business owner can utilize multiple platforms to increase traffic and grow their online presence. In addition to the standard social media platforms, it’s worthwhile to consider sharing content on some of the lesser-utilized systems to appeal to a wider audience.
At Lokal Media, we work closely with small business owners to provide media and direct response marketing tools. Our services include professional website design, brand identity support, and other marketing resources. Many small business owners rely on our company to provide results, so contact us to get started.