SEO Tips for Small Business Owners
If you’re the owner of a small business who seeks big results, then SEO, or search engine optimization, is one tool that can take you there. As its name suggests, search engine optimization maximizes your placement in search engine listings from Google, Bing, and Yahoo, among others.
Since a vast majority of online traffic comes from these search engines, optimum placement in their listings means one thing: Your business will become visible and easy to find. And once it becomes visible, you’ll have plenty of potential customers at your disposal.
When it comes to online searches, Google is king, and it’s not even close. As of December 2017, Statcounter reports that the search engine giant attracts nearly 92% of all searches worldwide. Does this mean you should only focus on optimizing your Google rankings? Not necessarily, as there are still some people who prefer other search engines like Bing or Yahoo for one reason or another. Luckily, you can use virtually the same strategies to rank well on Bing and Yahoo as you would on Google, since much of the SEO science is similar.
To help you kill those three search engine birds with one stone, here are five small business SEO strategies that should boost your online presence and help you expand your reach offline as well:
1. Start blogging – A blog is a great way to keep visitors (and potential customers) informed about the type of business you conduct. More importantly, it’s a great way to keep them coming back to your site for more information, and this can help propel your SEO efforts.
Should you post bland, boring articles on your site just to fill up your blog so it looks “active”? Of course not. Your content should be as fresh and unique as possible. It should stand out in your industry, as this will help your business stand out as well.
Once or twice a week, try posting how-to articles, relevant product reviews, news, photos, videos, or any other content you may deem relevant to what you’re trying to market. The more interesting the content, the more likely it is to garner visits.
As those visits pile up, you’ll have visitors willing to share your content across social media. This will help you create a viral effect that will grow your business organically without the need for expensive, paid advertising.
2. Pay attention to keywords – Which search terms would a potential customer submit into Google if they were looking to find your service? This is something to ponder with your site’s SEO strategy, as you want to rank high for keywords that are relevant to your business.
For example, let’s say you own a cigar shop in Boca Raton. Your best bet is to shoot for long-tail keywords, phrases that are two to four words long. Keeping this in mind, “cigar shop Boca Raton” would be one keyword to focus on. “Cigars Boca Raton” would be another.
In all, you should look to build a list of about 30 such keywords to rank on. Once you have that list, try your best to include those keywords in your content. Just make sure that they fit naturally and flow within your content. If their inclusion appears to be forced and robotic, your content will suffer and you may actually lose potential customers.
3. Leverage the power of social media – As mentioned, producing interesting, engaging content relevant to your business will urge your visitors to share it across social media. While many people may be unaware that you even have a website or blog, you can make them aware by building a social media presence.
Think of at least three social networks where your potential customers would hang out, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Once you have those three, build your profiles on those networks and be sure to either post new content or share existing content on them at least a few times per week to spark engagement.
Over time, you’ll not only build your credibility on the social networks, you’ll also get the added benefit of it being built via search engines that have started to value a strong social media presence.
4. Link to other pages within your website – Want more page views? Do you have certain pages that seem to be lost in the mix or buried within your site? Simply linking to them internally can eliminate such issues.
One of the easiest ways to do this is via blog posts. Using the example above, let’s say you posted an article discussing a new cigar release that has just arrived to your Boca Raton shop. In that post, you could include a linked sentence to another previous arrival that has a similar flavor structure or price point. This will get the reader to possibly link on that other release, increasing your page views and your SEO.
5. Are your images labeled? – Not all people search for content based on words/articles alone. Many do it for images, and labeling your images with descriptive words can help you snag additional visitors and help you rank for the image and the written text.
Remember this labeling tip when uploading images to your site. Be as accurate and concise as possible when typing the image’s file name. Keeping it under five words total is a good rule of thumb to follow. You can separate the words in the image’s name with underscores or spaces.
If you were to upload an image of a cigar ashtray, for example, “cigar_ashtray” would suffice.