The success of any small business heavily relies on its ability to attract and delight new customers days on end. To do that, most small business owners rely on the strategic location of their business and referrals by former clients.
While these two are quite effective, what most entrepreneurs don’t know, or rather choose to ignore, is that the future is online. Businesses that are embracing digital marketing have an advantage over those who don’t.
SEO is a big part of that digital marketing. Especially, white hat SEO. It entails optimizing your website and other digital assets so that search engines can crawl and rank them for relevant keywords, thus showing them to relevant users.
For many small business owners, SEO is too complicated a term to start paying attention to. In fact, nearly 70% of small businesses don’t have an SEO strategy in place. In that case, you can leverage a white-label SEO firm.
For you, however, you are a step ahead since you not only appreciate the importance of SEO in growing your local business, but you are already looking at how to implement these strategies.
Read on to find some of the most effective SEO strategies for small businesses that you can start implementing right away.
SEO strategies for small businesses
1) Design a conversion-focused website
Your website is perhaps the number one digital asset that you can leverage to grow your small business. Having a website isn’t enough; you need to ensure that it is highly optimized for technical SEO and conversion.
For technical SEO, make sure that:
- Avoid duplicate content by specifying the preferred page in the canonical tag.
- Change permalinks to include post titles only instead of numbers and dates.
- Improve the navigation structure.
- Use structured data where applicable. Use a plugin like RankMath SEO to set the schema for your post types. For instance, recipes for your recipe posts and products for your shop items
- Ensure that an SSL certificate is installed, and all of your pages are served through HTTPS protocol]
- Improve website speed.
- Register your website with webmaster tools such as Google Search Console and Analytics
- Ensure that your website displays well across different devices.
Once your website is fully optimized for technical SEO, take a moment and audit your website in terms of its user-friendliness.
To make your website a highly converting machine, take into consideration the following:
Display fewer options: Instead of jamming your navigation menu with 17 plus items, find out what pages are vital to your business and display them in the menu. These pages should also meet the visitor’s intent. For example, if you are a local website design agency, your visitors will certainly want to see your previous works, services, and pricing.
You can then use submenus to list related items so that your navigation is simple but effective. For instance, you can have a menu item dubbed, “Industries” and under it, you list 5 or so industries that you serve. These sub-items will then lead to the individual pages with a copy about the specific market that your business serves.
Lead generation forms: Have these opt-in forms displayed in the obvious areas such as landing pages, below blog post content, sidebars, etc. Your business can offer different incentives, from industry reports, how-to guides, video lessons, and email courses to free 30-minute consultations, depending on the nature of your business.
Above the fold preference: As a rule, you want to always keep the most important elements above the fold. This is the section of your website that is visible upon loading without the user having to scroll down to see more. The elements to include in this section include a Unique Value Proposition (e.g., Get a Website That Converts Like Crazy), a Call to Action (e.g., Try now), Social proof (Include as featured in the section, or a screenshot showing your accomplishments.)
Utilize whitespace: The negative space is your friend for designing a highly converting website. It makes your website easy to read and navigate through.
Ensure that Call to Action (CTA) buttons stand out: Since CTAs’ main objective is to prompt visitors to take a certain desired action, you need to ensure that they pop out from the rest of the content. Thus, choose a conspicuous button color. In most cases, this should be your brand color, the same color that you use for hyperlinks.
2) Leverage the power of local search and local SEO
Local searches are continuing to rise, and thus the a need for local SEO. That said, it’s still surprising to learn that very few local businesses are investing in local SEO.
That’s why enlisting the help of local SEO services is integral to ensure your business stands out from competitors in your area.
To take advantage of this goldmine and attract local visitors directly to your website, you need to understand what search terms they are using to find products and services like yours.
For instance, phrases below are very common:
- Near me
- In [city]
- Where to buy etc.
If you’ve ever searched for ‘restaurants near me’ or ‘best hostels in Boston,’ then you have an idea why targeting these search phrases can bring you hundreds of highly valuable visitors to your website
3) Take advantage of online directories
You will be surprised that most of the SERPs for local searches always result from local directories topping the lists. This is because Google understands that people want specific info that will help them make their way to the said locations, and what better results than directories?
If you don’t have a Google My Business page yet, make sure you create or claim one as soon as possible. After creating your page, make sure that you fill in all the required details correctly.
You want to ensure that the following details are similar across all of your online listings:
- Business name
- Contact information such as email and phone number
- Physical address
- Social media links
- Business description
- Company images and videos
Updating your page regularly keeps it alive and active. Users can also leave ratings and reviews on your page about your business; thus, you always want to ensure that you deliver great experiences to every customer. Today’s consumer relies on reviews to ascertain the credibility of a business.
Other directories that you may want to get listed on include G2, Tripadvisor, Yelp, Yellow Pages, About Us, BOTW, Spoke.com, Bing Places, Yahoo, Foursquare, Chamber of Commerce, and HostFrog.
4) Create irresistible content that targets the local audience
We can’t talk of SEO without mentioning what really powers the search. Content is king, and many small businesses neglect the concept of content marketing altogether, which is a big mistake.
Take time to create exceptional content in your industry that targets your ideal customers and do so on a consistent regular basis. The content that you create should serve three main purposes:
Educate: Here, your focus is on how-to guides, tutorials, definitions, etc. This content helps boost your brand awareness and be seen as an authority, the go-to resource in your industry.
Attract buyers: The content you create here aims to attract visitors who are about to make a purchase decision. Think of search terms such as best of, where to buy, how much does it cost, etc.
Convert readers into leads: The content you develop here is used as an incentive to have people sign up for your email list. Anything from a checklist, whitepaper, and industry reports to eBook guides fall here.
Build quality links: You can also decide to write for other websites instead of your own and link back to specific posts on your website. This is what guest posting is all about. By guest posting on relevant websites, you signal to Google that your website is under a certain industry, and the backlinks improve your rankings on Google. You can write for complementary businesses as well as local media houses.
5) Do competitor analysis
When starting out, it’s very hard to tell
- What Keywords to target
- What topics to blog about
- What sites to guest post on
- What PPC campaigns to run?
Luckily for you, you don’t have to. By doing competitive research, you can unearth exactly what you need to get started. A tool like SpyFu can be quite helpful. Simply head over to their website and enter the URL of your competitor, and you will be presented with insights that can help you build a solid SEO strategy for your small business.
I believe that these simple yet effective SEO strategies for small businesses will help you grow your venture. If you have other actionable strategies, let me know in the comments.