Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been a buzz word for well over a decade and continues to be a confusing topic for most small business owners. While there are over 200 ranking factors in Google’s algorithm, there are a handful of items most small businesses overlook that can make a huge difference in whether or not your website ranks or shows up for the search terms it should.
Following is a guide to implement SEO services for small businesses and maximize your exposure to potential clients:
Create an excellent a website
We see a lot of small businesses that overlook the most important foundational element to maximize SEO and website exposure – their website itself. While there are a ton of DIY options for creating a website, these tools don’t automatically make you a good website designer or developer.
Investing in a website for your small business that you can be proud of, and that can help you grow, is an essential step in the process. It’s not only imperative to create a website that catches people’s attention and looks good, but it must also be easy to use and must be optimized properly in order for potential clients to find you. Reach out today if you’re in need of a partner for this crucial stage of your website development.
Get found online
If you are a local business, it’s important to have the necessary contact information, including your location, listed on your website. We often consider this the “NAP info” in the SEO space, meaning name, address, and phone number.
We want to be sure that this NAP info is consistent across the web, including your website, Google My Business profile, Facebook, and LinkedIn just to name a few.You would be surprised how many businesses make it challenging for their potential clients to find their necessary contact information!
Google My Business
As mentioned above, a Google My Business (GMB) profile is a free and necessary tool to help rank your business on Google searches. Google even has their own help article to show you what you need to do in order to rank your GMB profile organically.
Here are some quick tips to help you rank your GMB profile:
- Make sure all of the information you add is accurate, including business hours, phone number, and address.
- Fill out your profile completely. Google will let you know once it is complete.
- Add a link to your website on your GMB profile so that Google knows that your website is associated with your business.
- Post updates to your GMB just like you would on Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other social media platform. Google, and potential clients, will always favor active businesses.
- Get reviews. Make sure you have set up some type of follow-up process to get honest reviews from your clients. Make sure not to incentivize people, though, to leave reviews because this is against Google’s guidelines and can get you into trouble.
Create the necessary pages for what you offer
One of the most common things we hear from clients is they want less words on their website and more pictures, videos, etc. This is a legitimate concern and something we take into consideration with every website project we work on.
Time and time again, though, studies show that websites ranked at the top of search engines actually contain more words than those that do not. Therefore, we need to make sure our clients’ websites have sufficient information to help them rank better.
One error we see a lot is when businesses create one page for all of their services, products, or offerings. On this page, they will then have one to two sentences that talk about each service. The main issue with this approach is that Google isn’t able to prioritize this page and understand which of the services to focus on when it comes to ranking the page. For example:
If you are a company that offers “website services” to your clients, you probably provide a few services, such as:
- Website design
- Website development
- Logo design
- Website maintenance
If we were to create one page that listed all of these services, it would be very confusing for Google to know which search terms to prioritize for its users. Instead, we want to create a page for each individual service so that Google can get a better understanding of what precisely is being offered. This ultimately helps with keyword search rankings.
In addition, many people think of SEO as a holistic thing. They think if one page on their website ranks well, then all pages will rank well. This is far from the truth. Each page is its own opportunity to rank in Google, so you want to make sure each page has sufficient content and information to rank for whatever that term or topic is located on your website.
Keep creating content
Blogging is one of the biggest buzz words for SEO and still remains a hot topic year after year. And for good reason! Producing content for your website is a necessary step in the process of helping your website rank. The reason is that Google will not reward static websites. They want to see websites that are active and are helping searchers find what they need.
While blogging can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. If you have never considered blogging for your small business, or aren’t sure where to get started, our team of copywriting and blogging experts can help simplify the process for you.
Content ideas should come from your team and whoever communicates with your potential clients. Specifically, you want to think about the common questions you hear on the phone when someone calls and inquires about your business or services.
Have your entire team make a running list of frequently asked questions that they receive and start producing content around these topics. The articles don’t have to be a certain amount of words and you don’t need to produce a certain amount of blogs per month. We encourage people to focus on quality and not the quantity of the content they produce.
Want to mix it up?
If you want to add some additional options to your blogging repertoire, try doing a video blog, or “vlog” from time to time. Not only can you add this to your website, but you can also add it to YouTube, the second largest search engine in the world.
Don’t worry – these videos don’t need to be professionally recorded. In fact, it has been found that videos shot with phones typically outrank professionally produced videos.
If you’ve never looked into SEO for your small business, the words “keyword research” may not mean anything to you. If you’ve ever done any research about SEO, then you’ve probably come across countless articles on the topic.
Essentially, keyword research tells you what words and phrases you should try to rank your business for.
For example, if you are a plumber, you will probably want to rank for these types of phrases:
- Plumber near me
- Best plumber near me
- Plumber in city name
- Unclog my toilet
- Leaky faucet and how to fix it
- 24-hour emergency plumber
These are just a few of the keywords or phrases you want to rank for. Now that you know this, how do you use these keywords to your advantage?
First off, you want to make sure they are mentioned on your website within the copy to show Google and potential clients these are services you offer. Next, they need to be added to the title tag and meta descriptions on your website. (Since this article is only introducing these topics, we won’t go into full detail on what these items are at this time. Stay tuned for a future blog!)
What keywords should I focus on?
It’s time to take a step back and think of this from your potential clients point of view. What would they be searching for in order to find you?
Not only can you do that, you can also look at your competition and see what words or phrases are consistently used on their websites. You want to ensure you are checking competitors that actually rank for the services you offer, or else you may be wasting time. You never want to reinvent the wheel, so find out what’s working for other people in your industry and just do it better!
In closing, SEO can be overwhelming for some people and if that’s the case, it may be best to look for someone who offers SEO services for your business.
However, if you’re the type of small business owner that likes to get their hands dirty, this article is a great starting point for understanding SEO and how you can help your website rank over time and maximize site traffic.