Odds are that if you’re a small business, you might not see the point in ranking on search engines. Afterall, bigger companies will just appear at the top because they have the power to do so…. Well, you are very much wrong!
If any business wants to make money online, they should be thinking about the best way in which they can enhance their search visibility, and how they can best optimise themselves online. Whether you’re an independent business or part of a chain, having an SEO strategy in place is integral to the success of any company. Having an effective SEO strategy isn’t a new thing either. Implementing effective and high-quality SEO into your website will see an increase in traffic, and when you combine this with user flow, you’ll find that profit increases as well.
So, now we have your attention, we are going to give the small businesses out there a few free tips about SEO that you should follow. If you’re thinking about integrating a social media strategy into your website, then don’t forget to check out why your business needs a social media strategy.
1. Ensure you have an attractive website.
Even if you already rank well rank well on search engines.
In theory, if the most unattractive, poorly designed website would rank on position one of Google’s SERPs, it would see minimal conversions. If the user experience of your site makes it near on impossible to find what your customer is seeking, high volumes of traffic won’t convert. You need to ensure your website looks and functions just as well, if not better than your direct competitors. Alongside this, you should include the correct titles, meta descriptions, keywords and interlinking.
These will immediately affect your traffic, and if you optimise it all to be as mobile-friendly as it is on a desktop (we tell you why you should here), then you are onto a winner. The aim of SEO is to grow your website’s organic visibility on search engine pages, namely Google, and in turn, you will see a reaction in your site traffic and sales.
2. Use tools to help improve your search visibility
When it comes to SEO, there are hundreds of changes you can make, but knowing where to start is the biggest hurdle. There are plenty of tools out there that will help you see where you can improve, and Google’s Adwords and Analytics are essential. If you have them already, give yourself a pat on the back. If not, WHY?!?!?! Okay, okay, if you aren’t tech-savvy then you are probably wondering why they’re so important. Google Adwords is a marketing tool, that essentially only charges you when people click on your web page, more commonly known as PPC. Google Analytics allows you to measure your rate of income (ROI) through Google, as well as tracking your activity elsewhere online (such as social media and other applications).
By having these two essential tools, you will be able to actually see how you can improve your online approach, maximising your SEO strategy, and in turn seeing your revenue increase.
3. Streamline your social media strategy
You have probably been hearing for several years now that ‘social media is the future and everyone needs to utilise it to stay in the game’. This is so undeniably true, but the reason it has continued to be a point of discussion is because people still aren’t taking advantage of it enough! SEO and social media go hand in hand. Furthermore, social media is a platform where you can give your business personality, setting the tone for the kind of brand identity you want to purvey to your customers.
This also allows you to see who your customers actually are, seeing who likes and follows you, and who you get the most interaction through. Twitter and Facebook both have integrated analytics pages, but because you use Google Analytics, all this information (as well as information from other social networks including Instagram and Linkedin) is compiled into one place, even allowing you see how many sales you are achieving through social media!
Fancy seeing a bit more, here’s the ultimate social media checklist to dig your teeth into.
4. Content marketing can help you increase traffic (and go viral)
From ensuring your onsite content is fresh to updating a blog on your website, creating and implementing a content marketing strategy is a full-time job- it has evolved from being a hobby. Blogging and creating fresh innovative content has become a thriving media business in its own right, and is something any small enterprise has to take advantage of. The content you create has to focus on more than just selling what you have to offer. A blog that says, ‘our windows are the best no one can beat us we are amazing BUY OUR WINDOWS!’ will get little to no interaction as people will catch on straight away.
So, quality over quantity, but how do you do this? A business has to have creative and fresh, approach. When putting together your content marketing strategy, you must think of it from a customer’s perspective. In some cases this may not be writing the content yourself – you may fancy yourself as an underappreciated Shakespeare writer, but your priority is going to be sell, sell, sell. You also know the industry far too well, and will likely go all out on the jargon. This is where the external help comes in. It allows you to find the right creative minds to make something that many might find a bit bland, relatable and enjoyable, and fresher. Or, you could create content and outsource it to be tweaked and optimised. When it comes to content marketing, there’s no one size fits all – if at first you don’t succeed then try and try again!
5. Much like everything else in life, nothing happens for free
You need to invest first to see the gains that SEO can bring to your business. It’s simple. You don’t grow a business without first spending. But you won’t need to remortgage the house to do so. You can start off with small investments, just to see the sort of growth just a few hundred pounds can get you. And from there, the world is your oyster. Some businesses will choose to do their SEO, and it works for some companies. With a plethora of online tutorials and tool demos, it does have its perks. However, there are agencies, such as our rather magnificent selves, who dedicate our lives to this sort of stuff. But we can’t be biased, so here is a guide on choosing the right SEO agency for you.
An investment in SEO is not forever, you could invest for a few months then go from there, or you can build it into part of the way your company functions, a long-term method to push growth. It all starts with a budget.
6. List your site in as many directories as possible
There is a huge likelihood that as a small business, you are more than likely operating in a local area. Something that is incredibly vital for small businesses is making sure you are listing your site on as many directories as possible. In terms of local SEO, it is essential that you get your business listed on Google My Business. GMB is free to use by Google, and is a simple way for displaying all the essential information about your business in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). It is also well worth adding this information to Bing! Places. It’s best to do Google My Business first, as Bing allows you to easily export the data to Places.
As well as search engine directory entries, the more traditional online citations are vital ways for you to build up your backlink portfolio. While there are some that you have to pay for, there are a whole host of free business directories online for you to list your site on. As long as the information you publish on all these different directory sites is the same (address, URL, business name), then you will be greatly contributing to your SEO presence.
So there we have it, a few little tips about maximising your potential as a small business, all through SEO. If you’d like some advice, or you’ve got some questions then get in touch with one of our SEO wizards today.