Running a small business is no easy feat. Unless your business is particularly niche or you are the only provider in your location, then there is most likely competition. This increases the pressure to attract customers and stay ahead of the competition. This is especially true in the current climate of COVID-19 where there is added strain on small business owners who are trying to weather the pandemic without closing their doors for good.
Even without a pandemic, small businesses need to be strategic and scrupulous to succeed and this includes being very careful with their SEO budgets. Cautionary budgeting means that few small business owners are willing to invest outside of what they understand. In fact, studies by Clutch found that two-thirds of small businesses do not have an SEO strategy.
Now is an optimum time for small businesses to start creating SEO strategies and putting them into action. Here are 5 SEO tactics that small businesses can implement today to improve their online visibility and traffic at little cost.
Know Your Keywords
All good strategies start with planning. Effective SEO boosts your online presence and can accelerate business growth when done right. For small businesses and larger businesses alike, SEO starts in the same place — keywords. This step is essential and should never be skipped.
“Making assumptions about your keywords rather than researching them properly is like using the wrong fuel in your car,” says, Lavinia Oatu a marketer at EssayRoo and Paper Fellows. “It won’t work and the damage can end up costing you more to repair.”
For a small business with a limited budget, there are several free options for keyword research. These include Google Keywords and AdWords, Soovle, and Ubersuggest. If you have the budget—and this is a good place to spend some of it—SEMRush and Moz are popular options. Moz also has free SEO tools that will come in useful.
Update Your Content
A common mistake made by small businesses is that once they have a website up and running they don’t need to think about content again. The reality is that your content is a powerful and vital part of your SEO.
Search engines look for relevance and ‘usefulness’ when ranking websites in search results. Having fresh content that meets these criteria is essential for SEO success. A regular blog, video tutorials and infographics are great ways to share useful information and boost your SEO results.
Optimize For Local Results
For a business that relies on customers from the local area, it is essential that you optimize for location. Use keywords specific to your locality within your content. For example, when researching local keywords, a hair salon in Nebraska might find that search terms such as ‘Omaha Hair Salon’ and ‘salon Omaha’ are the most popular in their local area, even if these keywords do not strictly correspond with their precise location. Be sure to include these local keywords in your site meta descriptions, H1 tags, and external links for optimal results.
Be Mobile Friendly
With the massive growth in popularity of smartphones over the last decade, mobile search has exceeded desktop searches. It’s been five years since Google announced that mobile search had exceeded desktop search globally and now, mobile accounts for 60% of all searches. For some industries, this figure is considerably higher — especially hospitality. This comes from the tendency of consumers to search on their phones for coffee shops and restaurants near them.
A mobile-optimized website is valued by search engines because it is valued by searchers. Your customers want a positive experience when they visit your site as much as they do when they visit your business.
Linking to other websites is advantageous as it builds trust in the eyes of site visitors and search engines. The logic being, that a reputed and trusted site would only link to another reputed and trusted site. Keep this in mind when creating your link building plan.
Link building methods include guest blogging, which can be a blog by you on another site or another business guest blogging on your site. Aim for one of each month.
Another method is to reach out to relevant businesses that relate to your own and tell them about your content. “When you create a brilliant infographic or tutorial video, reach out to businesses in your sector and ask them to include links to your content in their blogs and social media if they feel it is relevant,” says Evie Lee a business analyst at State Of Writing and Dissertation Help.
An important thing to note about SEO is that the results aren’t instant but that when they come they are long term. Unlike paid advertising, SEO gives longevity to content.