In today’s market, the ultimate goal of any business is to be noticed. Because of the wide range of service and product providers, it seems that there is little you can do to compete with your small business rivals, but that is not the truth. Indeed, small business SEO could be what makes the difference to your company’s growth.
We’ve written a lot about SEO here at Comms Axis…well, we should really, seeing as we apply SEO best practice to all of our content services and it’s a standard part of our website building process, so it would be a bit weird if we didn’t!! This latest guest post provides SEO advice specifically for small businesses – thanks to Chloe Smith for this one!
SEO helps businesses boost themselves online by enhancing their SERPs (Search Engine Results Page), and thus attract a broader audience. By optimizing your website, it is more likely that your business will rank above your competitors, and even be among the first results on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.. More clicks mean more traffic which means more business for your business.
Guide to Small Business SEO
Follow the below tips to make sure your website is optimized to rank higher on search engines and be found more easily by your target audience.
Define your audience
In order to attract your customers, you have to know the following:
- Product/service – What are you offering?
- Customers – Who is your audience? Are they near your business?
- Competitors – What can you offer that is different from your competitors? What is the benefit of choosing you?
When you have all this down – choose your keywords, more preferably long-tail keywords. Using them will insure that they are as close as to what your potential customer will type in their search engine, like Google or Bing.
As you are a small business manager, it is highly recommended to use these more specific keywords. They will condition the traffic towards your site, but this will be done on your terms, depending on the nature of your business. The typical example of conditioning a small business locally is if most of your customers live or work near you.
Do not forget to keep track of the changes in your business and audience, and to adapt accordingly. This is key for small business SEO.
Brand your business
Branding is very important for SEO and it is not exclusive for the use of billion-dollar companies. By creating a name, a slogan and a logo, you create an image of your business. Can your audience get the sense of your business from them?
You don’t need a lot of money for creating a brand – rather, you need patience and creativity. Find out what your customers associate with your name and with your business. This might give you fresh ideas.
You can promote your own brand through quality content and by sharing posts on social media, and you can read more about them later on in this post.
Create more content
Many websites offer little information on its business, apart from contacts and offers. By creating more quality content, you can give more info on your business: what you hope to achieve or why did you start your business, for example. The best asset of a small business is that it is more personal in the way it operates. Use that to your advantage.
By writing quality content, you can attract new customers. This can be done by explaining the benefits of your products. Make sure your content is interesting and positive about your business, but not in a ‘salesy’ way – speak your customer’s language and address their issues and pain points. Be eye-catching and original – that is always the best policy.
From the technical side, you can also use the content to promote your keywords, and in that way invite more clickthroughs, views, leads and, ultimately, customers.
Use social media to promote
Apart from optimizing your website, you should also use social media to enhance brand awareness and drive traffic to your site. You can use it not only to sell products, but also to promote your brand by making your audience aware of your business. Another thing to do is to share your content or create social events which might also raise interest in what you have to offer.
Using social media to popularize one’s small business is a cheaper alternative to using standard advertisement. Just like marketing in general, it requires following latest trends, but it also requires a small business manager to be almost constantly online or at least highly responsive to customer queries.
Allow constructive criticism
If you want to grow, you should listen to your customers. Aside from face-to-face surveys, you can also collect lots of freely available data, stats and information from the Internet.
Some social media platforms, such as Facebook, allow customers to rate and review your business online. These are great ways of demonstrating how good your business is without having to shout about it yourself.
In an increasingly competitive world, potential customers tend to visit the websites of businesses that have good reviews, so be sure to encourage your happy customers to provide their thoughts! Nonetheless, you can also use ratings and reviews as a medium for your customers to offer constructive criticism, so you can adapt and develop your business.
Apart from rating and reviewing, having backlinks from other sites can enhance the credibility of your business. You should put time aside to be present on various local business directories, so as to build your brand and broaden your reach and audience.
It is also useful to be linked by similar businesses. It might be hard to get such links but they are quite valuable to search engines. This is because Google’s algorithms and crawlers follow different links, so if another similar business links to you it gives your website, and consequently your business, then you get more SEO ‘juice’ and thus more credibility.
Of course this kind of linking is much more useful than linking to a non-related business, which goes without saying!
Small business SEO – be patient
You’ve done everything perfectly but the traffic to your site has not changed significantly? Give it some time. Search engines like Google need time to account for the changes you’ve made, but SEO strategies work in the long run, particularly small business SEO strategies.
Though you can apply most of the tips mentioned above on your own, with some practice and plenty of research, it can still be unwieldy so you may want to call in an SEO Agency for better results. After applying the strategies, be patient and your success is sure to come.
To conclude, applying SEO strategies is definitely useful for small businesses. It is important to know who your audience is and what do you offer differently from your competitors. Brand your business and promote it through your own content but also through social media.
Listen to your customers and modify your business. Endorse your brand further by the use of local directories and try to get links from similar businesses. Small business SEO (or SEO for any size of business) does not offer instant results but it gives you the possibility of upgrading your business for a longer period of time.
About the author, Chloe Smith
Chloe Smith is a cycling enthusiast, business consultant, and a part-time writer always willing to share tidbits of advice.
She believes that passion, courage and, above all, knowledge breed success.
Dan Purvis writes for a number of leading business, social media and marketing sites, including Smart Insights, MarketingProfs, Marketo, MarTech Advisor, Marketing Tech News, MarTech Today, MarTech Exec, and Business2Community. Dan's also ranked by Brand Republic as one of the Top 50 UK Marketing & Social Media influencers.
Dan is passionate about the philosophy behind Comms Axis: we bring content, marketing and sales together to connect businesses with their audiences.
We pride ourselves on delivering tangible business value and ROI alongside excellent customer service. We work with a broad range of clients and industries, from B2B to B2C, from technology to cosmetics, from start-ups / SoHos to pan-European and global brands.
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