How to Grow Your Small Business through SEO
Here's an interesting question for you:
If you're a small business who is just starting out in a niche with big competitors, and let's say you're on a tight marketing budget, how can you grow your business to the level you want? Well, it turns out you can incorporate search engine optimization (SEO) into your overall marketing strategy to improve your bottom line.
But here's what's even better:
It's possible to grow your small business entirely through SEO, and it will do just as well as businesses pouring huge $um$ into paid marketing techniques. As a matter of fact, it's been reported that search engines are the #1 source of traffic for content websites, beating social media by more than 300%. That's big!
Doing SEO helps you improve your rankings in the search engines. Once your business website ranks in search engine results pages (SERPs), your products and services will automatically be pushed to the front of your potential customers. Plus, you'll keep raking in the SEO benefits for a long while without necessarily putting in more efforts.
But here's the rub:
As a small business owner, implementing SEO as a marketing strategy to grow your business can become complicated, especially when you are on a tight budget and you have big-name competitors already sitting on top of your targeted SERPs and keywords. But you're in good company today because in this post, we'll be laying out some SEO strategies and tools you can use to help you increase the online presence of your small business to the point where you can compete favorably with rivals. These strategies work for all businesses regardless of size and budget though.
FIRST THINGS FIRST…
Point out the problem your business solves for customers
Before you delve into SEO, you should be able to know the exact problem your small business solves for your customers. Your business doesn't solve every problem and neither does it provide all forms of services.
When you position your product or service to meet a specific need, you’ll be able to know who your target customers are, and the words or phrases they commonly use in search, which best describes your product. This will help you focus your SEO efforts on reaching them.
Now that we've cleared the air on that front, let's now see the SEO techniques you can use to grow your small business.
CONDUCT A TECHNICAL SEO AUDIT
Before implementing any SEO technique, you should fix your business foundation — your website.
Why? Because if there are any technical issues on your site that have yet to be fixed, your efforts to grow your business using SEO will go down the drain. So you have to take care of that first by performing a thorough SEO audit.
What is an SEO audit anyway?
An SEO audit is a thorough examination of the performance of your website on the search engines. An audit gives you the opportunity to monitor your site's SEO performance, assess its mobile friendliness, and ascertain users ease to navigate through your website. It also helps you spot out the technical issues that need to be fixed or improved on.
Here are some areas you can focus on when performing your site audit:
1. Website performance
The focus here should be on:
Can users navigate your website with ease? Starting from your home page, to product page, to blog posts, and other content pages, your site needs to be easy enough for any user to navigate. The goal is to make sure users can easily access the information they are looking for on your site. Also, your site's pages shouldn't be too cluttered.
When it comes to your website’s overall speed, does your site pages load quickly or does it take forever to load? Users get discouraged to continue on a website that takes 3 seconds to load, according to Google research.
Slow site speed can be caused by the following:
Large image size
Poor server performance coming from a cheap web hosting
Code density and so on.
All these make your website to respond slowly.
To find out about your website page size, use our Website Page Size Checker. It'll help you know the page size of any specific URL.
To know your site's loading speed, you can use our “Page Speed Test” tool. Head over to the SmallSEOTools home page and select "Page Speed Test” under Website Management Tools. Next, type in your site's URL and then click on the” Check” button to run the speed test.
It'll show you your site's overall loading time as well as the pages on your site that have the largest object and slowest speed.
Based on the results, you can then take the relevant action to speed up your site. For example, you can compress images and upgrade to a better hosting plan.
And now, to your site's mobile-friendliness.
Half of the web traffic gotten through Google search comes from mobile users.
In fact, here's what a research by Statista found:
“In 2018, 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones, up from 50.3 percent in the previous year. Mobile currently accounts for half of all global web pages served. As of February 2017, mobile accounts for 65.1 percent of all web traffic in Asia and for 59.5 percent of all web traffic in Africa. Due to the strong growth of the smartphone market in recent years, this is no surprise…” (Source: Statista)
Mobile users are increasing daily and it's been confirmed that the responsiveness of a site to mobile devices is one of the strongest factors that determine whether or not a mobile user stays on your site. Moreover, mobile responsiveness is now one of Google’s ranking factors. So, it becomes important that your website is mobile-friendly to give users the best experience.
We also have a tool here at SmallSEOTools called "Mobile Friendly Test " tool. It helps you know how responsive your site is on mobile devices. It typically shows you a screenshot of how your site looks on mobile devices, which is great for ensuring that your small business website does not only work on desktops but also on mobile.
2. SEO assessment
Assessing your website to know where it stands in terms of its “SEO power” is vitally important for knowing how well-optimized the site is. So we recommend that in running a technical SEO audit, you assess your site's SEO score. You can do this using our incredibly handy SEO score checker tool.
3. Technical assessment
Conduct a site evaluation to make sure your site is designed with users in mind. Check for broken links (404 error pages) which leads customers to nowhere. Consider using the Google webmaster tool to detect the broken links or use our tool, Broken Link Checker.
CREATE GREAT CONTENT
A popular phrase amongst content marketers says "Content is King."
That's pretty much it, but we would like to tweak that phrase a bit by saying that “Quality content is King.”
In other words, not every type of content will drive traffic to your small business website. Low-quality content won't. If you're serious about driving traffic and sales for your small business, then continuously dishing out high-quality content that resonates with your audience is key.
A lot of small businesses only have their products and contacts listed on their websites, but that type of strategy carries no SEO weight for any business that wants to grow.
You need great regular content to connect with your target audience and tell them more about your business offering. Create content around what your target audience is looking for, which relates to your business. Try as much as possible to be truly helpful versus being salesy in your content delivery.
Here is an example of a business that's doing great with content creation and has also used SEO to grow their business.
The Content Factory is a digital marketing agency owned by Kari DePhillips and was established in 2010. They create consistent helpful content that resonates with their target audience and infuses their product offerings into the content. With their blog content, they now generate 50,000 hits each day from organic traffic alone. According to Kari, each of their clients came through web traffic. And they now rank #1 for some strategic keywords in their niche.
You can also do the same for your business by creating well-written and super-helpful content on your website.
Here's what to do:
Carry out keyword research to know the phrases or search term your target customers use on the search engine. We have a bunch of tools for keyword research.
Start building blog topics around the keywords, with high-quality content to attract your customers.
You can even take it further by checking out the keywords your competitors are ranking for and create the same content. But only better than theirs. SEMRush can help you do that. Simply type your competitor’s domain on the search box and click on "Organic Search." You'll be shown the keywords, then you can compare four competitors ranking for the keywords to see if there's an overlap. From there, create better and more updated content.
With good SEO and great content, you can climb up the search engine results pages and drive highly qualified traffic to your small business website.
DEVELOP A CONVERSION STRATEGY
To be able to get the most out of all the search traffic that'll be pouring into your website, one thing you must make a prime feature of your site is a Conversion Strategy.
What is a conversation strategy?
In simple terms, a conversation strategy is the plans you’ve laid down to turn your target audience into actual customers. So, how do you deal with web visitors when they land on your site and are engaged with your blog? Do you put out a call-to-action (CTA) on your content and landing pages?
Developing a worthy conversion technique helps you grow your business off of the traffic that comes from search.
The most effective conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy for blogs? Email opt-in.
Don't just let visitors come to your website and go back without you collecting their email addresses. When you have readers email addresses, you can easily reach out to them with your newsletters, new post notifications, promos, new services or products, etc.
But here's the catch:
For people to give you their email address, you'll need to entice them.
The best way to do that? Offer incentives!
It can be helpful information packaged in an ebook or ecourse, a free trial, or just about any valuable freebie.
Additionally, incentives can help to accelerate the buying process. For instance, if you offer something like discounts on products or free shipping, potential buyers are more likely to opt-in. In all, develop a strong conversion technique that can haul your potential buyers into starting a business relationship with you or even one that can draw them into starting out on the buying process.
APPLY ON-PAGE SEO
On-page SEO is the SEO techniques you apply on the individual pages *within* your website to attract web traffic and rank higher in search engines. And how do you go about it?
1. Title tag
A title tag is the title of a page that tells your site visitors what the page is all about. In search engine result, it's the big blue clickable link and it determines whether a user will click on your web page or not. Make your title tag unique and clickable, not forgetting to add your keywords. The title tag has been confirmed to be the best place to add your keyword if you want to rank higher. Make sure it's near the beginning of your title tag. And keep the title tag below 65 characters.
2. Page content
This is the body of the page. Ensure you craft high quality and targeted content with your keywords. Here, don't overuse your keyword to avoid Google from flagging it as spam. For the first 100 words you write, be sure to mention your keywords to help Google understand your content better. Create long-form content as they often outrank short-form content.
3. Heading tags
These are used to create headings on the body of content. They are in a hierarchical order, from h1 to h6. It helps you to structure your content for easy read and navigation by users. Your keywords should also appear on the headings for SEO purposes.
4. URL structure
Your URL should be short and SEO-friendly. Google weighs a 3-5 words URL than a lengthy URL. Include your target keywords on it, too.
5. Meta description
Meta description simply is a summary of the content on your page. It appears below your title tag in search engine result pages. Make sure your content has an appealing meta description, else Google will display any random sentence from your content which may not really give a better description of the content. And make it below 155 characters, with a call- to- action.
The images you use for a page isn't seen by search engine crawlers, except text and numbers. To help them understand what an image is all about, make use of the alt tag to describe the image.
PERFORM OFF-PAGE SEO
Beyond on-page SEO, you'd also want to perform some off-page SEO techniques.
"Off-page SEO" as the name implies refers to actions taken *outside* of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages. These include link building, social media signals, guest blogging, and the like.
An effective off-page SEO combined with on-page SEO activities only ensures that your small business website ranks better in the SERPs.
CREATE A GOOGLE MY BUSINESS PROFILE
Google My Business is a free powerful tool created by Google to help businesses get easily found on Google search or maps.
The beauty of this free Google tool is that you can use it to target local searches if your business does target a local clientele. Customers who search for businesses based on geographical location can find your business fast. This tool displays important information about a business to customers on Google. This information includes:
Type of business
Link to your website
Hours of operation
If your business doesn't have a Google Business profile, you are hindering its growth. To create a Google Business profile, you can head over to the Google My Business website and select "Start now" to begin registering your business.
Side tip: The name, address, and phone number *on your Google My Business profile* should be the same as those *on your website* as Google uses that as a local ranking signal, too. Be sure to make use of the newly added feature, description listing, which has a provision for 750 characters, to describe your product, value, and uniqueness to your customers as well.
Incorporating SEO strategies into your marketing efforts for your website will help you grow your business. SEO will keep revolving. This means you should keep abreast with the latest techniques and technologies within the space.