Introduction To SEO
Small businesses have always faced threats from advertising and brand recognition. It is a battle whose roots go long back. Small family-run businesses battling for recognition and visibility in this Goliath world. But now as we know, there is a new front that has opened up many opportunities for them.
Yes, you guessed it right – THE INTERNET.
Nowadays, basically, every entrepreneur has access to small business SEO, also known as Search Engine Optimization is often overlooked but if used consistently and correctly, it has lasting benefits and boosts your business to a point you would have not imagined while starting up. Yes, it takes up to 12 months to see promising results, but it is always worth the wait.
Small Business SEO lets anyone compete for the most demanded place on Google’s first page. It is now used for purposes that are beyond content marketing. Businesses are constantly incorporating e-commerce SEO into the battle.
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SEO can be anything. Be it market research, keyword research, building a website that is perfectly optimized, copywriting, content marketing, conversion rate optimization and analytics, etc.
SEO is much more complex and layered in many ways. There are numerous methods that influence SEO rates. A consultant is often helpful in making you identify which type of SEO is beneficial for your business that is suitable to your domain, target audience, geography, the industry you’re in, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
What Exactly SEO Means For Small Business
It is important to first understand what SEO is. Many small business owners think that SEO is something that only insiders can opt for. While it may be a fact, but knowing the basics is a point where they are lacking.
- Search engineer always builds their ranking around user behavior. So, at the end of the day, you are only optimizing for the folks who are just like you.
- SEO is a blend of efforts and tactics that helps search engines to discover your websites and organize their content, and then present it to the users who are searching for it accordingly.
We will now look at each component closely.
Consumers are trying to find the products, services, and businesses that are relevant and nearest to them through a search engine. We locally use the term ‘Search’ for that. They often enter a term or a phrase or a question related to what they are looking for into the search engine (for example- Google). We call that particular term a keyword. Google shows them useful results that are most appropriate for that particular user at that time. Most of the time, Google shows only local results whenever it is applicable and more often than not, it takes up the entire first page. That is why we say that local SEO services are always worth it.
Search engines like Google use complex algorithms or formulas to catalog and prioritize different pages. We call it analytics. Google’s analytics are always based on what the user’s interests are and it is personalized. So, Google actually returns the results using the index when a person does a search on the internet.
SEO is all about carrying the essence of your webpage to the concerned location and terms in the computer’s language, known as meta tags.
If you want to attract potential prospects and customers, it is important that your page lands on the first page of Google and that too, in the first few results. So, naturally, it would require that you improve your website’s ranking. And, for that, you will need to opt for optimization.
Here, small business SEO comes into play.it always returns strong and sustainable results when it is done in the right direction. It is difficult to complete all the optimizations correctly if you are a small business with a solopreneur. In that case, it is even harder to discover where to begin with, or what tactics to adopt. So, we will now talk about SEO marketing services.
Advantages Of SEO For Small Business
You must be asking yourself that why to engage in a complex situation like SEO over other digital marketing tactics including social media, email, or advertisements.
Well, if SEO is combined with content marketing, for example, blogs, the Return on Investment (ROI) is higher than the other digital marketing options. Research shows that companies with blogs have 68% more leads compared to the ones without.
To obtain results with SEO, you need to be patient as it takes months down the road. But, the good news is that when it happens, you will be able to produce a healthy and stable revenue. SEO is a practice of inbound marketing that entices customers already searching for you. While paid ads have good click rates and visibility, it requires a higher amount of revenue as it charges you for every click and it is not cost-effective. It also needs constant overlooking to perform well.
With SEO, you will never have to do so much as to pick up the phone for cold calls. Customers who want services find us on their own if you are using SEO tactics.
Now you must be thinking that how do services for small business SEO work for other companies exactly. For that, you need to know your goals for SEO and your business.
Replace expensive paid ads
While paid ads may seem like a good option to begin with, it is not the ideal choice. For example- with Google ads, there are costs that come with each click, starting from $20. So, if there are 25 people who click on your ads on a particular day but for some reason, they left quickly; you have already lost $250 without any real leads. Now, with SEO you can avoid those costs and also get a steady increase in your website traffic.
Increase the number of new leads
There are companies that choose to run paid ads and look for marketing channels to drive leads simultaneously.
Boost website visits coming from search engines
There is always a need for new sales and leads. But, sometimes merely raising brand awareness can help your business a lot as it drives the traffic to the website and increases its rating on the Google page.
Important Steps That Will Help You Improve Your SEO Ranking
There are some key points that search engines like Google take into account while ranking a website.
- Your location. Are you located near the person who is searching?
- Is your website up to scratch?
- Do you have a good online reputation?
- Your relevance. Would the product you are offering be relevant to what the person is searching for?
Here are some steps you can follow to make your website or business up to these key points and improve your rating in the search engine.
1. Make a good website
Your site is probably not the best of all the websites. Your website needs a good structure, speed, and security as it is very important for all types of SEO and user experience. You can start with WordPress if you do not have a website yet. The SEO plugins work best with WordPress.
2. Low-budget branding
Branding means your logo and tagline. It is very important for SEO. they represent your company without any explanation. Now you might think that this is something only big businesses and brands. No, branding is equally important to small businesses. You can work on your branding without spending a fortune on them. Low-budget branding is a thing through which you can share your expertise. More about this later in the blog!
3. Let Google know your location
As we have said that google shows local businesses according to the person who is searching for them. So, it is essential that you let Google know your location so that more people near you can discover you and your small business.
4. Make a contact page
Always add your contact information so that your potential customers know where to find you. When customers know that where they can reach you, it helps in building trust. You can add your contact details in your website footer and the contact page.
5. Local business structured data
Among all the factors that affect your small business SEO, there is one that is very obvious and most important- your NAP. it stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. These small details should be correct on your webpage all the time.
To present these details to search engines in the best way is by using local business structured data that is added to your site. Remember to add these by correct formatting. You can use Schema.org for the details. You can also use some local SEO plugins if that’s too technical for you.
6. Google My Business (GMB)
Google My Business is a free profile that is set up and can help you to promote your business on google search results and in Google Maps. Using this can also help you to improve the rank of your business in your geographical area. It comes with many options through which you can improve your listings and helps you to connect with your customers, lets you know the way they are engaging with your brand, and use your services so you can personalize accordingly. You can add your business hours and contact details too. Note that you add the same details on your website and GMB profile.
Make sure to add your website link to your GMB account so it can understand the relationship between them.
7. Rich results with Structured Data
You obviously want your business to stand out in the search results. In this case, you should try getting rich results. This adds extra information along with some images in your search results. Structured Data can be pretty handy in this case.
8. Write content about what you offer
Google is nothing less than a match-maker. It matches its users with the websites that they are looking for. So, it is important that you provide it with enough content about what your business does. It is a good idea to write it out!
But before writing, you should explore your field and discover the keyboards you want to target to make the strategic content that is required.
9. Find your niche and your long-tail keywords
Finding your Niche is very essential when you are a local or a small business. With the help of this, you can tell your customers about what makes your business unique and improve your chances to increase your rank among other brands and businesses. Determining your niche makes your small business competitive in the market. You can even compete with big brands if you have a strong and convincing niche and voice!
You have to find out what people think of your brand and discover what term they associate with your brand when they think of your brand because they will most likely be using this term when they search for your brand online. This way you can optimize your small business by using SEO by turning them into long-tail keywords. These keywords should be as detailed as possible. After doing all this, you should remember to regularly assess your niche as it grows and evolves along with your brand.
10. Start making great content
Content works as a very good marketing tool, believe it or not! Your small business can get a significant boost if you produce great content with the right stories to tell. Many businesses just put their address and contact details on their website and leave it at that. That just won’t interest customers and attract them to visit your page now, will it?
Write about your business, business goals, your products, and so on. There are so many stories to tell. People love to dive deep into the how and why of everything. So write about how you got your business from zero to here, market developments, and so on.
Treat it as your local SEO strategy that relates to the content. But, keep in mind that this cannot shoot up your website up to the sky. Keep your expectations in check.
Though, you need to notice your keywords and optimization because otherwise, the content is no good. You can add this content to your site as a page or a blog- doesn’t matter. You just have to talk about what people would love to listen to and talk about, something that benefits them and provides value to them.
There should be a few good reasons for you to reach out to people once you are done setting up your business. People should have a reason to talk about you and your business.
You can do this by conveying to people that whenever they visit your website from their own pages, they signal and mark your website to search engines that your website is safe and well-known. This can improve your website ranking in the search engine. Secondly, opt for a great social media strategy. And lastly, add the options for adding ratings and reviews as they help in building trust and encourage customers to buy from you.
It is important that social proofs, i.e, your reviews and ratings that are backed up by external links from other websites are a part of your local SEO. Getting mentions and citations from other websites can be hard but you should work accordingly because it has the capability to make your business have better findability on Google’s search page. If you get some links that are from other local websites, it is very helpful, for example- if there is another website that is very similar to your brand niche and is in another geographical area, you try getting a listing there and add a link to your website too.
These links should be related to your profession. It is no use that you get your products listed on a dancer’s website if you are an accountant.
13, Social media
You should use social media to create brand awareness and redirect the right traffic to your website. While many people use their social media presence as a small business, we recommend you to use it for recognition in this case. Social media has a great power to help your small business SEO.
14. Ratings and reviews
Like Facebook, Google My Business helps the customers to leave a rating along with the review of your company. A good rating means good click rates and good click rates mean happy small business SEO. but, you have to make sure that you maintain and monitor those reviews.
If a customer leaves a bad review, don’t ignore or delete it. Respond to that review and try to solve that customer’s grievance. Once you are done with this, ask them to change that bad rating to a good one. This way you can make the dissatisfied customer into a brand ambassador.
15. Keep your online information up to date
Once you are done with everything and all set, do not forget about your website. Make sure that you update it with the required information and update it regularly with the right contact details whenever it changes. You should keep checking your site to make sure that everything is running smoothly and it hasn’t been hacked. Even if you do not need your website anymore, do not leave it hanging in the corner. You should still be updating it regularly as there can be people who might be Googling you. They should be able to access your contact details and address in case they want to contact you.
Why Should You Consider Hiring An SEO Agency
– SEO is complex
We know that we have simplified SEO for you in the steps above, but it does not make it any less complex. Even if it is named as SMALL business SEO, it does mean that it is not as complex as those bid business SEO. yes, you might be able to do the basics, but there any many more complex tactics that only professionals can do, and even if you try doing them, you might not be able to move a needle and end up wasting your time and energy.
– SEO requires ongoing work
SEO is constant work in progress, it is not a one-time marketing thing. There might be elements that require very little or no maintenance but there are many other aspects that require constant work and optimizations like publishing fresh content regularly, maintaining web pages and updating them for accuracy, adding new links to the old web pages, promoting content, etc.
So, it can be helpful if you hire an SEO service provider as you can focus on your customers this way.
– SEO is a moving target
As we already discussed above, google uses complex analytics and algorithms to rank different websites accordingly. If you use an SEO service provider, they can stay above the algorithms and adjust the small business SEO settings and optimizations accordingly. Google is always evolving its analytics practices and algorithms so an SEO company provider would know all of those ranking factors.
– Knowledge and tools
It is a great option if you use free SEO tools to determine keywords while creating content and doing other SEO work. Using subscriptions and premium SEO tools can also be helpful. but it requires more than just those tools to get the best out of it. A professional would know everything and have enough knowledge to make out the most of every SEO tool and use it accordingly to the aesthetic of your business and make you competent in the market.
How Will A SEO Agency Help You In Improving Your SEO Ranking
Till now, you know the basics of what is involved in small business SEO. But you must be wondering what would professionals do if you hire an SEO services company. So, let’s take a deep dive into their tactics and optimization techniques.
The on-page SEO efforts are read by the search engines and seen by the public. These includes:
- Content- making sure that the content is relevant to the keywords that are to be ranked.
- Experience- they will rate a particular page’s engagement rates and user experience using website analytics.
- Structure- they will make sure that your website is chronologically correct and easily accessible by the search engines.
- Meta Data- making sure every page is complete. Including title tags, headers, image tags, meta tags.
A good company that offers SEO service will focus on the off-page SEO as much as the front end. They will be helping you with:
- Site performance
- Domain Authority
Pro Tips For Picking The Best Small Business SEO Agency
Looking for the best SEO agency for your company can be overwhelming when you once start to consider your options. Every company claims itself to be the best among others. So, we will help you with the same. Let us look at some key points that can help you find the right SEO service provider for you.
Look beyond the #1 ranked agency
Everyone is lured by a number one agency whenever they come across one. Yes, they may have worked their way up to the top but that does not mean the rest are not worth it. There may be so many small companies out there who must be awesome at what they do and genuinely care about their customers.
Let reviews & testimonials do the talking
Companies without any reviews or testimonials to back up their SEO expertise are to be avoided at all costs. The companies that have a satisfying amount of testimonials, reviews, or ratings are the ones that you should be choosing.
While testimonials focus on the experience of a user, case studies help you to discover the details behind their success. They cut right to the chase and tell you if that particular company deliver their promise or not. You can uncork their strengths and weaknesses.
See if they specialize in anything
It is always attractive when you come across a company that does it all. It is an unrealistic expectation when you think that they are experts at everything because that is something very few can deliver. So, you should always look out if they have any particular domain of specialization that is suitable to your niche.
Look for an educational provider
A good SEO service provider will always do the essential work for you. While this is more or less the only thing they are supposed to do, a great SEO service provider will take you along on this journey and teach you. This will make you aware of what they are doing and it is in the safe hands. Moreover, you can also carry out SEO practices to make informed decisions in the future.
Well, budget is an important aspect when you look for SEO service providers. It will help you determine which companies to cut out and which ones to keep. This will help you to be comfortable with the plans any company has to offer and openly explore all the payment options offered by them.
Get personal with a consultation
Personal consultation gives the best insight into an SEO agency. This gives you the true feel and experience of what they do in their company.
Some SEO Statistics And Analysis
Yes, all small business owners wanna see their website getting more hits and soaring high, but it is essential that they understand how SEO works. We will look at some statistics that will give you a wider viewpoint of why SEO has become so influential in today’s marketing world.
1. 45% of small businesses don’t have a website
Even with everything being digitalized, there are 45% of the businesses who do not own a website. They rely solely on the word of mouth. So, if 45% of your competitors rely on the work of mouth then it means that you have a better chance of visibility as compared to them. They are missing out on an awful lot here and you are up for gains.
2. 53% of shoppers always do research before they buy to make the best choice
Every customer does proper research online before buying anything nowadays. Everything that they might want to know or research about a business is just a click away with search engines like Google. So, it is important that you have good online visibility so you do not miss out on any potential customers.
An optimized website is a must as per these statistics. Even if your products are selling through third-party websites like Amazon or Flipkart, there are good chances that people will want to dig deeper and hunt for more information on your company website. (I was one of those people once XD)
4. The 1st result in Google’s organic search results has an average click-through-rate of 31.7%
As these statistics tell you, almost one-third of the people click on the first result that appears in the Google search engine. Anything after that faces a steep decline in those rates. Second-page links have an average click rate of 0.78%. We don’t even want to talk about the third page.
Some SEO Tools For Small Businesses
After reading the blog, there might be some of you confident enough to give small business SEO a go on yourself, and we really appreciate it! So, here we will be listing some helpful tools through which you can create an awesome online presence for your business using SEO.
- Screaming Frog
- Google Search Console
- Answer the Public
The world of marketing is growing every day and you need to keep up with the ongoing trends otherwise, your business will be lost among the innumerous small businesses already out there. So, in this case, SEO is more important than ever. We may have listed the best available options for you, but it is important that you analyze and explore for yourself that what is best for you and what your business needs. It will improve your ranking and visibility significantly. If you are confident enough that you can do it on yourself, then pat yourself on the back and go ahead, because you have got nothing to lose here- only gains. But if you are not sure if you can carry out the best SEO practices, then you may need a professional to do it for you. But, at the end of the day- it will help you and your business rise up from the ashes!