Getting SEO Right the First Time for Small Businesses
SEO is one thing you shouldn’t overlook, especially as a small business owner. It may seem like a backburner item, or something you shouldn’t prioritize, but that’s the wrong way to look at it. SEO, or search engine optimization, is how you get your website ranked higher on Google and how you get more customers naturally. It’s free digital foot traffic that is essential for your business. So how do you get your small business SEO started? We have a helpful guide for you.
Small Business SEO Strategies for Beginners
Google isn’t magic — it has an algorithm that scans websites for relevant data and uses that data to rank websites. It’s how a site for dog food doesn’t appear when you search for running shoes, and it’s why your business may be on the third page instead of the first page of Google.
SEO is the lifeblood of search engines and optimizes how your website performs on search engines. In other words, it makes it easier for them to rank you higher in relevant places. If done correctly, you could bring in thousands of new web visitors and potential customers every single day if you can harness the power of SEO.
Every small business can do this — it’s not an elite skill that takes years to learn. Experienced agencies can indeed push you further, but you can get started on your own. Here’s how.
Keywords and Keyword Research
First off, a keyword is simply a specific word or phrase that someone types into a search engine. These keywords are how your website gets ranked on Google — it’s how Google figures out what your business is all about.
To find the right keywords for you, you’ll need to do something called keyword research. There are tools, such as Ahrefs, that help you find relevant keywords and how much they’re searched for each month. Ahrefs also ranks them by difficulty so you know just how hard it would be to get on Google’s first page using that keyword.
A general rule of thumb is that lower difficult keywords with high search volumes are good starting points, especially for startups. However, don’t shy away from harder terms — those are a gold mine of customers if you can break through and rank on the first page.
Make a list of relevant keywords and select two different keywords for your homepage, pick two different (and relevant) keywords for your service/product page, and two for a third page of your choosing — we recommend the About page, if you have one.
If you use WordPress, we recommend installing the Yoast plugin or All-in-One SEO to help with the next step.
Apply them to the following on each page:
- Page title
- Meta description
- First heading
- In one of more of your interior headings
- 3 times in the text of the page (make it natural sounding)
- Alt text in all of the images on the pages
Unfortunately though, SEO using keywords alone is a very slow process. You likely won’t see your business pop up when you search those keywords for a few weeks or a few months. You can use Ahref’s site explorer tool to track your progress too.
Google is very fickle. It likes active websites and it likes websites that target more than one keyword. How do you get around all of that? Blogs!
Blogs are the perfect natural way to grow your SEO using keywords. Each blog will have one main keyword attached to it — one that is different from what you used on your website, but is still relevant to your business. Overtime, these blogs will gain traction and help your website’s SEO.
There’s a catch though. These blogs need to be good and they need to fit Google’s algorithm.
Google’s algorithm (as of 2021) deems “good” blogs as:
- 750+ words
- 1-3 photos per blog
- Keyword in the blog in the following places:
- First heading
- 3+ times in the content
- 2+ internal links (to your website)
- 2+ external links (to other websites)
To write a good blog post, you need a few things: know your audience, know your keywords, and hook your readers quickly. If you need a resource, check out this guide.
We wanted to preface this section by saying link building isn’t for everyone — it takes some time and you do need a budget behind your SEO. However, it’s extremely important if you want to see faster results. It’s also a numbers game — the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. It’s also a quality game; the better the backlink, the better your SEO.
So, what is link building? It’s the process of getting backlinks — links pointed back to your website — which helps increase your Google rank and SEO. Think of them as a third-party way to enter your website. For example, all of the links in this blog so far have been backlinks to other websites!
Link building also is rarely free. You will have to create a monthly budget to buy space on a third party website. You usually write the content, embed the link, and then the website owner will send you an invoice. You can hire an agency to do this if you want, or you can invest a couple of hours a month and about $250-$500 a month to get it done yourself. Remember though, it’s a numbers game. The more you invest, the more you’ll get out of it.
Get Listed in the Right (Free) Places
When you’re a small business, not every online domain will be the right place for your website to live. You could thrive on Yelp, but Facebook might fall flat, for example. If you don’t want to invest months of time to figure out which platform is best for your business, sign up for Business Warrior.
This free marketing tool will tell you exactly what platform you should be investing your time and effort into and which ones you can put in the back of your mind. For example, Business Warrior will tell you which review platform your business should prioritize. It also helps you manage all of your reviews and respond to recent reviews in an easy-to-manage layout.
Beyond that, Business Warrior will make sure your business can be found on popular websites and directories, as well as ensure those directory listings are accurate. It does this in minutes, so you know exactly where you should be listed and exactly what needs to be fixed.
Give Business Warrior’s free tool a try and see what it can do to boost your small business’s SEO. Sign
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