A breakdown of what’s really needed when it comes to Small Business SEO
You’ve finally started a small business to do what you love.
You offer top-quality products and services.
You’ve already invested in on-brand ads and print materials.
However, in a fierce small business ecosystem, staying competitive is challenging. To put yourself in front of the right audiences, you need to build a solid online presence. And, building and optimizing a website is a great starting point.
No matter if you’re planning to do SEO on your own, hire an in-house SEO specialist, or outsource your tactics to an agency, you first need to understand some basic SEO terms and practices.
So, let’s dive in!
Focus on User Intent
Everyone is saying that content is king. However, creating content for the sake of SEO is not enough. You need to focus on what your customers want from you. The idea is to understand the search intent behind every keyword.
For example, if someone googles “adidas shoes,” this means that they probably want to buy them, right? In this case, you could target the keywords like “buy adidas shoes” or “adidas shoes online.” But, if you go to Answer The Public and enter this keyword, you will see that your audiences are actually searching for stuff like “what adidas shoes are popular,” “why buy adidas shoes,” “which adidas shoes are made from ocean plastic” etc. In other words, they want to inform themselves about the brand and not to make a purchase immediately.
That’s the idea behind optimizing for any keyword on your website. You first need to understand the intent behind each keyword, be it commercial or navigational, and then link it with the right page on your website. Remember that Google doesn’t care about your intent, which is, in this case, to sell a product. It focuses on providing users with relevant content and, therefore, it will show your page high only if it’s valuable to its searchers.
Build Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are one of Google’s most significant ranking factors. Those are links you obtain from other authoritative sites in your niche. Now, in the past, link building was easier. Ten years ago, your goal is to build a bunch of links to your website. The focus was on quantity, not quality.
Today, link building has changed. Google assesses the quality of the site that is pointing to you. It also observes your anchor text, as well as the relevance of your landing page to your keyword. Just like I’ve mentioned above, Google cares about its customers and their experiences.
When building links, you first need to focus on finding sites in the same niche. For example, if you’re in the law industry, your law firm SEO strategy will include identifying the blogs in the same niche and connecting with them. Earning links from fashion, food, or travel blogs, for instance, would only mean that you’re targeting the wrong audience. If you’re publishing guest content, make sure it’s quality, informative, and relevant, as well as that your links and anchors are always inserted organically. Not only will you boost your backlink profile, but also drive more qualified traffic and leads to your site, as well as maximize your industry reputation.
Apart from guest blogging, some other tactics that may work for you are:
- Analyzing competitors’ backlinks. If your competitors are building links on authoritative sites, you can copy their strategy and build relationships with these sites, too.
- Broken link building – finding faulty links on credible blogs and offering your content as an alternative. There are many broken link checkers that will help you.
- Link reclamation – if a blogger uses your content piece or image without linking to you, reach out to them and ask to provide a link to your site.
- Contributing to HARO (Help A Reporter Out) – this is a popular platform where journalists ask questions about a wide range of topics. Your goal is to provide them with accurate and detailed answers. If they use your answers, they will link back to your website, boosting your brand credibility.
Optimize your Site for Local Searchers
If you run a local business, you should invest in local SEO to target the right customer groups.
Start with your keyword research. Just like I’ve mentioned above, keyword intent is crucial. In this case, you want to get noticed in relevant local searches. That’s why you need to add your location to your keywords. For example, if you run a local bookstore in Austin, it’s logical that “bookstore Austin” will drive more relevant traffic to your site than just “bookstore.” You should also pay attention to the conversational keywords that are immensely popular among mobile and voice searchers. For example, instead of entering their location, they usually search for more organic phrases like “bookstores near me” or “bookstores open right now.”
You should also mind where you build links. Instead of some global, popular blogs and sites, focus on local ones. Register on all relevant business directories, such as Yelp, BBB, or Angie’s List. Finally, claim and optimize your Google My Business Listing. No matter which platforms you register on, always make sure your business data, such as your name or NAP information, are regularly updated and consistent.
Over to You
SEO may seem overwhelming to many small business owners, but it’s not that complicated. When writing this brief guide, I wanted to focus on those aspects of SEO that will be easier for beginners to understand and that may serve as your solid starting point.
Sure, there are some additional factors to consider, such as technical SEO that is incredibly complex. Therefore, if you don’t have enough technical knowledge, you will probably want to outsource your website design and technical SEO to professionals that will help you achieve the desired results.