Knowing how to build a successful SEO strategy is vital when you’re a small business. As a small fish in the big ocean of the internet, you can easily get over passed by the big business whales or schools of other small businesses. Your website’s success depends entirely on your steps to implement effective SEO strategies for your small business. Fortunately, there are many tools available to help even the newest of small businesses to optimize their sites. Although you’ll need to learn a few things, it’s much easier than you would think.
Hire an SEO Company if You Can Afford It
The most productive move towards building a successful SEO strategy is hiring an SEO professional. However, only take this step if your small business can afford the cost. The pricing of SEO can vary between companies since some charge by the hour while others charge by the project; and most charge a retainer. The website ahrefs.com did an in-depth “analysis of current SEO pricing in 2018”, and found an average hourly pricing of $100 – $150 an hour, an average per project pricing of $501 – $1000, and an average retainer fee of $501 – $1,000 a month.
If those prices didn’t scare you away, here’s what an Small Business SEO company could do for your business:
- Technical audit of your website to find your current ranking, any problems with your site, evaluate your current keyword optimization and metadata usage.
- Keyword research to ensure that your website is using the best keywords possible to boost your rank.
- On-page and off-page optimization. On-page optimization includes improving HTML source code, metadata, and the keywords of each page. Off-page optimization involves link-building to your website across the web to drive more traffic to you.
- Evaluation of your competition.
- Implementing social media marketing tactics to improve your brand and your website’s likability to improve your ranking.
Don’t worry if you can’t afford to hire an SEO company at this time. You can still build a successful SEO strategy yourself, even if you’re a beginner to search engine optimization.
Download Google Analytics for Free
With “Google Analytics” , you can give yourself a monthly report and overview, instead of receiving one from an SEO company. This program tracks the behavior and activity of the users that visit your small business website. With this information, you’ll find out what people do and don’t like about your site, and gain the information to better serve your client base.
Google Analytics can also track where your traffic is coming from, finds any 404 error pages on your site, and so much more. This program offers dozens of ways to analyze your website’s traffic and success. It’s free and definitely worth adding to your tools.
It’s a good idea to download Analytics as soon as you can to get a baseline report. This will tell you where your website stands right now. Then, as you read on and begin to implement other strategies to build your SEO, you can check back in with Analytics to see how these strategies are helping your site.
Most SEO building strategies take time, so don’t expect overnight results. Every thirty days is a good amount of time to wait in between reports to see the true results of your efforts.
Start With the Basic SEO Strategies
Learning the very basics of SEO strategies is important for small businesses, and won’t take much time.
Publish High-Quality Content: Be sure that the information you’re publishing is useful, engaging to read, and relevant to your business industry. A good rule of thumb is aim to teach something new, answer common questions, or post industry-specific info, like tutorials or reviews. Overall, keep it interesting and engaging so your readers will want to share it.
- Publish On a Regular Schedule. Come up with a schedule that fits your needs and keep to it. Whether you decide on once a month, or twice a week, try to not miss a posting date. Search engines like fresh content over old, and they love consistency and predictability.
- Social Media: It’s best to have a social media account for your small business on about 3 platforms. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube are all great platforms. Stay active and engaging on your social media accounts to get the most out of them.
- Embed social media share buttons into your posts so that people can share your content easily. Giving people the option to share makes them more likely to share, and this is free marketing for your business.
- Format your titles properly by selecting the ‘heading 1’ tag, and selecting the ‘heading 2’ tag for section headers. This boosts any keywords used in the title and section headers.
- Format your media: the most simple step you can take for optimizing your media is renaming your photos or videos before uploading them. Use keywords that are relevant to the photo and post to increase your keyword usage.
Tools to Research Your Keywords
To boost your SEO you need to research keywords use for your posts, and across your website. The fundamental thing to remember about keywords is, you want low competition, but a good amount of search volume. Let’s discuss how to do that.
Remember to use more than 3 or 4 words to describe your post. You want longer titles to describe what you’re talking about, and refine your readers down to a specific group. Instead of keywords like, “bath soaps”, which will have a lot of competition, it would be better to use, “bath soaps for newborn babies with sensitive skin”. This narrows down the search results to soaps for ‘babies’, then narrows it further with ‘newborn babies’, and finally cuts it down to your audience with ‘sensitive skin’. There will be much less competition for a post like this, which ends up increasing your ranking dramatically and bringing in much more traffic to your site.
Some great tools to use when looking for keywords are:
– “Google Keyword Planner”
– “Google Trends”
– “Google” suggest. This is what Google suggests in the search bar after your first keyword or two.
– “Keyword Tool”
Create a Sitemap
Having a sitemap for your small business website is a must. A sitemap shows search engines a map of the crawlable pages on your website. Thanks to Google, creating a sitemap for your website is easy. They have a support page offering steps on how to “build and submit a sitemap”. Google also links to a page where you can find a list of websites and “tools to help you generate a sitemap”
If you’re a WordPress user, it gets even better for you. Google and WordPress teamed up to create a free plugin specifically for WordPress users that auto-generates a sitemap for your business. The name of the free plugin is “Google XML Sitemaps”, and you can download it from the WordPress website.
Quick Tip: if you’re a WordPress user, browse through their available plugins and take advantage of that assistance. One of the most popular plugins is Yoast, and it offers an array of tools that can help you easily increase your SEO. Some of the WordPress plugins seem almost as good as an SEO personal assistant.
Build Your Links
Each time you publish a new post on your site, remember to search through previous posts for related topics. Add links to your new post to point readers to more in-depth or related content on your site. Also, it’s not a bad idea to go through the older posts as well, and add links pointing to your new content. Especially if it’s an update on an older topic you covered or a newer version of a product.
Building these links between your own pages makes it much easier for readers to navigate your site and find what they’re looking for. It also boosts your ranking by making your website very web-crawler friendly.
Be Selective with Anchor Text for Optimization
When you’re linking to your own posts or using links to outside sources to add to your own material, be selective with what text you anchor the link to. Many authors hyperlink to the anchor text ‘here’, such as: “If you’d like more information about scalp massage therapy, click ‘here’”. This is not ideal, because ‘here’ doesn’t give any keywords for a search engine to register to the link. The proper placement of the anchor text in the example sentence would be: ‘scalp massage therapy’. Now the search engine knows what the link relates to, and those keywords are bonded to the link.
Building Your Successful SEO Strategy
Although it will take time, sometimes money, and patients to build your SEO strategies, your efforts will pay off if you stay vigilant. Now that you know some ways to improve your small business SEO, take the time to make an action plan. Write out what tactics you would like to start with, and begin implementing them into your daily or weekly schedule. Don’t forget to plan out the future strategies you would like to tackle. With all of the tools and help available online, optimizing your website is simpler than ever before.