SEO is a digital marketing necessity for every business. It leverages keywords and phrases throughout your website to attract attention when users perform searches relevant to your small business. However, there is a lot more to “search engine optimization” than keywords. It requires a precise strategy with an understanding of your audience/customers, what they want and what they expect to find when they click on a link in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

It also requires technical expertise to ensure your entire website is user-optimized. To help kick off your SEO strategy, here we share 10 SEO essentials to boost your small business website’s visibility.

10 SEO Essentials to Boost Your Small Business Website's Visibility

1. Leverage Free Google Tools

Google offers free SEO tools every small business should leverage, including:

  • Google Analytics: This platform provides data on your website traffic, engagement, conversions, demographics, and more. You can access insights that allow you to understand your users and the success of your SEO efforts.
  • Google Search Console: This dashboard is where you’ll find your site data and information to understand how your site appears in Google Search. This data reports issues with your website that can interfere with your SEO success and ranking so you can fix them and protect your site from ranking suppression.
  • Google Business Profile: This is essential to local search. You can set up your Google Business Profile to ensure you appear in local business searches on Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Shopping. Your profile provides all the information customers need when seeking your products and services, so you increase visibility.

You can also use your profile for reviews, to answer questions, post updates on your business, and even schedule appointments if that is part of your customer journey. When users conduct a “near me” search, your business will appear in the listing with all your information, including your phone number, email address, and business hours. You can then also collect data based on the calls your listing generates, views, searches for your business, etc.

2. Conduct Keyword Research

Keyword Research

Keyword research provides the keywords and phrases you need to improve your SEO. Your keywords provide inspiration for your website content while optimizing your pages. Research provides insights into the types of words and phrases your ideal customer uses. Research also ensures you know the terms used that help inform you of search intent. You can research the terns you believe your customers are most likely to use to generate a list of alternatives. Google’s Keyword Overview tool will also provide information on:

  • Number of monthly searches
  • Search intent
  • How hard it is to rank for that keyword based on competition

Because the most obvious keywords tend to see the highest search volumes, they also tend to be the most difficult to rank for. As a result, to help improve visibility, you should consider using lower-volume keywords with lower difficulty so you can increase your chances of ranking. As you decide on suitable keywords, you can create a list to use on the Keyword Magic Tool to generate more keywords. Don’t forget to use your location and geo keywords with your phrases to fine-tune your list.

3. Research Your SERP Competitors

SERP competitors are the companies that show up in the top-ranking positions for your keywords. By running some searches with your keywords, you can get an instant overview of your top competitors and determine if you consider them offline competitors or irrelevant to your business landscape. You can analyze the sites that come up to see what keywords they use and compare your site to theirs, from the appearance to content and structure to user experience, as a guide to inform your website optimization decisions. Your analysis should focus on:

  • What page of their website is linked in the SERPs
  • Reading the content on that link to see how they have used the keyword in question
  • Their navigation and content
  • Possible visitor targets

There are also free tools like SEMrush’s Organic Research tool that provide analysis of a URL’s keywords. You can consider using these keywords to help improve your ranking.

4. Asses Your Site

Keywords are not the only thing to optimize your website. Your site structure and usability are also considered by search engines. If your site has poor structure and issues that interfere with its searchability by search engines, your ranking will drop. Important things to look for include:

Critical Elements to Assess When Reviewing Websites

  • Broken links
  • Hard to use navigation
  • Slow loading pages
  • Grammatical issues or plagiarism in your content
  • Not being mobile-friendly
  • A lack of calls to action and contact information
  • Not using internal links to make finding additional information easier
  • Not leveraging local SEO to highlight your service area or locations
  • Not using effective URLs
  • Not using schema markup (see below)

If your website is not user-friendly, your rankings will be impacted. As a result, you should be prepared to invest in a makeover that creates a responsive, easy-to-use structure that works for the way your customers will engage with your site. You can use tools like SEMrush’s Site Audit to run an audit and monitor your site for technical issues.

5. Be Sure to Add Schema Markup

Schema markup is added to your code to help search engines understand your pages. Although this sounds technically scary, it is easy to add and essential if you want to appear in rich results to increase your SERP real estate and dominate in rankings. There are free tools you can use to make it easier to add schema markup, including Google structured data markup helper and data highlighter.

6. Don’t Forget to Optimize On-Page Elements

On-page elements include:

  • Titles/title tags: Titles are what users see in the SERPs and tell them what your page is about. Title tags ensure every page on your site has a relevant title.
  • Meta Descriptions: These elements speak to what your pages are about, making your pages more clickable as they tell users what they expect to find.
  • Headers: This is the hierarchy of your content, making pages scannable and easier to read. It includes your main title, headings, sub-heads, etc., down to whatever point you want to bring them to make your content easier to read at a glance.

7. Develop Meaningful, Relevant Useful Content

Rankings are useless if your content fails to deliver on customer expectations. Your content is not just a vessel for keywords but instead is what will convert visitors. This is where the Keyword Magic Tool can come in handy. Entering your keywords, you can find inspiration for content based on Magic results. It will tell you the types of questions attached to your keywords, allowing you to craft your content as answers.

Useful Content Development

Educating clients nurtures them along their customer journey, showcasing your expertise and helping to resolve challenges. This brings value, especially when combined with compelling visuals or content such as videos. Your content also becomes easier to find when you add links shared on social media to drive traffic to your site.

8. Build Backlinks

You can improve SEO by using online listings to build backlinks. These backlinks point to your website, creating more credibility for you as a legitimate local business. The more credible the sites you use for backlinks, the more credible you are to Google’s search engines. Along with your Google Business Profile, complete profiles on the following directories:

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Bing Places for Business
  • Yelp for Business
  • Apple Maps
  • Industry-specific business listings

Choose a specific way to show your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) and keep that consistent on every listing to improve SEO.

Build Backlinks

Local business directories allow you to quickly create backlinks, but you can also see if you can work with other local businesses to feature links on their sites and vice versa. For example, if you sell paint, you might swap backlinks with a leading local interior decorator. Other leads for backlinks might include friends who own businesses, vendors and suppliers you work with, companies you supply to, retailers that sell your products, etc. Offer to write guest blogs for these partners for even better SEO.

9. Keep an Eye on Local Listings

Be sure to monitor local listings and search your company name so you can find any discrepancies or incorrect NAPs. Correct them ASAP to ensure search engines see consistency to keep you legit. You can also fill in any profiles that are missing information. For example, you might come across a YELP review that leads to a blank profile page. You should claim your listings and complete profiles to ensure you don’t miss out on opportunities.

10. Ask for and Respond to Online Reviews

As mentioned in point #1, your Google Business Profile allows customers to post reviews. The more positive reviews and ratings you have for your business, the more Google trusts you and is more likely to rank you. It takes time to build up reviews unless you take the time to ask happy customers to provide them. Introducing an automated email request for reviews with a link to your Google profile allows you to get as many reviews as possible.

Responding to Online Reviews

This is just one part of building your online reviews. You also have to ensure you monitor reviews and respond to comments customers make. It’s important to thank customers for their kind words as it shows you appreciate them. However, it is even more important to keep an eye on reviews and respond to complaints and low ratings promptly. This helps protect your reputation, improve customer satisfaction, and again show your commitment to customer experiences.

Using these 10 SEO essentials will boost your small business website’s visibility to help you convert more customers.

Elevate your website’s rank! Reach out today for a free SEO consultation tailored to your small business.

Call Now!