Running a small business can be tough. As a small business owner, you’ve got to think about roughly six million different things at the same time. You’re probably more focused on solving customer needs and issues than you are taking care of your business internally.
Small business SEO might be near the end of your ‘to-do’ list or it might not even be on your list. Investing in SEO takes both time and money, two things that are precious to any small business owner. Today, we’re going to focus on a few easy and quick tips you can implement today to help boost your small business SEO.
Let’s get rolling.
Start with an SEO Audit
A local SEO audit is the first thing you should be doing when starting your small business SEO journey. More and more small businesses are wising up the importance of a website, so you don’t want to be left behind by your competition.
While the above article gives you more information on the best practices, let’s run through the cliff notes:
- Layout a keyword research plan
- Research your competitors
- Audit your Google My Business page
- Look at links and citations
- Check your reviews
Once you have the audit complete, you can start getting into the nitty-gritty of making changes and seeing your rankings climb.
Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
Even the greatest SEO pros are often left at the ebbs and flows of the Google algorithm. That’s why there are no guarantees in SEO. No one can control a summer full of Google updates or a client spending six figures on an SEO campaign.
You can, however, control what goes on your Google My Business (GMB) profile.
Upload high-quality photos, alert customers of certain deals, give notices on updates, and much more.
When it comes to your GMB profile, you need to either create your profile or claim your profile. Most businesses, unless completely new, will probably have a base profile out there ready to claim. It’s filled with information from visitors or Google itself.
Simply click on ‘own this business’ and go through the verification process.
Once you’re in, you want to fill out three crucial areas:
- Business information
- Services/Products (depending on the type of business you have)
Let’s dive into each of those quickly.
Filling out your business information gives you a chance to add keywords (which we’ll get to later) and get some organic visitors to your site.
Which of the following sounds better?
“Adventure Land is a fun place for kids to come play.”
“Since 2013, Adventure Land has been Nashville’s top indoor playground. Our 2000 square foot indoor area has a jungle gym, ball pit, and free play area. Kids from 18 months-10 years are welcome to laugh, play, and make new friends. In addition to our weekly activity classes, we host private events such as birthday parties, church groups, or large play dates. We can’t wait to see you here!”
The second provides information about your business, what you offer, and what you can tell people in a few short sentences.
You can select up to five categories that represent your business. Sometimes, your exact business category may not be on there but you can look for similar categories. In addition, you can choose sub-categories that represent your business or additional areas you’re a part of.
It’s best to start with what your small business website says. From there, you can make decisions on which categories best fit your profile.
You can add unlimited services to your business profile but you don’t want to go too crazy. Start with ten services you offer and then begin adding on after that.
With services, you can add descriptions of your business services to provide additional information.
Be Consistent with Your NAP
No, this is not time for una siesta. Your NAP, or name, address, and phone number, are incredibly important for your GMB profile and website.
Having an up-to-date, easy-to-find, and consistent NAP is crucial for small business SEO.
Google likes consistency to establish entities and if you make your NAP consistent, it will help your business on search results.
That even means little things like ‘Street’ and ‘St’ being different or ‘6155550123’ and ‘615-555-0123’ not being the same. Once you establish a pattern, keep it that way across all of your web properties.
Not only that, but it should be easy to find on your website. No one wants to get frustrated searching high and low for a phone number.
Speaking of additional web properties…
Make Your Social Profiles Consistent with Your Website
Almost five billion people use social media, more than double from 2015. That’s a lot of eyeballs scanning social media.
Making social media profiles is just one way to help establish your entity, but it’s also a great way to dominate the search results.
Similar to GMB, you have complete control over what goes on your social media profiles. Write out strong business descriptions, list out your services, provide up-to-date information, and much more.
But which social media channels should you be using? This study from the Pew Research Center gives you a good idea of what demographics use what social media platform.
Google will also connect your profiles with your business entity, giving web visitors the chance to see what updates you’re providing or news you have about your business.
Don’t Be Too Narrow in Keyword Research
Keyword research is often the longest and most arduous of all SEO tasks but one of the most important.
For a small business, keyword research is often finding the middle ground between what you want to rank for and what your customers are searching for. Many small businesses get too narrow with their keyword research and stick to the same terms or queries that don’t bring in visitors.
Going back to our indoor playground business, Adventure Land, it would be great to rank for a term such as ‘activities for kids’ or ‘indoor activities’. According to Google’s Keyword Planner, the former has an average monthly volume of 15,000 searches. That’s a lot of desperate parents!
But, it’s a bit too broad. Your website is going to have to compete with hundreds if not thousands of other websites to rank well.
What about going after terms such as:
- Indoor activities for kids in Nashville
- Nashville indoor activities
- Indoor activities for toddlers in Nashville
- Nashville indoor playground
- Nashville indoor playground for kids
While those may not have as many monthly searches, you’re more likely to capture your target audience.
There are tons of tools out there, but many of them are paid tools. So, how do you find those keywords? Use Google itself!
You can look at related terms at the bottom of the results:
You can use Google’s suggestions on the Google homepage:
The People Also Ask feature on Google’s search results:
Lastly, you can use Google’s free keyword planner which gives you estimated monthly volume, additional search terms, and a look at how competitive the keyword is.
These can all give you varied and different terms you hadn’t thought about or ones to add additional content.
Be Wary of Keyword Stuffing
An old SEO tactic that had moderate success, keyword stuffing is now more likely to get you a penalty in the search engines that provide any real benefit.
What does keyword stuffing look like?
“Here at Adventure Land, we have Nashville’s best indoor playground. Nashville’s best indoor playground offers a large area for kids and toddlers to play. This Nashville indoor playground is perfect for birthday parties, private events, and more. Come join us soon at Adventure Land, Nashville’s best indoor playground.”
Not only does this sound unnatural, but it also doesn’t do your website any favors. Even though it’s an old tactic, there are plenty of people that still do it. Be sure to write naturally and insert your keywords where you see fit. Don’t try and fool the algorithm because you’re likely to send both it and your visitors away.
Get Creative With Your Content
Blog posts are the ‘easiest’ form of content you can publish. But why not get creative with your content?
Not only can you push unique content to your social channels, but it’s a good way to increase user engagement on your site.
Some of the additional content you create could be:
- White Papers
Blogs can be great content, but they are also a bit harder for people to share. Things like infographics or videos are easier to share or garner a precious backlink.
Video marketing is particularly interesting, as 86% of businesses say they use video marketing as part of their overall strategy. This represents 25% growth over the last five years.
Track Your Results
If you’re making website and content changes, be sure to track their success. You’ll never know what worked and what didn’t work if you’re not tracking your analytics. Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console are easy to set up and free to use.
You’ll obviously want to look at visitors coming to your site, but you can also check out a number of other stats like:
- Bounce rate (rate of people visiting one page and then leaving)
- Pages per session (how many pages people are visiting while they’re on your site)
- Session duration (how long they’re staying on your site)
If you see that certain users are spending less time on your important pages, then you should investigate. What’s wrong with the page? Are pop-ups getting in the way? Is the text too hard to read?
You should also check out where your visitors are coming from, including device type, location, and even demographic information. This can help give you a good idea of what kind of people are coming to your site and what changes you may want to make.
SEO is not something you do for quick results. In many cases, it can take months to see significant changes across the board. That means that your small business needs to exercise patience.
Monitor your results and changes but don’t expect to see page one results the next day. SEO is constantly changing as well, meaning the advice you received last year may not be relevant anymore. With Google updates, algorithm tweaks, competitors rising and falling, you need to be staying on top of your SEO. Through consistent work, you can continue bringing in strong traffic and more qualified leads.
Looking for a Small Business SEO Partner?
At Atiba, we’ve worked with numerous small and local businesses helping them cement their SEO footprint. We can help your business navigate the ebbs and flows of Google while helping you achieve more online visibility for your business. If you want to learn more or just have a question, feel free to reach out and contact us today! We look forward to hearing from you.