Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an integral unit of any digital marketing strategy. It helps your website to appear in the results for the commonly-searched terms. Though there are a number of businesses competing to secure a spot in the top search results, a smart SEO strategy can be of great help.
But, I only have a small coffee shop, do I need SEO?
SEO is the best way to reach out to your potential customers.
How SEO works for Small Businesses?
Google and other search engines follow their guidelines called the search algorithm to identify the most relevant information for the searched query. Google bots index a huge amount of data and extract the most meaningful information to display in the results.
You’d probably love that your customers search for terms like best Latte near me and find you in the results.
From recipes to the coffee maker, Google crawls and stores all the information about coffee. When a user types for best Latte near me, it evaluates all the indexed pages related to coffee and extract web pages selling coffee with Latte as the specialty, based on the physical location of the person making this search.
This is how organic search works. SEO helps businesses to get in touch with their potential customers/clients and boost their sales eventually.
But.. Is SEO Affordable For A Small Business?
The key reason why SEO is preferred over other online marketing tactics is that it doesn’t require a substantial marketing budget. It only requires a well-planned SEO strategy and a proper follow through.
It isn’t as easy as we often think it is. To gain the ground, requires proper analysis of the nature of your small business, understanding the requirement and targeting audience, and planning the right strategy that will help Google to find you rather than to fool Google.
Wait, can I fool Google?
Google constantly analyzes and timely updates it’s algorithm to leave no space for any foul attempt to top the ranks. It closely monitors the top results and even if by following some black-hat or spam technique you get to the top results, it will soon identify it and will drop you in the rankings immediately.
Google strictly follow its rule book. In some cases, it also marks the website as spam and penalizes it, if it violates any of the rules.
If Google algorithm keeps on getting updated, how can I plan an SEO strategy for my small business?
Although, the SEO strategy gets modified after each update, some of the factors play a vital role in improving the SEO performance of your website.
5 SEO Tips for Small Business
Here are five SEO Tips you can follow to improve the online presence of your small business:
Keywords are the search phrases that the potential customers of your small business would be using to find you.
That is why it is considered as an important element of the SEO process. You need to be well aware of the services or products you are offering as well as the demographics of your targeting audience to help them find you.
Keywords research is a delicate process. You need to find the best possible phrases that will lead you to your customers.
The most common mistake that small businesses often make is that they pick keywords with high search volume. Because it clearly indicates that every business would be using it and it would be really tough for a new or small business to outrank an established brand for a particularly competitive keyword term.
So, what should I do?
Small business should target a more specific audience. The specification can be based on the region or industry. For example, it will be comparatively easier for your coffee shop (located in LA, let’s say) to rank for Vanilla Bean Latte in LA rather than Coffee shop in LA.
Using Keywords in the Content
After careful keyword research, sort out your primary keyword terms and use them in the website content in order to make it easier for the search engines to recognize these keywords for your business.
Apart from all other things, the content would be the first thing that will make the search engine as well as the customers to make a decision to choose you over other businesses.
Perform a quick analysis of your competitors. Try to include their strengths to your content in a much comprehensive way and beat them at their weakness.
While adding content to your website, keep in mind that you don’t stuff keywords abnormally to the content. Content must include keywords in a way that it must look natural. Google ranks websites based on the relevancy rather than the exact match of the keyword itself.
Website Analysis & Optimization
Before proceeding to the link building activities, it is really important to optimize your website for the search engines. Businesses with well-optimized websites gain an edge over others.
First and foremost, ensure that the website has all the required pages and they must be structured properly. A good website structure aids search engine to understand your business. List every page under its relevant category to improve the website structure.
Use proper URL names. Avoid usage of special characters and unnecessary numbers in the URLs. Follow the proper hierarchy in the URLs.
Add relevant and unique Title and META descriptions to encourage visitors to click your website in the search results.
Social Media Presence
Create your brand pages on popular social media channels and make daily contributions to improve your branding. Active social media channels are not only encouraged by the search engines but it will help attract a vast audience.
Growing and small businesses should consider creating Google My Business account and its proper optimization to improve the presence of their business in the Google Maps results. This will also make the business appear in the region-based search terms. Positive customers reviews help small business build their credibility.
Small businesses are encouraged to create and manage a business blog. You can share NEWS regarding the business, upcoming events and latest happenings in the industry. It will not only improve search engine presence but it will help a business get more traffic.
Business with blogs is more likely to get new visitors. Websites with fresh and engaging content also observe improvements in the rankings.
SEO provides a startling opportunity to the small and growing businesses to compete. All it requires is a well-research plan of action and following the right track. If the website clearly defines what and where do you offer, the search engine will make you appear in the top organic results.