What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? SEO can be described as a way to increase the number of visitors to a particular website, by achieving a high ranking on a search engine results page (SERP).
SEO is one of the key pillars in growing a business online. How you optimize your business on the web with SEO can go a long way in making sure you are competitive in the market, online and offline.
An SEO-optimized website can make your small business appear more when customers search for you or something you sell. This will make you competitive with the larger companies in the industry, because you will be ranking right alongside them.
Search engine optimization can be applied in different ways to improve rankings for your small business, and it’s advised to embrace it to its full capacity. You may be wondering, “How do I implement SEO for my small business?” We’re here to help. Everything you need to know about improving your small business website’s SEO is in this article. You will learn the different aspects of SEO, and how to make it work for you, so you can acquire more customers, and increase your online presence.
Here is how you can use SEO as a small business to compete with larger businesses.
1. Showcase a Specific Product or Service
As a small business, you may be selling various products or providing multiple services to improve your profits. But when it comes to SEO, advertising every single product might not be the best strategy.
Specializing in a specific product gives you an edge over your competitors as you will be easier to find. Let’s say your business sells consumer products for the home, and you do a great business in kitchen utensils. Whenever someone types the keywords spoon, plates, kitchen knife, or fork into their search engine, your website will be the first on the list as this is the niche that you have specialized in.
The idea is that if you do too much, you will do nothing well. If the keywords you choose are more specific, your website will be seen as the expert or primary place to go for that specific product or service.
2. Use More Descriptive Keywords (Long tail Keywords)
Long-tail keywords are used to target niche demographics and markets. They consist of at least three words, and can be as long as five words. Long-tail keywords offer the same service as specializing in a niche. This tactic goes hand-in-hand with what we talked about above; being specific. With a specialized niche, you aim at short phrases that are targeted at customers looking for specific products or services.
These types of keywords help you target specific customers, again helping your small business compete with industry giants. For example, let’s say you sell hand-made candles in your online store. If you were to optimize your site for the keyword “candles”, you would be competing against thousands of other e-commerce stores. Instead you use a long-tail keyword like “handmade blue candles” or other modifying words in order to narrow the search engine results.
It might take a little more time to narrow down your long-tail keywords, compared to short-term keywords, but trust us, it’s worth it. Once you have that niche establish, customers will come straight to your website. The following graphic from Techack provides a good visual of how long-tail keywords provide more potential customers.
3. Use Local Keywords and Content
It’s becoming more evident that locality of a business is vital to improving a small business website’s ranking. Your company may be located in one place, but you know that you have a large potential market in another country/city/state, so you will need to target those prospects. The way you do this is by including local keywords in your website SEO. You can also add geographic words to your key phrases. For example, using the candle shop example above, you could add key phrases such as “handmade candles Brooklyn New York.” This way you are targeting a specific neighborhood, so your customers know they can visit your online site, or your actual brick-and-mortar store.
It is important to make sure your business is reviewed on local review sites, where you customers will search for businesses like yours. Once you start getting great reviews on these sites, you can share them on your website as well. Also, review sites typically rank high in search engine results. An indirect way to increase web traffic is to add a link to your site from the review page, and that way you will establish your small business in a specific location, and also generate traffic from a popular review site. It’s a win-win.
4. Increase Your Social Engagement
You can increase your social media presence online by creating hashtags that associate with your brand and sharing them along with frequent social media posts. This way your business will be easier to locate as it will be associated with a certain hashtag.
Another way to improve your social media standing is by personalizing your user experience on social media. Respond to comments and questions quickly, and treat every user as an individual. This way, you’ll be sure to give them a user experience specifically tailored to their needs, and you’ll get more followers and more posts thus, in turn, getting an edge over a larger business because of good user experience. It’s important to find out which social media platforms your customers are frequenting, so that you are targeting the correct audience.
5. Share Content Regularly
For you to be able to compete with bigger businesses, you need to be a regular content publisher. It is key to your website’s success that you publish new content at least 1-2 times a week. This way, whenever someone enters certain keywords they can be sure to find your site as the search engine regularly indexes your pages because there is fresh content on your website. It is also important to show the search engines that your site is regularly updated with fresh, relevant content.
You should add your keywords on various articles and pages throughout your website. Content should typically have a 1-3% keyword density. You should add your focus keywords in the article’s title tag, and on the meta tags, you can put the description in form of long-tail keywords. This should also be done on the header tags within the content.
Be sure to also add backlinks to a reputable website by offering to write a column on their website about your niche in exchange for a backlink to your site. A backlink is a link from another site that points to your site, the better the site the more precious the backlink will be.
With this, you can be easily found online as there is plenty of content from your site and in turn increase your search engine rankings and beating your competitors.
Statistics show that the majority of small businesses formed usually end up failing. About 50% fail within the first year, with 96% failing within ten years! This is a worrying trend indeed if you are a small business owner. On the other hand, only 46% have an online presence. Why not put in place measures to mitigate against this undesirable potential outcome? Among the many suggestions out there, one of the easiest to implement is investing time and resources into improving your small business’s SEO. Make sure your brand is visible online, engage on social media, update your website frequently, and engage with your market. It is up to you as a small business owner to put in place measures that will work towards ensuring a successful venture.