Small Business SEO 101: The Beginner’s Guide

If you still consider SEO to be something that’s reserved primarily for big-name businesses, think again.

Not only is small business SEO taking the internet by storm, it’s become a vital component for practically every successful marketing strategy of top-notch companies, both big and small.

Before dismissing the power of SEO, you should consider the heavy-weight proof that reveals just how effective optimization really is.

For example, did you know 93% of all online experiences begin with an online search?

Still not convinced?

Then maybe you should know that in 2012, Yelp reported that 85% of consumers use internet searches to find local businesses.

If your small business SEO is lacking, don’t worry.

We’ve got your ultimate guide on how your small business can create a winning SEO strategy from scratch!

Read on to find out more!

Your Guide to Small Business SEO for Beginners

Hopefully, by now you’re beginning to realize why first-rate SEO is a crucial ingredient for small business success.

However, some small businesses that serve primarily a local audience falsely believe that because their company provides specialty services or products, that they need not be concerned with SEO.

But, they would be sadly mistaken.

Even if your company operates in a niche market, you shouldn’t assume that you’re guaranteed to get clicks from potential customers.

Why It’s Where You Rank That Really Matters

According to StatCounter, Google’s rankings dominate the consumer search market by far, with a search engine share of over 90% when compared to other internet leaders such as Bing and Yahoo.

But, showing up in Google’s rankings, even if you garner a spot on the first page, still might not be enough to get consumers’ attention.

Your business should aim to rank as one of Google’s top three listings. Google’s first three SERP results generate a whopping 60% of clicks from users.

Still, it pays to be number one. The top spot earns almost 40% of clicks. That’s nearly half of all clicks that go to one of Google’s listings.

When you consider that Google typically has hundreds of listings that rank for nearly every search performed, it doesn’t leave much room for the others to shine.

How to Maximize Your SEO to Climb Rankings

Now that you know why your small business SEO is super important to broadening your consumer base, you’re probably wondering how you can move yours up the ranking ladder.

If you’re just beginning to understand what SEO is all about, you might assume that this requires a lot of complicated maneuvering, in addition to a professional skill level. But nailing small business SEO doesn’t have to be difficult.

If you know a few simple tips and tricks, your small business can outrank what you might consider today’s powerhouse players. So stop selling your company short and get started growing your audience.

Here are a few sure-fire SEO marketing tactics that anyone can use.

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Develop a Smart Keyword Strategy

If you’re a small business that depends on local traffic as your primary source of income, this step probably won’t be all that difficult for you.

Niche businesses can usually identify more unique keywords tailored to their industry than their big brand superstore counterparts.

There are actually dozens of online tools that are designed specifically to come up with a just-right keyword, that’s perfectly matched to fit your business and attract your audience. Although this may sound super tech-savvy, it’s really quite simple. But, some beginner SEO strategists may still find this process overwhelming.

If you want to start by sticking to what you know, you can still score big points in the keyword department.

Brainstorming: A Bare-Basics Technique to Form Killer Keywords

Think of constructing keywords as a process similar to the old familiar brainstorming exercise that was taught to you in grade school.

First, begin with the main idea. For the purposes of creating keywords, your main idea would be your small business niche.

From there, continue to branch out, becoming more and more detailed in your descriptions as your “brainstorm” graphic organizer widens its reach.

For example, if your niche is “Performing Arts”, then the progression might look something like this: Performing Arts > Dance > Theatre > Broadway > Top Broadway Hits > Cats the Musical > Costumes Worn by Cats Original Cast

The term “Cats Original Cast” would probably make a great keyword combination. It’s one that is unique, tailored to your niche, and offers a starting point from which to expand your content.

Sounds simple enough, right?

Learn more about choosing the right keywords for your business with our Keyword Research Guide:
Beginner SEO Guide: How to Do Keyword Research

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Develop High-Quality, Shareable Content

Now that you have identified a place from which to begin, you’re ready to move on to one of the most popular SEO topics on the net. Content.

It’s been said that “content is king“, and that may not be much of an exaggeration.

The content that you develop and publish will serve as a consumer pathway leading right up to your company’s front door. That’s why it’s important that you publish the right content to entice your target audience and plenty of it.

This is also where you get the opportunity to put your SEO skills to the test.

SEO’s Key Elements

For every piece of content that you publish, you should make sure that it contains key elements that are essential for top-notch SEO. These might include the following:

  • equally dispersed internal and external links
  • thoughtfully constructed keywords that appear 3 to 25 times, depending on the length of your content
  • a call to action at the end of your content that leaves the reader wanting more
  • a “hook”, or an interesting statistic in the first few paragraphs to entice your audience
  • short, readable paragraphs that are broken up into chunks of information
  • a catchy headline
  • high-quality images to accompany your content
  • an opportunity to sign up as a contact (for email newsletters or through another channel)

These are key elements that should be a part of every piece of content that you publish on the web.

Content Checkpoints to Consider

It’s also critical that you publish content that has something to offer your readers. People are much more likely to read, and share, content that contains useful or interesting information.

Your content should also be original. Unfortunately, the onslaught of material available on the internet today has made it much more difficult to publish never-before-seen content. And, while it may not be reasonable to expect that you will come up with topics that have never been touched, it isn’t too much to ask to make sure that your content is fresh and offers your users a creative perspective.

Google Trends can help you make the most out of internet data, visitor clicks, trending topics, and more. If you have never checked out the plethora of information that Google makes available, you should make it a point to do so before deciding on the subject matter for your site’s content.

Need more help creating your content marketing strategy?  Don’t worry, we have you covered. Check out:
How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy: A Start-to-Finish Guide

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Social Media Matters

Most professionals are aware of the mega-role that social media plays in today’s marketing industry. No matter your company’s size, you can use social media to your business advantage.

The great thing about social media is that it offers businesses low-cost advertising options, as well as having built-in benefits for those that make the most of small business SEO strategies.

With a little work, anyone can create content that can be easily shared among a variety of social media platforms. And, if you do your homework, you can creatively promote your business, all while spending little to no money to do so.

To make the most of your business’s social media presence, you should establish active accounts on your favored channels.

Instagram has become increasingly popular because it allows visitors the opportunity to connect a picture image with a few main keywords. LinkedIn tends to be another site that professionals flock to. And, in certain instances, Pinterest can be a business’s best bet to gain public interest.

Play around with the varied social media options. Then, settle on a couple to focus your energies at first. As your brand grows increasingly popular, you can always extend your reach to include other social sites.

The Importance of Your Local Consumer

You should also attempt to familiarize yourself with your typical, local customer. This will help you know what types of topics and images are likely to catch your local audience’s attention.

The right titles and keywords will ensure that your content gets shared across multiple platforms, to a diverse group of local consumers. This should definitely be one of your top priorities as a small business owner.

You should maintain a goal of connecting with locals in your area, whether it be online or in person. Not only will they be more likely to choose your products and services over others, but they will also be more likely to refer your business to their family and friends.

Forbes Magazine claims that word of mouth is the most important form of social media to date. And, there are plenty of reports and statistics to back up their claim. After all, as they point out, isn’t word of mouth the original form of social media?

Improve Your User Experience

Today’s families tend to be not only familiar with the internet, but they actually spend a substantial amount of time surfing the web.

According to Technology Review, the average American now spends approximately 24 hours per week on the internet. And, it isn’t just the teens and tweens that are glued to the web. Research shows that parents are just as addicted to the cyber world as their offspring.

That’s why you need to make your consumer experience as seamless as possible for your audience, many who probably have the majority of buying power in their households.

If your page is not up to speed, you may lose valuable customers. Think With Google estimates that 40% of users will leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

Make Sure Your Website and Content Are Mobile-Ready

In addition, Think With Google also reports that although more people are using their mobile devices to shop than ever before, many websites fail to live up to the user’s expectations.

If you want to be competitive in today’s business world, you need to make sure that your site is mobile-ready.

Statista estimated that by the end of 2020, mobile users would reach a whopping 4.78 billion people worldwide. If you are going to compete with today’s leading businesses, this is one fact that cannot be ignored.

However, it appears that many small businesses are doing just that. And, if your mobile SEO is not performing up to speed, then you, too are probably guilty of the same thing.

Luckily, with just a few tweaks to your web strategy, you can feel confident that your consumers are able to access your business information, even when they are on the go.

Ensuring that it loads quickly, provides accurate information based on your user’s location and that your site is compatible with smartphone technology can rack up a significant amount of more business opportunities for your company.

Check out the link below for our all things Local SEO:
Complete Local SEO Business Ranking Guide

Need Help Developing a Winning SEO Strategy?

If your small business SEO needs an SOS, we can help.

Beginners often find SEO marketing strategies to be overwhelming. But, with a little guidance from SEO pros, your website and digital marketing strategy will be as good as any other.

Want to find out how a winning SEO approach can change your company’s success rating?

Find out more when you visit our site, which is full of tips and tricks to help every business become its’ very best!