SEO can feel like quite the monster if you’re new to digital marketing, especially if you’ve just started a business and you’re not sure where to best place your efforts. As a new, or new-ish small business owner, we want to make sure you’ve got the right SEO tasks in your arsenal to help you make some tangible improvements. We’ve put together a list of eight small business SEO tasks that will be the most beneficial to build into your SEO strategy.
1. Keyword Research
Finding out what keywords your business should target is imperative to ensuring you’re attracting the right kind of traffic and a key small business SEO tip. The right traffic = higher conversion rates.
Firstly, it’s a good idea to see what keywords you’re already ranking for, and tools like SEMrush are ideal for giving you a list of these. You can also use the same tool to explore what keywords competitors are ranking for that you’re missing. This gives you a good place to start around what search terms your content should be targeting.
It’s also smart to compile a list of keywords which are relevant to your website. This can include both ones you rank for and ones you don’t, as this will give you a good research document to work from in the future too. Include search volume so you can see which keywords to prioritise. Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs and Google Keyword Planner are ideal for compiling keyword research.
2. Set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console
As a small business, you’re going to want to keep an eye on how your SEO efforts are performing. And, by setting up Google Analytics (GA) and Google Search Console (GSC) you can do just that.
GA4 is going to be the only version of Google Analytics from July 2023, so if you’ve recently set up Universal Analytics and don’t yet have any idea on how GA4 differs, we recommend you have a read of our free online guide. By having a proper set up with these analytics tools you’ve got a benchmark to work from, and you can analyse things like traffic, how users engage with your website, conversions, user demographics and loads more.
3. Optimise on-page elements
Another small business SEO tactic is to ensure your on-age elements are up to scratch, as these help Google to understand the content of your website and surface your business against the correct user queries. Examples of on-page elements include:
- Page titles – the content you can see in the browser tab.
- Meta descriptions – the description Google pulls for your page.
- Headers and sub-headers – splitting out your content into clear sections so Google can understand it better.
- Image ALT text – the description of an image, providing a text alternative for search engines.
Have a look at what Google recommends for each element, such as word count, keyword use, structure etc as you want to ensure there as optimised as possible seeing as you’re going to the effort to look into it.
4. Add schema markup
Schema markup also falls under on-page SEO, but we wanted to pull it out separately as it’s a useful tool to get to grips with. Schema markup is a type of code that you add to certain pages that provides additional information for search engines. Schema can also help your business gain featured snippets (or rich snippets) within the search results, which is a great win for small business websites.
There are different types of schema, for example FAQ and video. You can use tools like this schema generator to create the right type of code for you, then you can use this validator tool to check that it’s all working correctly. Once checked, simply add it to the bottom of the page’s HTML code and update the page. Examples and more detail can be found here.
5. Encourage and respond to Google reviews
Google reviews are an important part of how potential customers see your business, so it will come as no surprise that the more 5-star reviews you can gather, the better! One of the most effective ways to get more reviews is to use email marketing.
6. Plan your content
If you’ve read any of our blog posts about content before, you know that content for content’s sake is just a waste of everyone’s time. Our advice is to build out a comprehensive content strategy, thinking about what content would best target your keywords and speak to your target audience.
Think about precisely who you want to speak to, the types of content you could create, where you’re posting it, how often and what times etc. Keywords are incredibly important here, but also make sure you’re writing for the user. Have a look at what competitors are up to, what content is ranking well for them and how you might be able to improve upon their ideas. It’s a competitive landscape, so make sure your content creation efforts are reaching your target market.
7. Build links
Don’t be fooled into thinking that link building isn’t important anymore; it’s still very much a major ranking factor and there are many advantages to great link building. However, don’t be fooled by those emails and messages on social media from businesses who can ‘get you 100 backlinks for your website in a week’. This may be true, but they’re highly likely to all be spammy links that do nothing for your site, or potentially even damage it.
With link building for small (and big!) businesses, we suggest you think about quality over quantity, as high quality links are worth their weight in gold for your site. Do your research and reach out to business-relevant publications and other media sources that are right for your sector, and target audience. You could pitch things like important company updates, data-led stories which are linked to current affairs, offer to contribute to articles or provide expert opinion on pieces they’re writing/have published. For more details on link building and the different techniques you could use to get links to your site, have a read of our link building strategies blog post.
8. Share customer success stories
Customer success stories and case studies are the perfect way to show potential customers just how great you are. Especially if you’re selling a more complex service that has a longer customer journey; tell them how you’ve helped others as it might resonate with them enough to get them over the line.
We hope our list of small business SEO tips will help you build out an effective SEO strategy that works for your company and helps you see improvements in the search engine results. If you have any questions about SEO or want an expert to conduct an audit, feel free to send us a message or give us a call.