What Small Businesses Really Need to Know About SEO

business owners seo

As a small business owner, you don’t have the same time and energy to devote to exploring every single marketing option that a larger business may have. However, some techniques are critical for gaining marketing momentum. Search engine optimization is definitely one of those areas, but doing some research on the field can leave many feeling more confused and overwhelmed than before you started.

The good news is that you don’t have to know everything about SEO to reap the benefits of good search engine placement. While there are certainly advantages to an in-depth knowledge of this field, it’s definitely not critical if you don’t. In fact, there are only a few things that you really need to know.

1. Mobile friendly is critical.

With the ease of mobile shopping and accessing information from your fingertips, there’s one thing that’s clear – mobile usage is only going to go up. In fact, according to a new report from comScore, mobile usage now represents 65% of all digital media time. That means when you send out your newsletter or post to your company’s social media accounts, a good portion of those users will be on mobile devices and want to look at your site from that medium.

While it makes sense to make sure you have a mobile-friendly site, it’s critical to note that Google ALSO wants you to have one. In fact, you’ll be missing out on search engine rankings if you don’t. The search engine provides listings based on the device you are using. If your site is not mobile-friendly to Google’s standards, your site listing will not show up in search results on mobile devices. That can create a huge negative impact on the traffic to your site.

2. Keywords don’t work the same way they used to.

If you do any type of search on SEO, you’re bound to hear the term keywords. These words are key phrases that reflect the type of content on your website. For instance, if you sold pet supplies – your main keyword phrase would be “pet supplies.” You would also probably focus on words like dog collars, pet clothes, puppy chew toys, etc. Focusing your content around these core words used to work quite well. However, too many people tried to abuse the system and Google got smart. Now, your exact keyword phrase isn’t as important because Google attempts to understand your page’s overall content and delivers a search result regardless of whether your page says dog supplies or pet supplies.

What does matter about keywords, however, is making sure you’re delivering the type of content your target audience wants to read about. So, if your page is about pet supplies, articles and content related to helping take care of your pet, best food options, best toy options, etc. would not only help you rank higher for your industry, but also attract and keep customers who would be interested in that information.

3. Content that people want to read and share is the most important.

According to Content Marketing Institute, 85% of B2B marketers use content marketing to achieve their lead generation goals and 83% of consumer marketers use content to achieve their sales goals. With this number of businesses using content marketing, not only is it critical that you also use content marketing, but that you have a strategy that makes your content stand out.

Google gives weight to content that is shared and linked to. That means if an article goes viral, you have a better chance of ranking higher for that particular piece of content. Obviously, not everything will go viral, but if you make an effort to produce really stand out, useful or entertaining content it will make the process more rewarding.

4. Always be looking for relevant link opportunities.

One of the strongest ways to increase your search engine ranking is to have other sites link to yours. However, there is a one huge caveat. The key part here is “relevant” sites. Many companies have abused the linking strategy to such a degree that Google now punishes sites that have too many links from sites that are not relevant. An example of this would be a link from a golf supply website to a dance studio and vice versa. This means you have to get creative when getting links. It’s also why a great content marketing strategy can make this process even easier.

Your goal is to work on forming partnerships with other relevant businesses. One way to do this if you have a local business is to partner with a few business owners in your local area. Each company can create a page on their website called “Local ‘Your City’ Businesses We Support.” That page would have a link to each of the businesses in your partnership.

You should also contact any relevant local community and business directory websites regarding getting links, as well as any industry related websites.

5. Make sure your website is set up correctly from the start.

Most web designers and even website templates and themes have a basic structure that is SEO friendly. However, a few things to keep in mind when it comes to your website include:

  • Make sure your site title has your business name and a few keyword phrases. However, it should stay under 65 characters in length.
  • Make sure the URLs of your pages are actual words and not numbers.
  • Try to include some type of keyword in your blog posts, product names and page names whenever possible. That means instead of naming a clothing product something like Blue Azure, you would want to name it Blue Azure Wool Sweater.
  • Whenever it makes sense, make sure to remember to link to the pages within your website.

While there is a lot more on SEO, these basic tips should keep you covered and help give you that competitive edge. If you’d like to talk about your current search engine optimization strategy we’d love to talk ideas with you or even provide an SEO audit.