When you’re doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for small business, you want to know what you need to be focusing on. SEO can seem daunting, especially if you’re running a small business. Fortunately, we are here to help. We will break SEO for small business down into three broad areas and help you focus on what you need to do. Ready? Let’s go.
Before you can really take advantage of SEO for small business, you must do some research. The research part of your SEO checklist can be broken down into specific research categories. We like to break down the SEO research into five smaller, more manageable sections. These five sections are market research, niche research, competitor research, keyword research, and data gathering.
- Market Research – When you research the market, you get a better understanding of what’s going on in your industry right now.
- Niche Research – This is where you winnow down your research to your specific niche sector. You look at the lay of the land and what various search engines results are when someone conducts a search using keyword terms for your industry. Learning what can show up locally will help you prioritize what you can do to get on that all-important first page on the search engines.
- Competitor Research – Who is your biggest competitor? Who wants your customers besides you? What are they doing online for SEO? How well or poorly are they doing it? What can you do to mirror their results or improve upon them? You may want to create a spreadsheet of all of your competitors and compile some data based on their website, how they’re using SEO and what they’re doing on their social media accounts.
- Keyword Research– After you research your competitors, you will already have an idea of what keywords your competitors use and which ones are the most popular. This helps you start your keyword search. If your competitors are getting results for certain keywords, you might too. You can use their SEO strategy as a roadmap for how to do your own SEO for small business. This is a good time to use Google’s Keyword Planner (in Google Adwords) to compile a list of appropriate keywords that you can utilize as part of your own SEO.
- Data Gathering – Your research has been solid. Now it’s time to compile it all in one place. This will help you analyze where your small business’s SEO is currently at and what steps to take to get it where you want it.
On-page SEO is an important aspect of SEO for small business. If done properly, on-page SEO can be broken down into four sections. They are: general, optimizing content, performance changes, and URL optimization.
- General – This deals with all of your basic on-page SEO concepts. If you haven’t already, add an XML sitemap, include navigation on your site, a robots.txt file and an SEO plug-in for your website. Check the SEO as it currently is. Then, look at the SEO for all of your pages. Don’t forget to include meta tags, meta descriptions, and titles of pages. This is hard work, however, from an SEO perspective, it is a very worthwhile endeavor.
- Optimizing Content– View your existing content. Do you need to change your content to make it more SEO-friendly? Look at things like duplicate content, visual design, media usage, keywords, internal links, bounce rate, outbound links, and the instances of new content.
- Performance Changes – Is your website mobile friendly? If not, now is as good a time as any to make it so. Mobile viewers need to be able to find your website. Most people now search for businesses on their mobile devices. You don’t want to be left out.
- URL Optimization – Do you have a good URL structure? Shoot for URL links that are under 100 characters, utilize 301 redirects wherever they are needed and use keywords in the URLs to highlight what your content is about. This will help your readers get the most out of your website.
Off-page SEO is also known as link-building. There are a few ways you can optimize this for your small business.
Brand Alerts – Use Google Alerts or Mentions to let you know when someone makes mention of your business. It’s always good to reply if you can and thank the individual if it’s good news. If it’s bad news, don’t ignore it. Reply and try to rectify the situation.
Social Media – You should try to include your social media accounts as links underneath key terms within your website content. This will not only help with your link building, but it will also grow your social media audience. Social media is becoming a key component of successful SEO for small business.
Broken Link Building – Methodically go through your website and find all of your site’s broken URL’s. Replace them with links that are not broken. Broken links are bad for SEO.
There are other things you can do if you have time like guest blogging or podcasting. However, if you can master the ones we mentioned here, you’ll be way ahead of the game.
We hope this blog post will help you focus your SEO for small business efforts. If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at www.soloseo.com. We’re here for you.