Small Business SEO Guide for Smart Business Owners [2022]

On-page SEO

On-page SEO focuses on the visible part of a website. That means anything from meta information that visitors see on search engines to the words on a blog. 

This is a central focus for any SEO strategy, whether a business has a physical location or only an eCommerce store.

On-page SEO includes:

  • Keyword research
  • Content on the homepage, blog posts, service pages, and any other customer-facing anchor page that draws customers from search engines
  • Meta titles and descriptions that visitors see in search engines before deciding to click on a result
  • User- and search engine-friendly URLs
  • User- and search engine-friendly formatting
  • Image optimization
  • Internal linking between pages on the same site

The joining factor between all these areas is keyword research. Keyword research identifies a commonly searched query that best describes what a page is about. It takes into account search intent (what people expect to find when they search a query), difficulty in competing against already published pages, and company goals.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO zeros in on external signals that build a site’s overall authority on the Internet. A better domain authority means it’s easier to compete and rank highly for desired keywords on Google.

Because large companies have a natural advantage in brand recognition both off- and online, off-page SEO is an important area for small businesses to build up.

Off-page SEO includes:

  • Social media signals created by driving website traffic from social channels and having popular shared content pointing back to your site
  • Naturally acquired links back to your site

Link-building is often a focus of black hat SEO simply because it’s so difficult to do. So, how do you get other websites to link to your site without paying or using spammy tactics?

*Unpaid* guest posts and digital PR are both authoritative, Google-approved methods to build up off-page SEO. Finding these opportunities takes a lot of leg-work, but the results are well worth it. Think about off-page SEO like traditional PR, where getting your name published and having others talk about you increases authority in your field.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO encompasses the SEO on your website that you can’t see on the front-end. These are factors that impact how well on-page SEO performs by improving communication with search engines.

Technical SEO includes:

Because of all the jargon and technical processes, technical SEO can seem daunting. However, you shouldn’t ignore it and forge ahead with creating an endless stream of blogs. Doing so may create complicated problems in the long run that can impact site performance and be difficult to fix later.

Local SEO

Local SEO is a small business’s bread and butter to increase online visibility through SEO.

On Google, local SEO helps any business with a physical location appear on Google’s first page for local features and Google My Business profiles, as well as Google Maps.

Whereas a general search may pull results from companies around the world, a search with a specified location renders location-specific results. Additionally, having location turned on within a browser means users can search “near me” with results from their immediate area.

This is where local SEO comes into play.

Three main factors feed into local SEO: distance, relevance, and prominence. Distance is how far your business is from the location specified in a search. Relevance is how closely your website and Google My Business information line up with what someone is looking for. And finally, prominence factors in business citations across the web, reviews, and position in web results.

Local SEO efforts focus on optimizing for relevance and prominence, as distance isn’t something you can change.

eCommerce SEO

If you’re a business with an online eCommerce shop, then SEO will take a slightly different direction.

Two-thirds of consumers will start a new product search directly on Amazon, so it’s more important than ever for small business eCommerce sites to boost visibility across all channels, Google included.

eCommerce SEO includes:

  • Keyword research
  • Category page optimization with unique page descriptions
  • Product page optimization with unique product descriptions
  • User- and search engine-friendly URLs
  • User- and search engine-friendly formatting
  • Image optimization

eCommerce SEO attempts to match your products with customers who are ready to buy. Additionally, content marketing through a blog uses SEO to answer frequently asked questions, explain product features and compare product types. This avenue is a less direct, but equally effective tactic to bring customers to your site.

Reporting and Analytics

Conversion tracking and results monitoring ensure that you’re actively working towards your goals. Data also helps to adjust strategies and craft future ones to account for successes and shortcomings in performance.

Google Analytics and Google Search Console are basic tools to monitor results from search traffic.

In addition, there are several SEO-specific tools that provide further insights on what keywords each page on your site has visibility for. Many also come with audit features to improve technical SEO and backlinking profiles to gauge where your site stands against the competition.

Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz, and Spyfu are all popular SEO software for the functions above and keyword research.

5 Small Business SEO Tips

Here are a few key small business SEO tips for business owners to boost organic traffic to their sites. 

1. Use long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are more specific, less competitive target keywords to use in web content. By targeting these less competitive keywords, you will have a higher chance of ranking on page one of Google. To learn more, read our guide to long-tail keywords.

2. Write relevant and valuable content 

As a small business owner, you need to be creating SEO-driven content around what you’re selling. Doing keyword research to find target keywords in your niche is vital for your content strategy. Once you have a list of keywords, craft value-packed, well-written content to share with your potential customers.

3. Solve customers’ problems

Along with creating relevant content, you will want to know your customers’ pain points and cater to their needs. SEO is all about the user’s needs. So, by creating content around what your customers are searching for, you can raise your brand awareness and authority in your industry.

4. Don’t skip metadata

One quick small business SEO tip is to ensure you are filling out the metadata for your pages with SEO in mind. This includes the meta title tag, meta description, alt text for images, and more. Use keywords in the title tag and meta descriptions to signal relevance to Google and other search engines.

5. Invest in technical SEO

Business owners may not know the number of technical SEO errors that need to be addressed on their websites. Technical SEO problems are internal site issues that may be negatively affecting your ranking power. Duplicate content, slow site speed, and broken links are all parts of technical SEO that can negatively affect your site. Work with a small business SEO agency to get these issues fixed ASAP.

These are just a few of the small business SEO tips in our toolbox. Work with us to gain access to even more SEO knowledge and expertise for your business.

DIY Checklist Before Hiring an SEO Agency

An SEO agency isn’t right for every small business. Often, there are many basic steps to tackle on your own before seeking help.

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