As a small business owner, you handle almost every aspect of your business. If you’re trying to expand your consumer base but are at a standstill, examine your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. However, you might not have one or you might not be familiar with SEO and how to use it for your business. Here are five tips to help you get started.
1. Conduct keyword research.
Keywords are crucial for SEO. They’re how your audience finds you, which is why you want to research the most effective keywords your website should be targeting. Your rankings for these keywords affect your position in the search results. Keywords can include larger search volume but more general keywords (e.g. “restaurant”, “online shopping”, etc.), but those will have tougher competition. Niche keywords, while they may have a lower search volume, give you a better opportunity to rank higher. A healthy blend and strategic execution of the two can help drive your online traffic.
You’ll also want to see how results are displayed in your industry and location and tailor your content to those results. For example, let’s say you own a pizza shop. When you Google, “pizza near me”, the results will show a map of nearby locations. You should make sure you include your physical location somewhere on your website. Another example is if you own a retail business. Let’s say you search, “red shirt” and images linking to online stores will appear. You should include pictures of your products so they can show up in these results.
2. Create a blog.
A blog is a great way to improve your standing in the digital universe for SEO and for your business. Your blog is your opportunity to show your business as a brand and helps you mold how you want to be seen in your industry’s universe.
Content is key when it comes to rankings and keywords, and it’s more about quality versus quantity. Your posts need to be strong in content, targeting what people want to read and having a conversational tone. While quantity is less important, you should still regularly update your blog so visitors can always have something new to read and rely on you as an industry resource. Be wary of using too many of the same keywords. Google will likely believe your site is spam and penalize you if you do so.
3. Know your audience.
Of course, you can’t create quality content people want to read if you don’t know what they like. Check out your industry’s and existing customers’ demographics and psychographics to see where they spend their time in the digital world and what they like seeing.
If you know your audience, you can better strategize to gain their attention and gain insights on what they need. You can also figure out which needs aren’t being met giving you the upper hand among the competition.
4. Don’t forget about mobile.
Mobile is quickly growing as more and more people are buying smartphones and becoming more dependent on them. If you don’t know how to build a mobile site, don’t fret. You can easily and cheaply do so with plugins and widgets on your publishing platform (i.e. Wix, WordPress, Squarespace, etc.). Google has expanded its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, so don’t miss out on potential rankings by ignoring mobile users.
5. Keep up with SEO news.
Marketing is rapidly changing, and SEO changes quickly especially. As a small business owner, you’ll want to keep up with SEO trends to ensure you maintain – and even improve – your rankings, which in turn increases your online traffic. There is a wide variety of online resources to help keep you in the loop, so consider subscribing to various email lists that notify you of any changes, especially larger ones.
If you don’t keep up with SEO, you run the risk of being penalized on various search engines. Remember that Google is not the only online tool you should rely on. Although it’s the most used search engine, remember to factor in others as well (Bing, Yahoo, etc.). You should also look into other organic tools as well, like social media channels or email lists. With social media, keep yourself updated on the latest trends in your industry. See what hashtags and types of posts are organically trending and work from there. With email lists, try to see what people are responding to the most and work off that.
SEO can be difficult for the unfamiliar and especially for small business owners, who juggle most, if not all, aspects of their small business. However, it’s something all businesses should utilize in their marketing strategies if they want to expand their consumer base. With these tips, you can start rocking your SEO practices.
Constantina Kokenes is a Content Specialist at Kabbage, a small business loans provider. She holds a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. When not in the small business world, Constantina loves cooking, baking, going on hikes, and playing with her cat and chinchilla.