Five Beginner SEO Marketing Tips For Small Business Owners
According to a recent study, over $135 billion was spent last year creating digital marketing content and SEO marketing. Digital marketing refers to the marketing of products or services online through various paid channels like banner ads or unpaid channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. While a big firm can afford paid mediums, a small business with limited funds can benefit greatly from the optimization of unpaid search.
In 2017, BrightEdge, a leading company in organic search, conducted a study that showed that organic search (unpaid search) drove 51% of all visitors to B2B and B2C websites, whereas, paid search and social media accounted for 10% and 5% respectively. The result of the study reiterates the fact that the effective use of unpaid search can help small businesses and marketers in targeting potential customers and generating revenue.
In order to make effective use of unpaid search, we first need to understand the concept of SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO is part of search engine marketing. It is based on a number of factors affecting keywords, such as variants, search volume and frequency. Keywords are what a user plugs into his or her browser to find a company’s website, product or service. The search results are the listings that appear on a search engine, like Google, Yahoo or Bing. Each listing consists of keywords created from a keyword planner, such as Google AdWords, and appear on SERPs. These keywords can be long tail keywords, which consist of three or four keywords. They can even be used to create anchor text, which is click-through text in a hyperlink. These words can determine the ranking a specific web page will receive from search engines. And the main goal for any business is to have their listing be on page one of Google, and to stay in that position for as long as possible. Google is big on providing SEO guidance. It provides webmaster tools to measure your site’s traffic and performance through Google Search Console. Google webmaster tools give you the guidance you need to know what is going on with your website.
If you are in the mood for pancakes and you search for a suitable recipe on a web search engine like Google, Bing, Baidu, and Yahoo, you will get a list of results – links to various websites or blogs. SEO, search engine optimization, is a process that affects how many times a webpage or a website appears organically in the result list. The higher the SEO ranking, the more will be the visibility of the site in the search result list.
Now let’s look at the top 5 tips for a small business to improve its SEO ranking without shelling out a penny.
- Creativity and consistency
Your website must be one with your business. The word that goes out from your website must be consistent with your business image that reflects in your website name, title, the description, blog keywords, and content. It should also be used in your domain name.
Avoid using generic titles for your content, for example, Delicious pancakes. Instead, choose something specific that you can identify with like “5 ways to make healthy and fluffy pancakes”. Doing so will increase your chances of being found.
You can create content framed around your keyword search results. You will naturally include these keywords when describing your company, business or service. Each page content should have relevant information pertaining to that page. For example, you would not use the same content on the home and about us pages. Each is a specific page that must not contain any duplicate content. This will hurt the search engine optimization of your website and cause a low search ranking, as the search engines penalize for this practice. As you learn more about search engine results, you will pick up SEO tips, such as:
- Page title: You want to create this and the meta description. It is the title you give to each page on your website. A page title tag and meta tag are inserted into the HTML. And HTML provides simple coding which makes it easy to insert tags, unlike Flash.
- Alt tag: This is when you use keywords to label or describe an image on your website. Google’s bots will crawl over a website looking for these tags and use them to index the website to achieve high search engine rankings. You should also create text (alt text) for each image as well. This gives the bots more to index. If you have an ecommerce site, you should create alt tags and text for each product image.
- Meta description: This is a 155-character summary of a web page. It is right under the page title in a search engine listing. This gives you another opportunity to use new keywords.
- Internal links: These are links that connect one page on your website to another. They help create the architecture for the site, along with the xml sitemap. Google’s bots need this type of structure to give them access to web pages and to crawl them.
- Social media: You can insert keywords into hash tags to promote your brand and increase organic traffic on social media platforms. This happens when a user searches keywords relevant to your website on a social channel, such as Twitter or Pinterest. These high-quality keywords can also be used in search queries on the internet.
And there a number of website-building platforms out there that make the set up of your website a snap and build SEO for it. For example, WordPress can help build SEO with by filling in the SEO fields of your post’s editor (builder tool) and comes with SEO plugins.
- Site Analysis
Before you start working on SEO optimization for your site, you need to know your level zero – the starting point. Doing so gives you the answers to the following questions:
- whether your site appears on the web result list when searched with your business related keywords
- how difficult it is to find your website with words associated with your company
- which page does it appear on
Once you know the gaps, you can take help of various online tools like The Results Driven Metric to improve the SEO ranking of your business.
- SEO optimization for mobile
According to Statista, a statistical portal, in 2017 approximately 2.32 billion people are using smartphones worldwide. The number is expected to reach 2.87 in 2020. This trend suggests that more and more people are going to use internet for various reasons like searching a good restaurant or shopping online. Thus, small business owners must make sure that their website is mobile friendly, in that:
- the text doesn’t require to be manually adjusted (pinched/ zoomed) to fit the screen size.
- the components such as tab buttons, items, or headers stay well positioned without any distortion.
- the interface is easy to use.
You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check the optimization of your site for mobile.
- Social Media presence
Social media presence is part of a business’s brand strategy. To make sure that your name pops up in the result lists, small business owners need to maintain a strong and active presence on all social media platforms. An active presence may include:
- Interaction with target group – Maintaining a responsive page on Facebook may expose you to your potential customers.
- Quality content – Writing informative articles or blogs for your target audience may fetch you, regular visitors and future customers.
- Trend tracking – Keeping a check on what’s trending and driving content accordingly gives you the opportunity to get your content viral.
Small business owners can also generate traffic from other websites through external link building. You can use link monitoring tools like BuzzStream or Ahrefs. You also need to create quality relationships with bloggers and industry experts to earn quality links, creating a network of backlinks from other websites. This connection to great content will add to the credibility of your website.
This beginner’s guide to building SEO is a great starting point for ways to boost your content marketing as well as visibility for your website. To learn more, we suggest you check out popular SEO blogs such as Moz and SEMrush. They provide in-depth coverage on search terms, webmaster tools, search engine results and more. You’ll gain the know-how to increase traffic to your website.
If you want to jump-start your small business with Search Engine Optimization contact our team of professionals or call us at 215.393.8700 and let’s get started!
Note: This article was originally published in December of 2017, but has since been updated with current tips and strategies!