What is SEO for your small business and how can you use it?
In this article, we are going to take a look at how search engine optimisation can help your business to grow. Many people aren’t sure what SEO is and according to a recent survey 22% of businesses aren’t actively using SEO in their marketing mix and 14% aren’t sure. This indicates that there is still a huge potential out there for businesses to take advantage of search engine optimisation to get their business noticed online.
We understand that not everyone is in the position to take advantage of an SEO Company who can manage and take care of their SEO for them. Or maybe you just want to get an understanding of SEO before you take someone on to do the service for you. Either way, we hope that this article will serve as a good introduction on how SEO can help your business grow.
There is huge scope out there for your website to reach thousands of new customers if you approach it in the right way. Think about any time you need something, chances are you end up Googling it. The same goes for your potential customers when they are looking to buy your service or products. If you aren’t ranking for your priority keywords then when someone searches for the things you offer you won’t be visible.
Basic SEO Terminology
For the purposes of this article it is important that we add some explanation to what SEO terminology means as we will use it through the article. The index down below highlights the most commonly used terminology and also provides a brief explanation:
- SEO – search engine optimisation;
- Backlinks – a hyperlink from one site pointing to another;
- Branding – name, design, icon, or symbol associated with a business, person, or website;
- Webmaster – a person who maintains one or multiple websites;
- Analytics – a method of measuring the success of a website, e.g. views, bounce rates, etc.;
- Bounce rate – the percentage of people who click off your website without interacting with your content or clicking another page;
- Domain authority – how well a website will rank (how established it is);
- Page authority – how well an individual page will rank;
- Keywords or key phrases – words to target for optimal organic performance and reach;
- Alt tag – text that appears when you hover over an image or when the image is unavailable;
- White hat SEO – SEO strategies fully compliant with search engines’ guidelines;
- Blogger outreach – relationship building with other bloggers in your niche;
- Grey hat SEO – SEO strategies mostly compliant with search engines’ guidelines;
- Black hat SEO – practices breaching search engines’ guidelines (not recommended);
- Impressions – the number of times your page has been seen (not necessarily clicked) in search results.
Learning the basics of SEO
SEO can be broken down into two main areas; on page SEO and off page SEO. In this section we are going to look at the basics of SEO and what each of these types of SEO means for you and your business. It is important to consider both areas of SEO when it comes to creating your marketing strategy as they will both impact your website rankings and brand reputation in different ways,
What Is On-Page SEO?
On page SEO does exactly what it says on the tin. On page SEO is the practice of optimising the pages on your website to be as friendly to search engines as possible. One of the best places to start is your page(s) itself. All pages and posts on your website should be user friendly, engaging, and most importantly, load quickly. A page that fails to load quickly, whether that’s the use of large images, obscure fonts, or straight-up madness drives users away – they don’t want to wait, we’re all very impatient… .
There are a range of different things to consider when optimising your on-page SEO, some of the most important include:
- Title Tags
- Heading Tags <h1> <h2> <h3> etc
- Meta Descriptions
- Quality of the content
- Internal Linking
- Page Speed
What is Off-Page SEO?
Off page SEO refers to the practice of building up your website’s visibility and presence away from the pages of your site. This often overlaps with the practice of digital PR and in part is built by gaining backlinks from other websites. Backlinks are a link back to your website from another website. The more relevant the website you get a link from and the more credible the website the bigger impact these kinds of links will have on your SEO and website rankings. Types of off-page link building include but are not limited to:
- Press Release
- Guest Post
- Link Insert
Secondly, you should reach out to similar websites to share your content. You can begin by sending an email to related websites, informing them of your latest blog post and why it will benefit them to use as a resource on their page. Remember: it’s an exchange of value, provide something in return to increase reply and success rate. This could be as simple as sharing one of their posts on your social media, creating a custom Pin for Pinterest, or agreeing to a guest post-agreement later down the line. We’ll leave the choice to you, but the more creative you are the better – many website owners receive dozens of these a day, so you need to stand out from the crowd!
How To Use SEO For Your Small Business
Now that you’re clued up on some of the basic SEO terms, let’s discuss how SEO can help a business grow. Adopting an SEO strategy increases the authority of your website, allowing users to find your site and particular pages or pieces of content easier. The higher you rank in search engines (e.g. Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Duck Duck Go) the more traffic your site will generate.
The more traffic you receive, the more leads, sales, shares, and general engagement you will experience. Remember, if you have a physical store, this too will increase footfall, with locals and tourists easier able to find you.
Once again, it’s important to note that SEO results will not happen overnight. For this reason, many businesses steer clear of SEO efforts and opt for paid traffic alternatives such as Google Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, and other paid strategies.
SEO if done right can have the single biggest impact on your business and your marketing efforts.
Planning and adapting your SEO strategy:
When creating SEO content for your website, including blog posts, pages, and social media content, from time to time you’ll need to adapt and pivot your strategy. This is true in multiple senses: to keep up with growing trends and to adapt to world events and seasons (if this applies to your website), not to mention adapting content to better suit your audience.
For example, you should look to review your analytics at least once a month, ideally every two weeks. This provides you with the opportunity to analyse what’s going right, and what’s going not so right, but not necessarily wrong. Constantly adapting your strategy is essential to survive in such a saturated market; innovate or die.
However, as aforementioned, you may need to pivot your strategy slightly in response to growing trends, world events, and seasons. A great example of this is the recent coronavirus pandemic. Instead of selling coffee from your shop to drink in, only allow takeaways, but ensure to advertise this! Similarly, you could create content in regards to your response to the pandemic, gaining respect from others and keeping your regular customers up to date.
SEO Learning Resources:
- TMM+ (paid)
SEO is not a small area of marketing and even within SEO there is a huge range of specialisations from technical SEOs to Off-Page SEOs and beyond. There is even a huge overlap between the work done within digital PR and the work done by SEOs, the two form a synergetic relationship and digital PR can have some of the biggest possible impacts on an SEO campaign.
With that being said, we hope this article has been informative at giving you an introduction to how SEO for your small business can help it grow. If you are in the position to do so we strongly recommend simply starting up a project website and seeing what you can do to rank it. If you are slightly more strapped for time and your business needs to start seeing results as soon as possible then we would highly recommend you get in touch with an SEO Company who can help guide you through the process or manage it for you.