Budget constraints are probably the number one hurdle small businesses face when marketing. They don’t have a lot of resources. That’s why most small business owners are highly critical of where they spend it. While ads can deliver quick results, you can easily blow your budget without seeing any ROI.
SEO is a great marketing strategy for small businesses because it targets users who actively search for what you have to offer. And if you do it right, your website will rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This eventually drives more traffic (and hopefully, more customers).
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a cost-effective way to reach your target market. By optimizing your website, you can attract more visitors who are likely to convert into customers.
We’ve listed down 10 ways you can nail down your SEO strategy and get your site ranking faster in this guide. But first, let’s discuss what SEO means for small businesses.
In this guide:
- Local SEO vs. SEO — what’s the difference?
- Small Business SEO Checklist
- Why is SEO important for Small Businesses?
- When it Makes Sense to Hire SEO Services?
Local SEO vs. SEO — what’s the difference?
The significant difference between local SEO and regular SEO is that local SEO is focused on optimizing a business for local searches. If you own a brick-and-mortar store or provide service in a specific geographic area, you need to optimize your site for local search.
On the other hand, regular SEO optimizes a website for organic or non-local search results. So if you’re selling products or services that can be shipped anywhere in the world, you don’t need to focus on local SEO.
What are the four steps in the SEO process?
- Step 1: Target Market Business Analysis
The first step to optimizing your website for SEO is understanding your target market and what they’re looking for. This process is also known as “keyword research,” which is the foundation of a successful SEO campaign.
To do keyword research, you need to understand your buyer persona—this is the semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. Once you understand your target market well, you can start brainstorming potential keywords they might use when searching for businesses like yours.
There are a several ways to do keyword research, but I recommend using the Google Keyword Planner tool. This is a free tool from Google to see how often certain keywords are being searched for.
Step 2: On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is optimizing your website’s individual pages to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This means making sure that each page on your website is optimized for a specific keyword or phrase that your target market is searching for.
There are a few different things you need to do to optimize each page on your website. Here’s a list of the most important on-page SEO factors:
- Page title: The title of each page on your website should be unique and accurately describe the content of that page. It’s also essential to add your target keyword in the title.
- Meta description: The meta description is the short paragraph of text that appears below your page title in the search results. This is your chance to “sell” your page to potential visitors, so make sure it’s interesting and includes your target keyword.
- Headings and subheadings: Headings help break up the content on your pages and make it easier for visitors (and search engines) to understand. It’s vital to use headings and subheadings throughout your pages and to include your target keyword in at least one of them.
- ALT tags: ALT tags are short pieces of text that describe an image. They’re important for SEO because they help search engines understand what an image is about. When adding images to your pages, include an ALT tag that accurately describes the image and contains your target keyword.
- Internal links: Internal links are links from one page on your website to another page. They’re important for SEO because they help search engines understand the structure of your website and find new pages. When adding links to your pages, use keywords in the anchor text (the linked text).
- External links: External links are links from your website to another website. They’re essential for SEO because they show search engines that your website is relevant and trustworthy. When adding links to your pages, make sure to link to high-quality websites relevant to your business.
Step 3: Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO optimizes your website’s external factors to rank higher on search engine results pages. This means you have to make sure your website is being linked to high-quality websites and that your social media profiles are active and engaging.
You can do a several things to optimize your off-page SEO:
- Backlinks: Backlinks are links from a third party website to your website. They’re important for SEO because they show search engines that your website is relevant and trustworthy. If you have more high-quality backlinks, the higher your website will rank in the search results.
- Social media: Having active social media presence is important for SEO. It shows search engines that your business is engaged with its audience. You should post regularly and include links back to your website in your posts.
- Local listings: If you have a local business, it’s important to ensure that your business is listed in the relevant local directories. This helps search engines understand your business’s location and improve your chances of showing up in local search results.
Step 4: Monitor Your SEO Progress
Once you’ve implemented the steps above, it’s essential to monitor your SEO progress to ensure that your efforts are paying off. Here are some metrics you should look into when tracking your performance:
- Check your search engine rankings: Use a tool like Google Search Console to track where your website is ranking in the search results. You can also use Moz’s Rank Checker, Ahrefs, or SEMRush to track your progress over time.
- Check your website traffic: Use a tool like Google Analytics to track how much traffic your website is getting from organic searches.
- Check your backlinks: Use a tool like Moz’s Link Explorer or Majestic to track the number of backlinks pointing to your website. You can also use SEMRush or Ahrefs to check the quality of your backlinks.
- Monitor your social media engagement: Use a tool like Hootsuite or Social Mention to track how often your social media posts are being shared and what people are saying about your business.
By monitoring your SEO progress, you can make sure that your efforts are paying off and adjust your strategy as needed.
Small Business SEO Checklist
To get started on SEO for your small business, use this checklist:
1. Identify Your Customers’ Problems
To attract potential customers and eventually grow your business, it’s important to identify the problems that they need help with. This will allow you to develop and create content that addresses their needs and solves their problems. Then, when customers see that you’re providing them with valuable information, they’ll be more likely to visit your website and purchase from you.
2. Do Keyword Research
Once you’ve identified the problems that your customers need help with, it’s time to research the keywords they use to search for these problems. This will help you optimize your website and content for the right keywords so that customers will be able to find you when they’re searching for the solutions you offer.
3. Find out What Your Competitors are Doing and Do It Better
If you want to outperform your competitors, it’s important to find out what they’re doing and do it better. This includes their SEO strategies, content, and overall website design. By looking at what they’re doing well and improving upon it, you can make sure that your business is the one that comes out on top.
4. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
Once you’ve identified the right keywords and figured out what your competitors are doing, it’s time to optimize your website for search engines. This includes adding keyword-rich titles and descriptions, creating helpful and informative content, and making sure your website is easy to navigate.
5. Fix Your Technical Issues
Several technical issues can hurt your website’s SEO, such as broken links, duplicate content, and slow loading speed. Good SEO starts from within. Thus, you need to fix technical issues so that your website can perform better in the search results.
6. Add Schema Markup to Your Website
Schema markup is a code that helps search engines like Google to understand the content on your website. Adding schema to your site can improve your chances of showing up in rich results, which can help you attract more traffic to your site.
7. Promote Your Content
Creating high-quality content is just the start when it comes to SEO. To get the most out of your content, you also need to promote it by sharing it on social media and building backlinks to your website. This can help drive more traffic to your site and boost your search rankings.
8. Optimize Your Google Business Profile
You should also optimize your Google Business profile to improve your local SEO. This includes filling out all relevant information about your business, adding photos and reviews, and responding promptly to any customer feedback. By optimizing your Google Business profile, you can ensure that customers can easily find you when they’re searching for businesses like yours in your area.
9. Manage Local Business Listings & Citations
In addition to optimizing your Google Business profile, you should also manage your local business listings and citations. This includes making sure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are correct and consistent across all of your business’s different directories. This can help boost your local SEO performance and ensure that customers can easily find your business.
10. Focus On Getting Reviews
Reviews are another important factor for local SEO, as they help build trust with customers. Therefore, it’s essential to ask your customers for reviews and respond promptly to any negative reviews and maintain a positive reputation online.
Why is SEO important for Small Businesses?
SEO helps small businesses reach potential customers online and improve their visibility on search engine results pages.
By optimizing their websites and content for relevant keywords, small businesses can drive more traffic to their sites and boost their chances of converting those visitors into customers.
Other strategies like building backlinks, promoting content on social media, and managing local listings also help small businesses rank higher in search results and attract more customers.
And finally, focusing on getting reviews from customers can help small businesses build trust and credibility online, which can help them succeed in the increasingly competitive online landscape.
In conclusion, SEO is an essential component of any successful small business strategy. If you want your small business to thrive, succeed and expand, investing in SEO is a must.
When it Makes Sense to Hire SEO Services?
There are many different situations when it might make sense to hire SEO services, such as if you’re launching a brand new business website or trying to improve the visibility of an existing site.
If you’re starting from scratch, an experienced SEO specialist in the Philippines can help you choose the right keywords and design your site in a way that is optimized for search engines.
While top-tier SEO services are not cheap, it is a worthwhile investment. They have the knowledge and experience to know what works and what doesn’t for your business and industry. These experts have worked with a lot of businesses in the past, and they can help you achieve your SEO goals quickly and efficiently.
When I started my professional career as a digital marketing expert specializing in SEO, I had no educational background in IT whatsoever. I had learned everything I know through experience and on the job. And I can confidently say that I was able to achieve success because I was able to adapt my skills and knowledge to the ever-changing landscape of SEO.
If you’re trying to improve the visibility of an existing site, an SEO consultant or agency can do a comprehensive audit on your site and identify areas that need improvement. They can also create a strategic plan of action to address those issues and improve your ranking on search engine results pages.
Hiring an SEO expert or agency is a significant investment. Still, it’s one that can pay off handsomely if you want to improve the visibility and organic traffic of your site.
Overall, if you want to succeed online and grow your small business, it is wise to invest in professional SEO services in the Philippines. These SEO experts can help you optimize your website and content for search engines, build backlinks, manage your local listings, and get more reviews from customers.
While SEO can be a complex and time-consuming process, the long-term benefits of increased traffic and conversions make it worth the investment for any serious small business owner.