While the corporate giants compete over a piece of a very large and profitable cake, small companies are leading an entirely different battle. The goal of a small business should be to dominate the local market. One of the most efficient ways to specifically target groups of local customers is through the clever use of SEO tactics for small businesses. Let’s see what the best approaches are and how you can use them to expand your business.
Understanding SEO Strategy for Small Businesses
Let’s start by defining SEO in general. In simple words, search engine optimization aims to increase organic(unpaid) website traffic. By implementing a set of rules, your website’s pages will turn into a piece of online material that Google values. The better the SEO is, the higher your website ranks on Google’s TrustRank.
However, the search engine algorithm is too complicated, and it changes all the time. That’s why your SEO needs to change with it. Otherwise, you will quickly have a very outdated website, and you won’t even be aware of it until your traffic goes down.
Furthermore, it is crucial to understand that not every type of SEO is the same. Depending on your business’s size and on what you are trying to achieve, SEO tactics slightly change.
While a multimillion-dollar brand wants to focus on customers worldwide, a small business requires a different approach that focuses on a smaller market. The margin for error is almost nonexistent. Even the slightest mistake could make a small business invisible to the local community and result in a substantial loss of profit.
Small Business SEO Mistakes to Avoid
With what we learned in the previous section, the follow-up question is pretty straightforward; How can one not make SEO mistakes if the algorithm constantly changes?
Well, the bad news is that you will probably make some mistakes at the beginning. However, the one you should avoid is not recognizing the error when it happens. That’s why this article focuses on efficient SEO tactics for small businesses. The more you learn about it, the more prepared you are. And if you are prepared, you expect things to happen and can immediately solve the problems. With that in mind, remember that SEO requires:
- a lot of time, effort, and energy
- constant improvement
- researching the newest strategies
- researching the competition
This sounds like a massive project, and it is. But, the reward is entirely worth it!
Check out 6 Excellent SEO Tips for Small Business Websites:
1. Know Your Customers
One of the most important SEO tactics for small businesses is to focus on the local market; people who are close to you, and, when it comes to providing a service, require quality, speed, and convenience. With that in mind, make sure you are out there, in the crowd, meeting the locals and learning about their interests. Engage your customers by organizing surveys and polls. Ask them for feedback, and ask them what they want. If you don’t know how to approach them, add a review page on your website, and ask them politely to write a review when they get home. Let them know that you are listening.
The information you gather will be the base for all of the SEO steps that come after. Ask yourself, if you don’t know what your customers want, how are you going to give it to them?
2. Focus on the Local Keywords
Once you understand what your customers want, it is time to pull up your sleeves and get down to business. The secret of quality keywords lies in understanding search intent in SEO. Every search query has a purpose. Let’s look at a scenario where a customer wants to buy shoes. Here are a few different ways he or she could look for shoes online:
- Shoes: this keyword covers a very broad subject. The person does not have any specific requirements; they just need shoes. This kind of search will probably provide the website of the best shoemakers in the world, someone who ranks number 1 in the shoe business.
- Elegant shoes for sale: this is a bit more refined phrase but still too vague for a local keyword. Here we find out that the person is not only searching for elegant shoes, but they also want to purchase them.
- Affordable quality women’s shoes Jacksonville, Oregon: now that’s a type of local keyword phrases that will give you precise results. Not only did we learn that the buyer is looking for women’s shoes, but they are also looking for quality, a reasonable price, and they focus on a local seller in Jacksonville.
Hopefully, this example clearly demonstrates what search intent is and what kind of logic you want to use when creating your local keywords and search phrases.
3. Use the Best SEO Tools You Can Afford
Another thing to remember when researching local keywords is that this is not an easy and quick process. As we mentioned initially, you need a lot of time, effort, and energy. Furthermore, you need to choose a proper tool for this task. You cannot just take a pen and paper and start writing any keywords that come to mind.
A huge benefit of SEO tools for keywords is that they do a lot of the heavy work for you. Your job is to provide a reference, like the industry, company name, and the products and services you offer. Furthermore, you need to input customer demographics, like age, gender, interests, locations, and many other important factors. Finally, you need a list of keywords you want to target. Once the software has all this data, it will analyze it and return pages of results. Then comes the part where you need to read through the offered examples and see which ones will work for you.
An excellent way to figure this out is to research your most significant competitors in the area. See what kind of keywords they use, and try to change them and make them better.
4. Don’t Neglect the Power of Citations
Citations in SEO represent a reference to a business in the form of company data like name, contact information, address, social media profiles, etc. While not everyone focuses on citations, for some businesses this is a must. We have talked earlier about how Google’s algorithm decides your website rank. Well, if there is one thing that Google values, it is how many times it can find a reference to a business online. If people talk about it, that means it is worth something.
When it comes to citations that target local small businesses, choosing the most efficient channel is essential. The ones that we can recommend are:
- Google My Business
- Google Maps
- Bing Maps
Of course, there are many other different channels you can use. If you intend on hiring a professional company that writes and publishes citations for you, the best approach is to talk with them and see what they recommend.
5. Create Content that Includes Local News and Events
We cannot really talk about the best SEO tactics for small businesses without mentioning the importance of good local content. Yet again, we are looking back at when we talked about your customers’ needs.
The best way to create content that makes use of the local SEO is by writing about local events and news. That is an important topic of interest that may attract many readers. If a small business focuses on everything that’s happening in their neighborhood, they are building awareness in their customers’ eyes.
6. Use Hashtags on Social Media Platforms
When you start running a blog, it all comes down to finding the best channels to promote your articles. Social media platforms offer a plethora of possibilities. They serve millions of people every day, but remember, the main goal is to talk to your local customers.
The best way to do it is to use location-oriented hashtags. Hashtags play one of the most crucial roles in social media marketing. They allow you to group articles and posts and give the right information to the readers. They will also keep your readers longer on social media by offering related content.
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Small Business SEO Made Easy
As you can see, there is an array of SEO tactics for small businesses at your disposal. As long as you focus on your local customers, there is a good chance that these approaches will be efficient and produce results. It will take a lot of time and effort, but the most important thing is to be persistent. Engage your customers, talk about their interests and needs, and use the gathered data to steer your small business in the right direction.