According to recent research, three-quarters of small business owners know what search engine optimization (SEO) best practices are despite the lack of SEO use for many small businesses. The pandemic reinforced the need for companies to maintain an online presence and incorporating an SEO strategy into your marketing plans will help your business get more attention. Solid SEO plans allow small businesses to gain visibility, bring in new customers and make their products and services more accessible.
Building an SEO strategy is relatively no to low cost. While you can hire an external company to research and implement your SEO, you can also instill good SEO practices on your own. It will take a little “sweat equity” but the reward is well worth it.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” and simply stated, it is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when users search for products or services related to your business via a search engine like Google.
Think of search engine optimization as the process of placing little red flags on the internet to alert Google (and other search engines) of your business. Once you have its attention, Google will push those flagged areas through its algorithm to determine if you meet three (3) specific requirements. Whether or not your site meets the criteria will influence if and where your small business ends up in the search query. Let’s discover the three (3) requirements.
The first key area of SEO is “crawlability.” Search engines are all about user experience because they want people who perform online searches to use their search engine loyally. Your website needs to make it easy on Google to find and “crawl” it. Crawlability describes how easy it is for a search engine to find and crawl the content on a web page. If a website is free from slow-loading files and broken links, then search engines can crawl it quickly and easily to assess how relevant it is to a specific search.
- Check your site’s speed using a free tool like PageSpeed Insights
- Regularly check your site’s internal link structure to ensure there are no broken links
- Internally link your web pages to one another
Secondly, your website should be relevant to the search terms. You can increase your relevance by using keywords and keyword phrases. The process of researching keywords involves searching for popular terms your potential customers search for on search engines. Keyword research can not only optimize your website, but it can also enhance your content strategy and larger marketing strategies.
- Make a list of relevant and important topics based on your business
- Use tools like SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool or Ubersuggest to see ranking and choose your keywords
- Include your keywords strategically throughout your site’s content
The final key area to consider to improve your SEO is credibility. Search engines want to see that your business is legitimate and reputable. The best way to do this is with customer reviews and testimonials. Another way to boost your authority is to be referred by other businesses on their websites. Take that one step further with inbound links, which are references to your company that include a link to your website. Inbound links are powerful because they build credibility and are the primary way that Google discovers new companies and web pages.
- Gather customer reviews and testimonials and upload them to your website
- Network with other local businesses and offer to mention their services and vice versa
- Start and/or regularly update a Google Business Profile Page
Maintain and gain momentum
Utilize the above checklists to kick off your SEO strategy. Once you’ve made the initial optimizations, you’ll start to see changes in search results. It can take a few weeks or sometimes longer for the algorithms to catch up to your improvements, but once they do, you will notice an uptick in online traffic and new customer acquisition. Good luck!
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