If the last few years has taught us anything, it’s that it has never been more important for small businesses to digitalise. Ensuring your business can be found online is a world away from getting people to see you in real life. Competition is stiff and the market is saturated for many industries. You may be the best at what you do, but if someone is easier to find through a simple Google search it won’t be long until your online voice is drowned out.
So How Do You Get Your Small Business Seen Online?
There are a few different options but it all depends on your budget and your goals. The three best ways to get your business in front of potential customers online is through three mediums, social media, pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimisation.
The latter, better known as SEO for short, is a way of getting your business to show up in search results when your target audiences search the internet for the services you provide.
Are you easy to find online? Can someone find you contact details with minimal effort?
This is easy to remedy and can have a great impact on your SEO. Simply use a tool such as this Yell tool to check whether your business is missing from key business directories. If you’re not listed on the main directories, simply submit your listing details to get them added. This is a great way to establish backlinks and gain visibility.
Define Your Core Keywords
Now here comes the most important part, do you know what someone who needs your services is going to search for? What are they typing into search engines? What do you want to be known for? These are the questions that are vital for defining the core keywords you should be keeping in mind throughout your SEO journey.
Type them into your own search engine (on incognito for best results) and see what comes up.
You can also find the search volumes for keywords to make sure that you’re picking terms that people are actually using. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool for this activity. This is the perfect way to begin to understand what people are searching for and therefore what you want your SEO efforts to focus on.
Find Your Audience
Now that you understand what your keywords are, it’s time to find out more about the people that are actively searching for them.
There are three main things you should be considering: Where are they? What are they searching for? What do they need and how can you provide that?
If your services are focused within a specific location, make sure that’s clear. Create content (we’ll get onto that next) that mentions that location and ensure your webpages reflect that too. If you only work with businesses in Bristol, it’s not going to be helpful to have content that focuses on Glasgow.
Secondly, do people in Bristol use a particular platform? Get on it, and make sure your profile or posts lead back to your website (but try not to be spammy).
Hopefully, your work with keyword research will have given you a good insight into what your audience is searching for. So next, you need to make sure your services fit their needs. Once you’ve found your audience, it’s time for you to show them that you can solve their problem.
Content is often overlooked by small businesses, often because it is so misunderstood. Yet, it is arguably the key to successful SEO.
Content creation. Like most of SEO, is not a one and done task. Content that is published regularly can be a real boost for your website. Even going back through your older content, whether it’s blogs, page copy, or images can have a positive impact on your SEO. Google recognises websites that update their old and new content so checking back for missed typos and refreshing links with newer ones isn’t a wasted effort.
This can also be a great way to target your core keywords. Want to rank for a specific term? Write about it! Put your own spin on it to stand out, or offer a new insight so your audience has a reason to read it. Quality content will always trump the quantity.
Your Website: User Experience
If you want your website to rank, make sure you’re looking after it!
You could do all the above steps perfectly, but if someone clicks on your site and it doesn’t load or they can’t find what they’re looking for, they’re going to leave without moving forward in the customer journey. Research found that most people won’t return of they had a bad website experience, so keep an eye on those page speeds, and run them through the Google page speed tool to test it every now and again.
User experience is the backbone of SEO, without it, your work won’t have a solid foundation. If you need to improve your website, or you’re not sure where to even start, we can help.
Analyse Your Competition
The digital space is a competitive one and becomes increasingly saturated every day. Standing apart from the competition can be difficult.
So, take the time to analyse them and learn from what you find. Are they posting a particular type of content? Are they focusing on specific key terms? Find their strengths and weaknesses and implement them into your own plan. Figure out what is separating them from you and use it to your advantage.
Content can help out here – if it’s great people, hopefully, people will take it upon themselves to link back to it. But you don’t just have to rely on the organic link building, there are plenty of ways to proactively build links back to your website.
However, it’s important to a degree of caution. There are plenty of malicious websites out there promising to provide backlinks as a service. Malicious links to your website can actually have the exact opposite intended effect and create more issues for you to fix.
Our best advice is to check the domain authority of the website and assess their trustworthiness. If the site has a low domain authority, it’s not worth pursuing.
If you’re going to be looking for links yourself, be sure to take a look at where your competitors are getting theirs from and make a list of the places you’d like to contact. Checking for broken links can be worth the pay off if you have content that can replace it. The best way to ask for a link back to your site is with a nice email and, most importantly, content that is genuinely useful for the person you’re contacting. Aimlessly asking for links isn’t going to benefit you anywhere near as much as a strategic and well-intentioned approach.
Google has an unlimited amount of profiles and tools to help support your SEO goals.
Each has its own advantages and uses. Google My Business is great for local SEO, and the other two will help you monitor your website performance and traffic. We’re well versed in managing each of these so if you need any guidance, get in touch.
Track Your Rankings
So you know where you want to be (the first page, don’t we all?), now you should be thinking methodically. It’s easy to lose track of your progress so you may want to create a spreadsheet to help you keep an eye on your rankings for those core terms. Over time you should see your rankings rise closer to that coveted first position.
Commit to Long-term Changes, Not Overnight Success
So you’re working on all of the above, now what? Well SEO is a long-term commitment and results are never immediate or even guaranteed. The pesky Google algorithm changes are infamous for creating fluctuating rankings and there will always be new competition.
SEO is something that should be a constant rather than something you do and then leave alone. Luckily, there are people like Flex Digital that can manage your SEO for you if you find yourself struggling to find the time or find yourself stuck!
Get in touch if you’d like to discuss SEO for your small business.