A majority of small businesses do not realise the importance of SEO as a vital digital marketing technique.
SEO is an essential approach for businesses to get relevant traffic to their site. When the right people visit a site, they are likely to convert into leads and sales – the bread and butter for any business.
Search engines drive 93% of all website traffic. – BlueOpps
SEO provides small businesses with an opportunity to beat the competition by earning a place on the first page of Google’s search results.
The goal of a search engine like Google is to provide the best possible answers to search queries. The search engine uses machine learning technology to make sense of online queries to push the best sites on top.
If you can help users in your niche, Google can help you get in front of them and start building a relationship.
Wish to do SEO, but don’t know how it works? Here are some basics:
1. Fix Your Website
To get the most visibility in Google search results, your website should fulfil some essential technical criteria:
a. Load Speed
Nobody wants to visit a site that takes ages to load.
A 100-millisecond delay in load time can cause conversion rates to drop by 7% – Source
Why create a bad impression and lose out on rankings? Make sure your site loads fast on desktop and on mobile devices. The optimum site load time is 2 seconds or less.
“2 seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.” Maile Ohye, from Google
b. Website Structure
A well-defined website structure ensures better usability – it helps the user to move from one page to the next. The pages of a site should flow in the order of importance.
Make sure the links on your site are functioning and do not lead to an error page. Create an internal linking strategy to connect similar content on your site.
Internal links make it easier for users to navigate through related content pieces.
c. Mobile Friendly
Most web audiences are now using mobile devices. Close to half of all website traffic comes from mobile devices.
A mobile-friendly website gives users the same information and experience on their smartphone or tablet. A responsive website design ensures that your site works well across devices and browsers.
d. Structured Data
Structured data helps search engines to qualify the pages of a site. It helps your site to communicate with the search engines in their language.
Adding structured data helps you to qualify site pages into categories such as an article, event, product, local business, and
e. Keyword Optimisation
A vital part of making a site true to a niche is to optimise it for search terms. Website owners should include targeted search terms in various places including website content, meta titles, meta descriptions, URLs, and headings.
SEMrush: to audit your website for technical issues
Schema.org: to put in place the correct structured data in the code of your website
UberSuggest: keyword research
Google PageSpeed Insights: To check and resolve website load speed
Yoast SEO: to optimise site content
Google Search Console: to analyse the performance of a site
Google’s Mobile Friendly Testing Tool – Test your site for mobile usage
2. Get Local Visibility
If you have a restaurant or a salon or a fashion store catering to a local area, then local SEO is one of the best ways to get regional site visitors. Here are some quick tips:
- Create a Google My Business profile with your business address. Embed the map from the profile to the contact page on your site. Encourage customers to add reviews on it – don’t forget to respond to the negative reviews.
the site for local search terms and publish content that answers local search queries. Optimise
- Make use of local structured data to showcase your business as a ‘local business’.
- Include business contact details such as address and phone number on your site.
Use this guide to optimize your business locations for local SEO so you never miss a customer.
3. Create Unique and Valuable Content
Your target audience is typing thousands of queries in the Google search bar. You can answer these queries by publishing interesting blog posts, infographics, and videos.
When site visitors find the content useful and engaging, they stay on for longer. People love sharing useful content on their social media profiles.
When a piece of content gets a thumbs-up from a user, it sends out a positive signal to Google.
The search engine pushes up content and pages according to audience preferences. A longer time on the site, a lower bounce rate, and a higher number of social shares are all beneficial for SEO.
Grammarly: to check grammatical errors in your content
Canva: to design images and infographics for blog posts
Buzzsumo: to find trending content in your niche
Google Analytics: track content performance, bounce rate, and time on site
4. Build Links
Google is always looking to rank sites who have deep expertise on a topic. Besides producing user-friendly content, you can display your knowledge by linking with high authority sites. How to build links with bigger sites in your niche?
The best way to build links is to create some path-breaking content. Most good sites are looking to link to quality content. Such content could be in the form of a guide, an infographic, a video, or a report.
If you think you have a valuable piece of content; you can write an email telling webmasters how linking to it will be a value-add to their readers.
In the video below, John Lincoln from Ignite Visibility covers link building for SEO and provides a simple strategy that works:
Another way to earn quality links is through guest-blogging. You can look for high-authority niche sites to submit quality guest articles.
A good way to start is to understand their guest posting guidelines and pitch fresh-new story ideas. Make sure to target sites which a have a domain authority that’s higher than your site.
Back-linking is a great way to expand the reach of your business, drive traffic to your site, and improve rankings.
Local businesses can target local sites for backlinks and press mentions.
Moz: to check the domain authority of targeted websites
SEMrush: to check competitor backlinks
Hunter.io: to find email addresses for connecting with editors and webmasters
Over to You
Most people use search engines to find answers to multiple questions on a daily basis. SEO paves the way for small businesses to connect with search engine users.
The strategy takes its time to deliver but once it does the results can be quite satisfying. Get rankings for a bunch of niche keywords and you’ll get regular visitors as well as conversions.