Picture this scenario:
You, a passionate clothing designer, have finally launched your store after enduring the tiresome process of securing financial approvals, designing the perfect interior, and finding an ideal location to captivate your target customers. Your boutique boasts a meticulously arranged window display, offering a glimpse into the world of your unique designs. Outside, the bustling street teems with potential customers, yet the foot traffic fails to convert into actual visitors. As an individual focused on honing your design skills rather than socialising, you find yourself at a loss, unsure of how to gain the attention your creations deserve.
Enter the world of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – a game-changer for small businesses like yours. In this blog, we’ll take you on an exciting journey to unravel the secrets of SEO, exploring its definition, the different types of SEO, how it works, and most importantly, the immense benefits it can bring to your small business.
Discover how SEO can elevate your online presence, attract organic traffic to your website, and ultimately convert those visitors into loyal customers. We’ll delve into the strategies and techniques that can position your business at the top of search engine results, making you visible to the right audience precisely when they need your products or services.
Get ready to unlock the potential of SEO and embark on a transformational voyage for your small business. By the end of this blog, you’ll be equipped with invaluable insights and practical tips to harness the power of SEO, giving your business the competitive edge it deserves.
The Importance of SEO & What It Is
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimisation, is the essential process of strategically optimising your online presence to attract and capture valuable traffic to your website and physical store, if applicable. The traffic that originates from search engine results is referred to as organic traffic—a coveted source of potential customers actively seeking what your business offers.
In today’s dynamic digital landscape, search engine algorithms continually evolve to deliver the most relevant and high-quality results to users. Consequently, small businesses businesses must adapt their SEO strategies accordingly. SEO is not a one-time endeavour but an ongoing journey that demands constant refinement and improvement to maintain a prominent search engine ranking.
Within the realm of SEO, several key aspects come into play, including local SEO, on-page and off-page optimisation, strategic keyword usage, and technical SEO. Each element plays a crucial role in enhancing your online visibility and attracting the right audience. In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into these vital components, exploring how they can empower your small business to thrive in the digital realm.
SEO employs relevant keywords or phrases that search engines (like Google) display on their search engine results pages (SERPs) to be found by the people searching for them. These can be shorter terms (short-tail) or longer phrases (long-tail) that are relevant to your offerings and appeal to search engines, increasing the chances of your website ranking higher in the results page.
What is Local SEO?
Implementing local SEO strategies is crucial for small businesses that target a local audience. The aim of local SEO is to rank higher in local search results and therefore stand out as the first choice for those in the area. If you own a bakery in Perth, for instance, using local SEO techniques can significantly increase the chances of your website appearing at the top of the search results when someone in Perth is looking for baked goods. You can find a deeper look into local SEO here.
On-page SEO refers to the optimisation of elements within a website itself. Meta tags, headings, URL structure, content, and internal linking all fall within the realm of on-page SEO. Optimising these elements can improve a website’s ranking on search results pages while providing more relevant, valuable content to your website’s visitors.
Off-page SEO involves extrinsic actions that enhance a website’s reputation, authority, and relevance in the eyes of search engines. It is primarily concerned with building high-quality backlinks from reputable external websites back to your own website, but also includes reputation management, social media marketing, and content marketing.
Technical SEO refers to the technical aspects of a website that influence its ranking. Factors like website speed, mobile-friendliness, structured data markup, and website architecture are part of technical SEO. By fixing technical issues and continuing to monitor them, your website will be more accessible to search engine crawlers.
How Does SEO work?
Search engines use complex algorithms to analyse websites and determine their relevance and authority to searcher intent, and ultimately, their ranking. SEO best practice simply involves optimising various elements on a website to align with these algorithms (and their changes). Optimising the elements mentioned earlier – keywords, local SEO, on-page and off-page optimisation and technical refinements – all play a part in making your website more findable to search engines. The easier it is for Google (or other search engines) to find your website, and the more relevant they deem it to the search queries of your potential customers, the more likely it is that they will show your website to the right eyes.
The Importance of SEO for Small Businesses?
The importance of SEO for any business can’t be understated, but it’s particularly crucial for small businesses as it helps generate organic, lasting traffic with a relatively low spend compared to other advertising channels.
Here are 4 reasons why SEO should be a priority for small businesses:
1. It helps establish authority:
By implementing effective SEO strategies, small businesses can establish themselves as authorities in their niche. The more trustworthy and valuable Google finds your website, the higher it will place it in its search engine results. This influences the opinions of your potential customers – no one is going to bother searching for a website on page 2 when Google has offered them a relevant option on page 1.
2. It boosts your website traffic:
The higher you rank in SERPs, the more natural visibility you’ll have. People don’t like to waste time clicking on too many websites to find what they’re looking for, so if they can see your website and it’s relevant to their search query, there’s a strong chance they’ll be visiting your website. And with more eyes on your products or services comes a higher chance of conversions.
3. It’s low cost, high return:
Unlike other forms of advertising, SEO is an organic strategy that doesn’t require a high financial investment. It’s a slow burn, but with consistent effort and optimisation, the results small businesses can achieve with SEO in the long term are incomparable to other marketing strategies.
4. Better reach early on:
These days, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t do at least a little online research before making a purchase. SEO allows you to reach your target audience early on in their buyer journey, meaning you can capture their attention and throw your brand into the mix before they’ve finalised a decision.
SEO for Small Businesses: A How-To Guide
Since SEO is a no-brainer strategy for small businesses, it’s helpful to know how to approach it in terms of implementation. Below you can find 5 tips on how to optimise your website and improve your SEO.
Conduct keyword research
What does this mean? Keyword research requires identifying relevant keywords and phrases that potential customers may be using when searching for offerings that are similar to yours. The easiest way to do this is with the help of keyword research tools (think SEMRush) that let you input your competitors’ URLs and will display popular and high-ranking keywords that they use.
With the right keywords in your arsenal, your content, titles and even technical SEO elements will be of higher value to your customer (and to Google).
Build a logical site structure
What does Google consider when ranking your site in its SERPs? Among many factors are site structure elements like schema markup and structured data. Ensure that you’re using appropriate headings, subheadings and internal linking to provide search engines with as much relevant information about your website as possible and it will reflect in your ranking.
Prioritise user experience
If you’ve ever landed on a frustrating website, you’ll know how much you want to navigate away from it. Slow site speeds, poor navigation, alienating language and difficult to read copy are inhibitors for users to stay on your site for very long.
Prioritising user experience means making sure that your website loads quickly (along with any images or videos), is secure and speaks to them in a language that they understand and are likely to relate to.
Includes site speed, navigation, secure connection, speaking your audience’s language (this means readable, relatable voice in all of your copy). Make your website easy to use and it’ll be easy to enjoy.
Optimise your on- and off-page SEO
Meta tags, image alt text, headings, subheadings, internal links – these are all elements of on-page SEO. It’s important to get these elements right as it impacts user experience on your website. Off-page SEO includes link building, updating business info on other business directories (like Yelp) and building your authority in your domain via extrinsic means. If your website has a Blogs section (and it should), this is an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge in your niche area and to have your content be referenced as a credible source by other websites.
Engage your visitors
As far as Google is concerned, value and relevance are the most important factors in determining your worth for a higher position in search results. To give your target audience the best value and to increase your chances of ranking higher, publish high-quality content that is relevant to your potential customers on a frequent basis. Staying up to date with the information you put out maintains user engagement, as do images and videos to keep your content visually interesting.
An SEO Summary
If it hasn’t sunk in yet, SEO should be an essential part of any small business’ promotional strategy. It’s an opportunity to drive organic traffic to your website in a way that establishes long-term brand awareness and credibility.
The SEO techniques discussed above can help small business owners improve their visibility at a relatively low cost, which is highly attractive for those who may not yet have the budgets of larger, more established businesses.
Embracing SEO is a great step towards long term growth and success in your domain. If you’re interested in taking that first step, request an SEO On Fire audit and find out how your website can better attract your ideal customers.