Small Business Search Engine Optimization 101

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By | Sep 3, 2018

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Operating a small business is one of the toughest experiences ever. Research indicates that many small enterprises don’t even pass the one year mark before they disintegrate, while many others fail before the elapse of five years. This doesn’t mean that prominent businesses don’t fail too, they also face the same predicament if they fail to recognize and adapt to the ever-changing environment.

Among the most daunting tasks in business is marketing, to a great extent digital marketing. More so, the new wave of SEO has proved to be a nightmare to many enterprises. Despite being a mystery to many, when expertly executed, it can provide any business with a competitive edge by helping to generate organic listings that will allow you to build trust with customers.

This piece seeks to expound on how SEO can be used in the marketing of small businesses. Using the in-depth knowledge and expertise we have gained in this field, we will provide essential skills and information you will require when deciding whether to integrate an SEO strategy into your business model.

Since there are vast resources on the internet with conflicting information on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), I know you have a myriad of questions running through your mind right now. Maybe you want to know if SEO is copywriting, keyword research, link building or SEO market research. Is it all about having an optimized website, creating a positive image, optimizing your website for mobile phones or the use of sophisticated analytics and marketing via search engines?

Pretty much, SEO is a more complicated and rounded field than you anticipate, and it involves all the above and more. Since there are many types of SEO and a broad range of factors that need to be put into consideration, it is imperative for a business owner to consult an SEO expert to understand which type will correctly align with their business. Among the things to be factored in include the industry, the niche, and the SEO SWOT analysis.

When a user writes something on the search engine, it directs them to the best answers on the internet. For your small business to have a competitive edge on this platform, you need to do whatever you can to ensure that it is highly ranked on the search engine, and then ascertain that it is not only visible to prospective customers but also offers useful information that will help them in decision making. If the resources you provide are exceptional, you will not only attract more prospects but also convert a great deal of them to long-term customers.

Here are some of the SEO aspects to consider for your small business:

  • Create a well laid out site that is easily navigable and mobile optimized.
  • Once you have a functional website, it should have expertly written content that sets you apart from the rest.
  • You should also market the content. Blogs are the best in content marketing since they offer detailed information and reach a broad spectrum.
  • On-page optimization is also essential. Use meta descriptions and title pages to make your site exceptional.
  • Integrate local SEO practices to build trust with local customers.
  • Add links to your site in a practice that is known as authority building.
  • Attach portfolios, referrals, case studies and testimonials to speak to your credibility

Considering the complexity of SEO, it is essential to understand the market situation before you make a decision. Unfortunately, the fact that you are operating a small business makes it difficult to shun complications. This leaves the most critical areas to consider as the website design and layout, links, and content.

When is the right time to use SEO in a small business?

In the modern age and era, most of the people are buying products and services online, and those that don’t conduct thorough research on the internet before they buy something from a physical location. Since SEO is what elevates your visibility on the web, it is a perfect means of marketing your business at any stage.

However, there are various items you should put into consideration.

  • Budget - SEO can range from simple affordable practices to complex elements that can cost a fortune, so make sure you operate within your means. 
  • Time - Sometimes SEO strategies may require a more extended period to yield noticeable results. 
  • Disruptive ads - Some ads are a nuisance, and they may take much of the screen space or keep popping up on top of your content. 
  • Competition - Since you are operating in a free market, you will come across stiff competition from prominent businesses that have extended financial muscles that can send you to oblivion.

We all agree that SEO is an integral part of your online marketing strategy. However, it should not be the only tactic used primarily for a business that needs immediate results. Take time and evaluate whether you have the capital to delve into it right now, or maybe you need to use other techniques that deliver fast results such as PPC advertising, and then come back to SEO later.

What to consider when selecting an SEO provider

With thousands of companies and agencies on the internet claiming to be the best in this field, finding the right SEO provider requires some due diligence on your part. You can start by checking out satisfied customer reviews, and then dig deep into knowing the owner of the agency, its consultants, and their reputation in the industry.

Here are tips that will help you get the best SEO provider

  • Find out the type of strategy the SEO Company at hand utilizes. Among the things that should be in their basket include on-page optimization, technical audits and corrections, mobile optimization, authority and link building, and content optimization among others. If they fail to mention any of this, please move on to the next one.
  • Seek to know their area of specialty when it comes to SEO. The black-box nature of SEO makes it have several categories that include Content, Local, Technical, National, and Links and Authority. The agency you select should deal with a plethora of SEO elements, not just one area.
  • What specific tasks will be given undivided attention and for how long? Will the SEO Company take one month or a year in content creation, link building, and technical audit and fixes or spend five years performing all aspects of enhancing your business’ online visibility.
  • How will they build links and authority for your site? Do some digging to determine if the company at hand uses links that are considered standard and acceptable by Google and not some exaggerated schemes that may cost your business. Usually, natural links and created content, as well as guest posts and digital PR are pointers of a competent firm.
  • Find out if their strategies and techniques adhere and meet the Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This is one of the things that help business owners separate the chaff from the grains. Reputable agencies will be glad to show you how their processes align with the Webmaster guidelines but unqualified schemers will try to escape this part.
  • Look for supporting reviews and ask for testimonials of the businesses they have worked with before. If they have worked with other companies from your industry, you can trust that they will help you achieve your SEO marketing goals
  • Establish the measures they use to gauge their success. The company needs to explain to you how they will determine if their strategy is working. While a small business may not have much to show, things like keyword ranking and the total organic search traffic are paramount in evaluating the progress of the SEO marketing strategy.
  • Seek to know how they charge their services. Is it through contracts or monthly plans? Make sure you take the minimum term so that you can opt out if the results are not favorable or when you realize that you are dealing with a low-quality provider.
  • Companies and agencies that provide progress reports are the best. While it might cost you an extra buck, having monthly reports will help you see the gradual change and understand how each task affects your business.
  • When you will be able to see substantial results. Is it three months or six months or longer?

Can SEO be a DIY marketing strategy?

Yes! Much of SEO can be done by any dedicated person. If you are operating a professional website, you must have touched a part SEO, even if it was unknowingly. Small business owners who wish to do SEO by themselves can access the myriad of resources on the internet.

Need Help with Your Small Business Search Engine Optimization?  92 West can Help!  Call us at 402.620.2633 or by clicking to request a quote.  We'll be happy to assist and most of our programs run from $375 - $750 a month for local campaigns.

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