Top SEO Tips for Small Business
Are you a small business owner looking to drive more traffic from Google and Bing without breaking the bank (i.e., paying for ads)? Get ready to crush your natural search goals with these expert SEO tips for small business websites!
Invest in your website
Making sure you have a user-friendly website that is mobile-friendly and secure is the best thing you can do for your SEO as a small business owner. Investing in SEO without a website that checks these boxes would be a waste of your valuable marketing budget.
Get listed on Google (Maps)
One of the most important things you can do for your small business’s SEO is to setup and actively manage a Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business). Google Business Profiles (GBPs) allow your business to be found on Google Maps and provides an important link back to your website. Google has also added numerous personalization features in recent years including the ability to post offers and updates.
Setup tracking and establish a baseline
Setting up Google Search Console (GSC) will allow you measure your website’s natural search performance on Google and provide access to critical tools (such as Request Removal which allows you to request content to be removed from Google Search). Using GSC to establish a baseline for performance (e.g., how many clicks and impressions you receive a month) is important for measuring the success of SEO initiatives. And if you don’t already have an analytics solution Google Analytics 4 could also help improve your SEO strategy by being more data driven.
Do keyword research for your small business
As a small business you might be thinking keyword research is expensive and reserved only to experts. Think again!
You can do a surprising amount of research simply by searching your business, products/services you offer and competitors. Seeing what Google suggests under People also ask is one of the simplest and most effective forms of keyword research. There are also tons of free and low-cost tools to help you learn what potential customers are searching for.
We recommend checking out the following free keyword research tools:
- Ahrefs Free Keyword Generator
- Free Semrush account (10 keyword searches/day)
- Google Trends
- AnswerThePublic (3 free searches/day)
Think of keyword research as a Venn diagram. On one side you have what your business offers and the content on your website. On the other side of the diagram is what your customers and potential customers are searching for. In the middle is where SEO success lives.
Consistently create content
One area that many SMB websites struggle with SEO is the amount of content they have. Thankfully, knowing which keywords and topics to focus will alleviate some of the strain of creating new content.
Each piece of content you create is an opportunity to increase the visibility of your brand on search engines. Investing in quality content that engages your audience will be transformative to your search engine optimization.
Creating a blog and consistently posting articles is a great way to invest in content creation if you’re unsure where to start.
Always optimize these 3 tags (at least)
Ensure all your site’s pages have title tags, meta descriptions and canonical tags that follow best practices. We recommend the following for starters:
- Title tags – 60 characters or less; often with keywords front loaded and the brand name at the end
- Meta descriptions – ~155 characters describing the page, including your top keyword and a call to action
- Canonical – use the URL you want on Google (self-reference unless you have duplicate content)
There’s plenty of other types of meta data and many of them can be important for SEO too – but consistently optimizing these three tags will be foundational for any effective SEO strategy.
Create a robots.txt & sitemap.xml
Make sure you have a robots.txt file and sitemap.xml on your website that follow best practices. The robots.txt file tells search engines which URLs you do/don’t want crawled. And the sitemap.xml is effectively a list of all the pages you want search engines to index in their search results. Depending on your website’s content management system (CMS) these files might be created automatically or through a plugin like Yoast SEO for WordPress.
Setup social profiles & manage local listings
While Google has been downplaying the importance of backlinks in recent years, there are some best practices that small business owners should still consider. Linking to your website from social media profiles and getting listed of relevant directories can help boost your SEO. As Semrush suggests, you can also ask your suppliers and business associations for a link to your website. One common example is getting a link from being a local Chamber of Commerce member.
Pro tip: get a free profile on Linktree and create links to your website and social media profiles. Unlike many platforms, Linktree provides a dofollow link instead of a nofollow link which helps SEO more (as of this writing).