SEO for Small Business

Shop front with open sign

Making your living from the small business sector is hard - more often than not you are on your own or if you’re lucky you might have someone else or a couple of people who can help. Sure you might have some employees who handle the operational side of things but admin, finance, business development and your marketing strategy are just some of the other roles required to grow your business and bring you closer to the lifestyle you dreamed of before you started up or bought the business.

How much difference would it make if your website was working for you? I mean really working. Not just looking pretty, not just a handful of people looking at it each month, not even having a customer every few months tell you they saw your website and it was really good.

Being totally honest with yourself, when was the last time someone arrived at one of your web pages and converted into a paying customer? If you don’t know the answer to this question, or you don’t even know how you would find out then make sure you follow this SEO for Small Business series.

So just what is SEO? It’s a bit of buzz word in the world of websites, you may have heard of it or perhaps this is the first time. It is an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation and in short it is the process of optimising your online presence to perform better in search engines. In other words:

Search Engine Optimisation is the ongoing process of adjusting your website in order to increase your chances of appearing above your competitors for the search terms your potential customers are searching for.

There really is no substitute for having a leading SEO specialist managing your SEO campaigns for you and I highly recommend doing so if you can, but realistically, as a small business owner cost will play an important part in the decision making process. So if paying for Search Engine Optimisation is not an option at the moment, this series of articles will help you to understand and implement things yourself which will help to form your seo strategy, improve the health of your website, and ultimately your search engine rankings.

Before you start doing anything to your website, write down the answers to these questions:

  1. Who is my target market? I.e. What is the average age, gender, interests.
  2. What do I want these people to do when they get to my website? Contact me by phone, contact me by email, make a booking, place an order?
  3. Who are my competitors online? Which of them are getting top spots in search engine results?

When you have answered these questions, review your website. Where are your calls to action? Do they stand out? Are they worded in a way that will appear to your target market? Are they placed somewhere that is easy for your target market to find?

Think as if you were one of your potential customers and make any required changes to ensure that when they arrive at your website, they don’t even have to think about what they need to do next, they simply follow the clear calls to action which guide them to do what you wrote down as the answer for question two.

What does this have to do with your search engine results? Search engines track how long people spend on your website, how many pages they visit, and how they interact with each page. Website visitors who leave without any interaction increase your ‘Bounce Rate’. The higher your bounce rate is, the less relevant a search engine will consider your page content. As the job of a search engine is to deliver the most relevant results to the person searching, you want your bounce rate to be as low as possible.

Bounce Rate is just one of many things that you can measure and track using Google Analytics, a free analysis tool that you can add to your website. We will be using Google Analytics a lot in this SEO for Small Business series as the amount of information it can provide you for free about how your website is being used will give you the confidence to make changes that transform your business.  

At this point you know who you want to be using your website and you know what you want them to do when they get there. You also know how you can track if visitors find your website relevant, based on the Bounce Rate, and can look at the quality and quantity of content if it's too high. 

Rather than going to some SEO company who guarantees top spots and a low cost seo service (these are usually two clear indicators that even if they can deliver on some key phrases, illegal methods and low quality link building are normally being used known as black hat SEO and can result in your website being penalised by search engines), you now have the information you need to be able to make some serious steps to improving your own online presence.

Stay tuned as we work through things like link building the right way, competitor analysis, site audits and more - all from the viewpoint of a small business owner. Got any questions? Get in touch or even send us a message via social media - and of course if you know other business owners who would be interested in learning some basic SEO techniques, make sure you share the link around.