SEO Tips: Everything You Need To Know About Search Engine Optimization for Small Business
Did you know that search engine optimization can take a business to the next level? Discover the importance of SEO and how to implement it on your own business website.
Do you own a business website or an ecommerce website? If you do, you probably know what SEO stands for – search engine optimization. And if you’re not fully sure what that means exactly, keep reading and you will learn all the basics you need to know. If you already understand how important SEO is, perhaps you still need more information on the impact of search engine optimization for small business websites.
In this blog post, you will discover what SEO is, why it is important and how to make your website more SEO friendly. Let us lead you in by saying that while search optimization might sound like an intimidating term that requires technical understanding, in reality, it’s all much more simple. So, let’s dive in.
- SEO best practices can determine the success of a website by making it visible or invisible in search results.
- On-page and off-page SEO present different approaches but both can help indicate the authority of a website on search engines.
- Search engine optimization for small business websites is crucial for better ranking, organic traffic growth and reaching target audiences.
What is search engine optimization?
SEO is the practice of optimizing web pages to improve your website’s search engine rankings and organic traffic rankings. In short, it’s a way of making your website more visible to your target visitors, readers or customers via search results.
So, how exactly does it all work? Google – the world’s largest engine with 85% of the entire market – uses automated web crawlers that scan the web and look for websites to index in its search. When Google web crawlers find a new website they haven’t indexed before, they’ll look at a few key things:
- Does the website have high-quality content?
- Is the website secure?
- Are headlines, HTML tags and descriptions accurate?
- Is the text in the links correct and allows for indexing?
- Is the website accessible via different devices?
Google’s main priority is to index high-quality content valuable to people who search a target keyword by typing in words or phrases posed as questions.
Therefore, when you launch your website, you want to make sure that you optimize all elements so that Google and other search engines can find your website and start indexing it correctly. This is what will help people find your website and interact with it by learning about your services, paying for your products or resharing your content.
Sometimes people think that it’s enough to manage search optimization once with immediate results. However, that’s not how it works. SEO is not secured overnight. In fact, it can take a while for Google to start showing your website at the top of the organic search results.
Moreover, because Google and other engines work hard to ensure their algorithms are serving the best value and keeping the web free from potentially low-quality websites, search engine optimization requires continuous attention. To keep up with the changing technology, you must keep up with the newest SEO requirements.
On-page SEO vs. external SEO
When you optimize your website for SEO, you have to think about two different types of SEO: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. Both are equally important to ensure the success of your SEO campaign, but they involve different approaches.
On-page SEO is about optimizing the parts of your website that are in your control to ensure that when search engine crawlers crawl the web and come across your website, they can index it easily.
Here are the elements that relate to on-page SEO:
- Title tags
- HTML tags
- URL structure
- Image alt text
- Internal links
- Mobile speed
It takes a lot of nitty-gritty work to optimize your website, and you need technical understanding of websites. Do you have a WAcademy website? If you do, we can provide additional SEO services so you have better chances of ensuring successful on-page SEO for your website. We can help you with your small business SEO strategy.
External SEO, or off-page SEO, is the process during which you improve the authority of your domain through external sources. For example, by building backlinks to your website.
On-page SEO shows Google that your website is high-quality and valuable, which allows Google to index your website in the search engines. Off-page SEO, on the other hand, shows Google that other people find your website valuable and trustworthy. Therefore, both are equally as important.
3 reasons to optimize SEO for business website owners
Here are three crucial reasons why you need to take SEO seriously.
Reason # 1: Rank in search engines
Ranking high in search engines is the number one goal for all online businesses, especially small businesses that go against big competitors. In 2022, the #1 result in Google received 34% of organic traffic. Needless to say, everyone wants to be in the number-one spot, or at least make it to the first Google search results page.
Before the rise of SEO, ranking on the first results pages wasn’t difficult. However, with the competition rising, it’s harder now to position your web page at the top of the results for any keywords, and it requires knowledge, time and dedication.
When you’re thinking about optimizing your website for SEO, it’s important to set realistic small business SEO goals. It will take a while to rank in search, and it will take a lot of work to create valuable, high-quality content and build the authority of your domain.
On average, it can take around 3.39 months or 100 days to reach first positions and rank at the top for a certain keyword in search engines. But the results vary, and sometimes it can happen quicker or take longer.
Reason #2: Grow organic traffic
Focusing on growing organic traffic to your website is the key to long-term success of your business. And search optimization can help you with that.
When comparing the lead closing rates between organic leads and those that come from paid sources, the difference is massive. Organic leads can have a closing rate of 14.6%, while the outbound marketing leads’ closing rate is 1.7%.
So, even if your business uses paid marketing to bring in new customers, it is smart to invest in growing your organic website traffic for the long-term benefit of your business.
Reason #3: Reach your target audience
When you optimize your website for SEO using content marketing the right way, you can create a funnel that allows you to reach your target audience and turn them into paying customers organically.
If you create high-quality, valuable content and make sure that you’re optimizing it for on-page and off-page SEO, readers will find your website. If they are interested in what you have to say, you might entice them to subscribe to a newsletter, create an account or take other actions.
Content marketing is a long-term process that can take some time to take off, but once it does, you can use it for successful conversions.
How to optimize your website for SEO
While there are many ways in which you can make your website more visible and at the same time, more successful, here are the key things you should include in your SEO strategy.
1. Make your website mobile-friendly
Here’s what makes your website mobile-friendly:
- Website design is responsive for all desktop, mobile and tablet devices
- Images are optimized and scale correctly for all devices
- Short meta titles are used to make it easier to read on a mobile device
- The site speed on all devices is fast
2. Create a sustainable content marketing strategy
As you already know, content marketing is a huge part of your website’s success. The best way to start is to create a blog on your website and share high-value and quality educational content that your target audience would search for.
Keyword research can help you make sure you target less popular, more specific long-tail keywords to rank faster and higher. If you go for high competition popular keywords, it will take longer to rank while you still don’t have high domain authority.
Also, think about email marketing and use your blog to onboard new people to your email list. Create a lead magnet that compliments your blog posts and offers further value to your audience and ask for their email address in exchange.
3. Build backlinks
When you optimize your website for SEO, it’s important to build backlinks. They are links from other websites – which, preferably, have a high domain rating – to your website. As you already know, this is a crucial part of off-page SEO as it helps Google recognize that your website is authoritative and trustworthy.
The easiest way to start building backlinks is to reach out to other website and blog owners within your area of expertise and write guest posts for them. This is how you can easily add a link back to your website, and you can slowly start building that authority and rank higher in Google search.
Please beware of those who offer backlinking for money. While their offers might be lucrative, it’s best to keep clear from them. Why? Search engines understand such behavior and recognize the shady links that do not conform to their rules.
Here’s how to build quality backlinks:
- Post guest articles on websites with a higher domain ranking
- Use social media marketing to boost your online presence
- Engage in influencer marketing to get quality backlinks
- Create shareable content on your blog that other people will share and link to on their websites
4. Pay attention to speed
Slow websites deter users from staying longer and exploring more. In fact, 47% of visitors expect websites to load in 2 seconds, and 40% claim to abandon websites that fail to hit the mark. Needless to say, the percentage of visitors leaving the website increases exponentially with every second lost.
The speed of your website depends on many variables – the size of images, the plugins in use, your hosting provider, the theme you have applied and so on. And how do you know the speed of your website? There are plenty of website speed tools that can help you with that. GTmetrix, Pingdom or WebPageTest, to name a few.
If your website’s speed is slow, there are quite a few things you can tweak to fix that. For example:
- Optimize images
- Cache web pages
- Enable browser caching
- Remove unnecessary plugins
- Use a CDN (content delivery network)
- Reduce HTTPS requests
- Upgrade your hosting plan
5. Stay on top of technical SEO for best search results rankings
Technical SEO allows the search engine to crawl and index your website more efficiently and also improve the user experience of your visitors. Note that this kind of SEO does not include content marketing or backlink building.
Here are the SEO tasks to perform for those who wish to improve their chances of higher search rankings:
- Optimize your website’s HTML and security
- Check if your website is indexed by Google Search Console
- Fix tags and meta descriptions
- Make sure there are no broken links
- Keep your website loading time fast
6. Employ paid search
Big companies’ SEO strategies usually involve big paid search campaigns; however, small businesses can also benefit from this tactic. If your budget allows it, you can pay to advertise your website at the top of relevant search engine results pages (SERPs).
A correctly planned Google Ads campaign can push you straight to the top of the search results and help you target potential customers with relevant content that matches their search intent. What does this mean? The content you present for targeted keywords accurately matches what people search and want to find. If your content misses the mark, you are bound to face high bounce rates, which is never good.
So, while organic traffic trumps paid traffic, paid campaigns can be a good SEO practice, and if your budget allows it, you should definitely exploit the vast potential of pay-per-click (PPC) ads.
SEO is important for all big, medium and small business owners who have websites. It is crucial to understand SEO and apply best practices to make business and ecommerce websites visible on search engines, attain organic traffic and retain converting visitors.
At first, SEO might be intimidating and present challenges, but once it is done right, it can make or break a website. Therefore, it is worth taking the time to learn more about this and, eventually, implement a small business SEO strategy that not only works but is also sustainable.
Keep in mind that it is not enough to fix SEO problems once. To keep your website ranking high on search engines, you have to keep tracking your metrics – which you can do using SEO tools, like Google Analytics and Search Console – and making sure that all little problems are fixed so you can grow your website’s domain rank.
Do you run a website built by WAcademy interns? Then we can help you with on-page SEO!