Starting a small business in today’s day and age is no small feat.

Not only do you have to consider creating sustainable strategies to keep running your business during turbulent times, but you also need to start with a strong online presence.

And the first destination on your journey to having a powerful online presence is, you guessed it — search engines. If you are wondering why it is because more than 68% of online experiences start from a search engine.

Not only that, 53.3% of traffic on the web stems from organic search, which brings us to the topic of our discussion today — SEO. As a small business, if you think small-scale advertising and your social media activity can fetch you the results you want, you are mistaken. SEO drives more than 1000% more traffic than social media that is done organically.

That is the reason why discussing SEO, and the way you can go about your SEO strategy is so important, even if you are a small business. Correction — especially if you are a small business.

Now, let us delve deeper into what this fuss around SEO is all about, and everything that it can offer to accelerate the growth of your business if done effectively.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) — a term that is thrown around quite casually in marketing strategy meetings, and brainstorming sessions.

Search Engine Optimisation is quite simply put, the process used to direct higher quality and quantity of traffic to your website with the help of search engines. More specifically, it is the process of increasing the organic traffic or unpaid traffic to the website, as opposed to that driven by paid online ads.

An important aspect to remember is that the process of SEO is almost entirely carried out for search engines. The process includes making improvements in your website, and the way your customer experience is designed, intending to improve the performance in the search engine results.

Search engines prioritize certain qualities in content to assess its relevance and importance to its users. SEO is a way to ensure that search engines are able to recognize the credibility of your website and have relevant information for search queries.

SEO has something to offer for organizations of all types — small and large. That said, small businesses generally struggle to level the playing field online as well as offline. SEO can be that factor that puts them ahead of the existing and established competitors in the industry.

Some of the primary reasons why small businesses should invest in SEO include:

Reach More Customers and Assist Growth

Ask any business owner why they invested in a website, and they will tell you that it was to reach more customers. But for small businesses, investing in a website would not be viable if it was guaranteed to produce the desired results. For smaller businesses, this includes reaching more customers and boosting their present growth rate.

A website that is optimised for SEO basically ensures that you can bring twice the number of customers that you would otherwise be able to attract. Moreover, the cost-efficiency of SEO makes it a great strategy for small businesses, especially considering it brings in highly targeted traffic to your website. These factors make SEO a highly effective marketing strategy.

And of course, as you may already know, better the marketing strategy, better the likelihood of growth in small businesses.

Improves Brand Recognition

Another factor that works in the favour of SEO, is the fact that it can boost the search engine rankings of your website. This matters a lot because by appearing on the first page of the SERPs, you are significantly improving the chances of your brand getting noticed by potential customers.

Plus, accomplishing this will make your brand stand out from others that do not make it to the first page. After all, only 0.78% of customers actually view and click on results on the second page of SERPs.

Also, did you know that it takes nearly 5 to 7 impressions for people to actually remember a brand? So, small businesses that want to maximize their brand recognition will need to invest in SEO and try gaining higher search engine rankings.

Helps Understand your Customers

Understanding customers can help you improve the customer experience on your website, which can generate 5.7 times more revenue than brands that lag in this aspect.

Customers leave behind a blueprint of their purchase decision-making process when they conduct searches on Google. By analyzing the quality and quantity of the searches that consumers are carrying out, businesses can gain a better understanding of consumer intent and search intent.

SEO can also help you understand the specific kinds of content that your potential customers are likely to engage with. Moreover, by establishing a better understanding of your consumers’ intent, you can find better ways to engage and target them. By monitoring what kind of actions they take or do not take on your SERPs, you can optimise your website’s performance.

Reduces the Advertising Expenses

For businesses, every penny counts, especially if it is a small business that is trying to find its footing. At such a stage, incurring heavy advertising costs can be cumbersome, and in some cases, not even financially viable. In fact, 70% of marketers find SEO to be a much more effective strategy than PPC advertising.

Plus, Google’s algorithm relies heavily on the relevance of your content to users’ search queries. Add to it, the fact that the cost of researching and writing content is a lot lesser than running advertisements — online and offline. There can be a little bit of initial investment in case you decide to take the help of a capable SEO agency to secure that spot for you, but at the end of the day, you would not be spending anything close to what it costs to run advertisements.

Higher ROI in long-term

SEO can be a great strategy for bringing customers to your website and offers a consistent ROI over a period of time. This factor distinguishes SEO from all the other marketing approaches. SEO is a preferred marketing strategy primarily because even a one-time investment and effective strategy can keep offering exponential growth in the long term.

Formulating an SEO strategy is not that complicated as long as you have all the necessary factors figured out. Strengthening the SEO performance of your website will require you to consider a combination of parameters within your website and your content on other platforms.

While SEO may require you to change content and elements on your website, it may also require you to have the right tools to optimise and monitor your strategy. There are more than 1.86 billion websites active on the web as of 2021. So, if you do not already have a website, it is high time you create one. After all, it is the first step towards setting up your online presence.

Once your website is ready and live, you can proceed with setting up the most essential tools that are likely to shape your SEO journey:

Google Analytics

The next step would be to set up your Google Analytics account. Google Analytics is the holy grail to your SEO strategy as it will provide you with a comprehensive overview of how your website is performing in terms of traffic, customer engagement and conversions. Setting up your Google Analytics account is fairly simple. All you need to do is fill in the necessary details, provide your business email id (Gmail), and link it to your website to start generating insights.

Google Search Console

The next thing that you need to do before you proceed with optimizing your SEO performance is set up your Google Search Console (GSC) — one of the most powerful SEO tools. By using the tool, you can optimise your content and related performance issues on your website based on Search Analytics.

If you already have a Google account, the setup can be done within minutes. You need to sign up on the website, add your website and carry out a verification process to get started. Once verified, you simply need to submit your sitemap to GSC, so that Google can crawl and index your website.

Google Business Profile

Once you have successfully set up your Google Analytics and Google Search Console account, the next thing you need to do is set up your Google Business Profile listing. Listing your business on Google Business Profile makes it easier for your potential customers to find and get information about your business.

The process of setting up Google Business Profile is also pretty straightforward for the most part. You simply need to fill in your business details on the Google Business Profile page, including your business address, and contact information. Once done, you can proceed with the verification process, in which you will receive a code in the mail from Google on your business address. Once you add that code to your listing, your account will be verified and live.

Google Tag Manager

This next step is to set up a tag management system wherein you can add code fragments (also known as tags) to your website or mobile app. Once you have configured these tags with the Google Tag Manager, you can optimise your website based on the tags. You can set triggers associated with tags, to conduct specific actions in response to certain events.

On-page SEO Techniques

On-Page SEO is the process of optimizing and updating the website and webpage content for users as well as search engines. In case you were wondering whether these techniques are still effective, Google puts a lot of emphasis on matching keywords on the website with the users’ search queries. So, optimizing your on-page content is always a good idea!

On-Page SEO allows search engines to align the users’ search queries with the content on your website. Apart from the content, Google also analyzes the technical elements on the website so that it can aptly match customers’ search queries with the website content. Nearly 57% of marketers state that they found on-page content optimisation to be the most effective SEO strategy for their business.

With On-Page SEO, you can expect to get:

  • Higher online traffic and leads
  • Measurement of your campaign’s performance and success
  • Boosts chances of growth at an early stage

That being said, for on-page SEO to be successful and effective for your small business, you need to take a holistic approach to the strategy.

Start with Keyword Research

One of the best ways to understand which keywords are best for your website is to run comprehensive research on your SERP competitors. Analyze your competitors’ websites and get a better understanding of which keywords they have integrated and how they have gone about it.

Along with that, ensure that the keywords that you are narrowing down are right, and updated according to based on traffic and competition. Plus, these keywords should be relevant phrases that can bring a lot of online traffic to your website.

You can also use keyword research tools to analyze the traffic and ranking of specific keywords. Such tools will also help you produce page-wise keyword lists that will help you find the most effective keywords for each page on your website.

Plan Your Web Pages: Design and Content

Creating a comprehensive sitemap of web pages is not that difficult, but creating your brand identity through the design and content of these pages is the hard part. Keeping the content relatable and flowing in a uniform narrative is essential when it comes to creating web pages on your brand website.

Determine your target audience and ensure that your content is tailored to them. It is important to not have heavy jargons in your content so that customers of all backgrounds can understand it equally. While curating the content, it is also important to ensure that the company first establishes a goal to be followed.

Maintaining a blog is also a great way to establish credibility with your customers. You can work on building a loyal and highly engaged reader base, by organizing your content according to your target audience. Plus, the website design should be given just as much importance as the content quality.

You also need to organize the hierarchy and interconnectivity of the pages to make the website experience richer and easier for the target audience.

Optimise Meta tags

Meta tags often get ignored or overlooked because they are deemed to be too technical, however, in reality, they are one of the most basic and crucial elements that you would include while optimizing your website for SEO. Meta tags are important for organic search engine optimization, as Google algorithms assign significant weight to them.

Out of all the meta tags, only the title and meta description tags are visible to the users. However, from an overall perspective, meta tags heavily influence the way your website and web pages appear on the SERPs. More importantly, meta tags and directives are pieces of code that tell search engines how to crawl certain websites or web pages.

Moreover, if you think you have multiple web pages on your website with duplicate content, canonicalization is the process of designating a webpage as the one to be crawled by the search engine.

The following best practices should be followed while defining meta tags:

  • Meta descriptions should be limited to less than 155 characters
  • The meta description should be in active voice and actionable
  • Alt-Text for the image should describe it as specifically as possible
  • Alt-text for images should be short

Optimise Heading tags

Heading tags can essentially define the visibility of your web pages and website on the search engine. Even though they are a part of the technical SEO of your website, they are one of the easier elements to optimise and improve your SEO performance.

Heading (H1) tags are quite important to be defined and optimised because they let the search engine know what your page is about. Plus, it lets your web browser know how to display your content structurally. On the other hand, Page titles are displayed on the SERPs and help search engines index your page correctly.

Some of the best practices that you should follow for headings are:

  • Headings should be used hierarchically and define the content structure
  • Follow up your H1 with other heading tags such as H2, H3, H4 and so on
  • Integrate a keyword naturally in the heading to boost readability
  • The title tag should be limited to 66 characters
  • Title tags should contain a high-performing keyword

Optimise Images

Images perform multiple functions on your website, as you may already be aware. Not only do they enhance the aesthetic of your website, but they also guide the website visitors through the content. When used and placed effectively, images can make even long and technical pieces of content easily digestible and engaging.

Firstly, it is always a great idea to use original images rather than stock images, or images from other sources. Secondly, the right supporting text in the image can help you index the image for the right keywords.

It is important to set the images to the right file format and choose the right filename for the images. Moreover, it is a good practice to resize your images based on how you want them to be displayed on the website.

Some of the best practices that you should follow to optimise your images for SEO are:

  • Reduce file size so that the image does not become cumbersome for your website
  • The file name should reflect the subject of the image
  • Use JPEG for larger images, PNG to preserve background transparency in images, and SVG for logos and icons.
  • Make sure that the images that you add are responsive

Moreover, there are plenty of tools that can help you optimise images for your website.

Optimise the URL Structure

URLs are important as they pinpoint the unique address at which any resource on the web is located. But URLs do much more than just let users know your website address, they can also help you get better rankings, and contribute to the user experience.

When you are defining the URL structure for your website, following some of these predefined best practices can improve their effectiveness:

  • URLs should be kept concise, however, they should be definitive
  • Use words that are relevant and compelling to help users engage with the website
  • Use hyphens to separate words in the URL
  • Be careful while mentioning sub-domains so that your domain authority does not get split
  • Use small case letters while defining the URL to maintain consistency

Optimise Link structure

The way link structures work is very similar to URL structure. While the latter pinpoints to the search engine about the subject of the content on a specific page, internal linking complements it.

Links are generally of three types — internal links, external links, and backlinks.

Optimising links constantly can help you eliminate duplicate content to a large extent from your website. One of the crucial steps in optimising the link structure for your website is to link the pages in your website through internal links and, adding external links to establish the credibility and authority of your content.

Here are some of the best practices that you can follow for setting up the link structure:

  • Add links that are contextual to the page content
  • Link the category page to all the sub-category pages for optimised use of link juice
  • Pick a link hierarchy for your website and follow it throughout the website
  • Use SEO tools or seek help from SEO agencies to optimise the website link structure

Local SEO Techniques

Local SEO is extremely important for businesses of all kinds. After all, 78% of local searches are likely to end up in a purchase — either online or offline in a store. Moreover, 46% of all searches indicate a local intent.

There are many reasons for small businesses to invest in local SEO:

  • It helps you compete with established businesses locally
  • It can benefit even businesses that do not have a strong website
  • It is one of the highest conversion levels among local marketing channels
  • It increases your online visibility to customers in your vicinity

For your business to truly benefit from local SEO, it is important to create high-quality local content. It also helps to make your content strategy and design more mobile-centric. This has become even more important as mobile users continue to grow, and 30% of mobile searches are related to locations.

When you are trying to manage your local visibility, Google Business Profile can be a highly beneficial tool. Your GMB listing can help you drive traffic to your website, and receive calls that are almost guaranteed to get converted. If your business is listed on Google Maps, chances are that you simply need to claim your business account on Google Business Profile.

Doing so, and optimising the content in your listing to provide useful information that customers will use, to reach your business can prove effective for your local SEO.

Acquiring local citations is another great way for websites to establish credibility and be accessible to their customers. A local citation is basically a mention of your business name, and contact details. As a business, you will need to ensure that all the relevant information about your business is duly filled. Here is an example:

Local SEO Techniques

Lucio Pizzeria is a small pizzeria located in Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia so if anyone searches for Pizza in the location, they are likely to stumble upon this informative Yelp page, which provides all the information that a customer can need for getting access to the business. Hence, it can enable users to discover your business and interact with you.

Encourage Reviews and Optimise Responses

When you are building on your local SEO, it is also a good practice to encourage customers to post reviews on public directories and your Google listing. According to Trust Pilot, nearly 9 out of 10 customers rely on online reviews before proceeding to make a purchase. With that in mind, the higher the number of reviews, the higher the likelihood of customers wanting to deal with your business.

If you have an online business, you can also use our Google Business Review Direct Link Generator to generate an easy link, which you can then share with your customers on social media platforms and emails.

Off-page SEO Techniques

Also known as off-site SEO, off-page SEO refers to various actions that you can take on places other than your website, intending to boost your rankings and performance on the SERPs. Some of the actions that can help you in this endeavour include link building, influencer marketing, and content marketing among several others.

We will delve deeper into the process of carrying out such activities, and strengthening your off-page SEO in a bit. But first, let us look at some of the major benefits of doing so:

  • Increase online visibility
  • Increase your performance on SERPs
  • Improve your website and webpage ranking
  • Increase traffic to your website

Now that you know some of the major benefits of off-page SEO, here are a few ways in which you can boost your off-site SEO strategy.

Acquiring Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the most prominent ways to build the credibility and trustworthiness of your website. Pages that have a higher number of backlinks are more likely to have a better ranking on the search engines and attract more website visitors. Plus, backlinks act like votes, wherein each vote adds more credibility to your content.

To understand the exact impact of backlinks, consider the fact that the first result on Google SERPs, has 3.8 times more links than the ones below them.

But the biggest parameter for backlinks is quality. A high-quality backlink can be a lot more powerful than several low-quality ones. For this, you need to check the domain authority of the website on which you are posting your content. You should actively try to post your content on websites with higher domain authority, as such sites can pass on some of the authority to yours.

Moreover, the anchor text with which you insert links on such websites should have a target keyword. It is even more important to ensure that the website that you are approaching for posting your content should be topically related to yours.

Maintain Strong Social Media Presence

We have already established the importance of links and all that they contribute to a website’s overall performance and ranking on search engines. One of the ways to consistently build strong backlinks for your website is through social media platforms.

Beware: social media is not considered a part of the conventional SEO strategy.

But when it comes to building links, the power of social media can not be ignored. As of 2021, there are more than 3.78 billion active social media users across the globe. Needless to say, your customers — regardless of your industry — are present on at least one social media platform.

While traditional and established social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter are still great avenues, LinkedIn is a great platform to increase your incoming traffic if you cater to B2B customers.

Technical SEO Techniques

Another area that you can specifically focus on, for building your SEO performance is technical SEO. Technical SEO refers to the actions that you would carry out on the server and website backend to develop a steady positive performance on the SERPs. In essence, Technical SEO refers to ensuring that your backend is tweaked in a way that it is easier for Google to crawl and index your website.

Some of the prominent benefits of working on your technical SEO are:

  • Your website will load quickly thus improving user experience
  • Your website becomes easy to navigate and engage with, for the users
  • Search engines can quickly crawl, index and rank your website
  • You will be removing elements that can drag down the overall performance of your website
  • You can optimise the way your web pages would be displayed on the search engine

With such benefits, you can be assured that your website will deliver a stellar user experience, which is undoubtedly one of the most significant contributors to achieving higher conversion rates.

Opt for User-friendly Website Architecture

Site Architecture is quite literally what it sounds like. It refers to the hierarchical structure that you have assigned to your website and the way your web pages are linked according to it. Creating a site architecture that is easy to navigate will help the users as well as the search engines to engage in a better way with it.

A good site structure can make your website user-friendly, increase backlinks, and be indexed faster. Website architecture can be broadly classified into two categories:

  • Flat Architecture: Flat architecture refers to a website structure that can give access to information that users need in three clicks or less. Such a structure helps in keeping the flow of link juice uniform and improving the user experience. All the web pages get ranked well and get equally high authority in such a structure.

    Here is a great example of flat site architecture:

    User-friendly Website Architecture

    MAWO is the perfect example of how even eCommerce stores can successfully implement a flat site architecture and enhance their user experience.

  • Deep Architecture: Deep architecture as you may have already guessed refers to site structures that take users more than three clicks to get to the information they require. The biggest drawback of this structure is that important pages can often get buried, and the innermost pages might barely get any link juice. This, of course, means that the navigation of the website will be quite tricky as well.

    Large websites that have a lot of categories and subcategories defined often have deep site architecture. Such is often the case with eCommerce websites.

    Here is an example of a deep site architecture:

    Deep Architecture

    Westmead Hospital, one of the largest hospitals in Australia has a deep site architecture. Take a look at what happens when you click on one of the options in the main menu. A list so long can often get confusing for users. Some of the options in the dropdown can just as easily be represented as icons or options on the home page to make navigation easier.

    In large websites like this one, having a deep site architecture is not unavoidable. This is where breadcrumbs can help. Breadcrumbs refer to a series of links mentioned on the webpage, with the aim of letting the user know which page they are on, and making their navigation between category pages comparatively easier.

    If you have too much content on a single page of your website, pagination is another option that you can consider. Using this option, you can provide users with alternate navigation options including the addition of buttons to scroll between pages, or dividing content into multiple pages.

Add a Sitemap and Robots.txt File to Your Site

Adding a robots.txt file is another important step that you can take to make it easier for crawlers to access and index your website easily. Robots.txt contains a set of instructions for bots that crawl your website. With help of this .txt file, you can manage the activities of the crawlers and ensure that your server does not get overtaxed.

Sitemap which describes the hierarchical structure of your website should be added to the robots.txt file in order to direct the crawlers on your site architecture. Doing this will give search engines the necessary information to crawl your site.

Check Your Website for Indexing and Crawling Issues

In terms of ensuring that the technical SEO efforts that you put in are up to the mark, one of the best things you can do is constantly monitor if you are facing indexing or crawling issues. If any of your pages are not being crawled and indexed, it is a good idea to fix the issue as soon as possible so that the ranking of the page does not suffer.

Whether a page is facing such issues can easily be checked with the help of the Search Console, or any other SEO tool. If a page is not crawled, the search engine will skip indexing it which will prevent it from appearing in the SERPs.

Make Sure Your Site Is Optimised for Mobile

In 2021, more than 50% of website visitors accessed them from mobile phones. This basically means that half of your customers are likely to access your website through their mobile devices, and it would be a shame to not optimise it for them.

A crucial part of acing your technical SEO efforts is to ensure that your website is optimised for mobile phones. There is a lot of value in optimising the elements on your website including the logos, icons and images that you are using. These elements can often prove cumbersome, and optimising them can speed up your website.

The other more technical alternative is that of implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). The AMP Project by Google has been designed keeping in mind the super fast speed that customers expect to be served content. Essentially, it will strip down your entire website and all its elements and make delivery of your content the priority.

At its very core, AMP is an HTML page that adds certain limitations on what kind of content to be displayed first. This makes for super-fast loading times, which makes your website instantaneously accessible. Many websites have reported massive growth in their revenues and improvement in their user experience as a result of using AMP.

So, if slow loading times is a persistent issue for you, give it a spin and make sure to test out the results before implementation. Alternatively, you can seek the help of an SEO agency to ensure that it is done correctly.

Increase Your Site’s Speed

In today’s day and age, speed equals high performance. Not only do website visitors expect to achieve instant gratification from their website experience, they expect companies to constantly optimise areas that experience lags.

It all starts from speeding up the website load times, and page load times. Also, it is not just about the user experience, having a slow website can cost you revenue. In fact, for most websites, the page views can reduce by 11%, and your conversion rates can drop by 7%.

Some of the more effective ways to increase your website speed include:

  • Compressing and resizing images and videos on your website
  • Minimize the use of JavaScript, CSS and HTML
  • Implement caching
  • Work on improving the server response time

Caching is one of the most effective ways to increase the speed of your website without having to sacrifice elements or anything significant in the process. Contrary to popular belief, it does not speed up a slow website but lessens the delivery time for your website to be displayed by the server.

Provide Secure Browsing Experience to Your Visitors

One of the most important parameters that you will need to consider while running a website is to ensure the security of your visitors. Not only does security improve the customer experience and engagement on your website, but it is also in its most basic form, a necessity for increasing traffic.

Firstly, if you have not already done so, you should be using HTTPS (Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol Secure) for your website. This basically means that the communication between the web browser and your website will be completely encrypted and thus much more secure. It also ensures data integrity for your website.

Additionally, beware of phishing attacks, and take steps to prevent them right from the beginning. Phishing is the process of tricking customers or visitors to enter their personal information using a dummy email or website. It is one of the most prominent cyber threats and can be prevented by constantly monitoring and analysing your web traffic. It would also bode well to educate your employees about such attacks and reward them for spotting and reporting such vulnerabilities proactively.

When you are running a small business, exploitation of even the smallest of your vulnerabilities can cost you a lot. So, one of the basic steps that you should take is to secure your admin pages. Implement strong security for these pages by training your admin team to constantly update passwords, and to keep looking out for vulnerabilities.

Fix Broken Links

Broken links can severely disrupt the user experience and lead customers to dead ends in their browsing journey. If not dealt with, such disruptions can indicate to the search engine that the users could not find the information that they were looking for, and hence their website time has been cut short.

To prevent this, make it a point to frequently check whether any of your links have typos and whether they are working correctly. Implement redirects in case the page that a link points to does not exist anymore. If you cannot fix a specific link, rather than let it exist on the web, be proactive in deleting them.

Customise, Delete, or Redirect 404 Pages

Like the other aspects of technical SEO that we have discussed so far, one of the best ways to deal with an Error 404 page is also to monitor it regularly. When a user clicks on a URL, and the page pertaining to the link does not exist anymore, ideally your website should return an Error 404. This is necessary but of course, does not do much for the user experience.

To prevent Error 404 from hindering the experience you are trying to deliver, consider implementing a 301 redirect which signals the browser that the content has been shifted to another URL. Alternatively, you can also consider fixing specific backlinks that return the error to retain the authority of the page.

Use Structured Data

Structured data is used to direct search engines as to how the content should be displayed. It is especially useful when you are creating rich snippets, AMPs, and knowledge graphs. Also known as Schema Markup, structured data is referred to as the language of search engines.

While it is not a ranking factor yet, Google highly recommends brands to use it, as it can significantly impact websites’ SERP rankings. The format used for it is JSON-LD, which is not meant for reading by humans and is only readable by search engines.

Schema.org, a community created by the most powerful search engines in the world today organizes the schema vocabularies containing the standard structured data markup on the web. Essentially, these are pieces of code that you can directly integrate for your webpage based on its nature.

It might sound technical right now, but once you get a hang of it, you can implement highly beneficial features such as People Also Ask and Frequently Asked Questions quite easily to increase your visibility on SERPs.

Use a CDN to Avoid Server Overload

You can also make your website more responsive, by upgrading its design and implementing a Content Delivery Network (CDN). CDN is basically a cluster of servers located in different locations wherein you can send all your content so that it seamlessly displays on the customers’ browsers.

You can avoid overloading a single server using CDN, as it will distribute your content across multiple servers using load balancing. Using CDN, you can get a plethora of benefits such as:

  • Tailoring better response to traffic spikes
  • Ensuring higher user satisfaction by improving the speed of your website
  • Faster content delivery and higher efficiency especially for eCommerce websites
  • Reduced consumption of bandwidth, and decrease in latency

By now, you should have a detailed understanding of how SEO for websites work, and the actions that you can take to better your rankings on SERPs. With that knowledge, let us now explore more about the usage and application of one of the most prominent tools that you will use for your company — Google Business Profile.

So, if you are targeting local customers, we highly recommend that you set up a Google Business Profile listing. Why? Because a typical business experiences at least 59 actions on their Google Business Profile listing every month.

To understand the hype around Google Business Profile, you need to understand that it is the gateway to ensuring that your business has a strong presence in other essential applications such as Google Maps, and Google Reviews. And let’s face it: as a small business, these tools can make a lot of difference in your revenues and performance.

When users enter search queries that indicate that they are looking for a product or service near them, they are very close to making a purchase. Such leads can easily be converted into customers if targeted at the right time. This is where Google Business Profile can help you.

So, if you have not yet claimed your account, now would be a good time to do so and set it up.

Once done, read on to know more about the specific attributes and features that you should know about while optimising your GMB listing.

Key Attributes

Some of the main fields that you would need to consider filling out while optimising your GMB listing are:

  • Photos: Photos are a great way to establish the credibility of your brand and your website. By showcasing photos, you can give a glimpse of your company and all that it has to offer to potential customers. You can add a profile photo as well as a cover photo along with several other images. If you want to go a step further, consider uploading videos for increasing variety and driving engagement through your listing.
  • Address: Ensure to add your business address to your GMB listing so that customers who are looking to pay you a visit can easily access it. If you operate at multiple locations, you can also add all the locations in the ‘Manage Locations’ tab in the Google Business Profile dashboard.
  • The best part about doing so is that each location will have a separate listing associated with it, thus customers can rate their experience based on the branch they visit.
  • Contact Information: You should also add your contact information, such as your phone number and email address so that customers can easily reach you, on their preferred channel of communication.
  • Hours: Add your operating hours on the listing for your physical business location.
  • Website: You should definitely include the URL of your website, as GMB listing has been known to generate a significant amount of website traffic for businesses — small and big.

Apart from these fields, you can enter:

  • Health and safety measures
  • Alternate platforms to contact you
  • Brief description of your business

Once you have duly filled all the fields and defined all the attributes, your completed listing will be displayed along with an option for customers to get their questions answered, and post reviews. A complete listing can act as your business card, as well as pitch when created effectively, and can give you detailed insights on how you are performing on the SERPs.

Here is an example of a complete Google Business Profile listing:

complete Google Business Profile listing

Once your listing is live and updated, you can also frequently post status updates to let your customers know important information pertaining to your business. This includes event announcements, limited offers and discounts, or information and updates about your services and operations.

You should also regularly monitor the Search insights provided by Google Business Profile to understand the kind of impressions that your listing is making, and the extent to which it is contributing to the growth of your business.

So, now that you are all set with your SEO strategy and all that you need to consider for it, the next part would be to measure how effective these strategies are proving to be, for your business.

Let us look at some of the tools that can help you do this:

Google Analytics (GA) is perhaps the most popular and preferred tool when it comes to monitoring and tracking website performance. Apart from helping you monitor your online traffic, it can also help you get an overview of how your social media applications and videos are performing for your business.

You can also get insights on which are the top-performing keywords and landing pages for your business, and manage your PPC ad spend effectively. Differentiate between the organic and non-organic visitors to your website and target your SEO efforts in a more optimised manner.

The best part is that you can get a detailed overview of your on-page, off-page, local and technical SEO — all in one dashboard.

If you have a Google Business Profile account, you can check insights on your performance on the dashboard as well as using Google Maps. You may wonder how the GMB analytics differ from Google Analytics, and the answer is simple — GA monitors your SEO traffic, and GMB monitors the traffic on your listing.

For a comprehensive view of how effective your SEO strategy is, you should be implementing a combination of both.

You will be able to track the following metrics:

  • Users who viewed your profile
  • Search traffic
  • Direction requests
  • Messages
  • Website Clicks
  • Total interactions
  • Calls

Equipped with this information, you can manage and optimise your listing tailored to your requirements.

Promoted as an all-in-one toolset, Ahrefs is preferred by many SEOs for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive suite of features. Ahrefs comes with an array of tools that can be used to optimise different aspects of your SEO strategy:

  • Site Audit: Optimize your website using insights about the specific areas of improvement on your website.
  • Site Explorer: Analyse what your competitors are doing in terms of their SEO strategy and what is working well for them.
  • Content Explorer: Gain insights on the top-performing content in your industry and improve your content strategy accordingly
  • Keywords Explorer: Seek insights on how specific keywords are performing, and what your customers are searching for.
  • Rank Tracker: Monitor your search engine ranking and who is competing with you for the top spot.

Using these tools, you can be assured that your SEO strategy will be powerful and piloted by data-driven insights. If you want to use just one tool to give you all the data you need to implement a powerful SEO strategy, then Ahrefs is a great option.

Moz

Moz markets itself as a comprehensive SEO solution for businesses of all sizes and types and is a truly popular tool among small businesses. It has a plethora of easy-to-use tools and learning materials that can train and drive results from small businesses.

Moz offers a suite of paid tools for businesses such as — Moz Pro, Moz Local, Mozscape API, and STAT. In addition to that, it offers a wide range of free SEO tools such as:

  • Link Explorer: Gain insights on any website or webpage by entering the URL, and getting data such as Domain Authority and Page Authority.
  • Keyword Explorer: Generate high-performing keyword lists, conduct keyword research, check keyword difficulty, and get to know what your customers are looking for
  • Domain Analysis: Analyse the performance of any domain and get insights on metrics such as domain authority, ranking kewords, and top pages.
  • MozBar: A Chrome extension that can be installed to get an overview of the SEO performance of any website on the SERPs.

The number of free SEO tools that Moz provides can help small businesses quite a headstart in their SEO strategy. To add that extra layer of expertise, you can always opt for one of their paid plans.

A popular superhero once said — with great power, comes great responsibility.

Now that you know all there is to know about creating effective SEO strategies and implementing them, you must ensure that you do it diligently. Since, mistakes can cost your small business, quite a bit of money and time, here are a few that you should steer clear of:

Having SEO as an Afterthought

Many businesses feel that the core business functions should have all the attention and resources and that SEO can come later. Big mistake!

If you have designed a great website for your business, and are powering through towards achieving growth, SEO should be in the picture from the get-go. As a matter of fact, your website can benefit from integrating SEO in the design process, so that search engines can crawl and index your website without any issues.

In case your website already exists, and you are waiting for the right time to initiate an SEO strategy, now is the time. Companies are already establishing dominance over SERPs by implementing SEO efforts, so if you want to get ahead of the competition, it is good to start developing an SEO strategy right away.

Having unclear end-goals

While it is important to start putting in SEO efforts, regardless of the level you operate at, it is important to establish clear goals before embarking on the journey. Otherwise, you might end up diverting resources to areas that do not need that much attention, to begin with.

Considering this, set up your end goals and make a list of things that you want to accomplish through your SEO strategy. Once this is done, you can confidently start optimising your content and your website in that direction.

Being impatient with the results

When compared to other modes of marketing such as PPC advertising, or offline marketing, SEO is a long-term process. But if you tailor your SEO strategy right, you will achieve results albeit a few months down the road.

Many businesses make the mistake of investing in SEO, constantly tracking if they are getting results, and then abandoning their efforts after a few weeks of non-performance. Remember that your SEO efforts are just the beginning.

Allow some time for search engines to crawl, index and rank your website. Allow users to discover your business, and take action. More importantly, allow for the strategy to display its capabilities, considering the fact that the results will have a larger impact on your online performance than any other medium or marketing channel.

Neglecting Local SEO

Sure, you dreamt of taking your business global when you set up your small business. But as they say, Rome was not built in a day.

Similarly, creating a global presence takes time, and more often than not, starts locally. This means that there is really no excuse to ignore your Local SEO just because your end-goal is bigger. By ignoring local SEO, you will be losing out on potential local customers who could act as milestones on your journey to going global.

Even the largest corporations around the world, have had to focus on localization and local SEO to achieve the magnitude of success they did or to sustain it for a longer period of time. For instance, Apple is coming up with its version of a business directory similar to Google Business Profile, and it is called — Apple Business Register.

When Snapchat launched in India, the company launched a local AR-creator community, created local content, and used localized strategies to try and be successful. When you are a small business, you have a bit of room to try new strategies which can easily happen when you are targeting customers through local SEO. So, you should gear up and have defined strategies for various platforms and local directories

As an owner, you have multiple aspects to consider when it comes to driving and growing your small business. While creating a great website is just a start, there are a lot of challenges involved in making that website work for your business. With the global competition ever-rising, there is no time for even small businesses to lag when it comes to establishing their online presence. Enter SEO. With the right SEO strategy, tools and goals in hand, you can dominate the SERPs and overtake even the biggest competitor that you may have online.

If you want some extra help on getting your SEO strategy up and running, we are here to assist you.

Enter Your Website & get
an instant SEO Report for FREE