How to get started with small business SEO
Getting a small business SEO strategy started right is important to save months of time and effort. Here I'll share some things to consider when beginning your strategy.
Other small businesses have made these SEO mistakes, I’ll show you how to avoid them.
At the heart of my ethos when working with clients is providing value. I’m always finding time to improve my own knowledge so the value I provide is always relevant and useful.
Have a look through and see if you’re facing any of these issues:
Your Social Media isn’t bringing in the traffic you expected.
Having a social media presence is a great way to showcase your business, but the social media landscape isn’t as effective as it used to be in driving traffic.
It is much more effective to have a website which ranks on the first page on Google (even better if it's ranked #1) so users can find your service or content first before other competing sites.
Social media is still a great compliment to a business’s online presence, but too often small start-up businesses create their social media pages and then become disheartened after their pages don’t bring the engagement they’re looking for.
One of the primary appeals of social media marketing is how it engages users in more fun, casual ways; typically the more corporate and dry the social media content, the more likely it is to be ignored.
Video content however still is an exceptional SEO driver of traffic; particularly because a great video can encapsulate a company's brand, its content or service, and can get across all the unique selling points of what the business is offering within a video that is shorter than a minute.
Given a choice between reading a webpage or watching a video, most users are going to prefer watching a video.
You’re Not Sure Which Website Platform is Best
Because creating a site with WordPress is free on its basic model, a lot of start-up businesses use the platform. WordPress is also enticing because of its wide range of plug-ins.
However, there are risks involved with WordPress, such as its hackable security. The site is vulnerable to DDoS attacks, and my SQL data exploits, which stem from Wordpress’s outdated Core, plug-ins, and themes.
Wordpress’s value stems from its being a free content-management system. There are alternatives out there that developers recommend and use, such as Webflow.
Webflow is a more visual website builder and is less vulnerable when it comes to security issues. Webflow also entices new users through its free use, although its best features - same as on WordPress - are locked behind a paywall.
When it comes down to it there is always going to be a cost when creating and maintaining a website. Webflow at least offers a simpler, more modern interface that Google can crawl for content and index more easily, and thus is more likely to rank your website's content higher.
How much attention should you pay to Keyword Search Volume?
Researching and incorporating keywords into your website's pages, blogs, guides, articles, and other content is one of the crucial elements of effective SEO.
On a more technical level when doing keyword research to find out what those effective keywords are, there can be an over-emphasis on Keyword Search Volume.
The keyword volume refers to the number of people that are googling the keyword phrase every month. For instance the search phrase 'where can I buy a hamster?' is searched 500 times a month in the UK.
The issue when creating content is how much can be written around one keyword phrase.
The mistake small businesses can make is answering the question too simply and directly.
Whilst this should be done, a strategy should be made so that a wide range of authoritative, engaging content is made.
For instance, writing an article for your website about 'the top 5 foods hamsters can't eat', will provide value to the user. Providing valuable information builds trust and authority not only with users but that trust is also seen by Google's crawling index.
I may have used hamsters as an example just so could include this cute image!
Google's crawling index is sophisticated enough that it can discern between junk keyword-stuffing content and genuinely helpful content which provides value to users.
Creating dozens if not more guides, blogs, articles, and so on for your small business may seem like an unnecessary expense of time, energy, and money. However in a long-term SEO strategy having a website filled with valuable content will gain recognition from Google and will, assuming the site is properly maintained by its developers, inevitably rank high and be seen, leading to good traffic and thus higher conversion rates for your business.
With all this said there is an important caveat I would like to add. Keyword Search Volume is important, but the rule of thumb is to have a central Keyword that will draw in a large volume of the right kind of traffic (for instance those looking to buy hamsters), and on this 'tentpole' keyword, smaller keyword volumes can be focused on, because the heavy lifting is being done by the larger keyword.
How Long Does SEO Take?
It takes months to a year to see the benefits of a great SEO strategy. The same can also be said for seeing the outcome of a bad strategy.
No honest SEO consultant will make hard guarantees about what can be achieved in a given time frame because of the trial and error nature of SEO. I never make any guarantees to my clients in regards to their potential SEO performance. SEO is not a one-size-fits-all strategy and what works for one client doesn’t necessarily work for another. Honest SEO consultants do not make guarantees of positive SEO results.
Most small businesses fail within the first 2 years. So it's understandable that small businesses want to see results sooner rather than later.
A great strategy for building authoritative links to your website is through podcasts and collaborating with other websites with articles, blogs, guides, etc. This however is an organic, slow process because of the back-and-forth communication required between you and other businesses and persons. Like anything, however, good things take time to grow and maintain. and the same goes for authoritative link-building.
What is The Fold and why is it important?
Another name for it is ‘the banner’. When users visit your website the first thing they're going to see is the fold on your homepage. The fold is everything they can see on their screen upon visiting the website. If a user wants to explore what is below the fold, they would then scroll down the page or go elsewhere using the site's navigation tabs.
The issue that small businesses make with their website is not paying enough attention to the fold. Users are often very picky and busy and want to find out whether your website is worth the time looking through or not, and they'll make that judgement within a second of looking at your homepage.
What they want to see is that your website can be trusted. That is why it is often a good idea to include the logos of other reputable companies yours is affiliated with. Or to include certifications. Anything that can show quickly and simply that your website will provide trust-worthy insight and value based on what the user is looking for.
Does your website require an audit?
You've made great content for your website. It is filled with blogs and articles that provide a lot of value to users. The Fold is great too, showing that your website is trustworthy and is worth the time looking at.
So why is your site’s traffic still minimal?
You can do everything right but sometimes there are technical things that need to be handled that aren't obvious. The kind of techy things developers know to look out for, and you wouldn't even know or realise is an issue until it's brought up.
An example of this is website headers and meta-descriptions. These are what appear on google; they tell you the gist of what you can expect to see if you were to click the link.
You'll want to keep the meta-description (that's the longer body of text below the header) under 160 characters, anything longer won't be shown on google's search page.
Another example is how page links are formatted.
This is an example of a bad page link:
This is an example of a good page link:
You can see the good example is cleaner and easier to read. This is noticed by Google's crawling index and will help your site rank better. These are only really some basics to go over. SEO is a whole world of strategy and technical trial-and-error to get results. The scope and depth of SEO is something I really love, which is why I formed my agency around it.
If you would like to take your company’s SEO strategy to the next level and to receive a personal, value-driven consultancy, let’s grab a coffee
Expert in SEO and with over 15+ years of experience in the Fintech industry, I share my tips and insights on how to market your Fintech successfully and how to do SEO right.