The Ultimate Small Business SEO Guide
Welcome to our Small Business SEO Guide. This article was written primarily for small business owners, but anyone can use this SEO guide. SEO can be very important for your growth online. It helps drive online traffic and is very helpful in landing new clients. The problem is that most people don’t know how to do SEO, let alone know what SEO is. To make things easier for you, we’ve created a small business SEO guide for you. It covers what SEO is and what you need to do to grow your business online.
Let’s dive right in.
Content is King
The most important factor for Google to rank your site is content. The better your content is, the higher your rank, considering that all other things are kept constant. Content with better readability, more originality, and better formatting tends to outrank content that lacks in those areas.
Whenever you write content, you should write for length, engagement, and keyword density. Most posts that rank well are around 1,700 words, but if you have a shorter post with a higher keyword density, then you will be fine.
One of Google’s biggest ranking factors is backlinks. Backlinks basically tell Google how popular your website is. The more backlinks that refer back to a post of yours, the higher your post will rank.
However, you need to be careful with backlinks. Google only wants authentic, high-quality backlinks. They don’t want backlinks that are spammy and not related to whatever the post is about.
For example, if your post on horses has several backlinks from websites about weightlifting, Google might find those links suspicious and penalize you.
Today, there are three ways you can get high-quality backlinks. One, use guest posts; two, link input; and three, high-quality already-ranked content. The third one is the trickiest and usually the exception.
Some marketing agencies will pay for guest posts as well as link inputs, but since we’re talking about the small business SEO guide, we recommend doing networking and email outreach.
If you connect with fellow blogs and media sites on a personal level, then you have a higher chance of landing a backlink which will result in more referral traffic. Backlinks are by far the hardest thing to get when it comes to SEO, but they pay off the most when you get them.
Internal links are links that you put into content to refer viewers to another part of your site. They can help with bringing traffic to certain posts, but they’re mostly used to help Google crawl your site.
Crawling is how Google understands your site. By doing this, they are able to store your information so they can later rank you based on certain keywords. The recommended number of internal links you should have ranges anywhere from three to seven, depending on the length of the piece.
To add an internal link, find a page or post that you want to link to. Get the link related to the post and add it to another post you have on the website. However, the anchor text you attach the link to needs to be related to the keyword of the link otherwise Google might penalize you.
Combined together, internal links and backlinks can be a very powerful combination. However, make sure you’re doing it the legal way, because Google is always watching!
There are 2 types of SEO: (1) On-Page SEO and (2) Off-Page SEO. On-Page is another big thing to do in the small business SEO guide. On-page SEO can help you rank for the one spot on Google even if you don’t have backlinks or tons of traffic.
All SEO-related tasks include everything inside and on your website. This is everything that Google looks at on your post before they decide to choose which spot to put you at. The better your on-page SEO, the better of a chance you have to rank higher than your competitors.
On-page SEO includes everything from keyword density to meta description. To keep it simple, here’s a list of everything you should do to properly optimize your site’s pages and content:
- Use H1 Tags with Related Keywords
- Interlink to Similar Pages/Articles Within Your Website
- Optimize Images and Compress HTML
- Use Keyword Variations
- Add Alt Image Text for Your Images
- Add a Meta Description. Keywords Should Be in Here as Well.
- Add Your Keyword in Your Title
If you look closer at the list, you’ll notice that everything about on-site SEO relates back to the keyword. The purpose of on-site SEO is to help Google understand what your page is about.
Things like H1 Tags split your post up into categories, alt image text helps Google understand the images you have on your page, and keyword variations can attribute to multiple rankings on Google.
But in order to execute great on-page SEO, you need to know which keyword you want to rank for. That’s where keyword research comes in.
The term you want to rank for on Google is called a keyword or a keyphrase. But how do you find the keyword that you have the best chance of ranking for?
Since we’re focused on small businesses, it’s can to be hard to get on the top page for keywords that get thousands of searches a month. Therefore, it’s better to focus on the longer keywords (called long-tail keywords) that only get a couple of hundred searches a month.
You can find these keywords through a keyword research tool. Our personal favorite free ones are Google Keyword Planner and Keywords Everywhere. The best-paid options are SEMrush and Ahrefs.
Here’s a beginner’s step-by-step method for finding the perfect keyword:
- Start with a common keyword in your niche (ex: for the fashion niche, I could search best dress shoes)
- Look for the terms related to this keyword via Google’s Search Console (ex: “how to wear dress shoes” for the keyword, “best dress shoes”)
- Find the search volumes for all related terms via SEMRush, Ahrefs, Keyword Planner, or Keywords Everywhere.
- Choose terms you feel most comfortable creating content about.
- Out of those terms, choose the keyword/keyphrase with the best search volume.
This is the simplest and most effective way to find keywords that rank your website. Some marketing agencies like to use different methods, but these cost money and have more steps you need to follow so if you’re starting out, this is the best way to go.
SEO can be very helpful for scaling your business and it’s not as hard as some people make it to be. If you follow the basics such as writing good content, getting backlinks, and performing on-page SEO, you’ll see the results start to show.