As promising as SEO may sound, it may not be that easy. It can be challenging for those who have a tight budget and resources. Search Engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo generates search results whenever a query is made, and a list of sites will be shown to the searchers. These contents are ranked based on contextual relevance.
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One of the questions we usually get is how can we improve the website ranking. As we know, achieving good organic rankings needs lots of time and technical skills. There are however several things that you can begin with to help your business. Here’s a list on how you can improve the search engine ranking for your website, even though you are operating a small business.
1. Identify Client’s Problems
Before you start doing SEO, you need to understand the exact nature of what your small business provides. Ask questions like:
- When, where and how your customers realize they are in need of your products and services?
- Is the customer using mobile, tablet or desktop computer?
- Are the customer’s needs or wants driven by its own desire? (e.g. they are looking for good food or a great place to spend time in)
- Is it due to a disturbing event that may have happened at home or is it more of a personal issue?
These questions may seem simple, but such situations can happen to your client, which will give them a reason to go to the world-wide web and search for your products and services. Use this as an advantage to research on potential keywords and create content that can relate to the customer needs and wants.
2. Fix Technical SEO Issues
Your website may look fine on the front end, with vivid colors, fonts, great animation and awesome graphics. However if there are technical issue at the backend, it will most likely impact your website traffic and ranking in the Search Engine.
You need to have a solid web structure so that the Search Engines won’t have troubles crawling and indexing it.
Here are the common technical SEO issues that you may have:
- Duplicate content
- Under optimized pages
- Broken links
- Canonical link elements not used properly
3. Optimize Your Webpages
Putting keywords in to your pages is not sufficient when we talk about on-page optimization. You need to create high quality contents that are well-structured that uses the natural characteristics for the keywords that you target.
Ensure that the targeted keywords are used fittingly on your site to avoid appearing as ‘spammy’. Start by optimizing the following:
- Meta descriptions
- Meta title
- Page content
4. Optimize Your GMB (Google My Business)
Google My Business, or GMB, is an effective platform to promote and increase the online visibility of your small business. It is easy to use, update, and it’s absolutely free!
The first step you need to do is to claim and verify your business listing via Google My Business. Fill out as many fields as you can and include photos and videos to enhance your listing. Also ensure that you choose the right business category. (Tips: you can refer to your competitor’s GMB business category)
You can also do more with GMB by creating your own list of questions and answers.
5. Understand Your Competitors And Do Better Than Them
In the digital world, your competitors can be extremely different than those you see physically in your local area. With regards to SEO, focus on the top 5 or 10 competitors of the SERPs for the keywords that you are targeting. Do a competitive analysis on them and use some SEO-tools to find out the following:
- Number of pages they have indexed
- What your competitor’s site are ranking for
- Their backlink profile and its quality
- The overall structure of their website
- Their page speed
6. Local Business Listing And Citations
There should be accuracy and consistency in all your local information. Ensure that your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) are accurate and consistent throughout all your 3rd party business listing and website citations.
7. Acquire Links From Different Websites
Many small business owners do not realize that getting backlinks to their website can have a positive impact in their rankings. We can look at it at a publicity angle. We can spread the words about our business in other website, which may potentially generate traffic to our own site.
8. Schema Markup
Schema markup is responsible in sending signals to search engines about a page’s vital data such as the following:
- Business Name
- Phone Number
- Business hours
You’ll gain rich snippets in the SERP because of it.
9. Getting Reviews
Most people nowadays don’t make a purchase right away. They usually depend on word of mouth, or reviews by other users. A research report in 2019 shows that review was one of the important factors in local search rankings as it creates trust in Google.
With reviews and feedback for your business from your clients, it can indirectly increase your conversions. There are platforms that you can utilize to manage and organize your review campaign. Another option is to tell your customers to give you reviews in your review sites such as GMB.
10. Incorporate Organic SEO With Paid Advertising
SEO is not instant visibility in the search engines and it takes time to see the changes in SERP. It’s a very good long-term strategy, especially if it’s done right, but you have an option to get quick leads via paid ads, or Pay-Per-Click advertising. Try mixing organic SEO with for paid ads if budget allows.
This is a compilation of what you can do even if you are a small business. Set a goal, make a checklist and start working on them right now. Start with the one that has the highest priority for your business. There are plenty of resources online which you can refer to, otherwise talk to an SEO expert if you require further assistance.