How to Improve Sales for Your Small Business by Improving SEO?
Methods of implementing SEO for business websites are ever-changing and small businesses should ensure they are keeping up. The methodologies and techniques thriving businesses are currently using are far more sophisticated than what was being used two years ago.
Thus, it is very important for small companies who are working towards creating a large digital footprint in their respective industries to review the SEO techniques they are using. Using the latest SEO strategies and combining it with an effective content marketing strategy, small businesses can conquer rankings on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).
Here are practical methods to improve sales for your small business by improving SEO.
Image – Google
Google Webmaster Guidelines
Small business owners should make the Google Webmaster guidelines their bedtime reading and knowing it off by heart. The guidelines have a variety of dos and don’ts to rank higher on SERPs.
It will offer business owners a clear picture of what is expected from them for the content and website to be acceptable on Google’s search engine. Amongst the Webmaster guidelines, there are other guides intending to help small businesses rank higher.
Those guides include the Quality and Content-specific guidelines including an overview summarizing them all. The Webmaster Guidelines mention that businesses should not aim to create content for search engines but rather for humans.
In its entirety, the guidelines have more than 200 ranking factors that small business owners should comprehend. There is also a section that says when creating content, ask yourself the following questions:
- How would you create content if search engines did not exist?
- Would you be free to explain the techniques used on the site to a competitor or a Google employee?
- How does this help the audience you are targeting?
The answers to these questions will help you determine whether the SEO strategy you are using needs to be reviewed. Google explicitly states that there might be manual action against websites that contravene the Webmaster Guidelines.
Therefore, it is important for all small business owners to fully understand these guidelines and how to implement them.
Image – Ahrefs
Target competitive keywords
Small businesses are in a war with larger corporations and other well-established competitors. If your competitors have built great popularity and a large community of loyal followers that indicated their SEO strategies are more effective than yours.
Instead of trying to pull in the opposite direction and trying to be different, consider studying the competition and carefully plan how you will execute a similar strategy.
The most prominent way of doing so is by targeting the keywords they are using successfully. You can identify those keywords by using the Ahrefs tool. The data sourced should be recorded and kept safely for future reference.
Store the keyword data in a spreadsheet or other form of a document where they can be easily grouped for different types of content. Not all keywords are successful and thus, you should search them on Google to see if your competitors show up on the results.
If they do not, the keyword may not be as successful as you might perceive it and, therefore, should be avoided. Do not forget to mix the traditional general keywords with long-tail ones that are optimized for voice search to further optimize the content you are creating.
Remember that 50% of searches are anticipated to be voice-based and it will completely disrupt the SEO conventions, so do not forget the long-tail keywords.
Image – Freepik
Crawl the company website
If you are managing a website running for several years with hundreds of pages, it may be time to update and improve it. Inspecting the entire pages individually can take ages and it will be near impossible identifying all problems manually.
To help with this task, there are tools you can use to crawl through the entire website and locate errors. Crawling the website will give you a bigger and better picture of the state of the site in its entirety, not just the section in front of you. A lot of small businesses are surprised to see that their business website is out of date and needs major improvements.
Screaming Frog can help crawl the site for free and crawls up to 500 website pages, which is generally sufficient for small businesses. The software then reports back with the results on a page-by-page basis, helping you identify what needs urgent attention.
It checks for most important SEO elements like URL structure, header tags, page titles, and the meta description. Work these problems systematically on each tab and update any other out of date details or content. Users can also export the crawl data to a spreadsheet and improved on Excel and then be applied using the CMS they use.
Fetch and render
As much as you should not have the sole intention of creating content search engines, there are some technical aspects of SEO small business owners should monitor. Their opinion still matters and you should try your best to adhere to the guidelines and regulations they stipulate.
To see what the search engines think of the business website you are running, it is essential to get in their shoes. Google Search Console can help small businesses accomplish this by its fetch and render feature. With this feature, small business owners have the ability to fetch their website pages and see how search engines see it.
They can compare this data with what consumers see when visiting the site. If you identify any inefficiency in your website, work towards fixing them and running the tool again to see if there is any improvement.
Target the most important pages on the website and see if search engines fully understand all the sections of the website. Fetching and rendering pages is very important because some website themes and developers can use features that hide the content from the search engine. When search engines do not see the content, it is impossible to rank it correctly according to its value and quality of content.
Image – Freepik
Do not over-optimize
No matter what, this point keeps coming up and the marketers seem to be learning very little on this front. Some SEO professionals can get carried away and start optimizing the website just too much. That can be very detrimental to business websites because search engines are smart and can see right through tricks to get higher rankings.
For example, businesses trying to use high-ranking keywords in irrelevant content can result in using broken language to try and fit them in. Google Algorithms do not accept that and there are penalties that can be incurred by the small business using those tricks.
“Do not overdo it by stuffing way too many keywords on a single page. To perfectly optimize the site for SEO, ensure that everything is natural and no keyword seems like it is forced”, said Tom Jager, an editor at writing paper service.
The links you use should also be relevant to the content they are included in and the number of keywords should be minimal. Simplicity is key when it comes to a successful SEO campaign and will earn you points with Google Algorithms.
Image – Google
List the business on Google My Business
Small local businesses should optimize their SEO efforts by including Google My Business (GMB) on their strategy. The services and features of this tool go far beyond listing your business only but there are some advantageous benefits too.
GMB gives small businesses a chance to be more visible on search engine results and look professional. You can also appear in Google Maps places, increasing the business’ visibility and exposure.
When someone has heard of your business and searches its name, the contact details and work hours will appear right at the top. Even if users search for a particular industry or business category, the small business you are running will appear at the top amongst the competition. The account is free and has many other valuable benefits for a small business.
You can also buy a beacon that sends offers to nearby customers leading them to walk-in the premises of the business and make a purchase. It is very easy to set up the account and the verification process is also very simple and straightforward.
The bottom line
Small businesses need to carefully and smartly use the SEO tools that are at their disposal. Google has many different tools that can help them improve and create better websites for users like the Webmaster guidelines and Google Search Console.
Do not make the mistake of over-optimizing but rather keep the keywords to a minimum and periodically crawl the website to ensure it is still well-optimized. Also, remember to ride the wave of competitive keywords successfully used by the competition to increase the chances of ranking higher.