As business owners and influencers, you may be used to hearing the terms “search engine optimization” and “SEO” thrown around loosely. There are hundreds, if not thousands of companies guaranteeing they have all of these magical tools to get your website on the first page of Google. As great as that sounds, the hard truth is that those promises are often easier said than done. But don’t fret, there are ways to help you improve your search engine rankings!
SEO tactics have come a long way over the years, mainly due to Google and other search engines regularly updating their algorithms. With these changes has come an increased difficulty in influencing organic search rankings. But don’t worry, there’s still hope for many businesses! Companies who have a smaller target audience and target location have an advantage when it comes to ranking organically for their product or service. Google’s algorithm takes into account geographic locations, which gives local and small businesses a fighting chance to compete. Check out our tips to help small businesses to get started with successful SEO practices.
Start with the Basics
First and foremost, take care of the tasks that are the most important from a local standpoint. You’ll want to start by claiming your business on Google My Business, if you haven’t done so already. Make sure your information is correct and current, including hours of operation, logo, products or services, website address, and physical address. This will help make sure your business shows up on Google Maps and further establish your presence on search engines. It is also beneficial to include your address on every page of your website and start acquiring reviews. The majority of people believe reviews as much as a personal recommendation, thus helping increase revenue. The more reviews you have on your website, the more likely you are to rank as a high-quality page.
Another strategy is to include your location and a keyword you want to rank for within your metadata. As you form your metadata for a page, be sure that it utilizes keywords that are also on that page. These keywords should be locally relevant. For example, a fake coffee shop in Neenah could use the long-tailed keywords of “coffee shop near Riverside Park.” It is also important to continue updating your on-page content in order to increase your page ranking. Search engines often penalize websites whose content is not updated regularly.
As you form your metadata and update your on-page content, also focus on optimizing for voice searches. As technology continues to advance, more and more people are using voice-to-search apps like Siri and Google. Incorporate long-tailed keywords that focus on who, what, where, when, why, and how. Doing all these things will significantly help your website rank higher locally.
Acquire Inbound Links from Other Local Businesses.
Network with surrounding companies and make an effort to get your information sourced on their websites. When external websites link to your own, you are creating backlinks. Search engines recognize when one website links to another, and, therefore, considers that website more worthy of appearing within your search results. The more inbound links you have from quality websites, the higher the relevancy Google will reward you with. The higher your website’s relevancy, the better it will rank.
Focus on User Experience, but Keep it Simple
You’ve heard it before, more is not always better. There are many business owners who get caught up in the idea of needing a website that will blow their visitors away, but that’s not always the case.
To put this into relatable terms, let’s say you own a small, local coffee shop in Neenah, Wisconsin. When determining the efforts that should be put into your website, it’s important to channel your audience. What aspects will they be most interested in? How do you want them to feel when they come to your website? What will their journey through your website be like? For this coffee shop, visitors are probably going to be most interested in your menu, location, and contact information. You’ll want them to easily find and access this information. When it becomes too difficult to access information on your website, you may notice your bounce rate increasing. An overdone website can get overwhelming. You want your website to be aesthetically pleasing, but you also need to make sure it focuses on user experience. When optimizing your website, be sure to also keep in mind how it appears and functions via mobile devices. Having a functional page design will help your search engine rankings.
Don’t Worry About Being Perfect From a Technical Perspective
If you’ve ever used an SEO tool that runs a page analysis, you’ve encountered the green checks and red x’s. The checks represent the technical aspects you have correct and the X’s point out what areas you need to fix. This is another area people spend too much time trying to correct. While Google does want you to make an effort to fix these issues, they should not be the bulk of your focus, especially for websites that only target local consumers. Just because your meta description for a page is two characters longer than what is recommended doesn’t mean search engines are going to drop you in the organic rankings. You will see more success if you focus on the intent of the user and the content they want to see when they arrive on your website.
Although there are many other ways to increase your SEO, implementing these practices will help you improve your SEO as a small business. From a local standpoint, you’re in luck, as it’s much easier to rank organically on search engines. But, to do this, you need to focus on the things that really matter, and stick to it! Remember, Rome was not built overnight; you’re SEO efforts will not produce results overnight, either. These improvements will take time and effort, but they’re worth it. Don’t give up, and continue on your path to improving your page ranks.
If you are interested in further assistance to improve your SEO or to discover relevant keywords, contact us at Stellar Blue today! Our experienced Marketing team is eager to help you accomplish your SEO goals.