Despite being a small business, it’s still possible to develop an SEO strategy that helps you stay competitive in your market.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about small business SEO, why it’s important, and how to develop a strategy for your business, no budget required.
It’s important not to confuse small business SEO with local SEO, as local helps businesses appear in location-based searches vs. general results. However, some small businesses may hope to leverage local traffic, so, if this is you, your small business strategy will include local steps. We’ll discuss this further below.
Is SEO good for small businesses?
SEO is critical for small businesses as it helps you generate organic traffic without spending money on advertisements in SERPs or other channels. When your site shows up in search rankings, you become competitive and drive more traffic, which, in turn, helps you generate engagement, make sales, and build a customer base.
Not optimizing your site can mean that your competitors are the only ones showing up in results, and your target audience might not even know you exist.
Let’s go over how to do SEO for a small business. Let’s go over how to do SEO for a small business.
SEO Strategy for Small Business
Small business SEO doesn’t require a large team to get things up and running, nor does it require a significant budget. Many of the steps you can take are free, and you can handle them yourself.
Let’s go over how to do SEO for a small business.
1. Conduct keyword research.
Keyword research helps you find the right words to use on your website when writing about your content, giving titles to your pages, and even picking your URLs.
You’ll uncover the most relevant words to use on your website when writing about what you offer and search terms that audiences tend to use when looking for products like yours. As a small business, your keywords should help you champion your unique offerings and stand out in your niche.
The easiest way to conduct keyword research is to use a keyword research tool, like Google’s free Keyword Planner.
2. Build a logical site structure.
An important factor in ranking your site highly in SERPs is creating a Google-friendly site structure with schema markup and structured data.
Schema markup is code you add to your website to give more information about your listings. It can help you rank higher in search results and drive clicks. For example, you can add a star rating schema to your listing so browsers can see that you’re highly rated and worth checking out.
Structured data is how you organize and tag text on your website, and it helps crawlers understand the context of the information on your site pages. So, for example, you’d use product page structured data for product description pages.
You also want your website to have a logical structure for site navigation, including internal links. This helps Google navigate through the different pages on your site and understand what’s what. The image below is an example of a high-quality website structure.
3. Optimize your on-page SEO.
On-page SEO includes elements like meta tags and image alt text. These things explain to Google what’s on your site and give searchers more information about what they’ll find.
1. Meta Tags
Meta tags are crucial for small business SEO. Since competition may be big, using exact meta descriptions and meta tags helps Google surface you in the right results for queries most relevant to your business.
Meta titles are the headings you use to describe what’s on your page content. When you write them, aim to summarize the main topic of your page with a related keyword.
Meta descriptions give a summary of your page explaining your business. This summary is only visible in search results and, when writing, aim to include your target keywords.
The image below is a search result card for Marcy & Myrtle, a small coffee shop in Brooklyn. It features a meta title, Marcy & Myrtle: Fresh Coffee & Baked Goods, and a meta description: Marcy & Myrtle provides you with fresh coffee, delicious pastries, and great service in a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere.
2. Image Alt Text
Image alt text describes the images on your site, giving more context to your content. Image alt text can also help you rank in image packs and image search results.
Image alt text also ensures your website is accessible, as screen readers can use your descriptions to describe an image on a page.
Syndicated is a movie theater and restaurant, and the image below is an image from its website advertising its Sidewalk Cinema series. The alt text reads, “Shot of the Sidewalk Cinema at night showing Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.”
The alt text uses relevant keywords related to the offering, sidewalk cinema, that will surface the business in relevant queries.
4. Get backlinks from relevant sites.
A great way to build authority in SERPs as a small business is to get backlinks from relevant sites, as Google trusts sites with high domain ratings. You also build trust with audiences if they find links to your site on pages they trust.
Here are a few strategies for getting backlinks:
1. List your business on related directories.
Submit your links to directories related to your business, but make sure they’re legitimate. Listing your site on spammy and fraudulent websites will cause more harm than good.
LinkedIn is a great directory for small businesses to list on, regardless of niche, as it’s a credible source with a high domain rating. Awoke Vintage is a small business in Brooklyn, NY, that has created a business profile on LinkedIn.
2. Submit your site to local listings.
If you rely on local traffic, submit your NAP (name, address, phone number) to local directories. Many local directories are sources of authority, so having your business on them builds credibility. Some examples of directories include :
Here’s a list of the best online directories for local businesses.
3. Place your link on all your profiles.
If you have multiple social media accounts, place a link back to your website in your profile. For example, you can include your link in the descriptions of your YouTube channel or in your Twitter bio.
5. Technical SEO
As a small business, you might not have a lot of content on your website. However, you still want to monitor technical SEO to ensure your site runs and is easy to navigate. Some key elements to focus on are:
Secure Sockets Layer to signal to Google that you provide a safe browsing experience.
Optimizing page speed by compressing images and large files.
Ensuring your site code isn’t messy and has a logical structure for crawlers to easily navigate through your site and learn about it.
Optimizing for mobile with responsive mobile design so visitors can easily browse and have a delightful experience regardless of device.
6. Write good copy.
You might be thinking, “But I’m just a small business! I don’t have that much to write!” and that’s okay. You don’t have to write a lot, but you want to ensure that all copy on your site is good in that it includes your target keywords. This will help visibility because Google learns which search queries are relevant to your business and when to surface you in results.
7. Continuously monitor your SEO.
Part of your overall SEO efforts is continuously monitoring your website. You can run SEO audits periodically to check up on each of the elements we mentioned above, and you’ll figure out if there is anything that needs fixing.
8. Optional: tell Google where you are.
If you rely on local customers and local traffic to generate revenue, you want Google to know to surface your location in relevant queries by adding local business structured data to your site. You’ll also want to optimize your Google My Business profile.
SEO will help you stand out as a small business.
Small business SEO is free, and it also helps you appear in the same SERPs as your competitors. An optimized site can help you stand out and draw in qualified customers that are already looking for what you offer.