How SEO Can Help Small Businesses Rise To The Top
Let’s face it: it is tough being a small business owner, especially since 60% of start-ups fail within five years. Businesses now need to look at how to increase their visibility to stay afloat in the competitive and deadly landscape. However, finding the right digital marketing combination seems like cracking the Da Vinci code at times. So what could be the channel that’s worth putting the majority of your marketing efforts into? You’ve guessed it – SEO.
If done right it can promote your brand far better than paid search where you need to spend hundreds of £££ just to get a lead. SEO promotes your website in search engines, such as Google, Bing & others and is a relatively inexpensive way to market when compared to other marketing methods. Of course, it takes time and dedication to get to the first SERP (search engine results page), but the result is worth it. Nonetheless, small businesses need to have patience and choose keywords that aren’t hogged by bigger companies that are almost impossible to compete with.
As a digital marketing agency that helps other businesses grow, we see that SEO is by far the best way to generate customer conversions and drive valuable engagement.
So what is SEO?
It is a complex discipline consisting of multiple components, such as website, local SEO, link (authority) build, content marketing and many others.
Firstly, you need a website to start ranking for keywords in the search engines. When you plan your strategy, do not forget to optimize your website for local SEO. Include specific city/town names and addresses that you wish to target. Besides, spread the word around by word-of-mouth communication to get an indirect SEO boost. The more people that know about your website & social presence – the more visits and social media likes the business will get.
Link Building and Content Marketing
Another SEO element is content marketing. It’s a big part of search engine optimization and directly interlinked with SEO. Many people and companies make the mistake of thinking that they are separate, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. SEO simply couldn’t exist without content marketing.
Here’s a quick explanation: you need keywords to rank in search engines – and content is the place where they can be put. It’s a co-existing relationship between content and SEO. Therefore, you need to write regularly and update the website to let the customers and robots that your website is active.
Just as content marketing, link (authority) build is extremely important to having successful SEO. First off, there is a hierarchy of sites, those with higher authority show up higher in search engines results pages (SERP) too. Powerful backlinks from reliable and well-known websites can easily boost your website. If you want to find out more about link building, check out this useful article by Matthew Woodward about link building strategies in 2019.
Agency, In-House, Freelance?
SEO undoubtedly requires hard work, but there is a myriad of options for small businesses. Firstly, you need to assess whether the work will be done in-house, through an agency, by a freelancer or yourself. We have created a useful table to weigh the available options.
For businesses that have small marketing budgets, the most ideal options would be to hire a freelancer or do it yourself. Those that have big scale projects and campaigns should consider hiring a professional agency or in-house specialists.
If you decide to go the DIY route, we have a few tips that can make managing SEO a little bit easier.
1. Register with Google My Business. A listing appears when someone is searching for your business on Google. It is a great opportunity to increase the visibility of the company in the search engine.
2. Use SEOptimer to check vitals of how the website is doing in terms of SEO. This tool, however, is useful not only for measuring SEO but other stats like security, social, usability, performance and more.
3. Optimize your content to include links, desired keywords and update the website often with fresh content.
4. Utilise ‘Answer the Public’ to gain keyword insight by asking the right questions. It will showcase the chart combining possible questions from your potential customers.
5. Use Google Keywords Planner and Google Trends to see what people search for and historic metrics.
6. Create a link building strategy – contact the local press, popular & relevant bloggers in your field. Interact and engage with their brand!
7. Check which keywords your competitors rank for. It is important to monitor your place in the market and see where you need to improve to keep and attract more customers.
8. More importantly, however, monitor your own company’s performance. Create a spreadsheet with weekly stats for SEO – write down the keywords you want to rank for and check both on mobile and desktop in Incognito mode which place you are in. Keep an eye which pages are top-performing. Google Analytics is invaluable for this data.
More Resources For Self-Starters:
Neil Patel has a vast amount of marketing articles and practical tips.
Moz Blog is more technical and SEO-oriented with helpful how-to’s.
HubSpot has everything marketing and sales related that you would need.
Google Skillshop here you can get certified with Google Ads, earn Google Analytics individual certification and learn more about Google’s products.
Hopefully, these tips were helpful and best of luck with your SEO journey!