How to do SEO for your business.

By: Funnel Fox
July 16, 2020

How can you potentially compete in Google Search results against brands and other large businesses? Start with this SMB-specific SEO checklist.

How would you rank the SEO performance of your small business, and what should you work on next for more success?

The practice of optimizing your website to rank better in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo is known as SEO.

Your goal is to get in front of potential clients who are looking for what you have to offer.

In order to maximize your visibility, it's also critical that your business appears in a variety of search results - Google Maps, organic, Featured Snippets, photos and videos, and more.

Small business SEO is particularly difficult because you are unlikely to have a dedicated SEO team or a lot of time to keep up with all of the newest advances in search.

You're up against not only other small businesses, but also publishers, major brands, and a variety of other informative sources that show up in search results.

You also don't have the financial resources that your larger competitors do.

What are the options for a small business?

You'll discover an 11-point SEO checklist for small businesses in this article, which will help you prioritize and focus on the SEO chores that will really move the needle for you, such as:

  • What to address.
  • Why it’s important.
  • The tools to use.
  • The time commitment involved.

1. Nail Down What Problems You Solve For Customers

You must first understand how people search before diving into SEO. In sponsored search, you might squander a lot of money by targeting the wrong individuals or sending the incorrect message to the right ones.

It's critical to know who you're aiming to reach and what problem you'll address for them.

Begin by asking yourself the following questions:

  • How, when, and where do customers determine they need your product or service?
  • Are they from home, using their cell phone? Is it at home using a desktop computer or tablet?
  • Is it driven by a personal desire, like good food to eat or a great place to spend some time?
  • Or is it caused by a disruptive event like a home or personal issue?

These questions will influence the language your clients use to find your company.

This data will help you with keyword research and content production, among other things.

(You can get started with these free keyword research tools.)

2. Fix Your Technical SEO Issues

Your small business website may appear to be in good shape on the surface, with attractive designs, colors, and fonts.

However, if there are technical issues "behind the hood," your rankings and traffic will most likely suffer.

Spend time laying the groundwork before launching a content or link effort.

For search engines to correctly crawl and index your webpages, you'll need a good website structure.

The following are some of the most typical technical SEO issues:

You can learn more about how to conduct a technical SEO audit here.

3. Optimize Your Pages

On-page optimization entails more than just strategically placing a desired term on the page.

It's critical to create well-structured, high-quality content that combines your desired keywords and is written in natural language.

Use any legitimate (i.e., non-spammy) opportunity to incorporate your targeted keywords into your website's content.

You'll be losing out on vital ranking signals if you don't. To put it another way, you must maximize your:

  • Title tags and subheadings.
  • Images and videos.
  • Meta description.
  • Body content.
  • Internal links.
  • And more – get the On-Page SEO Guide to learn more.

4. Optimize Your Google Business Profile

Any small business's GBP strategy should be a top priority. It's free, simple to update, and has the potential to make a major difference. Check out this post Set up a Google Business Listing, why you need one.

small business's GBP strategy should be a top priority.
Set up your Google Business Profile

Your Google Business Profile should, in theory, include all of the information a potential consumer requires to call you, obtain driving directions, place an order online, or convert right from the listing.

Claiming and validating your Google business listing is the first step toward enhancing it.

Fill up as many fields as possible, and include photographs and videos to help your listing stand out.

It's critical that you choose the right category. Make sure you select the appropriate categories for your company.

Which traits and other features are available to you are determined by the principal category.

Take the time to construct questions and answers if you want to get more advanced with your Google Business Profile.

What exactly does that imply?

There is a part on your listing in local search results where individuals may ask questions and obtain answers.

As a small business owner, it's critical to stay on top of these issues.

You can also ask your own questions and answer them to provide information that may help searchers convert.

5. Find Out What Competitors Are Doing & Do It Better

Competitors on the internet may not be the same as those in your neighborhood.

We are particularly interested with websites that appear in the top five to ten positions of Google search results for your desired keywords for SEO purposes.

Those are the competitors you'll be looking at.

When conducting a competitive analysis, use the following methods to learn more:

  • What those sites are ranking for.
  • How many pages they have indexed.
  • Their website structure.
  • The quality of their backlink profile.
  • Whether they’re ranking for long-tail keywords you could target.

We also know that page speed plays a role in Google's ranking system.

Use page speed tools to test their landing pages. Look for flaws in your system.

Google’s own Page Speed Insights is a great place to start.

Google’s own Page Speed Insights is a great place to start.
Google’s own Page Speed Insights is a great place to start.

Are their pages, for example, slow to load? Is there anything you can target that they haven't?

See 3 Ways to Quickly Compare Your Website With Your Competitors for more helpful tips.

6. Manage Local Business Listings & Citations

You must also maintain control over the accuracy of your local business data in addition to Google Business Profile.

The importance of consistency cannot be overstated.

Data aggregators (such as Neustar Localeze and Factual) provide information about local businesses, such as names, addresses, and phone numbers (NAP).

Make sure your company's NAP information is up to date and consistent. Local business listings and citations (internet mentions of a company) can assist you boost your local visibility.

Signing up for a service or using a local citations tool that distributes your NAP information and monitors for discrepancies can be beneficial.

7. Get Links From Websites In Your Local Area

The majority of small business owners never consider the importance of links.

Getting links to your site, on the other hand, can assist you enhance your ranks.

This could result in increased sales and customers.

I've always approached "link attraction" from a publicity standpoint.

What can we do to promote our company, educate others, and become more involved in the community?

Here you'll find a wealth of local link-building advice and suggestions.

8. Add Schema Markup

Schema markup helps search engines signals better understand different page components, such as:

  • Business name.
  • Address.
  • Phone number.
  • Ratings.
  • Business hours.
  • Currencies accepted.
  • Area served.
  • Number of employees.
  • And a lot more.

Using this markup can help you appear in rich snippets in the SERPs.

 https://schema.org/LocalBusiness,

Check out all of the different types of schema available for local businesses here.

9. Focus On Getting Reviews

Before making a purchase, even my children are taught to look up reviews.

According to Whitespark's Local Search Ranking Factors research, one of the top local search ranking factors in 2021 was local reviews.

Furthermore, investing effort into acquiring reviews and comments from your clients might help you boost your conversions.

A review campaign can be organized and managed with the help of platforms.

Alternatively, you may simply ask clients to submit evaluations on the big internet review sites.

These methods can assist you in obtaining more local evaluations.

Make certain you answer as well. Your response (or lack thereof) is visible not just to the person who posed the question, but to all future local searchers who see the review.

Even bad evaluations can be used to engage with customers and demonstrate that you care.

10. Create Videos & Images For Competitive Keywords

Websites require content, or words, in order for search engines to understand what they are about.

However, content should go beyond words and incorporate graphics and videos.

In fact, if you're having trouble ranking for competitive keywords, consider using a properly optimized video or image.

As SEJ’s Anna Crowe wrote recently in her image optimization guide:

“Image optimization creates many advantages such as better user experience, faster page load times, and additional ranking opportunities.

And, it’s becoming an increasingly more important role.”

11. Mix Paid With Organic To Get Going

It can take a long time to notice results if you're just getting started with SEO.

While SEO is a terrific long-term investment, there are instances when you need to get leads right now. That's when paid search comes in handy.

Set aside a budget for paid while you're working on your SEO so you can keep the leads rolling in.

Even if you have a constant flow of organic visitors to your website, you might want to run a sponsored search campaign alongside it.

PPC advertisements can supplement your organic presence by allowing you to appear in places where you haven't been able to break into the top organic search results because of competition.

Read more for tips for local paid search.

Summary

Even if the to-do list appears daunting, the most essential thing is to get started.

Begin with the first goal you're confident you can achieve.

With time, you'll discover local SEO tools that can make the strategies that are working for you faster and easier.

You'll get more inbound links from local sources that are relevant and credible.

You'll update your website with new blog posts and other material, which will help you rank for a wider range of search terms.

After you've completed the preliminary items on this checklist, you'll be ready to go forward with your SEO plan.

When you're ready to take your local SEO to the next level, I highly recommend Maddy Osman's Complete Local SEO Checklist.

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