SEO for Small Business: A Beginner’s Guide

If you’re a small business owner and don’t yet know what SEO is, and what it can do for your business, you’re missing out on potentially reaching dozens more customers online. SEO is becoming increasingly important for businesses of all sizes, and we have found more and more of our clients are wanting assistance from us as an SEO marketing agency in achieving better online visibility. 

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. What this basically means is, how visible is your website on search engines like Google? For example, imagine that you are a wildlife rescue in Leeds. When people search for ‘wildlife rescue Leeds’, does your business appear on the first page?

There are plenty of factors that Google considers when ranking businesses, and we will never fully understand exactly how this is worked out. However, there are plenty of tactics that are proven to help improve business’ SEO.

It’s a common misconception that SEO has to be highly technical in order to succeed. In fact, when it comes to small business SEO, there are plenty of on-page improvements that any small business owner can achieve.

The great thing about SEO is that it has an excellent ROI. When you create content and optimise for keywords, these actions continue to help your business’ search engine rankings over time. Putting in the time and effort here and there will help you to gradually achieve results.

So, where can you begin with improving your small business’ SEO?

1. Set up a Google My Business account

Likely, you already have one of these. If you don’t, it needs to be the first thing you do. Having an account means that when people search for your business, they will quickly be able to find your contact details, which will be displayed on the right-hand side of their browser. This means they can call you directly from a Google search, without even visiting your website. 

You can also add your business’ address to your Google My Business. Then, when potential customers in Leeds search for ‘wildlife rescue near me’, your wildlife rescue will appear in their search results. Plus, your business will appear in local search results on Google Maps.

More importantly, it will allow your customers to leave you Google Reviews. Having a good number of positive reviews will help you to rank above your competitors.

2. Identify local keywords

What is a keyword?

Keywords are search terms that potential customers might use to find your business on Google. Keywords can be highly competitive, with big businesses investing a lot of time and money into ranking in the top spots.

What is a local keyword?

The good news is that with small business SEO, local keywords can help you get discovered by customers near you. For example, ranking on Google’s first page for ‘bakery’ or ‘bakery UK’ would be a difficult task, as you would be competing with bakeries across the country, if not the world. But it is much more achievable to rank for ‘bakery in york’ or ‘bakery yorkshire’.

Brainstorm a list of keywords that are relevant to your business that you would like to rank for. You might want to use a tool like Google Trends to find out what your customers are searching for.

3. Add keywords to your website content

Now you have keywords, where do they go? Keywords should be included naturally within your website content. When Google crawls your website, they will then be able to pick up that you are, for example, a bakery in Yorkshire, and rank you accordingly.

For each web page, you should target a separate keyword. This will allow you to rank for all of your products or services separately. For example, if you are a bakery that delivers custom birthday cakes and wedding cakes, have separate web pages for these. That way, you can rank for ‘birthday cakes york’ and ‘wedding cakes york’.

Ensure that you include your keyword enough times, without it seeming unnatural. Remember that you are writing for humans first, Google second.

Include your keyword too many times, and Google will penalize you – this is known as keyword ‘stuffing’ and will get you nowhere!. On a shorter web page, of around 300-500 words, aim to include your keyword three times. For longer pieces over 1000 words, 4-5 times will do.

4. Set up a website blog

Content is king when it comes to ranking on Google. Relying on web pages alone will limit the number of keywords you can rank for. But creating regular blogs will allow you to target as many keywords as you like!

What’s more, having a portfolio of relevant, reliable content will demonstrate to Google that you are both an authority in your niche, and that your website is relevant. These two factors are highly important in SEO.

5. Create a content calendar

When setting up a blog to improve your SEO, set yourself a manageable schedule in the form of a content calendar. If you can manage to write a new post every week, fantastic. If not, posting fortnightly is still great.

It will be much easier to post regularly if you plan in advance what topics you want to talk about. Your blogs could cover:

  • A new product release
  • Company news such as new premises, new staff, or an award you’ve won
  • Your company’s ethics – causes you support, or charity fundraisers you have hosted
  • How-to guides to help your customers get the most out of your products or services.

These are just a few ideas to get you started – the possibilities are endless. 

Once you’ve got a list of topics you’d like to cover, plan when you’ll write and publish each idea. We’ve created a handy content calendar template to help with this, which you can download by signing up to our mailing list – just click the button below.

If you need more help from an SEO marketing agency in getting your business seen online, get in touch with us. We take a hybrid approach to search engine optimization, combining Digital PR and content marketing, to achieve online visibility and brand awareness for your business.