small business seo

Small Business SEO: SEO Priorities for Small Business

Small Business SEO: SEO Priorities for Small Business

Part 1. Who am I?

This is Eva, who has worked in Google Search Engine Optimization for about 2 years. During this time, I work hard to master all the SEO processes and knowledge frames. And my blog aims to share some findings and thoughts about my work. It can both help me summarize my career and inspire those who are in the same field as me. You can follow my Twitter: https://twitter.com/EvaChen67936203 and communicate with me on the platform.

Eva
Eva

Part 2. What Is SEO?

SEO means “Search Engine Optimization”. It aims to optimize a website to get a higher ranking and more traffic. Usually, a good SEO contains three core elements: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.

SEO Elements
SEO Elements

According to Wikipedia: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines.

Now you have a basic understanding of SEO. And we are glad to explain the worries of small businesses compared with big enterprises in the next part first.

Part 3. What Are The Biggest Concerns of Smalls Businesses

1. Budget and ROI

Small businesses tend to have very limited budgets compared with big companies. To convince a small business owner to invest in an SEO marketing channel. The SEO investment needs to be reasonable and has a predictable ROI.

You may get angry because SEO is a black box. Your diligence is affected by industry competition, Google algorithm, season, and other factors. Despite that, you can estimate an approximate budget and ROI value and make corrections in the process.

Click to Forecast SEO Potential With Google Data Studio by Search Engine Land

2. SEO experts

It takes a big deal to hire a real SEO expert in the industry. According to a report, the salary for an SEO expert is about 150000USD per year in the US. That means labor costs are a big deal for small businesses. But it is worth it!

3. Time

As we all know, search engine optimization takes from months to years. Time is also a major consideration for small companies.

SEO is like building a flowerful garden. It takes time and energy to water and fertilizes the plants. You just cannot request it to grow fast as Google Ads. You plant today, and tomorrow you have the fruits.

It is advised to allow one to two years to see the gradual organic traffic development.

After talking about all the concerns, you may be worried about the SEO investment because it takes lots of time and the ROI is hard to measure.

Actually, opportunities and challenges coexist. I am going to illustrate why it is important for you to invest in an SEO marketing channel.

Part 4. Importance of SEO for Small Business

1. Search engines provide a big traffic pool.

Search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex, Duckduckgo, etc offer user intent matching search results. According to Statista and Oberlo 2021 data, Google occupies 92% market share among all the search engines. 5.6 billion searches happen per day on Google. Small businesses can imagine the potential of search engine marketing.

Google market share
Google market share

2. SEO is cost-effective.

SEO is the digital marketing channel that requires fewer funds compared with Google Ads.

For example, if you write a piece of content of moderate quality, it costs you about 40 USD, and your writers finish 100 pieces. In Total, you spend 4000 USD on the content building (Note! there should be backlinks cost: 10,000USD ).

We assume that one piece will bring you 300 traffic every month. But only 60% of the articles will have the middle-level performance. Then you get 18,000 traffic every month only spending 14,000 USD.

When you join the Google ads bid, you pay 3 USD/click. To get 18,000 traffic in one month, you need to spend 54,000USD.

From the above example, I hope you will know SEO will be more cost-effective in the long run.

SEO low cost
SEO low cost

3. SEO is very helpful for your brand building.

Usually, marketers take Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube as good channels for brand building. They may neglect that Search Engine Optimization is another best platform to build an awesome brand. It is believed that “You Are What You Create”. Your SEO content shows a brand attitude to readers.

4. SEO is a good chance when your company meets traffic bottleneck

Saas companies or service-based companies consider search engine marketing as the basic and most important channel when grabbing conversion traffic. While some companies selling physical products rely on Amazon, eBay, and Ads Traffic. In a period, they may be trapped in traffic bottlenecks and anxious to seek ways to get more cheap sessions.

Well! Above are reasons why small businesses need to expand their business to the search engine field.

After knowing all the benefits of SEO, bosses of small firms may have two options. They may either choose to outsource their SEO management work to a trustworthy SEO service provider or recruit a professional SEO expert to take on the challenges.

If you prefer to start SEO for a small business by yourselves, you can keep reading the next part.

Note! I will further write about methods to choose a good SEO agency and the best affordable SEO service company for small businesses.

Part 5. Small Business SEO Checklists

If you are an owner of a small business, you may think of SEO for small businesses, which must be different from large enterprises. Let’s analyze the priorities of your small business SEO work. According to Semrush, they divide SEO work into quadrants according to effort and impact: low effort and high impact, high effort and high impact, low effort and low impact, and high effort and low impact.

Source link: https://www.semrush.com/blog/faster-seo-results/

Semrush quadrants
Semrush quadrants

Actually, we can read and use the Semrush thinking framework to think of a small business SEO strategy. What are the low effort and high impact tasks for small businesses?

1. confirm website structure

A good website structure should be logical and helpful for Googlebot and user visits. An unclear site structure with over 4 visit depths will hurt Google bots and user visits. That means Google cannot find, index, and rank your pages. At the same time, users cannot find what they want.

Then what can be a good website structure for small businesses?

If in your plan, you only want to release less than 1000 pages, a flattened website structure can help. All page files are put under the root domain directory.

In contrast, if you want to publish over 1000 pages. You can apply a pyramid structure. In this case, you need to kindly think about the aggregated category pages or directories.

hierarchical website architecture
hierarchical website architecture

2. Plan keyword strategy

Keyword strategy affects the development direction of your content. Writing content casually without a plan may hurt your self-discipline. To scheme a keyword strategy successfully, you need to think clearly about the keyword types, and keyword structure and draw a posting calendar. For more information, you can read my article: plan a good keyword strategy in 4 methods.

3. Perform keyword research

Different keywords represent different user search intent. Experts tend to divide user intent into four main categories: informational, navigational, commercial, and transactional. When doing keyword research, as a small business SEO professor, analyzing the keyword competition and keyword conversion become important tasks. Since any ineffective investment will have a bad influence on the work. You just cannot imitate big enterprises covering all possible related keywords and competing rivals with a crazy number of backlinks.

As an expert has mentioned: the red sea is where all the major competitors are competing. As a small business, hiring one who knows the blue sea, which requires SEO experts to make innovations based on its own brand and products.

4. Posting high-quality content in high frequency

“Content is king” is common sense in the SEO industry. If a small enterprise is just starting SEO marketing, what it lacks is content that meets industry benchmarks. The SEO expert needs to set guidelines on the article styles, H1/H2/H3, meta title, meta description, image, good content, internal link, URL canonicalization, etc. Following the guidelines and launching 30 to 50 articles of medium quality to cover keywords first. It is helpful for small businesses, whose main goal is to gain traffic and sell their products and services.

Note! If you are building a personal expert brand, it is advised that you not take the method. You need to output the content of absolute high quality.

5. Improve website internal linking

Google has emphasized that it crawls pages through internal links. If your domain has existed for a long time, keep it in high authority and update in super high frequency. Google is glad to come to your website often. If you own a brand new website, your site may be put in the sandbox for months, which means it is hard to get indexes and rankings. It is also disappointing when your site has very little authority, your competition ability is poor. Internal linking is one of the freeways to increase the possibility of crawlability. It is worth trying, once your content quantity gets over 100 pieces.

 Google Crawl
Google Crawl

Source: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/guidelines/how-search-works

6. Increase your page speed

Page loading speed is in Google Core Web Vitals metrics. If your site or page is overloaded, it is hard for Googlebot and user visits. The reasons for page overload are quite a lot. For example, the js, CSS, or image elements are too heavy. In that case, you may need the help of a web developer to clean the codes. And compress the images without losing the quality.

Sometimes, SEO operators may focus only on desktop page speed and neglect the page speed on mobile. In July 2018, Google announced page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile ranking.

page speed is a ranking factor
page speed is a ranking factor

Source:https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2018/01/using-page-speed-in-mobile-search

7. Build related and high-quality backlinks

On Monday, March 7, 2016, Google officially killed off Toolbar PageRank scores to the few browser tools and website tools that use it. The PageRank algorithm gives each page a rating of its importance, which is a recursively defined measure whereby a page becomes important if important pages link to it.

Though PageRank is not open to webmasters. It doesn’t mean Google is not using it. According to Google: It is true that linking is a significant factor in Google ranking algorithms.

For small businesses, it is important to get some free and affordable backlinks of high quality. In this case, you can use Ahrefs to find nofollow mentions from high authority sites. Also, you can find unlinked mentions. Refer to: A Simple Guide to Turning (Unlinked) Brand Mentions into Links.

linking is a significant factor in ranking
linking is a significant factor in ranking

Source:https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2009/10/dealing-with-low-quality-backlinks?hl=en

8. Site Audit: Prioritize The 404 Errors First

When you embed a code in the website, Semrush begins to crawl and analyze your website errors, warnings, and notices. You may see hundreds of errors and get afraid. No worry, among errors like broken links(404 errors), lack of image alt, duplicate title tag, etc. 404 errors should be put as the first priority, no matter the broken images or the broken pages. Google and users don’t want to see a blank page when clicking in.

Cleaning the errors every month is very necessary. For small businesses, the time of experts is limited, they can focus on the priorities in the first place.

Key Summary!

OK! The above is the most low-cost and high-impact tasks. Starting search engine optimization is a long and patience-needed process. In the end, no matter if you are a small business owner or SEO worker. I hope you can focus on the 8 SEO checklists for small businesses to get better economic effects without distracting yourself with meaningless things during the startup period.

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