A woman on a laptop pumps her fist as Bullseye helps her small business with SEO

SEO Basics for Small Businesses

Many small businesses rely on at least some form of digital marketing to drive traffic and grow their company. With the majority of the population spending nearly all of their time and attention online, it is hard to avoid putting your company online. But what does it mean to “put your company online,” and how do people find your business online

The answer is both very simple and very complicated, and it comes in the form of three little letters: SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Simply put, SEO is how well your website is found by search engines and those using the search engines. If your website is relevant and has a great SEO score, you likely will be one of the top search results when someone looks up a word related to your business. 

SEO for small businesses is essential in a world where one small search can return thousands upon thousands of results. How can you compete with larger companies online? Building your online presence takes some time, but there are certain SEO tips for small businesses that can give you a boost in online searches and power your business to a competitive edge in the online market. Improve your SEO with these helpful tips. 

Target Your Customer Search terms

Because SEO is predicated on customers searching for different terms, the most important SEO tip for small businesses is to learn what your customers are searching for. Do your customers know exactly what kind of product they want? What are they typing into the search engine before buying? 

While this may sound obvious, knowing what your customers are searching is paramount to improve your SEO. It is worth considering sending out a customer survey to learn how customers went about finding your business, what terms they used to search and other habits they may have. 

If you are looking for other ways of learning what your customers are searching, consider a keyword research tool. Conducting regular keyword research relating to your small business can help inform you about what your customers are searching, and what results they are getting. (You can also learn what your competitors’ customers are searching! Do with that information what you will. ;))

Once you know what your customers are searching, use those keywords strategically. Without getting too technical, search engines “crawl” your site and give certain “scores” to your pages. Elements such as headings, URLs and main copy are major influences on your website’s SEO score. Use your focus keywords — the ones that your customers are looking up the most that directly relate to your small business — in these instances. Strategic keyword usage will boost your SEO scores and will help drive more traffic to your site. 

Build Your Site Like a Human

While using plenty of strategically placed keywords is important, make sure not to overdo it. Maintain the human element of your small business’s website. In fact, overstuffing your website with keywords for the sake of generating traffic can actually hurt your SEO. 

SEO for small businesses is a tricky balance. A rule of thumb is to use keywords to inform your content while still making the content relevant to your customers. Search engines will recognize your content as being helpful and answering search queries, and will boost your score if it helps others. 

Another benefit of keeping your content relevant to visitors is that they are more likely to stay on the page longer; this is called dwell time.. Leveraging dwell time is an effective SEO tip for small businesses as it shows search engines that visitors are staying on the page and want to view the content. In fact, dwell time is typically more important than page visitors. 

Keep your visitors engaged and on your site longer with relevant, easy-to-read copy, and captivating visual content. Your small business is already very interesting — show your digital visitors that, too!

Grow Your Digital Presence

Small businesses are primarily catering to local audiences. Leveraging social media and other digital tools can boost your local SEO and find the right customers near you. Local SEO for small businesses uses similar strategies as SEO, with a, well, local touch. For example, customers may use a keyword and add “near me” to their search. Someone looking for a dentist would find more relevant results searching for “dentists near me,” rather than simply “dentists.” 

Consider how your business would benefit from targeted, local SEO efforts. Utilize geo pages and location-based content throughout your website to find the right audience. Other tools such as Google My Business are effective for small businesses looking to improve their local SEO efforts. Geographical-based content and pages tell search engines and customers where you are located and help local customers find you more easily. 

Stay On Top of SEO Trends

SEO strategies and trends are constantly changing. Be patient as you navigate SEO for small businesses, as it typically takes some time to see results. In fact, Google estimates that it can take anywhere between four months to a year to see the fruits of your SEO labor. 

Even so, SEO should be treated as a living organism. Keep your website updated regularly, and review keywords and website traffic to learn how your audience is finding your site and how they are using it.. If you can, ask your customers to provide feedback and use that information to drive future growth. 

Small businesses can do business online while keeping their physical presence booming. Partnering with an SEO expert like Bullseye Media can help grow your digital presence and improve your SEO. Contact us to learn how you can expand your small business’s online authority and do business the modern way.