Small businesses may feel that specific SEO strategies are reserved only for larger companies. However, there are numerous ways to improve your rank in SERPs and even outrank big businesses. To help you succeed in that task, we will walk you through the six important steps to creating an SEO strategy for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
1. Know Who Your Customers Are
Before you try to implement any SEO tactics, you should first stop to consider who you are trying to target. Do research into your target demographic and try to understand your customers. Many businesses believe that marketing is about selling products; however, if you plan on creating an SEO strategy for SMB, we recommend that you change your mindset.
Marketing is about understanding the needs of your customer. Realize that your products are there to help customers solve everyday problems. Take a moment to think about what kinds of issues your users may face and how your products can help. Make a detailed profile of your perfect customer, and have them in mind when designing your entire SEO strategy. A customer-centric approach can yield excellent results, especially for small and medium businesses, where it’s much easier to have direct communication with your customers.
2. Do Keyword Research
Now that you have a good idea of who your customers are, it’s time to understand better what they are searching for online. Keywords are the cornerstone of any SEO strategy, and they bring users from simple browser searches to the pages of your website. Don’t let keywords intimidate you if you are beginning to learn about SEO. Researching and understanding them is relatively easy. There are plenty of free keyword research tools available to help you find the relevant search terms for your business. It’s also advisable to check up on your competition. See which keywords they are ranking for and how well they are performing. That is going to be the benchmark you will need to beat.
Once you’ve found your keywords, you’ll need to implement them in your pages naturally. Many inexperienced marketers try to fit too many keywords on a single page, or perhaps they repeat the same keyword far too many times. This is known as keyword stuffing, and it’s a practice that should be avoided. Search engines consider that to be a black hat technique, and they will give you an SEO penalty if you try to abuse the system.
3. Set Goals and Measure Your Current Performance
Most businesses are out there to make a profit, and SEO can help with that. However, SEO can be used for a wide variety of purposes, such as building awareness for your brand, increasing your website traffic, or generating leads. A vital step to creating an SEO strategy for SMB is to plan out the goals you want to achieve. Of course, it’s possible to do multiple things at once, but you should be careful that you don’t spread yourself out too thin.
We also recommend measuring how your business performs before adopting an SEO strategy or implementing any changes. You’ll want to know how effective your strategy is, and for that to work, you will need to have a baseline. Know what kind of traffic you are currently generating and where it’s coming from.
4. Create and Optimize Pages
The chances are that your current website isn’t optimized for your SEO needs. You could rework your existing pages to fit the keywords you have researched, but most often, it’s simply better to create new pages. It’s essential to ensure that individual topics you want to cover get their pages and that every page serves a purpose. You’ll also need to have a plan for optimizing your current content. Make sure that articles are structured with headlines and that your pages have meta descriptions and alt-tags. You can use internal links to help users navigate your site and find the topics they might also be interested in.
You should also take the same approach that we previously mentioned regarding keyword stuffing. Often, it’s good to show a little restraint, and when it comes to SEO – less is more. Make sure that you keep the needs of your users in mind when you are building pages for your site. Try to use SEO techniques naturally and organically.
5. Utilize Local SEO
An often overlooked part of SEO is optimizing for local searches. Small businesses get most of their customers from their local area. Therefore, SMB needs to have a plan for local SEO. Getting on Google’s map pack can hugely boost your visibility in local searches, so you should claim your Google Business listing. You can also post your listing on other websites that have business citations.
Another good idea is developing a plan for hosting or supporting local events. Anything that can directly connect you to your local community will positively impact your SEO. If there are any local publications, you can contact them with a press release.
6. Get Users to Participate
Search engines will reward you with a better rank if they realize that your website has good user engagement. There are many ways to engage your audience. Still, one of the most important ones for small and medium businesses is having a section of your website dedicated to customer testimonials and reviews. This will directly get users to interact with your website. However, there is an additional benefit to having reviews publically visible. When other users look up your business, they will see how many existing customers you have—seeing your positive reviews can be the nudge they need to decide to do business with you.
As you can see, developing an SEO strategy isn’t too complicated. Just follow our list of six important steps to creating an SEO strategy for SMB, and you will be on the right course for achieving a high rank in SERPS and getting more organic traffic to your website.
By Jacob Mappin