As small businessmen struggle to adjust to COVID-19 by reducing outreach and cutting costs, now is the perfect time for small businesses to start brand awareness with search engine optimization (SEO). Here are the top 5 SEO strategies for small businesses in 2021, according to a survey of more than 500 small businesses in the U.S.
How many websites on the search engine result page do you usually look at before clicking one? If you’re 75% of people, you don’t scroll past the first page of Google, rather you click on one of the first three sites. This concludes why companies with the same niche fight for positions on the first page of Google search results. The higher a website ranks, the more likely it is to be visited and seen by the right audience.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a common marketing and brand awareness strategy that promotes a business’s website rank in search engine results. Without search engine optimization (SEO), it will be impossible for small businesses to rank on that first page. However, smaller businesses are not taking full advantage of search engine optimization (SEO).
We have examined 500 smaller businesses in the USA and found that around 30% use SEO as a marketing strategy to improve their business. As smaller businesses are looking to reduce spendings during the COVID pandemic, SEO is an affordable marketing strategy that generates good long-term returns.
Here are the top 5 SEO strategies for smaller businesses that can be implemented today to improve online visibility and traffic at a low cost.
Organic search results get around 20 times more traffic than Pay Per Click (PPC) ads. The top rankings in organic search results mean that Google values a website enough to rank it as the most authentic and useful for a specific query.
Higher rankings imply the authority score. Search engines know when websites have paid to appear in certain results pages, so the viewers trust the organic rankings more.
The potential of audience targeting such as paid advertising on search engines and social media might seem like a dream strategy for marketing. Moreover, acquiring organic search engine rankings can result investing time and some money, however, it might have a better ROI than paid advertising during times of economic downturn.
Moreover, almost two-thirds of businesses that invest in SEO (62%) depend on in-house employees to manage their SEO strategy. Also, 77% of those in-house employees manage SEO alongside other responsibilities. Moreover, most small businesses are not hiring experts to manage their SEO work. Which shows they can still implement effective strategies by training in-house teammates.
You don’t have to be a super marketing expert or website developer to learn SEO. Many of the most effective SEO strategies are easy to learn and implement.
Most of the small businesses (53%) only began investing in SEO in the last 3 years.
SEO is a crucial long-term investment for small businesses. Here are 4 strategies small businesses can implement right now to improve their SEO over time.
Small businesses were unconfident to pursue search engine optimization even before the coronavirus pandemic.
Our studies found that only 30% of small businesses use SEO to promote their company website as a marketing strategy. Despite knowing the long-term benefits of organic search engine rankings.
Many small businesses avoid Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because they do not often see immediate results or progress.
“Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long-term process that can take several months to get the fruits,” said Matt Satell, SEO manager at venture capital firm Mechanism. Despite any preconceived opinions about optimizing for their business with SEO, most small businesses which invest time and resources in SEO (56%) are confident in their strategies.
Small businesses should invest in SEO for 3 reasons:
Keyword research helps businesses understand what terms or keywords generally people are searching on search engines for their desired intent or result. The purpose of keyword research is to target the keywords with lesser difficulty with more volume, and of course, this is the base to optimize their websites to appear in the best search results for their market. Most smaller businesses that invest in SEO (70%) use keyword research and targeting.
As per SEO company Moz, keyword research is a process of researching and identifying keywords or phrases that consumers use to search for a specific result.
Determining the important keywords and working them into your website content is the best way to help your website rank in Google.
Additionally, you can use a free tool such as Google Ads to identify which keywords have a high search volume and low to medium level competition.
When you have decided to target the keywords, start by incorporating those keywords into these key places on your website:
This is one of the easiest ways to improve your SEO for free with little time and effort.
Google search results page change on the basis of location. Additionally, local search engine results pages get even more important for small businesses such as hotels, restaurants, cafés, and local artisans.
There are more than half of small businesses that use (53%) SEO for local search optimization to target results pages by location.
Google provides proper guidelines for ranking in local search results. All small businesses can improve their local rankings with Google My Business account, Google’s business listing service.
Additionally, Google My Business profiles appear next to search results for specific keywords.
Google My Business profiles show the company’s location, address, phone number, website, and reviews in one convenient location within the SERP.
Google provides specific rules on how to use Google My Business account to improve local search rankings, including:
Google calculates local ranking by a company’s relevance, distance, and popularity. Google evaluates a business’s “prominence” through more traditional SEO factors such as links.
Google values well-structured websites that provide accurate information. It should be one of the top priorities for small businesses to invest in high-quality websites that are fast and mobile-responsive.
Google began mobile-first indexing in July-2019. This means Google’s search engine bots are used to review website code to identify SEO values. Now review pages as they appear on mobile devices first.
It’s not a surprise, as most small businesses that use SEO (51%) invest in mobile-friendly websites.
Nowadays mobile searches are more than half of Google search traffic. Small businesses have mobile-friendly websites, providing a better user experience for most people browsing mobile devices.
Luckily for small businesses, Google made it easy to test if a website is optimized for mobile with its Mobile-Friendly Test.
Moreover, Google lists the test results next to an image of how a website appears on mobile. The Rozefs Marketing is mobile-friendly and “easy to use on a mobile device,” according to this test.
Small businesses should also be investing in website builders to develop their websites instead of trying to build a website from scratch. Online website builders such as Squarespace and Wix are affordable platforms that help businesses create high-quality websites with easy-to-use software.
Moreover, structuring a website for SEO purposes might seem challenging for small businesses with little in-house development experience. However, you can seek out expertise when working in the backend of your website, to make sure it functions properly for users and Google.
Content extends beyond text on a company’s “About Us” and home pages. Small businesses should create high-quality, useful content for their users to improve their SEO.
Almost half of the small businesses that have an SEO strategy (45%) create high-quality content to support that strategy.
“High-quality” and “useful” content depends on a website’s industry and its audience. Small businesses are not limited to long-form written content.
While brainstorming ideas for content writing, check the SERPs for the keywords you are going to target. The types of content that appear in the results pages indicate what types of content your audience is searching for.
The “People also ask” feature of SERP is also a quite useful tool for generating content ideas. You can easily find related topics by clicking through each suggested question.
Small businesses looking for content topics can leverage their website blogs to answer audience questions and provide solutions.
Additionally, rather than posting generic company updates, websites should ask their customers ‘what are your biggest needs or challenges?’ then create content to address those. Creating content to solve client problems helps you build authority among your audience and Google.
Small businesses don’t have to hire professional writers to create content. Teammates across the business can contribute expertise to a company blog and support SEO efforts.
To earn the links back to a website is a core part of effective SEO. Successful link-building strategies require significant investment in time and personnel effort.
Around 24% of small businesses invest time in building high-quality backlinks to their website.
Search engines do consider links back to a website as confirmation of that website’s content. The more amount and quality of links you have, the more “votes” search engines can use to evaluate your website.
Earning backlinks can be quite challenging for businesses whose resources are already spread thin in the current environment. Some of the common link-building practices include: