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Why SEO Matters for Small Business Owners

SEO

You have a great site, great services or products… but no sales! SEO could be the missing piece of the puzzle. SEO matters for small business owners because it gives you visibility. It is how people find you on search engines when they don’t type in your business name. In the final part of this three-part series, we examine why SEO matters for your business and what you can do to improve it.

SEO is a complex and wide-ranging topic but that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do. Yes, there are now careers entirely devoted to SEO but with a bit of knowledge, you can understand what to do in-house, and whether you should outsource other areas.

Related content:
Why site usability matters for small business owners
Why site aesthetics matter for small business owners

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. When someone searches on Google or other search engines, they will either search for a specific business name or a more generic query e.g., they might search for “Cyber PR Army” or they might search for “Digital Marketing Services”. How well Cyber PR Army is SEO’d for the term “Digital Marketing Services” will determine how highly we rank in the results

In essence, SEO is broken down into three parts – technical, on-page, and off-page. We’re going to keep this article as jargon-free as we can so here’s a bit more info. We’ll go into how you can boost each element later on.

  • Technical SEO involves coding the back-end of your website (likely WordPress but you can also do it on Wix and similar platforms) to tag the website with the right markers so that it is easily found by search engines.
  • On-page SEO involves tagging the page with the right labels through the correct use of terms and linking it to other pages.
  • Off-page SEO involves things that are done outside of your website that help to build authority. This might involve backlinks, social media, and news articles.

What are the consequences for a small business?

If you have poor SEO, the consequences can be crippling. You need people to find you in order to engage with you. If no one can find you organically, you are left with your existing customer pool. For a business to thrive, you need to get the word out there and while this can be done through aggressive offline marketing and social media, SEO is a cost-effective way to grow your audience.

What can I do about technical SEO?

Technical SEO is the hardest to master and the steepest learning curve for those with limited tech skills. If you aren’t comfortable with the ins and out of your website here are three things you can do that will make a big difference:

  1. Submit a sitemap to Google – This can be done through Google Search Console, a free tool that we highly encourage you to use. This step will have the biggest effect from a single action.
  2. Make sure you don’t have broken links – There are plenty of tools out there that can scan your website for broken links, but you can do it manually too. Check every link, whether it is internal (linking to another page of your website) or external (linking to a different website). Amend or remove broken links to boost your SEO.
  3. Make sure you use a simple site structureGoogle themselves have said that a site’s structure should be as simple as possible. In real terms, this means keeping URL’s as short and precise as possible. You will notice the URL of this page is https://cyberprarmy.com/why-seo-matters/ yet the title of the blog is longer. It is also not in a blog directory. Both of these make the site structure simple.

What can I do about on-page SEO?

On-page SEO is much less unwieldy than it used to be due to changes in Google’s algorithm that are better at understanding synonyms and related terms. The best thing you can do if you are handling your own on-page SEO is to ensure each page is focused on a specific idea. Make sure you keep that key idea in your head as you are creating the content and try to vary your terms. Once upon a time, SEO involved adding the same awkward phrase four times but now, variety is key. For example, if you are selling dog toys, try to use “best dog toys”, “great toys for dogs”, “puppy toys” etc. The key is for the text to sound natural. Read it out loud and check that it flows and is centred on a key topic.

What can I do about off-page SEO?

Off-page SEO has also seen dramatic changes over the last few years. While backlinks (other sites linking to you) are still a crucial part of the puzzle, the quality now far outweighs the quantity. Small business owners used to add themselves to countless free directories in order to create links but that will no longer boost your SEO significantly. Additionally, you can have your SEO score penalized if you list yourself on spammy or unrelated websites. Links from sites with high authority are now one of the best ways to boost off-page SEO. This could include articles in local press, industry magazines, reputable directories such as a Chamber of Commerce, or even a service provider that is more established in terms of SEO.

How to test your site SEO

Many small business owners use simple Google searches and see where they appear for particular terms, but this is a flawed method. Google (and other similar search engines) have got extremely good at customizing your experience. As you have visited the site previously (and likely often!), you will see a falsely inflated ranking. There are a few ways around this:

  • If you are going for the simple search and see method above, use a fresh, private browser window.
  • Use a free tool, such as UberSuggest, to analyze your site. You will get a ranking, and actionable tips on how to improve your position. Fixing the issues and improving your position will require varying skill and should be monitored on a monthly basis.
  • Use a digital marketing team with experience in the field of SEO. Our team have boosted the organic traffic for many local businesses through a combination of SEO methods.

Need a hand?

If you are looking to improve your technical, on-page, or off-page SEO, we’re only a click away. From meta descriptions to SEO-rich blogs to high quality guest-posts, get in touch and let’s start supercharging your website today!

Cyber PR Army. Understand where you want to be, and we’ll help you get there.

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