Nowadays, small business owners and employees don’t even need to leave their homes in order to reach their customers. From the comfort of their favourite chair, they are getting attention online by using small business SEO tactics like the three I explain here.
After all, how are you going to bring people to your business, both online and in-person, if it can’t be found online?
As the world continues to adapt to a predominately work-from-home culture, more and more small businesses are looking for ways they can:
- Improve their visibility
- Reach customers at their homes, without being disruptive
Like most things in life, the success of a business’s search engine optimization (SEO) efforts is largely dependent on the time and effort they are willing to put in. There are a wide variety of small business SEO tactics you can utilize to improve your business’s online visibility
Many of these practices only cost your time and effort — a worthwhile investment.
The reality is that a lot of small business SEO tactics are free and can be done from anywhere with a WiFi connection. Consider these three simple ways you can start optimizing your business’s website for search from home.
1. Build yourself some links
Link building is a popular off-page optimization practice that emphasizes building links on outside sites.
Put simply, link building is the process of having another site link back to yours, whether that be in a blog, roundup, forum, or any other piece of content.
There is a whole slew of reasons why this is an important practice. This begins with the fact that Google likes to see high authority sites link back to yours and ends with the importance of linking to your site with the key terms you want to rank for. Of course, there are also important details in between.
The good news is that there are some easy ways to build links to your site:
Write guest posts
Good content can be hard to come by, which is why a lot of sites like to accept free, high-quality content.
Consider developing relationships with small or local publications and using that relationship to start writing guest posts on the publication’s sites. In every post, insert link back to your site.
You can also work out an agreement so that you and another business’s site or publication can link to one another in return.
Create business listings
Location citations play a key role in the local SEO of a small business targeting a specific area. You can apply to post free business listings online that will help you build links that are specific to the geographical location of your business and target demographic.
By extension, this also helps to better your chance of ranking for more location-specific keywords (i.e. Ottawa plumber, plumbing services in Ajax, Whitby plumbing company), as these listings will help Google to verify your location.
Related: Local SEO for Canadian businesses
Hire a professional SEO link builder
It can be costly to hire a small business SEO expert for your link-building needs. But by taking the steps listed here, you’re already several steps ahead if you do invest in some professional assistance for a higher-level SEO strategy.
Once you do the initial leg work, you can work with a local SEO consultant in your area to hone in on some more specific wins that you may not be able to get without the help of a professional.
2. Get on social media
Social media is the marketing tool that just keeps giving. There is such a wide range of social media platforms that you can use for:
- Social advertising
- Targeted promotion
- General community building
- Even SEO
Social media is often a channel treated separately from SEO. But what many aren’t aware of is how use of these platforms can actually play a major role in a small business’s SEO.
When you build your company a social media account and add links to your website in your bios and posts, you are not only building public-facing accounts for your business.
You are also building a backlink to your business site from these reputable websites.
Google likes to reward websites that are linked to by websites with high DA (domain authority). Domain authority is ranked on a scale from 1 to 100, the higher the ranking reflecting the more authoritative a website is.
To put things in perspective, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ all have a domain authority of 100.
It’s also worth using the lesser-used social media platforms like:
All have a DA between 80 and 90.
You can use the MozBar from Moz (a leader in search engine optimization technology), to discover the DA and even the PA (page authority) of a social media site to determine if it’s worth building an account on.
Hashtags and social search functions
Building a presence on social media also helps to capitalize on keyword-friendly hashtags. Plus, social media tools like Instagram, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest and even Facebook are search engines in their own right that act as yet another place where you can make your business visible.
Editor's note: Try GoDaddy's do-it-yourself SEO tool to get your website talking to search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. No tech know-how needed!
3. Optimize your website for ease of use
At a high level, Google rewards good sites with good content and a good user experience (UX).
Needless to say, page speed plays an essential role in the overall UX of a site. Google has done a good job of helping us understand the role page experience plays in Google search results, and there are a few ways that you can optimize your website for UX.
You don’t need to be a coding genius to better optimize your website’s user experience:
Improve your site speed
Humans don’t like slow sites, and Google doesn’t either. In fact, the importance of site speed optimization for site rankings has been all but confirmed by Google. They came out with their core web vitals and page speed update which collectively deemed that the speed of a site would be a qualifying ranking factor.
Specific things that can lower your site speed include:
- Large images
- Unnecessary plugins
- Bad web hosting servers
- External scripts and styles that can’t be optimized
- Too many redirects
If you didn’t care about them before, you should start caring about core web vitals now — especially because they are easy for small business owners to handle.
To improve your site speed, consider
- Opting for fast and secure hosting
- Caching your web pages
- Compressing your images
- Cleaning up your redirects, plugins
You should also tackle other backend/hidden elements that you may not even realize are impacting your website’s usability.
User experience doesn’t only refer to the desktop experience. It is essential that your website is responsive for all devices.
Your website needs to work well everywhere, from smartphones to desktop computers.
Take the extra time to ensure your website is responsive for mobile — and even iPad. You never know what device a potential customer may use to search and find your business.
A couple little things
While these are some more substantial things you can do for your business’s SEO, there are also some smaller-scale steps you can take. When combined, they can help to improve your small business’s SEO.
Metadata, specifically meta titles and meta descriptions, plays an essential role in the on-page optimization and overall performance of your business website. Make sure all pages on your website have a meta title tag and meta description that includes the keyword that the page is targeting and falls within Google’s character limits.
Helpful Hint: Google likes meta title tags that are between 60 and 65 characters and meta descriptions that are 150 to 160 characters.
If your website has a lot of product pages, chances are that you have a lot of unnecessary pages being crawled on your site.
For example, if you have 20+ pages of products on your small e-commerce business site, each of these URLs is being crawled by Google at no benefit to you.
The same thing rings true for blog pagination, category and tag pages. You can de-index these pages so that Google stops crawling all of these lower-level pages on your site and can better prioritize your home page or main landing pages you want to drive traffic to.
You don’t need fancy software to tell you what your competition is doing — a lot of it you can see on your own! Check out the websites of competing small businesses to learn:
- The types of content they are posting
- Where they are being featured
- Other stand-out SEO efforts they are making
Then match them.
Do small business SEO from your couch
By taking the time to try some of these small business SEO strategies at your own pace, you can set your business up for long-term successes. Lay some of this helpful groundwork, and you will have a better SEO foundation if you choose to work with an SEO consultant or agency down the road.
All you have to do is dedicate some time to make accounts, reach out to the right people, and conduct general competitor research — and you don’t even need to step outside your house.