Ronak Kothari is the founder of RONKOT, a full-service digital marketing agency.
Small businesses often scramble to formulate and implement SEO strategies that boost rankings for their website. If you are one of them, you’re not alone.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an effective alternative to paid ads that adorns your business with competency while keeping the costs in check.
All it takes to rank well on the search engine result pages (SERPs) is a bit of hard work and a few expert tips. Following these tips may help your business rank well in Google searches and even for local SEO searches.
Before we get into the expert proven tips, let’s understand why SEO is so important for small businesses in 2022.
Importance of SEO for Small Businesses
Optimizing your website for search engines for today is more important than ever. As per the HubSpot report, more than 75% of the users never scroll past the first page to visit page 2 of the search results.
Another reason to rank higher on the first page of search results is the top 3 results collectively get over 55% of the CTR.
Search engine optimization is an organic way of bringing quality leads and interested buyers to your website’s doors. A Brightedge report found that organic search drives more than 50% of the traffic.
Thus, SEO paves the way for small businesses to build their organic online presence.
Without SEO, you’d be throwing away your money for no significant gain in website traffic, click-through rate (CTR), conversions, and other SEO KPIs. And for users, finding your business on the web would feel like finding a needle in the biggest haystack.
Most users start their online search experience by making an organic search on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and others. Since Google is the most dominant search engine, most webmasters follow Google’s guidelines to optimize their websites.
Here are some proven tips taken out of Google’s SEO handbook:
11 Expert Tips to Include in Your Small Business SEO Strategy in 2022
1. Find and Use the Right Keywords
Keywords are gateways that lead searchers to your organic results on Google and ultimately to your website. Finding the right keywords is crucial for optimizing your website that matches the users’ search intent.
To find the right keywords, first, you need to know your business niche. Is your niche fitness, hiking essentials, or electronic store?
Once you have a clear idea about the niche your business belongs to, dig deeper into it to find what makes people groove. You may find the long-tail keywords customers often use to find specific information that usually has lower competition.
Optimizing for such long-tail keywords may get you higher rankings, quality leads, and a boost in conversion rate.
The best tool to find the right keywords is none other than Google’s very own Keyword Planner integrated with Google Ads. Go register on it if you haven’t already and give it a try for yourself to find the right keywords to optimize your website.
2. Improve On-Page User Experience
If the keywords help bring interested parties to your website, what keeps them hooked on it is the kind of user experience they get.
Suppose a customer lands on your website and leaves immediately because the user experience is not at par. Now, imagine hundreds or thousands of users doing the same with your business website.
The abrupt abandonment by users will increase the bounce rate, which is an indication to Google that your page does not offer the value users expected and may demote your ranking.
But by improving the user experience, all this could be averted. The recent Google update on Core Web Vitals also emphasizes improving performance and experience. Take care of the following factors to amplify your website’s user experience:
- Enhance web page experience
- Optimize page load speed
- Improve visual elements
- Create content focused on user expectations
- Show better answers
3. Optimize Core Web Vitals
As mentioned, Core Web Vitals are Google’s refined metrics to measure the on-page performance and experience. They are user-centered, real-world metrics Google considers to rank based on the on-page interactivity, load time, and content stability.
Let’s understand a bit more about each core web vital:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): It measures the loading performance of your page and should be below 2.5 secs.
- First Input Delay (FID): It measures the page’s interactivity and ideally should be under 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): It measures the visual stability of a page’s content and should have a score of 0.1.
To optimize them, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insight tool. The tool will analyze performance for both mobile and desktop and offer suggestions to improve overall performance.
4. Adopt Mobile-First Approach
Google, back in March 2020, announced the mobile-first indexing for the whole web. And from then onwards, it predominantly uses the mobile version of your website to index and rank pages accordingly.
Here are some best practices small businesses should consider:
- Make your website accessible for Googlebot to render and index your website.
- Ensure the content and meta tags are the same for desktop and mobile versions.
- Check the structured data for your mobile & desktop websites are the same.
- Ensure the media files for mobile follow the best practices laid out by Google.
5. Fix Technical SEO Issues
Your website may look fine thanks to impressive colors and graphics. But it may have some under the hood technical issues that impact greatly on your rankings and traffic.
Before you embark on a journey to improve SEO by implementing the above tips, first focus on fixing the foundation for ranking well on SERPs.
Here are a few things to take care of:
- Build a solid site structure for search engines to properly crawl and index your small business website.
- Audit and eliminate any duplicate content or pages.
- Find and take care of broken links with the necessary 301 redirects.
- Implement & improve site security with HTTPS.
- Ensure XML sitemaps are created and submitted to Google Search Console.
- Solve the missing or incorrect Robots.txt file.
- Ensure there’s only one version of your Homepage
- Find and resolve incorrect use of Rel=Canonical tag
- Implement necessary structured data for Google to better understand your web pages.
6. Update Your Google Business Profile
Creating and updating your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is a huge part of the local SEO checklist. It’s a crucial tip for small businesses to rank high for local searches by optimizing their GBP listings.
Here’s an example of an ideal Google Business Profile:
Here are a few things to update:
- Keep your business info such as Name, Address, Phone Number, open hours, and others updated and handy for users.
- Create a local SEO strategy and optimize for keywords your competitors rank high for.
- Update your GBP title tags and categories.
- Encourage or incentivize customers to leave reviews for your business.
- Also, create and update your business’ citations on good quality directories such as Yelp, Citysearch, Foursquare, Apple Maps, and others.
7. Focus on Your Content Marketing Efforts
All small and local businesses need a strategy to produce, publish, and market quality content on a regular basis. Start thinking and behaving like a media company that generates relevant content to build an authority figure in their niche.
Focus on creating a content strategy to build an authority for localized discoverability. Moreover, relevant and quality content is also a means for acquiring new backlinks from other authority niche websites.
Unique, relevant, and quality content is what aids in your SEO through content marketing. With the right implementation of your content marketing strategy, you may cover a lot of relevant and unexplored ground to boost SEO for your small business.
8. Optimize for Voice Search and Near Me Results
Voice searches are one of the emerging ways for small businesses to get in front of their customers.
As per one report, voice search will become a $40 billion channel by the end of 2022. The same report also mentions that 51% of the people use voice search to research about products.
Also, Amazon Echo and Google Home have made their way into our lives, which has made it easy to play music as well as shop online.
Since most requests smart assistants get are in a conversational tone and not keywords focused, put in a bit of effort to optimize for such conversational topics to rank higher.
And for near me results, optimize your Google Business Profile as mentioned above, write content for local customers, and get backlinks from local businesses to rank higher.
9. Share Your Expertise and Build a Reputation
Sharing your expertise and thought leadership posts is all about getting people to talk about your business. It’ll help you build authority and trustworthiness among other businesses as well as your customers.
Also, businesses will feel naturally inclined to link back to your expertise, authoritative, and trustworthy posts. Other benefits of doing so include a boost in your website visits, signups, CTR, and reviews/ratings that would help build trust among your customers.
This essentially builds up social proof and increases brand awareness. Another great way to increase brand awareness and build a reputation for your business is using social media platforms.
Small businesses should tap into the potential social networks offer to bring the right traffic to your website. This is an indicator for Google of your social authority, which ultimately helps boost SEO.
10. Collaborate with Local Influencers and Brands
Small businesses should often collaborate with influencers and brands in their niche. Focus on creating meaningful connections and long-term relationships with them. This will help spread the word about your business and bring quality traffic to your website.
Make a habit to engage with your niche community in unique and meaningful ways more often no matter how small your business is.
Also, share short stories for keeping the interaction regular between you and your audience, which may lead them to engage with your website & content. As more engagement translates to a boost in your SEO.
11. Optimize On-Page SEO
The last tip up in our sleeve is on-page optimization. Optimizing your website pages is not just finding and putting the right keywords in strategic places. It’s more than that.
Imagine implementing all of the above tips to improve your SEO but turns out the pages of your website are not in line with SEO bylaws. On-page optimization consists of the factors that you can control and has an impact on an individual page’s rank.
Focus on optimizing the below factors
- User experience
- Title tags
- Internal linking structure
- Page speed
- Site structure
- Media files
These and many other factors are important ranking singles for Google. Not optimizing them may make your website miss out on the important ranking opportunities. Thus, pay attention to your on-page optimization for a significant boost in SEO.
It may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s important for small businesses to get started with search engine optimization in 2022. Begin by making a goal to achieve the first step for your SEO which is to find the right keywords.
Then start at once to improve SEO by following the tips laid out in this guide. The important thing to understand here is that SEO is not a one-time thing, it’s constantly changing as new Google algorithms are released. So, be consistent with your SEO effort.
Alternatively, you can ask for help from a team of SEO specialists such as Ronkot. Ronkot helps small and local businesses with the implementation of strategic SEO that boosts their web presence and skyrockets their business.Do get in touch with us to grab a cup of coffee and discuss how our team of SEO professionals will help your small business.