7 Easy SEO DIY Tips For Small Businesses
Small businesses rely on SEO and don't even know it.
That’s why we put together 7 Easy Do-It-Yourself SEO tips to help small businesses improve their search rankings.
Search engine optimization, aka SEO, is a process, skill, and practice that helps small and large businesses to rank higher in search engines. Why do you want to rank higher? Because if you aren’t in the top 10 positions when someone is searching something relevant to your business, then the chances of anyone clicking on your website is less than 2.1%. Don’t believe me? Check out this 2022 article on Google Click-Through Rates By Ranking Position.
SEO is especially important to small businesses because small businesses are dependent on being found by local consumers and clients. There are many businesses that don’t understand how important search engine optimization is and the vast benefits it can bring to them. It is a common misconception with new start-ups and businesses owners to assume that their services and products will be noticed because they have a website or a Google My Business listing. They could not be farther from the truth…
Implementing search engine optimization helps searchers discover your business. When done correctly, your business will appear higher on the search results page which will undoubtedly lead to more opportunities, increased organic traffic, and quality leads over time.
7 Do-It-Yourself SEO Tips For Small Businesses
Tip 1. Understand How Search Engine Optimization Works for Small Businesses
Before you can improve your SEO rankings, you must first understand it to avoid pitfalls like unnecessary work, wasted time, or even Google penalties. This also applies to everyone, even those considering SEO services provided by a SEO agency or marketing firm. There are many ways to optimize your website for search engines because ranking is affected by numerous factors shaped by “Google’s Algorithm”. These practices are typically split into two categories, known as White Hat SEO (good and safe practices that Google likes.) and Black Hat SEO (bad practices that exploits Google’s Algorithm). There is more to this, but that will be discussed in another article.
After you have learned and gained a hefty amount of knowledge on how search engine optimization works, you can decide if you will do it yourself, create an in-house team, or use a agency to improve your SEO.
SEMrush Academy and Ahrefs Academy have broken SEO, link building, and content marketing down to a science and made it easy for newcomers to understand. Best of all, it is free! There is no reason why you can’t learn SEO and do it yourself.
Tip 2. Find Your Keywords By Thinking Like Your Target Audience
Now that you understand SEO and some of its processes, it is time to talk about the first step that set’s the foundation of your SEO campaign, known as Keyword Research. This process involves identifying major words or phrases that your business should show up for when searched.
What keywords, search phrases, or Google queries would your customer use to find a product or service that you offer? Keyword research sets the foundation and direction for all SEO efforts. If keyword research is done incorrectly, the rest of your campaign’s efforts will be wasted. The key to mastering keyword research is understanding the your target audience needs.
Something to also be wary of is search intent.
For example… If you were a automobile vinyl wrap service studio, then the query “3M vinyl wrap price” might not be a good key phrase to target as it is intended for products and not service.
Tip 3. Audit Your Website for Technical Errors
If you didn’t know, Google does not like websites that are poorly maintained. They do not like it so much that they will put you lower on the search results. Audit your website for errors and fix them!
This process is more commonly known as Technical SEO, it refers to making sure your website is secured with SSL certificates, mobile friendly, and more. While it sounds complicated and “technical” it really is not. If you have some familiarity in managing your website, you should be able to resolve most of the issues.
To audit your website, find a website audit SEO tool. There are some free ones, but I recommend using one that is comprehensive like SEMrush site audit tool. It will provide you a very good break down of all the different errors, warnings, and notices you can fix. Your goal is to simply make sure the website has zero errors and the site health is above 92%. You can fix all the other issues under warnings and notices overtime, but errors are going to be high priority.
Tip 4. Google Search Console is Your Best Friend
If you haven’t connected your website to Google Search Console (also referred to as GSC), then you best do it as soon as possible. Besides being able to tell you all the important SEO data like Total clicks, Total impressions, Average Click Through Rates, and the Average position of your site in search results within a set time-frame, GSC can show you pages that have mobile usability issues and other major errors that to be fixed.
One of the most important features of Google Search Console is the URL Inspection and page indexing tool report. It is is extremely important to make sure your webpages are indexed, otherwise they cannot rank or be found through search queries. This also prevents your website from gaining any SEO value from that page. What good is having a web page that has high-quality content and information about your business, if no one can find it?
Use the URL inspection tool to check your web pages that are not indexed to see if there are any problems preventing it from being indexed. If there are no issues that are preventing it from being indexed, quickly smash the REQUEST INDEXING button. The time-frame for Google to crawl and index that page, can take a few days to a few weeks.
Last, but not least with GSC, submit your website’s sitemap. This helps Google’s crawlers navigate your website and identify your web pages. It is hugely important as Google has stated that smaller websites with 500 pages or fewer might not need to submit a sitemap. There is no harm in submitting a sitemap and it is great SEO practice that may even add a little bit of value.
Tip 5. Optimize Your Pages and Content
In the professional world of search engine optimization, this phase word be known as On-Page SEO. This is where you fix title tags, meta descriptions, H1 tags, fix keyword cannibalization, and improve readability! Don’t be afraid, it is not as complicated as it sounds. Every web page that you make requires a title and a meta description. an H1 is just a header in the body of the content. Keyword cannibalization means that there are 2 or more pages competing for the same keyword.
This is where your keyword research starts coming more into play. Each page on your website should have content focused on a major keyword. The keyword should be in your title, your h1, the first sentence, and last sentence. The rest of the content should include semantic keywords (keywords that are related to each other). After you are comfortable with the routines of on-page SEO, the next best thing to help you improve is a SEO content optimization tool. (A few you can look into is NEURONwriter, SurferSEO, and SEMrush Writing Assistant.) These tools can analyze your content and compare it to other top performing content and show you how it compares. They give you a ton of information in which you can use to improve your page, like terms you should use in your title tag, meta description, headers, and in the article. The tool will not make not teach you to master on-page optimization, but it can help you do it more effective.
Tip 6. Get Backlinks and Create Business Listings
Yeah, I am sure you heard it many times before. Backlinks is the backbone of ranking higher and cementing your position. I don’t want to keep repeating what is already well known. The best way to get backlinks is to start networking. Build relationships with people who own businesses and websites. Write a review for them that promotes their business and ask them to link back to your website. It is a win-win situation! Join organizations and be active! Being active in the organization or association will one day earn you a mention from their respective site. Their sites are generally well kept and maintained, meaning it has high SEO value! Sending mass outreach emails and have low conversion rates and usually only equates to very incremental gains. Gaining a backlink from other professionals and business owners who care about the quality of their business and website will give you more gains than you can make in a year.
What about business listings? Get your business listed in as many different directories as possible. A great place to start would be to find and use a citation builder like BrightLocal. Almost all business directories allow your to list and claim your business for free. You do not have to purchase the citation building service from BrightLocal. What you can do is check out their citation builder and see the 25 business listings that you should sign up for. Actually, I will make it easier for you and list the 32 business directories that I saw on BrightLocal.
Tip 7. Analyze Your Competition, Adapt Your Strategy, and Attack!
If you are here right now, that means you are not outperforming your competitors in digital marketing. This is not a bad thing! Because your competitors have essentially paved the road for you to catch up. You can see the amount of backlinks they have, referring domains and organic terms that they are ranking for. You can also see what kind of content they created and which page has more backlinks. This allows you to formulate an competitive SEO strategy that has a higher probability of improving ranking positions and driving organic traffic to your website. Your competition should be a pool of inspirational resource to guide you to create something of better value.