SEO for small business is really GO for small business, Google Optimisation. Getting it right is not easy and search is in constant flux but you can make inroads. We’ve put together some questions that we answer for your benefit.
SEO Questions Answered Here
- What is SEO and why is it important for small business?
- How does a small business owner go about implementing SEO?
- What is the link between SEO and good content?
- What is a realistic goal that a business owner could have regarding their SEO? (i.e. Be on page one on Google? Generate 5 quality enquiries per month?)5. Can you talk about keywords…how do you choose the right ones?
- What makes a keyword ‘right’?
- How does SEO link with other areas of digital marketing? Is it better to focus on multiple areas?
- What key advice would you have to encourage the small business owner to get involved with SEO?
What is SEO and why is it important for the small business owner?
Everyone knows that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation but a more accurate description would be GO, Google Optimisation. The estimates vary but for the UK the lion’s share of search is through Google, around 93%.
What is SEO for? Creating traffic with intent: to visit your website, to purchase, to subscribe.
Optimisation for a website is different from optimising an Amazon listing or a Google My Business local listing and revolved around two points:
‘On Page’ Optimisation
You’ll hear a lot about ‘on page’ and ‘off page’ SEO. On page is what you can easily control. A number of factors are supposed to have an impact in ‘on page’ including:
- Using one keyword phrase per page
- The title containing the keywords (meta title)
- The URL containing the keywords
- Using the keywords 4 – 5 times in the page
- Including a subhead with the words
- An outward-bound link
- An internal link
‘Off Page’ Optimisation
In the main this about other websites ‘voting’ for your website by linking to your pages.
Gaining links, you can employ a recognised agency to perform outreach, you can ask to swap links or use various black hat methods (which Google will find, so don’t do that).
What works best is creating your own ‘link building vehicles’ That is creating content that ‘wow’s’ visitors so much they spread the word by linking from their website.
A vehicle can be anything, just be creative. Giving away something works, yes, you can try an ebook, a signup to a valuable newsletter, or something like ‘ask the expert.’
The above are just examples. It is best to be aware of the factors and ALWAYS test them for yourself. Always write for the visitor, the number one factor in website conversion is copywriting, and never write just for Google.
Why is SEO Important?
Essentially you will gain traffic with ‘intent’ for free. Only it’s not free as a) you have to get the on page factors right (fairly easy) and b) you have to have original and creative content, not just copy, infographics, calculators, insights for the market you are in or something that is fun, funny or outrageous. Content is about answering one question for the visitor ‘what’s in it for me?’ Then informing or entertaining them.
The E.A.T Model
This is how Google values websites and something you should be familiar with:
Show your expertise by fully answering questions people are searching for and what stage they are in Awareness, Consideration or Purchase. You can also attempt to answer the next question they are likely to ask.
Authority revolve around other sites linking (especially ones that have their own authority, like trade bodies) and mentions of your brand, even without a link this is of value as Google would see this as a ‘citation’.
Trust concerns positive reviews on acclaimed platforms like Trustpilot, Facebook, Google My Business etc.
- Google’s algorithm changes constantly, always be testing, never rest on your laurels.
- SEO is not a general one size fits all, again you have to test.
- SEO opportunities vary greatly per market.
- Google search results should be tracked for your brand and top keywords.
How does a small business owner go about implementing SEO?
- Have an awareness of the ‘on page’ factors. Create a checklist of them and tick them off as you create your pages (Plugins like Yoast or Rank Math help shortcut this on a WordPress website).
- Look for collaborators in your market that compliment your offering and offer to link to each site by creating unique content.
- Come up with a scheme of ‘link building vehicles’ and test them regularly.
- Explore the use of rich snippets and appearing in knowledge panels.
- Look into digital PR to build mentions from high value media sites, not just the BBC but local news, industry bodies etc. Podcasts can create traffic with intent and people searching for your brand term, which is a positive signal to Google.
What is the link between SEO and good content?
As mentioned above if you have some unique offering on your website in terms of articles, whitepapers, interviews, infographics, videos, games, calculators, imagery, fun stuff, original stuff then you are part way to creating traffic with intent.
The more you create the stronger this will get and if you combine that with a great offering and exceptional customer care, plus removing the ‘frictions’ to your website you will have something even dearer, word-of-mouth. This is where your brand term becomes a short cut. People mention the name, people search on the name. The more people search for your brand name the more Google will like your website.
What is a realistic goal that a business owner could have regarding their SEO?
Don’t believe anyone that says they will get you to number one in Google. There are just too many factors. Yes, you can make progress with a systematic approach to a combination of digital marketing techniques. Search is in a constant state of flux, you have limited time and there are many variables. But it is worth pursing by experimenting with the best content you can create with the time / people you have available.
It is easy to be number one when you advertise in Google. A tip here is to trial Google Ads, have conversion tracking in place and take note of the keywords that produce a sale or action, then create content around that keyword phrase.
Be realistic and benchmark where you are then experiment with different digital techniques to see if this creates more business.
Take into account a conversion percentage and use that as a Key Performance Indicator, something you measure on a weekly basis.
If you have 100 visitors and one sale, that’s a conversion rate of 1%. Establish this foundation and work on improving that. For example, a website with 500 unique visitors per month should give you 5 enquiries. If it isn’t converting at that level then you have to think and work out why not? In SEO terms, is the technique in place, do you have links, are people visiting only for a short time, what is the competition like? There are many factors to uncover if you are not converting at least at 1%. Retail sites can be quite successful with an average conversion of 4.5%.
The trick is to establish (benchmark) where you are and then improve.
How do you Choose the Right Keywords? What makes a keyword ‘right’?
Keywords are the bedrock of everything you do online. Don’t get blinded or obsessed with them. They act as the foundation of your digital presence, they provoke ideas for content for organic and paid channels. The strongest and most productive digital marketing plans take keywords into account BUT also blend other techniques like digital PR and collaboration.
Keywords phrases, especially questions are a great start to building traffic from search. That’s why you should build and constantly add to an FAQ for your business and market.
Keyword research is used for:
- SEO / PPC
- Social Media Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Market / Audience Research
When you combine the above with keywords with intent v keywords for research you will start to find themes of content to create. When you combine this with seasonality, that is the peak for searches, then you have a content calendar. If you go even further and create persona (also known as ‘buying avatars’) you have personalisation and focus for your website pages.
At the very least work on keywords with intent. That would mean phrases like ‘buy organic meat UK’. You can try and hit higher up, at the awareness level by looking at phrases like ‘best organic meat site.’
The above are the basics; experiment, track your keywords, where they appear in search, which convert, who likes talking about the phrase, partner with them if they are not competitors?
Bonus, searches via voice including smart speakers will only increase in the future, use natural language for your FAQs to try and capture traffic in the research phase.
How does SEO link with other areas of digital marketing? Is it better to focus on multiple areas?
Digital marketing works best when you have a strategy; that is a focus of what your business offers. Once you have that, you set your objectives and that leads to the tactics you are going to trial. Each tactic can be aimed at a different channel. Something will work, others may not. It is trial and error BUT you are going to be able to establish a Return on Investment using the stats each channel provides.
SEO is one channel, along with paid ads, video, email, partnerships, off-line activities, PR, social media and especially content marketing.
As mentioned, getting the keyword research done support all of these channels. In an ideal world, once you’ve done that, you create content, the visitors come and they buy.
SEO and Conversion Rate
You need a coherent and systematic approach for success. SEO is one part and it links to the others for example, using Google Analytics, you can see which content resonates with your visitors, this in turn can create more varied content that can be used in the other channels in different ways like video.
For example, a page gets a high visit time, say 6 minutes from organic traffic. Let’s say the page is about ‘coconut oil hair masks’. Now you can use that information about the traffic that has come about via your SEO. Create further content in different forms, use it for social ads copy and images, use it for an email campaign to a segment of your email list, create a PR piece for a local newspaper, create a video, share the idea with a social influencer or a partner.
What key advice would you have to encourage the small business owner to get involved with SEO?
First of all, SEO has produced a lot of sharks, people who don’t know what they are doing and they can harm your web presence. Make sure any agency or freelancer can demonstrate their achievements with case studies and testimonials.
If you are working on a small scale, eg it’s just you or you and a couple of people, sit down and be realistic with your time. SEO is about organic digital marketing and that is in a constant flux.
If you have a WordPress website, use a plugin like Yoast or Rank Math, the free versions are excellent.
Search traffic can pay off big time when you have a limited budget. Do some keyword research, create themes of content for people and publish on a regular basis. If you can only mange two pages or posts a month then so be it. You’ve started somewhere.
Get to know Google Analytics. Keep in mind it is not wholly accurate but it will allow you to benchmark where you are and GA will measure your success.
- Digital marketing, including SEO, is about people, never lose sight of that.
- Content is king, queen, Jack and the ace up your sleeve, be original, be creative.
- Be realistic with your time and willingness to learn SEO skills.
- Hire a professional to make all the digital marketing channels to work in harmony.
Conversion Detectives Ltd
About Conversion Detectives
Conversion Detectives is a full service digital marketing agency in Hertfordshire.
We find the best quality traffic for your website and convert more of that traffic into sales or sales leads.
Digital Marketing Strategy | Creative Content Marketing | Email Marketing |
Lead Generation | Content Strategy | Social Media Marketing |
Video Marketing | SEO (Basics) | SEM |