A Guide to Search Engine Optimization for Local Businesses
Take a second and think of a haystack. Now imagine in this one stack, you are told to find a blade of grass in the middle of the hay. You have to tear the haystack apart the start guessing and second-guessing which part is the middle and blade apart the grass to pick one.

First of all, this process takes so much time and the end result may not even be as accurate. That is how the internet is; it has billions of webpages and content to analyze whenever someone is researching. If it were up to the researcher to find quality content for themselves, then they’ll have to ransack through at least 1000 webpages to land a handful or less.

That’s where algorithms come in. Search engines like Google have algorithms that filter the billions of internet content and ranks good content in descending order for researchers to easily find. Think of algorithms like rules used to calculate quality.

Google has set rules that every website has to adhere to for them to be considered quality and worth a reader’s time. These are the rules that every small business should apply in their websites to rank on the first page of Google, and that’s what we call Search Engine Optimization.

Importance of SEO for Small Businesses

Why should you, as a small business, make so much effort to please Google? Whether you’re an eCommerce business (meaning you operate online 24/7) or you’re a brick and motor but with an online presence, you need to optimize your website to rank on Google for the following reasons:

Credibility

Ranking on Google will give your small business credibility. When a prospective client sees your site in one of the three top results on Google after their search, then they’ll immediately trust that your content is worth giving a try. Basically, if Google can trust you then so will your prospects.

Your audience will also feel valued. How? Because they know if you’ve made so much effort to rank on such a powerful engine like Google, then you are serious about your business and your clients too. Whatever information they’ll read on your website, they’ll immediately trust it.


To get Lots of Organic Traffic

The best thing about Google optimization is that you get to attract traffic without paying for it. On the other hand, the best thing about organic traffic is that you draw in your exact audience. People that need your product and service.

In fact, a higher percentage of organic traffic require your service on the spot. This means that there’s a higher chance of acquiring a client or customer every time someone click into your page. If your website pops up whenever a prospective client searches Google, then there’s a chance that every six people in ten will click your link.

This means that your website will receive so much traffic from the internet which will in turn help you to keep ranking.

For traffic conversion

If a hundred people visit your site, then there’s a possibility of at least twenty people contacting you and at least ten of them eventually purchasing your product or service. While traffic is key, it’ll only matter if you convert these site visitors into your customers.

Luckily, Google algorithms for SEO cover this as well. As you’ll see later in this guide, most of their requirements help with traffic conversion. Therefore, if you’re getting good organic traffic and you’re converting a good number of these visitors to customers, then that’s all your small business needs to prosper online.

Build your Brand

As you continue ranking on Google, your brand name becomes popular to the eye of the researcher. Prospects trust you and researchers rely on you for quality information. This is how you build your brand online.

Becoming an authority in your industry (even just locally) takes your business to new heights and helps you get more clients as well. You’ll get to understand your audience more and what they like, which will help you better your services and products for them.

SEO Strategies to Apply

The ultimate benefit of practicing search engine optimization is that it’s free. Most small businesses don’t have, or want to spend, thousands to millions on advertising just to get the traffic that search engines can bring to you.

That said, even before getting into PPC and other paid advertisements, try this out. Make that your basis because it’ll also help you learn good website practices that help with paid advertisements and social media as well.

1. Have a Mobile-Friendly Website

Make sure that your business website is mobile compatible. This means that the user interface takes and fits in any screen used by your prospect. Whether it’s an iPad, a laptop, desktop or mobile phone, they’ll be able to read the content in your site without a struggle. Many people now access the internet using mobile phones, making this aspect a major strategy for your small business.

2. Post Quality Content

Content is the best and easiest way to attract internet users, hence a powerful optimization strategy. Use content from blog posts to videos, images and graphics on your website.

Content not only adds pages to your site, but it also makes your site interactive and keeps readers on-site for longer. However, not just any content works but quality content. If you post articles in your blog page, then ensure that every article is easy to read and has high quality information. End every article with a call-to-action where the reader can contact your small business for services and products.

3. Use Industry-Relevant Keywords

This is the tool that changes your organic ranking game entirely. When your prospects search the internet, they use common words related to your service or industry. These words and phrases are called keywords.

You should apply keywords to your pages’ Meta description, your blog content and alternate texts for images and videos. This means that other pages like the home and about pages should also contain industry-related keywords.

You can find your relevant keywords using different tools online such as the Google Keyword Planner. Keywords should however be used naturally and not stuffed up in every content or page.

4. Use Internal and External Linking

When writing content on your website, link to other pages within your website and external website pages as well. With Google optimization, the Google algorithms favor your business platform when readers can stay on-site for longer. This shows Google that your content is that good. Therefore, linking to other pages on your website will keep readers clicking and staying on-site.

For external links, it’s important to link to authoritative websites. When Google sees this, then it immediately assumes that you have quality content and make an effort to link to more quality content.

Use Local Phrases

If your small business is a brick and motor then use local phrases and names to attract your local clientele. If your business is situated in California and are only serving the residents of that region then ensure to mention that location every time you mention your service.

For example; “find a plumber in Oakland, California” will rank higher than saying, “find a plumber”.

Hire an expert

Search engine optimization entails so much more than the listed strategies. This is why every small business should consider hiring an expert to optimize their online platforms. Learning how to optimize can also take a while, which is time that most small business owners don’t have.

Are you looking to boost your small business ranking on the internet? Contact us today, and we’ll help with your organic ranking.
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