Small businesses are the economic engine of the United States. There are more than 30 million small business here in the United States, and that this figure accounts more than 99 percent of all businesses in the country.
These days, Americans live their lives online. The art and science of making your business’ web presence as appealing as possible to search engine algorithms is called “search engine optimization”, or SEO for short. SEO is complex, but it doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Here’s how you can best incorporate SEO into your own business.
Your business’ web presence
Our modern business landscape is dominated by the 0.1% of companies: the massive corporations like Amazon, which can afford to hire people to handle every one of the disparate and sometimes confusing tasks that small business owners find themselves juggling and outsourcing.
And a couple of the biggest corporations out there — Microsoft and Google — own the major internet search engines that, like it or not, now act as portals for customers seeking goods and services from small businesses like yours.
We use the internet for everything from landing a date to ordering our dinner, and we certainly use it to find the small local businesses that we spend our money with. Google processes over 40,000 searches every second, and many of those searches result in money being spent at local businesses.
But which local businesses? It depends, to a large extent, on which businesses land higher up on the search engine results page (SERP). Customers don’t like to scroll; the higher you are in Google results (or Bing results) for relevant keywords, the more customers you’ll attract.
You can’t win unless you play the game. In this day and age, your small business absolutely must have a few key elements to its web presence. You must have a website, and you must have a social media presence. Ideally, your business should be on multiple platforms — Instagram, in particular, has become a powerful online version of word-of-mouth marketing. Also, you should be registered with map search apps like Google Maps.
This doesn’t mean that you have to build out each and every one of these things yourself, of course. You can and should hire professional web developers and copywriters to make sure that you’re doing the best job that you can. And working with Google to make sure that your business shows up properly on Google Maps is something that an SEO contractor can help you with.
Hiring SEO experts
Once you have a decent online presence, you can start to worry about the details. How good is your website? How much does it appeal to Google and Bing — and how well are you targeting the right keywords?
A lot of factors go into SEO, but the text on your page is one of the most important. You should do keyword research: Use online tools to see what terms (related to your business, of course) are most popular, how customers are phrasing queries, and what the competition’s rankings look like. From there, you can reshape your online copy to target the right queries.
But keyword density can be a tricky thing to nail, and other elements of SEO — such as backlink quality, metadata, and HTML image tags — can be even tougher for those who aren’t already hip to the latest SEO trends. That’s why all the small business SEO tips in the world add up to this one simple piece of advice: work with the pros!
SEO is something that small business can and should outsource. Understanding the basics will get you far, but the best SEO strategy is an outsourced SEO plan that fits into a larger digital marketing plan. If you want to set you small business apart on Google and other major search engines, you should call in digital marketing experts.