search engine optimization

10 Search Engine Optimization Hacks for Small Businesses

By Karen Barnes

For small businesses there are always so many things to do, so it can be very challenging to get visibility in the search engines.

For many it is not practical to employ a digital agency, especially when many shun small business, so the option for many is to do the work themselves. Today we’re looking at the top 10 practical ways a small business owner can get great visibility with search engine optimization.

Before Your Website

When people think of search engine visibility, or optimizing their own website is often the first thing that comes to mind. Though this can be complicated and time consuming, so our first 7 tips are outside of your website and involve setting up profiles on other platforms.

1. Google My Business (GMB)

GMB is a free listing provided by Google; it is quick and simple to set up and should be a priority for your business’s exposure. You can add a great deal of rich information from opening hours, photos, videos, directions and more. Setting this up should be a priority, and for more information see Google’s Add or claim your business listing.

2. Google’s Website Builder

If you do not currently have a website, it might be worth considering building a simple site with Googles Website Builder. This is also quick to set up, draws from much of the information already added to Google My Business, plus allows more description, photos and information about your business.

3. Facebook Business Page

If your business sells to consumers rather than businesses, then setting up a Facebook Business page, adding your address, and other business details is a relatively quick way to increase exposure.

4. Niche Business Platform

There are numerous platforms available for specific business niches, such as checkatrade.com for the building trades, airbnb.co.uk for holiday homes, or voucedfor.co.uk for financial advisors. These can be excellent sources for new customers, and you should investigate the best ones for your specific business niche.

5. Get Reviews

Now that you have set up some of your top online profiles, it is now extremely important to start asking your customers for reviews, as 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. For tips on how to do this see Where & How to Get the Right Reviews for Your Business.

6. Google My Business Posts

GMB offer an option for businesses to publish posts which will appear on Google. While they expire after one week, they can be a great way to draw new customers with items such as time limited offers. Bright Local discusses this more in How to Create a Google My Business Post That Will Win You More Customers.

7. Bing Places for Business

While Bing only has a 6.76% market share within the UK, in some niches (especially ones with older generation customers) this can be much higher. So, it is worth taking the time to set up a Bing Places for Business listing.

Using the platforms discussed is a great way to get search engine exposure, plus are quick and free to set up (apart from some of the niche business platforms); the problem is that you are subject to their rules and what they do. So, for example, if you received all your leads for your AirBnB profile, and they decide for some unexplained reason to ban your page (which is not unheard of), then all your leads would stop overnight.

So once all these profiles have been set up, its now to start setting up and optimize your own website, which you have complete control over.

Optimizing Your Own Website

For many, even the thought of optimizing a website seems too daunting, though I break down below some of the simple things you can do which will make a positive difference.

8. Find Your Top 5 Target Keywords

Keywords are the queries people type into the search engines when looking for a product or service. So you need to find the ones that are relevant to your business, ones that have some search volume. Simplistically you need to:

  • Brainstorm the words and phrases that you would type into Google to search for your own products and services, such as ‘plumber in Brighton’.
  • Shortlist the ones that have a good number of searches using the Keywords Everywhere Chrome plugin.
  • Assign target keywords to specific pages, for example:
    • plumber in Brighton’ to you home page
    • emergency plumber brighton’ to the emergency plumber page
    • boiler engineer brighton’ to the boiler page

9. Write Meta Title and Descriptions

The meta title and description are the words you see within Google’s search results. These are written in the code behind your website, and are extremely important for both optimizing your site, as well and enticing clicks from searchers.

Top Tip: Type your target keyword into Google, review the top results and ads for that keyword, and ‘steal’ the best parts of your competitors meta titles and descriptions.

10. Write Great Content

The written word on a web page is still one of the primary ways of communication with your visitors and Google! So, writing engaging content that meets you visitors’ needs is extremely important. One of the best ways to do this, is to look at your competitors pages. Again, type you target keyword into Google, review the top results for that keyword and visit all the top pages.

From this, you should get an idea as to the type of content the visitor is looking for, blog style, short bullet point style, FAQs and so on. Your aim should then be to write more informative, and better content than your competitors.

For more SEO help, try these articles:

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos
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Karen Barnes
Karen Barnes has worked as an independent marketing consultant for a number of years working with both large and small enterprises including Max Your Web. Feel free to get in touch with her if you're interested in growing your business online: karenbarnesmarketing@gmail.com.

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