Whether you’re a veteran small business owner or your ecommerce journey is just beginning, a top-notch SEO small business website is vital to growing your sales.
That’s especially true since today, 49% of online shoppers begin product searches on search engines and 61% start shopping on Amazon. Search engine optimization (SEO) increases your organization’s online visibility and connects local shoppers to your brick-and-mortar store.
The following tips provide best practices in SEO for small business owners that will drive traffic to your website and bring your business long-term benefits.
How can SEO help my small business?
A sophisticated SEO strategy can put more prospects’ eyes on your website and generate qualified leads. Unlike paid advertisements, SEO is an economical way to increase traffic and build a customer base—and can be an easier lift for organizations with tight budgets.
Follow these 7 tips for a website that ranks higher online and boosts your business’ competitiveness over time:
1. Set your site apart from competitors
In the internet’s vast ocean of information, products, and services, keyword research is essential to build quality SEO and amplify your business.
To attract birds to your garden, you put out birdseed. The same logic applies to websites: if you want to engage interested customers, your web copy should include relevant keywords. Smart keyword strategy attracts customers searching for what you offer and boosts your website’s ranking.
Considering most people view only the first page or 2 of search results, a strong keyword strategy significantly increases your visibility and chances of getting clicked, leading to more traffic and potential conversions for your business.
Think like your customers to strategize effective keywords. What problems do they hope your product or service will solve? When seeking products or services like yours, which words are they most likely to search for?
For instance, if you own an automotive repair company, consider whether “vehicle repair” or “car repair” is the more common search term. Once you’ve brainstormed a list of about 40 or 50 relevant keywords and phrases, use a tool like Semrush or Google’s free Keyword Planner to verify your keywords and help you formulate others.
Remember that SEO alone isn’t sufficient marketing. So pair it with quality design, social media outreach, and email campaigns to form a comprehensive and impactful small business search engine marketing plan that elevates your business above the competition.
2. Focus on your UVP as a business
While relevant keywords build strong SEO for small business owners, keywords that mimic a competitor’s won’t set your business apart.
Instead, choose language that highlights your unique value proposition (UVP) to attract people most interested in your precise offerings.
For example, if you plan weddings, what value do you provide that differs from other wedding planners? Maybe your services are more sustainable, artistic, or cost-effective. Or perhaps you excel at organizing destination weddings, religious weddings, or weddings for septuagenarians. No matter your UVP, web copy that emphasizes it with keywords will help you shine in your niche.
3. Create quality content
To convert website visitors into paying and returning customers, make sure your web copy offers valuable information relevant to your keywords and beneficial for your audiences.
Quality content also means solid SEO practices behind the scenes. So build a site that’s logical to navigate and structure your data in an organized way. You’ll also need to summarize your content with clear meta tags and descriptions to help your site rank higher in Google search results. And don’t forget to improve site accessibility with alt text that describes on-page images.
Features like these enhance the visitor experience and help an SEO crawler understand the content on your webpages, which is crucial for your website’s SEO ranking.
Follow these 3 tips to create a stellar website with a winning SEO strategy:
- Avoid traps like keyword stuffing and spammy backlinks
Webpages bloated with keywords not only frustrate readers but also negatively impact your site’s SEO ranking. And while backlinks—links that direct readers from another site to yours—can give your site authority and improve SEO, inbound traffic from a site that’s spammy or contains broken links can harm trust with potential audiences and sink your SEO rating.
- Take advantage of social media and create shareable content
Harness the power of online communities to promote your business offerings by making content shareable and accessible from mobile devices. In addition to providing rapid communication capabilities, social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, have search functions that enable prospective customers to find your business. Ensure your company’s social media profiles are up to date, informative, and engaging.
- Let email and SEO work together
Small business search engine marketing and email marketing work together to drive business performance. Quality email marketing directs relevant traffic to your site, which reduces bounce rates and improves SEO performance. So be sure your emails include internal links to specific product pages and repurpose newsletters as blog posts on your website.
4. Make your site indexable
SEO crawlers, also called spiders, are online bots that crawl around the web, collecting and processing site information into a searchable index. When you modify a webpage, a crawler scans the page’s content—a process called indexing. Pages that have quality information without errors like keyword stuffing or broken links get added to the index, which improves your SEO ranking.
To check if your site is already indexed, enter “site:yourdomain.com” into your Google search bar. If it’s indexed, a list of results will appear.
For your website to get indexed—and stay indexed—make sure that:
- You update your pages frequently with quality content and keywords
- Your site loads quickly
- You provide a valuable user experience
If your organization is a brick and mortar that relies on business from your community, optimize your website for local SEO. Follow local business SEO tips, like creating locally relevant blog posts, providing your address and phone number, adding location pages to your site, and listing your company on Google My Business.
5. Track performance
Check your SEO performance like you check your social media reactions (OK, maybe not as often). To achieve a high search ranking and gain visibility, use free tools like Google Analytics to monitor the number of pageviews, bounce rates, viewer locations, operating systems, and devices to understand what resonates with particular audiences better.
You can also connect Google Search Console with Google Analytics to see the keywords and phrases that people use to find your site in Google search results. This information helps to refine your keyword research and strategy.
6. Monitor what works and what doesn’t
If you analyze your SEO performance consistently, you’ll see what works or doesn’t over time. This information can help you adjust your content in response to trends or experiment with new material.
For a more in-depth analysis, conduct an SEO audit to examine areas like user experience, keyword research, on-page SEO, indexing and crawling potential, and more. Tools like Google Search Console and Semrush perform SEO audits at little to no cost.
7. Don’t give up, SEO takes time
Has the Earth rotated a few times, and you’ve seen little improvement in your search ranking? Keep the faith: SEO is an ongoing process that takes a while to develop. With its low cost and high potential return on investment, SEO is a wise strategy for small businesses to pursue, even during times of economic uncertainty or budget fluctuations.
For solo entrepreneurs or small businesses with few resources, it’s worth it to prioritize SEO from the start. As your business grows, you can invest more time and energy into expanding your strategy with email, social, and other next-level small business search engine marketing techniques.
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After SEO, small business website marketing through email is the second-most cost-effective way to promote content and generate site traffic.
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