When you enter the business world, especially if you do it from any sort of marketing angle, you’ll hear all kinds of acronyms and industry-based terms. One that pops up a lot is SEO (search engine optimization). We’ll talk about what that means later. But it’s easy to be intimidated by that phrase, especially if you’re a small business owner, since you’re already juggling a million and one things. SEO may seem like one of those things that the corporate side of big companies deal with. But as a small business owner, you should absolutely be paying attention to SEO. It is an invaluable tool that could help you so much in this ever-increasingly digital world. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Let’s get some definitions in.
A quick definition
When you search something on a search engine (like Google, for example), do you ever wonder why certain websites pop up at the top of the list and others don’t? The reason is SEO. The name kind of hints at that. You have to make sure that your website is optimized for search engines in order to help with your visibility. But how does that work?
Whatever you search to find a particular site is known as a keyword. Search engines scour the internet for websites that have that keyword at a good level. They look for a lot of the keyword, but too much gets tossed aside as spam. When the search engine finds those sites, they stick them on the search results pages in order of which seem the most optimal. This is why SEO is so important, you want to make sure that you’re on the first page if at all possible. Think about it, how often do you or any one you know go further than the first page on Google? If ever, it’s usually because you’re desperately looking for something specific, but haven’t found it. But you don’t want your clients and customers to be driven to desperation. You want it easy to find your site and use your goods and/or services. So, it’s pretty easy to see why SEO is considered such a big deal in the digital marketing world, but what can you do about it?
Some SEO tips for small business
Corporate SEO generally involves having a whole internal team dedicated to their digital marketing, including their SEO. Small businesses likely can’t afford to have something like that. No one would expect you to. But that doesn’t mean that your SEO should go untouched. So, here are some things that you can do to keep up your SEO:
- Find your keywords. This is actually the first and most crucial part of taking over your own SEO. It is important that you decide what keywords you want to focus on. Decide on what the defining features of your company are. What you do, if there are any special ways that you do it, and where you do it.
- Run a blog. Most website builders allow you to have some sort of blog page. If you add that page and fill it with well written blogs using your keywords as inspiration. This is helpful for a few reasons. One is that search engines will see the blog that is filled with the keyword and helpful information and move it up the list. The other reason is that your customers and clients will appreciate the chance to learn more about what you do and any tips you may have for them.
- Check the copy on your site. Make sure that every page has some mention of your keywords. Where it makes sense, of course, and in moderation. If you have your keywords just randomly scattered throughout your site, people won’t be able to read your site when in a comprehensible way. If you site is overfull of your keywords, it’ll be viewed as spam by search engines.
- Use alt text. Not sure what alt text is? That’s okay, many people aren’t either. Alt text is the text that you can attach to an image that doesn’t show up of the frontend of your site (so, not a caption). It’s a super useful tool, as people who are seeing impaired use screen readers to browse the internet. When screen readers reach an image, they will read aloud the alt text. This way, you are engaging with even more people. Search engines use alt text to tell what the image is. So, if you use keywords that are actually associated with your company, that will help boost your SEO.
- Keep up your social media. As a small business owner, you probably already know how important social media is these days. It is one of the best ways to find new customers/clients and to interact with your current ones. Search engines pick up on social media pages too. So, when you make your posts, be sure to include captions that have keywords in them (again, only where it makes sense).
These are some of the basic ways to boost your SEO without requiring the resources of a giant corporation. Corporate level SEO may no be possible for you, but you can still do small things to help out with your visibility. And if this list seems overwhelming, don’t worry. You don’t have to do all of them if you don’t want. Some of them only really need to be done every now and then. Only post a blog once or twice a month. Make sure when your making your social posts, that you include a keyword here and there (hashtags certainly don’t hurt the cause either). Better SEO is within reach of everyone, even the small business owner.