If you are embarking on your first SEO campaign as a small business, you are going to need to know a few things about technical SEO processes to determine if your campaign will be viable.
You will need to do keyword research in order to be able to assess your competition.
You should know at least some basics about technical SEO so that you can accurately validate your representative’s (or agency’s) work.
With these steps, you should be well on your way to achieving some SEO results for your small business website.
First, You Must do some Keyword Research
Keyword research is essential for any SEO campaign, small business or large. It allows you to assess your competition and understand what terms people are searching for that relate to your products or services.
Using the basics of keyword research, you can determine which keywords you should be targeting for your small business website.
For example, you should know the difference between keyword search volume and user intent.
You should also understand why an SEO company would choose search volume over another SEO metric when identifying SEO opportunities.
And, you may also want to know why search volume is not the be-all, end-all SEO metric that will determine your success.
Additionally, you will want to know how keywords work in terms of topics, context, and content.
Once you have a bit of grounding in these areas, you can begin to work with a keyword research tool.
There are a number of different keyword research tools available, some of which are free and some of which are paid.
Once you have a good understanding of how keyword research works, you can move on to more sophisticated (and expensive) tools, such as Moz’s Keyword Explorer.
There are a few great tools out there for keyword research, including:
All of these tools have free and paid versions, so you can start with the free versions to get a feel for how they work and what keywords you should be targeting.
Know About The Different Types of SEO
When you are starting your SEO campaign as a small business, you will want to be aware of the different types of SEO.
There are a couple of types of SEO that you want to be familiar with: organic SEO, and local SEO.
Organic SEO is the type of SEO that you usually think of when you think of an SEO campaign.
It is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in the search engines for relevant keywords.
Local SEO is a bit different, and it is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in the search engines for relevant local keywords.
For example, if you are a small business that sells products online, you would want to optimize your website for organic SEO keywords like “online store” or “e-commerce.”
But, if you are a brick-and-mortar store, you would also want to optimize your website for local SEO keywords like “store near me” or “buy products in person.”
Both types of SEO are important, and you will want to make sure that you are doing both as part of your campaign.
Assess Your Competition
After you have done your keyword research, it is time to take a look at who your competition is for those keywords.
You can use the tools mentioned above (Moz, SEMRush, Ahrefs) to assess your competition.
You will want to look at their domain authority, page authority, number of backlinks, etc. This will give you an idea of how strong their SEO is and how difficult it will be for you to rank for those keywords.
Understand Technical SEO Basics
Technical SEO is the process of optimizing the more technical aspects of your site for the search engines.
From meta tags, to code, to page speed, and your site’s architecture, technical SEO is an in-depth field all its own, with many nuances and things to uncover.
This includes things like making sure your website is fast, mobile-friendly, and easy to navigate.
It also includes making sure your website is coded correctly and uses proper headings and tags.
If you are not familiar with technical SEO, here are a few great resources to help you learn the basics:
Find an SEO Service Provider
Now that you have done your keyword research, assessed your competition, and understand some technical SEO basics, it is time to find an SEO service provider.
There are a few things you will want to keep in mind when choosing an SEO provider:
- Choose a company that has experience with small businesses.
- Make sure the company offers monthly reporting so you can track your progress.
- Note: be wary of companies who don’t offer monthly reporting, or they try to keep access to your Google Search Console or Analytics hostage. You, as the client, should always have access to these important reporting tools. If your agency won’t give you access, you need to run to another service provider as quickly as possible.
- Ask for client testimonials and case studies.
- Get a proposal that outlines their proposed strategy and tactics.
- Any agency should be willing to show you exactly what they are going to do for your dollar. While they shouldn’t have to show you their exact secret sauce (really, who wants to give away their company trade secrets to the competition?), there should be at least a high-level overview.
- If a company is not willing to provide a high-level overview of the things they will do to increase your SEO performance, then you should also run to another competitor.
Work with an Experienced SEO Company or Consultant
As a small business, when you are starting your SEO campaign, you will want to work with an experienced SEO company or consultant.
They will be able to help you with all aspects of your campaign, from keyword research to link building to on-page optimization.
They will also be able to help you track your results and make sure that you are on track to achieve your goals.
If you find somebody who has just started out, you may find weaknesses in their work such as mis-steps, missing information, and incomplete tasks.
Working with an experienced SEO company or consultant is the best way to ensure that your campaign is successful.
Implement Your SEO Strategy
Once you have chosen an SEO service provider, it is time to implement your SEO strategy.
Your SEO provider should give you a list of things they need from you in order to start working on your campaign.
Make sure you provide them with everything they need in a timely manner so they can get started on your campaign and start seeing results.
Monitor Your Progress
The final step in your small business SEO journey is to monitor your progress.
Your SEO provider should be giving you monthly reports that show your progress.
You can also use the tools mentioned above (Moz, Semrush, Ahrefs) to track your progress.
Keep an eye on your keyword rankings and traffic so you can see how your SEO campaign is performing.
Make Adjustments, and Rinse and Repeat as Needed
As you monitor your progress, you may find that you need to make adjustments to your SEO strategy.
This is normal, and to be expected. The beauty of digital marketing is that it is always evolving, and there is always room for improvement.
If you find that your traffic is stagnating or your keyword rankings are not improving, talk to your SEO provider about what changes need to be made.
Then, once you have made the necessary changes, rinse and repeat the process until you are happy with the results.
Congratulations! You have now completed your small business SEO journey. By following these simple steps, you will be well on your way to increasing your traffic and growing your business.
SEO is an important part of any online marketing strategy, small business or large. By making sure that you become knowledgeable about the different aspects of SEO, you can reduce the chances that you will be fleeced by a scammer.