One of the fundamental benefits of internet marketing – and SEO in particular – is that it can enable businesses of all sizes to compete more effectively, reducing the impact of budget variances.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or enterprises should aim to gain ground against larger competitors in the same digital space and maximize the opportunities of being a small entity online.
In this article, take a practical look at SEO for small businesses and 5 ways a small business can exceed its weight.
1. Become the expert voice of your niche
As an SME, you have a perfect chance to position your expertise at the forefront of your business through yourself and other key employees.
Within the online community, you are able to provide a believable, trustworthy and real face to an online approach that is often seen as colder than many big brands.
Small entities are often seen as already being closer to their audience, so when SMBs are able to pivot, identify, nurture and share their offline modes of operation online the rewards can be huge.
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There are a few advantages that an SME has over a large company, such as:
- Less paperwork and internal barriers to access the conversation earlier.
- Established people-centered ways of working are often necessary for small brands to work.
- Authentic offline experience inside the community can be adapted for online earnings.
- Real opinion and opportunities for open comments sharing.
- Agility to adapt approaches and take increased risks with trial and error supported by data.
It is incredibly difficult for large entities to have a genuine voice in the online community, and it offers a fantastic route to market for SMEs.
2. Do the basics well
I appreciate that the “basics” can have many connotations. However, for small business SEO, always keep the focus on the fundamentals of success.
Your time, resources, and budget may limit experimentation, so be sure to focus on the known factors that impact SEO and the success of your website visitors.
Don’t get lost on vanity metrics or success metrics that keep you from investing those gains in more SEO and digital marketing.
There are many basic things to prioritize, and they will differ depending on your starting point for SEO, but keep it simple and consider:
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- Access to key content: How easily can people find, digest, and convert from the cornerstones of your content?
- User experience: How fast is your content loading and are there unnecessary distractions preventing the user from moving forward?
- Technical barriers: Do you make it easier for search engines to understand, index and rank your content?
- Understanding Pages: How can you strengthen the topic of the content and strengthen the signals you send to search engines based on titles, URLs, internal links, and other signals on the page?
- Content hierarchy: When you look at your website navigation and supporting content access elements (sub-navigation, footer, etc.), how easily and easily can someone get to your most popular pages? important?
- Types of mixed content: Do you make it easy to rank your content for all types of relevant search results (images, video, and more)?
- Full content coverage: Can someone get a deep and complete understanding of a topic without leaving your page? Are there better examples of content available that should logically perform better than yours?
- The local advantage: Can you leverage your location to improve your claim to SEO success more than other national, regional, or global brands?
3. Authority building with the creation of credible content
Small businesses tend to have a deep understanding of their audience. When this is combined with SEO and an evidence-based mindset for content creation, it can deliver substantial marketing benefits.
The creation of high-performance digital content does not have to be entirely business-related or only available through outsourcing to an agency.
There are often combinations of the two to explore to provide maximum capture of the moment without overwhelming resources or budget, but making the most of both.
Once you’ve committed to a content plan, you’ll want to focus on value for your audience versus commercial value for your business, and adjust the price as you go, to achieve that balance.
Generally credible authoritative content will have:
- Inherent and tangible merit to the public.
- Autonomous objective and increased utility above competing examples.
- Opinion, data and unique insight closely matching your expertise and niche.
- PR and media value; especially for local publications.
- Strong paternity of trust in the ideation and creation of content.
- Impact layers for several types of characters.
- Reuse of mixed content to target various user preferences.
- Easy to access, digest and well promoted messaging.
For starters, I would suggest that your first key pieces of content be created based on the areas that you are most known for within your business niche.
Consider the factors that most require your business’s service or offering, and why people will come to you compared to the competition.
From there, you can use that meaningful differentiation and convey many of your lessons and advice in really valuable content that can work hard over and over for your link and authority building exercises.
Quality content takes expertise, energy and constant effort to make the most of it.
Check out this related article which can help your content work harder for you.
4. Take advantage of local optimization
To exceed your weight in SEO, you need to get every ounce of value from the moment you invest online.
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Local optimization for SMEs will always offer a chance to increase your return on investment.
The reason behind this is that you have a legitimate claim to your local community, and in many cases a more genuine claim to that visibility than other competing sites, regardless of their scale.
You probably won’t find a small business SEO post that doesn’t consider local SEO, and that’s because it works.
There are some basic activities you can take to progress in local SEO for small businesses. These include:
- Claim, maintain and share updates on your Google business profile (formerly Google My Business).
- Creation location of landing destinations on your website, rich in local content.
- Sow in your services (if applicable) local updates and associated information.
- Be active with local media and publications.
- Functioning location-based marketing programs and incentive programs.
- Generate local opinions, testimonials and case studies.
- Be actively present in community sites, forums, as well as sources of questions and answers.
- Share your expertise and reviews on major social networks canals.
- Using LocalBusiness schema if applicable.
Here is a comprehensive local SEO checklist that will help you vary and prioritize actions in this area.
5. Become the problem solver
One thing that is pervasive in all industries is the need for people to have their questions answered, as well as their pain points addressed.
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Prioritizing problem solving is a common tactic that helps put the business in front of its online audience when it’s needed most,
As a monthly (ideally weekly) exercise, explore your Google Search Console data and find any terms that include; who, what, why, where, when, how.
Then consider queries related to pain points such as the following phrases and expressions: problem, problem, and more.
You can then add triggers, cost / price, and other areas like review and compare terms to this location.
You will likely discover many new terms and topics that your audience is looking for advice and opportunities to position you and your SME at the forefront of responding to them.
This type of value-based medium and the creation of publicly responsive content can provide layers of value and online business impact.
Much of the rich content you create with this approach will have layers of potential.
- You can create a community Center to host the content of the FAQ.
- From this hub you can create destinations or content that has broader appeal to your audience and drives traffic and conversions to your site.
- You can promote and share this content socially and on external sites in snippets, to help resolve recurring audience questions and generate new links to your content.
- The content can be rused in other types of content such as video and image content, enabling ranking and SEO gains in emerging search verticals.
- As the visibility increases, you attract many new and unanswered questions that fuel the above cycle.
- You can always add to queries by complete competitor content gap analysis in their visibility of questions and answers, and by using free tools such as Answerthepublic.
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Small businesses have a great opportunity to surpass their perceived weight online.
By focusing on the 5 key areas discussed in this article and following the suggested tactics that support them, you will be able to develop your small to medium business SEO success in a meaningful and value-based way.
Featured Image: MaDedee / Shutterstock