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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Your Small Business SEO

5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve Your Small Business SEO

SEO Services by Tricycle Creative

When I start working with clients on their Search Engine Optimization (aka SEO), it’s often a marketing practice that is completely unknown and misunderstood. So, like pretty much all our digital marketing projects, I make sure that our team spends time explaining SEO at its most basic level.

I believe that an important foundational piece of figuring out how to improve your search rankings is to understand that SEO is like a scorecard. And guess what, that scorecard has 100’s of factors. The reality is that you may not be able to get points for all the factors but what you want to do is understand the factors and then make an informed decision on how much resources (money, time, staff, etc) you want to dedicate to your SEO efforts to get as many points as you can.

All that being said, I also fully appreciate that you might not be ready, or able, to hire an agency to help you with your SEO (set up a consultation if you’re curious) so I’ve put together this quick guide of five simple and practical things that you can do to improve your small business SEO.

SEO Tip #1: Create A Google My Business Account

If you do one thing, and one thing only, my advice would be to create a Google My Business account for your business. Why? Because Google My Business is a free service provided by Google that essentially verifies your business with them and then adds it to their records. In fact, 25-27% of local search rankings (local pack + localized organic rankings) are dependent on your Google My Business profile according to a 2018 ranking factors study by Moz.

And with the creation of Google My Business, Google has created a service that they trust and support. Why does this matter? Because it’s their go-to when it comes to displaying map results, customer reviews, and business information (sorry, Yelp). As of July 2019, Google had a 92% market share of search AND they account for 57.5% of all reviews worldwide, across all review platforms (Facebook accounts for 19%, TripAdvisor 8.4% and Yelp with 6.6%. Other platforms account for a modest 8.6%.

What’s that mean? They command a majority of the search queries and, therefore, you need to have your business information and customer reviews on a platform (Google My Business) that they use as reference.

SEO Tip #2: Create Your Keyword List

Creating your keyword list is a starting point for pretty much any SEO project. And, to clarify, when I say “keyword” I’m referring to keywords AND key phrases. That’s an important distinction for you to know that this list can include phrases (usually 3-5 words) and keywords (1-2 words). For example, in creating a basic keyword list for this blog post, it may include:

  • Small business SEO
  • SEO tips for small businesses
  • How to improve SEO
  • SEO tips for beginners

When we do for our clients, we do a deep dive into search volume, relevancy, and competition to assess the best opportunities, but you don’t need to worry about that level of detail starting out. My advice is to create 3-5 keywords related to your business, product(s), and service(s). When compiling this list, think about keywords in the following categories: 

  1. Related to the actual service: what, exactly and simply, is the product, service, or business? (e.g. seo agency)
  2. Related to prospective customer problems: what issues are your prospective customers try to solve and heading to Google to find answers about? (e.g. “how to improve seo”)
  3. Related to your solution: what’s the solution your business is offering to solve prospective customer problems? (e.g. “seo services for small businesses”)

You can accomplish creating your initial keyword list with nothing more than your brain, a pen, and a piece of paper but there are tools you can use to give you insights and ideas:

  • Google Autocomplete: this is a good place to start and it’s completely free. Go to Google.com and start typing in the keyword your thinking of adding to your list. Autocomplete will then start to display common search queries related to your keyword. This also works on YouTube if you’re considering video content.
  • Ubersuggest: you can do a lot with Ubersuggest without creating an account (but if you do create an account you get some extra tools/features). You can not only get keyword ideas from Ubersuggest, but you can also learn about their search volume PLUS get content ideas related to your keywords.
  • Google Ads Keyword Explorer: you can create a Google Ads account for free and use its tools without running any ads. Keyword Explorer is one of the best, and most definitive, tools to use to explore and expand your keyword list.

SEO Tip #3: Create Strategic, Useful Blog Posts

Before you sit down to write your blog post (or create any content for that matter) you need to put yourself in the shoes of the reader/viewer. Will this be interesting, useful, valuable, and/or informative to them? If not, don’t create it – rework it. Forgetting that your content needs to present value to your audience is the #1 failure of content marketing.

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And if you’ve ever talked or worked with someone in the past that just recommended “keyword stuffing” please, please, please, forget about that and run the other way. For those of you who don’t know what “keyword stuffing” is, it’s the practice of creating content that’s just jam-packed with the keyword you’re trying to rank for in Google Search and it’s done egregiously, like this:

If you’re looking for an SEO agency in Austin, Texas then Tricycle Creative is the best SEO agency and as an SEO agency Tricycle Creative provides more affordable SEO agency services…

Can you guess the keyword I’m stuffing there? It’s egregious. The best advice I can give when it comes to writing for SEO is to write conversationally. But more on that in tip #5.

SEO Tip #4: Optimize Titles, Tags, + Metadata

When you’re writing a blog post (or even creating a video) you should think about how you’re structuring and organizing your content. This will not only help you create great content but it will also help the reader/viewer consume the content. If your audience happens to be looking for something specific, make it easy for them to find. The simplest way to do this is by using a list format (just like this blog post) but you can also do this by thoughtfully adding titles (aka headings) to the sections/topics you’re sharing. 

 If you’re someone who’s new to blogging, you might be wondering why your blogging service provides you with the ability to format text certain ways with “headings”. You may think this is just for looks (which is part of it), but it also plays a larger role in SEO. When scanning websites, Google looks at the code to help understand what the site/post is all about and even the priority of the content. That’s where headings come in. H1’s are typically reserved for blog post or page titles so this is indicator at the highest level to Google of what the content is about. Think of this like the title of a book. Then H2’s are typically used inside of blog posts to indicate sections so Google understands those are like chapters in a book. You may have a ton of different headings provided by your blogging platform now you understand that they aren’t just for looks.

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SEO Tip #5: Create Quality Content

At the end of the day, you want your content to be of high quality and value. Creating something just for the sake of saying you created something isn’t doing anyone any favors. If it means that it takes you a bit more time to create something longer/better/more informative, then so be it. 

Interestingly enough, when it comes to writing a lot of clients get caught up in how long a blog post should be. And while part of that answer is that the average Google first page result contains 1,447 words, that’s only part of the story. Google’s John Mueller recently commented on Word Count stating that updating and improving content is more nuanced than adding more content, further explaining that:

From our point of view the number of words on a page is not a quality factor, not a ranking factor. So just blindly adding more and more text to a page doesn’t make it better.

He continued by saying:

It’s a bit like if you want to present something to a client who’s walking in, you can give them a one or two page brochure or you can give them a giant book of information.

And in some cases people will want a book with a lot of information. And in other cases people want something short and sweet.

And that’s similar to search.

If you have the information that you need for indexing for …kind of making it so that users and Googlebot understands what this page us about, what you’re trying to achieve with it uh… in a short version then fine, keep a short version, you don’t need to make it longer.

Just blindly adding text to a page doesn’t make it better.

So what’s that mean for content creators? The simplest rule of thumb is that content should be as long as necessary, but as short as possible while still accomplishing the goal of satisfying what your audience is looking for.

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