Warning: Declaration of TCB_Menu_Walker::walk($elements, $max_depth) should be compatible with Walker::walk($elements, $max_depth, ...$args) in /home/halowayc/public_html/wp-content/plugins/thrive-visual-editor/inc/classes/class-tcb-menu-walker.php on line 0

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/halowayc/public_html/wp-content/plugins/thrive-visual-editor/plugin-core.php:89) in /home/halowayc/public_html/wp-content/plugins/sg-cachepress/core/Supercacher/Supercacher_Helper.php on line 77
5 Simple SEO tips for Small Business - Haloway Consulting

5 Simple SEO tips for Small Business

Use these 5 simple SEO tips for small business. Make your small business is visible online and stands out from your competition. 

young woman searching on tablet

Tip #1. Understand your audience.

First of all, you need to identify what problems you solve for your customers. Do you have a unique selling proposition for your business? If you cannot speak clearly to your customers’ desires or needs, they won’t be able to figure it out. They will end up totally frustrated and leave your website. Make your content clear and directed specifically to what they want or need.

Most importantly, choose keywords that your audience uses to search online. Sometimes people think that they are looking for one thing, but in reality, they want something totally different. Imagine what Apple would have used for search terms when they first launched the iPhone. Nobody knew what an iPhone or smartphone was. Therefore, Apple would have included search terms such as “best Blackberry phone”, “best Palm Pilots,” “best Motorola phones,” etc. in their keywords list to make sure that they were connecting with their intended audience.

Follow Apple’s example. First include terms that are related to their search, and then add keywords that are related to when they are not sure of what they are searching for. Finally, use tools such as kwfinder or Ubersuggest to find related or alternative search terms to add to your list. Use your list of keywords consistently in your content, page titles, meta descriptions and tags.

Tools to use: Whiteboard, notebook, digital spreadsheet or notebook such as Evernote. Right now, I am into mind-mapping tools such as Scapple and Xmind.
Time involvement:

Tip #2. Optimize your page content.

Most importantly, speak to your audience. Use their language, not yours. Localize your content to your audience. For example, Minneapolis and St. Paul are two specific geographic regions in the Midwest, but locals refer to the entire metro area as “the Twin Cities.” If local business is important to you, make sure to include the specific geographic keywords that people use. In this example, words would include “Minneapolis,” “St. Paul,” “Twin Cities,” and possibly specific neighborhood names.  

Start by using any of the recommended tools to optimize your keywords, website page titles, meta descriptions and body content. I like Yoast, since it gives me a list of recommendations, even though I don’t always agree with it. The goal is to get all of these critical pieces working together and supporting your overall website strategy. It takes time to complete this but is an important part of a successful online strategy.

Finally, optimize your site to be more user-friendly. Here are some examples of activities that help make your site more user-friendly:

  • Optimize your site to be mobile-friendly.
  • Use SSL certification to indicate that your site is secure.
  • Create user-friendly page URLs like “yourname.com/about” instead of URLs with numbers “yourname.com/php-21565.”
  • Build an XML site map to help a) people find content and b) search engine bots to index your site pages.

Tools to use: SEMRush, SpyFu, Google Search Console, Keywords Everywhere, Yoast
Time involvement: High

auto mechanic working on brakes

Tip #3. Take care of technical SEO issues.

Some of the most common technical SEO problems have to do with:

  • Speed. Optimize your page load speed. Viewers will leave within a few seconds if your site is taking too long to load. Google now ranks page load speed as a factor in ranking your site. Check your bounce rate in your analytics dashboard.
  • Duplicate content. Google will ding your ranking if it finds lots of duplicate content.
  • Broken links. You do not want your audience to get 404 messages instead of the content they are looking for. Bad user experience.
  • Improper use of canonical link elements. Are you wasting your readers' time by sending them off on a wild goose chase? Make wise use of internal and external links to make their searches easier and faster.
  • Un-optimized pages. For example, this could include slow loading pages and unorganized content that make it difficult for your readers to scan quickly. 

Tools to use: SEMRushGoogle Search Console, GT MetrixSiteliner and Screaming Frog
Time involvement: High

Tip #4. Add credible backlinks, citations and directory links to your website.

Create business directory listings that are appropriate to your business. Make sure that your listings are accurate and complete. At minimum, include your business name, address and phone (also called “NAP”) information consistently in your business listings. Your NAP must be consistent everywhere online, or search engines such as Google will rank your site as unreliable, since the information is not reliable and potentially misleading.

Next, identify your local influencers who are relevant to your business referral network. You will want to work with them to create backlinks to your site. Furthermore, I recommend you make a list of your top 25-50 potential business directory listings and allocate time every week to complete one or two.

Tools to use: Yext, BrightLocal, WhiteSpark, Moz Local, Google business directory
Time involvement: Low

Tip #5. Monitor your top competitors.

Make a list of your top 5 to 10 direct and indirect competitors and build time in your calendar to check their websites and search listings on a monthly or quarterly basis. If they consistently outrank you in organic search rankings, investigate their approach with each of these SEO tips.

For example, use free tools such as Neil Patel’s SEO analyzer to compare their website with yours. Follow up by making the recommended changes and re-testing the results every month to track your results. I have been using Neil Patel’s SEO analyzer tool regularly since I launched my new website in January, and I have seen excellent progress towards better SEO rankings. It takes time but is worth the effort. My current goals are to clean up keywords and optimize scripts to reduce the number of requests.

Tools to use: SEO analyzer
Time involvement: Low

In conclusion, SEO takes time. First, set realistic expectations. It will take you weeks if not months to fix SEO content and technical problems to build up your SERP rankings. Three to six months is a reasonable amount of time to see improvements for your keyword rankings.

Most importantly, constantly test your content. Choose quality over quantity, so you do not get penalized for keyword stuffing or duplicate content. SEO research is an ongoing task, much like keeping your favorite mode of transportation clean and running well. Finally, monitor your results on a regular basis, so you can shift proactively if you notice changes to your site traffic.