Just like fashion, search engine optimization (SEO) changes all the time. Akin to the trends of fashion, you have to invest the time and do the research to stay ranked and relevant.
With new competition entering the market every year, it’s more important than ever to be easily searchable, informative, and consistent—especially as a small business. If you can rank first in a Google search, you have a 33% chance of getting clicked and 67% chance if you rank in the top five! Finding easy ways to improve your SEO can be a struggle for those just getting started as a small business. You want your company to grow its presence online—but being a small fish in a big pond can make it a little difficult.
Mastering SEO is easier than you think! Here are five ways to improve your SEO and help your small business rank higher than your competitors.
1. Make your website fast and mobile-friendly.
With high speed internet and endless amounts of information at our fingertips, we’re in an age of instant gratification. If your website is slow or takes more than a few seconds to load, you’ll likely lose customers. In fact, slow loading speeds increase your website’s abandonment rate to 75%.
Websites that are slow to respond are not just frustrating for your customers; Google is always watching! Checking your website loading speed and making a few simple updates could make a difference between ranking on page one and page two of a Google search.
You can’t afford to have a website that isn’t mobile friendly! 63% of Google’s US organic searches come from mobile devices. If your website isn’t designed with mobile users in mind, your Google ranking is going to suffer.
Note: Google Analytics is your friend! With tons of tools, reports, and data collected on your website, it is an amazing resource to improve your SEO. After you’ve set up your website and attached Google Analytics, utilize the resources at your fingertips to teach Google how it should look at your site.
2. Utilize SEO titles and meta descriptions.
Crafting the perfect SEO title and meta description for your content is like going on a first date. You want to share enough about yourself to pique interest, but not enough to give everything away. It’s the same thing for your SEO title and meta description. You want to entice your customers with a unique title that shows them exactly what they’ve been looking for and a meta description that’s an extra bit of information telling them exactly what your page is about and why they should click through to your site.
Your SEO title and meta description are like a tiny ad for your content. They’re customizable elements of your HTML that reflect the content on your website. Just like your first date, you only have a short time to catch interest! For your title, it’s generally accepted that it should be between 50 and 60 characters, and your meta description should be between 150 and 160 characters. Make them short, sweet, and to the point!
The most important thing to remember when crafting your SEO title and meta description is that every character counts! Here are some tips to help you improve your SEO:
- Utilize your long-tail keyword by adding it to your SEO title, meta description, and throughout your site.
- Reach out to your local customers by including the name of the city your business is in or the area in which you do business (e.g. serving the Greater Lafayette area).
- Include a call-to-action (e.g. learn more!).
- Put your company name at the end of each SEO title (e.g. Five Ways to Improve your SEO | Treefrog Marketing).
- Optimize your slug (e.g. five-ways-improve-seo).
If you’re not sure how your SEO title and meta description will look in a Google search, try using a source like Yoast’s SEO Plugin for WordPress. This platform will give you an idea of how your title and meta description will look, and how many characters you’re using. In the world of SEO, crafting the perfect SEO title and meta description that are compelling and unique is an art form. You’re competing in a sea of options. Find your way to stick out in the digital arena and own it!
Note: Awkward pauses are uncomfortable, but you know what’s worse? Ellipses! You don’t want the dreaded ellipses to cut off your SEO title or meta description. Not only does that cut off essential information, but it also chips away at your credibility!
3. Optimize your images.
You’ve heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” and for your website’s SEO nothing could be more true! Optimizing your website’s images is one of the best ways you can improve your SEO. To get the most out of you images, you need to consider three things:
- File size
Huge images can seriously slow down your website’s loading speed. And as we discussed above, your website’s loading speed plays a major role in improving your SEO. Pay attention to file size of the images you choose and how you format them to fit your site. Before you publish a new page, always remember to resize and compress your images to optimize your space and loading speed.
Images are also a great way to sneak in more of your keywords and improve your SEO. Instead of naming your image “marketing1”, try naming it something like “small business marketing.” This will pull in one of your keywords and help with your Google ranking. Keywords can also be used in the title, caption, and description of an image to improve your SEO.
4. Claim your Google Business listing.
Go! Click away right now and claim your Google My Business listing if you haven’t already. Yes, it’s that important. Google My Business, or GMB, is free and can help your business get amazing exposure in your community. Plus, if you do it correctly, your business might be one of the first featured sites in a local Google search.
Claiming your business is easy. Simply visit your Google My Business page and request a verification. Once you’ve begun the verification process, Google will send you a verification pin via email or postcard to your business. With the verification, log in and enter your unique PIN number to verify the business.
Once you’ve claimed your business, the next step is to optimize your listing so you can improve your SEO. To make your business page as helpful as possible for your customers and Google’s search engine, you’ll need to add a business description, business hours, logo, categories, types of payment, and every other field requested. Photos of your location and products or services are a great source for your customers as well.
Note: According to Google’s terms of service, only the business owner can claim a business. If you’re working with a digital marketing company, you can grant them permission to be a manager of your page. This is a safeguard for your business in case you terminate the relationship with your marketing company.
5. Remember: content is king.
Content is the king, queen, and honestly the entire court. Creating authentic content that is unique, useful, entertaining, and informative will get you the crown every time with your customers. Your content is so crucial to your business that underestimating its influence can hurt your business far more than you might expect.
Creating and publishing consistently relevant and unique content with strategically placed keywords can ultimately help you improve your local SEO by exposing your brand to more digital customers and increasing your ranking. By writing useful and helpful content for your customers, your brand is creating authority and building trust with your customers. Your content is answering the questions your customers are asking, often without them even having to ask. When you’re creating content correctly, your customers will know that you’re a trusted source in your industry.
If your content is as amazing as we think it could be, your customers will pause in their constant scrolling and potentially even comment, like, or share your content on their social media profiles. Your amazing content could be seen by thousands of people through one outstanding social media post and the share button. The market is already saturated with brands pushing their sales, but by creating content and establishing your brand, you’re moving your customers through the buyer’s journey (often without them noticing)!
Note: Building a relationship with your customer base and having a sense of authority in your area will help you generate leads without bombarding your customers with sales pitches.
It’s okay to feel a little overwhelmed when you’re first learning to master the ways to improve your SEO. Optimizing your business for search engines can be tedious at times, but the results are well worth all the hours spent deep diving into your site. Seeing your business in the top rankings of a Google search will give you a feeling of pride and satisfaction every small business owner should enjoy!
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Treefrog Marketing is an agency focused on small business and located in Lafayette, Indiana. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, graphic design, web design, social media, SEO, and more. For more information, please visit our website. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.