If you’ve been tuning in to Priority Pursuit, then you already know that the flywheel marketing method—a marketing system where your website and online marketing efforts are in sync and function as a flywheel to continually produce results—is the most effective strategy for small businesses.
After phase one of the flywheel method—understanding your audience and creating clear messaging—the second phase of this marketing strategy is developing a strategically-built, SEO-optimized website. In a previous episode, we focused on the first part of this step: how to build a strategic website that generates leads and converts prospects into clients.
In this week’s episode of Priority Pursuit, we dive into the second half of step two of the flywheel strategy by explaining the tools you should use and the steps you should take to ensure your website is best optimized for SEO.
Why does SEO matter for small businesses?
Now, before we get into how to optimize your website for search engines, we want to briefly explain why SEO is a foundational piece of a successful small business marketing strategy.
If you aren’t familiar with SEO—which stands for “search engine optimization”—it’s simply a process that helps your website rank well on Google (or other search engines) when users conduct searches related to your products, services, or content. In other words, SEO helps Google users find your website or content when they’re in need of products or services you offer or your content answers their questions or solves their problems.
For small businesses, SEO is a particularly valuable marketing tactic because when people want to intentionally look for a product or service, they use Google. In fact, 97% of people use Google when they’re in need of a local product or service.
As a result, if your website doesn’t appear on the first page of Google, you’re missing out on business—not because you aren’t great at what you do or you don’t serve your customers well, but simply because your ideal clients can’t find your website.
With this in mind, it is clear that just having a website is not enough. You need to make sure that your website is optimized for search engines so that potential customers can find it. Without doing so, you are drastically limiting the reach and effectiveness of your most powerful marketing tool.
Yes, you can share links to your website and content on social media, via email, and in countless other places. But, when your website ranks well on Google, people can literally find your business and be added to your sales funnel while you’re sleeping. In other words, SEO can result in consistent business that requires little work on your part.
When we look at Treefrog clients’ analytics, the value of SEO becomes crystal clear. For example, in June 2023 alone, 6000 people visited Wildwood’s website as a result of organic search, making Google responsible for more than half of this Texas restaurant’s website traffic. Essentially, that’s 6000 people—plus the people they were likely dining with—who discovered this small business’s website as they were looking for a great restaurant.
Because we know SEO can do big things for small businesses (including yours), we optimize every website we create at Treefrog for both customer satisfaction and search engines.
With this in mind, let’s dive into how to optimize your website for search engines.
How to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines as a Small Business
When it comes to SEO tasks, we think of them in two categories:
- The tasks you need to do just once when you launch a new website
- The tasks you need to complete on an ongoing basis
In this episode, we are going to focus on the tasks you need to do when you launch a website. The ongoing tasks are more content marketing related, and we will certainly cover this more in depth in an upcoming episode.
Whether you’re planning for your next website or you’ve yet to do SEO work on your current site, here are the six things we always do when launching a new website for our clients to help them see big SEO results.
1. Build an initial keyword strategy for the main pages of your website.
First, if you recall from previous episodes about the flywheel marketing strategy, you already know that when building a new website, you can save yourself hours upon hours of time if you do keyword research for the main pages of your website BEFORE you start writing copy or designing your site.
Now, in case you aren’t familiar with keywords, Moz defines keywords as, “Ideas and topics that define what your content is about. In terms of SEO, keywords are the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines.”
In other words, keywords are the words or phrases that people Google, and as a business owner, you want to include relevant keywords on your web pages so that you can get your website in front of potential customers who are specifically looking for your products, services, or content.
Looking for help developing keywords for your website? Download our FREE guide, “How to Use Keywords to Improve Your Small Business’s SEO” today!
2. Add Google Analytics to your website.
While our team at Treefrog conducts keyword research before copywriting begins and then writes web pages with those keywords in mind, after a website is complete, our SEO team then adds Google Analytics to the site.
Google Analytics is a website tracking tool created by Google that allows you to collect and analyze data about users and how they interact with your website. Google Analytics can tell you things like how many people have visited your website, which specific pages they visited, how people are finding your website, how much time people are spending on your website, which pages and blog posts are performing well and which aren’t, and so much more.
Now, adding Google Analytics to your website doesn’t improve your SEO directly. However, this free tool provides you with much of the data you need to see how well your website is performing and where traffic is coming from. As a result, it can help you see what pages and blog posts are working (and not working) so you can adjust your SEO and content marketing strategy accordingly.
For example, if you notice that blog posts around a particular topic tend to get a lot of website traction and that people are spending time truly reading those posts, that’s likely a sign that you should write similar blogs to both serve your customers well and drive more traffic to your website.
Adding Google Analytics to your website is fairly easy. Basically, you just need to create a Google Analytics account and then copy your “measurement ID” to your website. That said, where you put this ID is going to depend on your website builder.
Here are tutorials for installing Google Analytics to WordPress and ShowIt. If you use a different web builder, simply search, “How to install Google Analytics to [INSERT YOUR WEB BUILDER HERE],” and you’ll likely find some helpful content.
3. Add your website to Google Search Console.
After Google Analytics has been installed, the next thing you want to do is set up Google Search Console, which is another free tool Google offers that you can use to monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot your site’s performance in Google Search results.
Like Google Analytics, Google Search Console isn’t a ranking factor—meaning installing it alone won’t help your Google rankings. However, setting up Google Search Console is very important because it provides you with helpful data.
While Google Analytics is “user-focused,” meaning it provides data related to those who visit your website, Google Search Console is “search-engine focused,” meaning it provides data specific to your search engine rankings.
When you install Google Search Console, you can monitor and track specific keyword rankings, your site’s average position on Google, backlinks, and more.
Again, adding your website to Google Search Console doesn’t directly improve your SEO rankings, but it gives you the data needed to measure the success of your SEO strategy so you can make informed decisions.
Setting up Google Search Console is also a fairly easy process. That said, you do need to make sure you’ve set up Google Analytics first as it will make this process drastically easier.
Here are tutorials for adding your WordPress or ShowIt websites to Google Search Console. Regardless of your web builder, if you already have Google Analytics installed, simply go to Google Search Console’s website and follow the prompts. Your web builder also likely has helpful tutorials available.
4. Submit your sitemap to Google Search Console.
We’ve touched on tools in the last two steps, but next, we’re going to discuss something that actually is a ranking factor—submitting your sitemap to Google Search Console.
As smart as Google is, it does need a little help. To make sure Google knows your website exists, you need to submit your sitemap.
A sitemap is simply a file that includes a list of every webpage, blog post, photo, video, and file on your website. Thankfully, your web builder almost certainly puts this file together for you. All you have to do is get the file’s link from the backend of your website and copy and paste it into Google Search Console’s “Sitemaps” tab.
Like with almost every other step we’ve discussed so far, if you just Google, “How to submit sitemap for [INSERT YOUR WEB BUILDER HERE],” you will most likely find a tutorial, but here are the tutorials for both WordPress and ShowIt.
5. Create a Google Business Profile.
Another ranking factor that can improve your SEO is creating a Google Business Profile.
In case you aren’t familiar with this, a Google Business Profile is essentially an online storefront where you can display and share updates, photos, videos, your hours, your policies, and more about your business.
When people search for products or services you offer or for your business specifically, Google then uses Google Business Profile to provide Google users with a snapshot of your business. If they’d like to learn more, Google users can then visit your website or even contact you for a quote through your Google Business Profile (if you have this setting turned on).
It’s important to register for a Google Business Profile because taking the time to do so shows Google that you are a legitimate business. To set up your profile, simply go to the Google Business Profile site, and you’ll then be walked through every step of the process.
That said, simply creating a Google Business Profile isn’t enough to improve your SEO. You need to keep your profile up to date by:
- Making sure all information displayed on your Google Business Profile is accurate and current.
- Posting to your Google Business Profile.
- Asking for Google reviews.
If you’d like to learn more about why and how to use your online storefront, tune into “Episode 043: Why You Should Be Updating & Posting to Your Google Business Profile.”
With all this in mind, we do want to emphasize the importance of having a process that regularly generates new reviews. Reviews help Google see that your business is active and relevant. And, if you’re receiving reviews regularly, your business is much more likely to appear in Google’s Local Pack (which is that section of Google that lists local businesses in search results when relevant), and your website is much more likely to rank well in search results.
If asking your clients for reviews isn’t already a system you have in place, please change that ASAP.
6. Create consistent online directory listings.
Last but not least, it’s important to create consistent online directory listings.
Online directories are websites or anywhere business information is listed online (such as Yelp). It’s important for you to take the time to create consistent online directory listings because when Google sees that your business’s name, phone number, hours, email, and other information are consistent across online directories, your website is more likely to rank well.
While you can manually create online directory listings—meaning you can go to each and every website and enter your business’s information individually—you can also invest in a service like Moz Local to update and maintain your listings for you.
We personally use Moz Local for our clients and highly recommend it. Once you provide your business information, this platform will consistently list it on 1000+ online directories.
Completing these steps will give you a firm SEO foundation.
It’s important to complete these six steps because these tactics and tools will give you a firm SEO foundation. However, this isn’t all there is to SEO. These are just the one-time-per-new-website tasks we mentioned at the beginning.
Google will certainly love that you took the time to complete these steps; however, Google’s goal is to provide its users with the information they need as quickly and accurately as possible. As a result, having a content marketing strategy that includes consistently creating helpful, relevant content for your ideal audience is even more important. Because, when Google sees that your small business is regularly producing content that answers questions and solves problems, Google will see your authority and be more likely to rank your website well because your content will serve Google users well.
Again, we’ll talk about content marketing more in-depth in an upcoming episode of Priority Pursuit. But, for now—whether it’s time for a new website or you want to improve your current website’s Google rankings—be sure to complete the six SEO tasks we discussed in this episode.
You or a member of your team are certainly capable of learning basic SEO principles and completing these tasks. However, our team at Treefrog is also more than happy to complete these tasks for you—whether you work with us to build a new website for your small business or you simply need assistance completing these tasks with your current website.
Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
- Build the Most Effective Marketing Strategy With Our Flywheel Marketing Guide
- Receive 50% Off Your First Year of HoneyBook
- Learn More About Treefrog’s Small Business Marketing Resources & Services
- Join the Priority Pursuit Facebook Community
- Follow or DM Treefrog Marketing on Instagram
- Follow or DM Kelly Rice on Instagram
- Follow or DM Victoria Rayburn on Instagram
The Priority Pursuit Podcast is a podcast dedicated to helping small business owners define, maintain, and pursue both their personal and business priorities so they can build lives and businesses they love.
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