We get it. As a small business owner, optimizing your business’ website using SEO is probably the very last thing on your “To-Do” list.
You’d rather get a head start ordering next month’s inventory shipment than mindlessly reading guide after guide on supposedly “easy” SEO strategies.
So why not invest your time and money into paid advertising? You’ll see quick gains in web traffic and ultimately sales, right?
Sure, you may see short-term improvements, but in order to maintain steady business growth, you need a repeatable, scalable, cross-channel marketing approach.
Although SEO marketing tactics take a long time to show impact and ranking against high-power competitors isn’t an easy task, SEO should be a critical part of any small business’ long-term growth marketing plan.
You don’t even need to hire a third-party agency or consultant to help you get started!
In this post, we’ll show you five actionable SEO tactics that you can easily implement with little to no overhead.
Here’s what’s included in this post:
- 5 high-powered SEO tactics
- Descriptions of each tactic
- An illustration depicting each tactic
Let’s start with…
Submit to Online Directories
It doesn’t matter if you’re a tech giant or a small restaurant. Chances are there’s a directory for your business.
This tactic is a great way to piggyback on the SEO success of directory websites for the gain of your own SEO efforts. Whenever you land a backlink on a directory that has a higher domain authority than yours, you’ll gain an invaluable boost in how Google ranks your page.
- A newly launched startup that needs exposure to the startup community can use tools like StartupLister or PromoteHour to mass-submit to numerous startup directories.
- A restaurant owner can submit their restaurant to tools like Yelp, OpenTable, Foursquare, etc… and receive both an SEO boost and ratings that can help drive foot traffic.
- A marketing consultant can submit their services to directories like AgencySpotter to be listed and find a new potential lead flow channel.
Get your name out in front of your audience by guest-writing articles and sharing your expertise.
Guest posting as a tactic has a dual benefit. First, it helps you reach the target audience of blogs who have similar audiences as yours. Second, it helps you get backlinks to your site so you can drive up your search engine rankings.
Figure out the top blogs and writers in your space. Make sure they appeal to your target audience and have a decent readership.
Ask if you can contribute a guest post on their blogs – they’re almost always looking for new content to push to their readers. Write high-quality guest posts to establish yourself as an industry leader and organically push your product.
Make sure you include links back to relevant content on your own blog (and if you don’t have any, start there first).
If you’re worried about your writing skills, there are other ways to contribute to guest blogs. You can share videos of your business or product, offer to be interviewed by a blogger or publication, or be a guest on someone’s podcast.
- Start by creating a list of publications and blogs you want to be featured in. Then start with the smaller ones until you build a name for yourself and can target big fish.
- Always go by the guest posting guidelines as handed down by the owner of the blog you’re guest posting for so that you can ensure quick and frictionless publishing.
- Avoid using freelance writers, unless they’re really high quality. Only you can be passionate enough about your business and industry for it to carry over into content.
Website Titles & Meta Descriptions
One of the main ways to increase SEO traffic is to experiment with the meta title and meta description you have on your page.
Flexing this can increase your clickthrough rate from the search engine results page, and can affect what keywords you rank for. Your Google Adwords ad copy testing or any other advertising and marketing copy is a great source of inspiration for what to write here.
And if you don’t know where to start, look at your competitors. What keywords are they using? What do they say in their page meta descriptions?
- If you’re entirely lost on how to do this, you can always work with an inexpensive SEO consultant on UpWork. Just make sure they’re not selling backlinks, but actual technical SEO services.
- Most content management systems, like WordPress, offer the ability to edit your meta information directly in the admin dashboard.
- Make sure you’re sticking to best practices for meta-tagging!
- Use tools like SpyFu, SERPs, and Ahrefs to do some keyword research and find out where you’re ranking. They all have free trials!
Switch to Premium Web Hosting
Don’t be thrifty with your web hosting solutions.
If you suddenly have a blog post explode and go viral, your cheap hosting solution will crumble to bits.
More importantly, however, fast page load times are a big deal for SEO and can help you rank faster by making your site a lot easier for bots to crawl.
Spend a bit of extra money today to make sure your website is stable and loads quickly.
- Make sure you evaluate all your hosting options. For example, Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS offer different tiers, pricing structures, etc. Do your research.
- Do your best to find promotions and deals dedicated to startups, small businesses, and non-profits. Often, large companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google offer discounts and credits for businesses of certain industries. This can help offset some of the hosting cost.
Offer to give testimonials to your favorite tools and services. In return, make sure they actually link to your website in that testimonial.
This serves several functions for your business. It will get you a backlink for your website, will help increase brand awareness, builds relationships with other businesses and influencers, and can position you as an influential figure with a valued opinion in your space.
- Make sure you determine beforehand whether the tool you’re offering a testimonial for actually links to the businesses that offer them testimonials.
- Reach out directly to higher-level marketing and biz-dev staff to offer your testimonial if you don’t have an account manager you can reach out to.
- Only do it for products you actually like and use. Otherwise, it’s pretty clear you’re just fishing for something and haven’t actually been actively using or enjoying their platform.
And that’s it! Five immediately actionable SEO tips for smaller businesses to start working on their SEO and search engine presence. Putting the above tactics into play may take a bit of time, both in terms of execution and results, but they’re still high-impact over time.
As with any SEO tactic, an important thing to note is that without having a proper Google Analytics setup, you won’t be able to properly track the impact of your SEO efforts. So invest some time in getting to a baseline analytics setup before diving deep into SEO activity (or any marketing, for that matter).