In the era of technology where businesses can build a presence online to expand their consumer base, SEO has proved to be a very effective tool for growth.
The Internet has become a bidding room for businesses and the winning paddles all offer SEO. Search Engine Optimization is simply a way of making your business relevant to consumer queries using certain strategies.
No one really knows for sure what makes businesses rank the way they do in organic searches but SEO implements a lot of strategies that make it happen.
Search Engine Optimization is important for all businesses but more important for small Businesses. You might wonder why. It’s simple really. Small businesses enter an already saturated online market and they need all the advantages they can get to rank high on search result pages.
SEO doesn’t just make you rank high on search pages, it keeps you there by ensuring that you put out content that is relevant.
What are the Basics of SEO?
The workability of SEO rests on a few basic tools which you might have heard of before. These basics are the most important things that anyone starting up in SEO should know about. They form the ABC building blocks of SEO.
This could be a word or series of words as in long-tail keywords that a user searches for when looking for a specific information. For example, a keyword for cleaning services could be “eco-friendly cleaning services”. These keywords would be embedded in your content and when they are searched for, the web crawler tries to match the searched keywords to the keywords in your content. With the right keywords embedded in your web content, search engines match your website with the users query and rank you high on the search engine results page.
As a Start-Up business, you need to carry out a keyword research to know what keywords your target consumer base uses so that you too can use it.
Search Engine results page is the first page you see after hitting search on your query. Being on the first page is the goal for every business.
This is simply the order in which search results are displayed according to relevance. The goal of SEO is to make your business very relevant to search engines. The higher your relevance, the higher your rankings would be.
4. Organic rankings
Organic rankings simply refer to a website’s placement in search results pages based on its relevance and not paid advertisement. All businesses that don’t have paid advertisement strive to have organic rankings. Studies have shown that organic rankings have the highest ROI or return on investment.
Traffic is the number of visits that your website gets within a particular period of time. It’s important to know more traffic increases with increased relevance.
Basic SEO Strategies for Small Companies
There are so many SEO strategies out there but not all of them are effective for small businesses or start-ups. It is important to know what works better because SEO strategies require money to implement and you can’t afford to waste money on strategies that won’t work for you.
The following SEO practices are suitable for all small businesses.
1. SEO-Friendly Website
Many small businesses fail to start at the root of it all when it comes to SEO. They commit the sacred sin of thinking that SEO is all about keyword stuffing. In case you didn’t know before, it isn’t. I’ll discuss more about that later.
SEO starts at the website design level. Your other SEO strategies are hinged on having an SEO-Friendly website. But first what does it mean for your website to be SEO-friendly?
An SEO-friendly website is one that is designed to make indexing by search engine crawlers easy. Before any website can be matched with any query and ranked highly on the SERP, it must be indexed. Indexing refers to the process by which the web crawler “reads” and stores your webpages in its database.
For your website to be SEO-friendly, it must contain the following things.
- Different titles and descriptions for all pages.
- SEO-formatted Urls
- Short loading time for webpages
- SEO-optimized images
- SEO-optimized Content
- SEO webpage Structures.
- Mobile View
With these features in your website, all other SEO strategies have a higher chance of being effective.
2. Keyword Research
Keywords are the holy grail in SEO. There’s a whole lot of work that goes into ferreting the right keywords for your web page. Your relevance and rankings depend largely on the keywords you are applying to your content.
Keyword research lets you know
- What people are searching for
- How they search for it, and
- How many people are searching for it.
There are tools these days that have made keyword research very easy. Tools like Google Search Console, Google keyword planner and Moz keyword explorer help you know if the keywords you’ve come up with are good. For instance, you might have a keyword you’d like to use. To know if that keyword has a lot of searches, you input it in any of these tools. In addition to that, they also generate more related keywords for you.
3. SEO Web Content
SEO web content is a major SEO factor for small businesses. It’s one thing to have a base for your SEO strategies and to have keywords. The main attraction is your web content. What you put out determines how the web crawler would index you and how relevant you’ll be to search queries.
A few things are important to consider when setting up your web content.
- Keyword optimization
- Content links
- Content originality
Keywords are a must-have in your content for it to be search engine optimized. However, over time, many websites have abused the usage of keywords and that outdated practice is known as keyword stuffing.
The Google web crawler indexes webpages that have organic-looking content on their websites. If your web content has a very high keyword density, chances are high that the web crawler won’t index your webpage. The right keyword density lies between 2-4% in every content.
It’s also important to know where and how many keywords should be in your content. Note that, your keywords should flow seamlessly with your content.
In-content links are very beneficial for SEO especially for a start up business that hasn’t built a strong reputation yet. While linking out to other websites in your content via hyperlink, it is important to use the right anchor texts. When considering linking to other websites, look for credible websites that are authorities on the subjects you are talking about. Also be sure not to fill your content with too many links because just like keywords stuffing, it does more harm than good.
You could have the best keywords, and the most SEO-friendly website but with irrelevant content or worse, duplicated content, your website would forever be archived and blacklisted by Google.
4. Content Promotion
Now, you’ve got your quality content out there, promoting it is the next step. Content promotion simply entails showing your content to the right people at the right time and via the right medium.
Benefits of SEO for Small Companies and Start-Ups.
SEO is beneficial for small businesses in the following ways:
1. Gives Small Businesses a Fighting Chance against Competition
Let’s face it. Competition is fierce between businesses on the Internet. However, unlike real life situations, the Internet has an equal platform for everyone. Without SEO, small businesses wouldn’t have a chance to even compete for a market share with the big boys.
2. Brand Development
If there is one important ingredient in the recipe of business success, it is brand development. Consumers trust brands a lot and that is why companies like Apple and Hewlett-Packard get a whole lot of customers. SEO done right can build a reliable brand name for any small business. All it takes is reliable, unique content and content promotion for a business to develop a brand.
3. It isn’t Costly
Compared to paid-per-click advertising and real world advertising, SEO is relatively cheaper. In the real world, it is almost impossible to out-fund already established companies in having bigger advertisements.
On the Internet, SEO makes it possible for small businesses to play on a level field with bigger businesses and at a low and very affordable cost with greater returns.
How can SEO Help to Secure Your First Customers as a Start-Up?
Relevance is everything. Your first customers would come to you as a result of relevance and SEO makes you more relevant to search queries.
If you carried out your SEO strategies correctly, you’ll see an improvement in your rankings.
People tend to trust Google’s rankings which is why about 80% of people don’t ever get to check the second search results page. That is mostly because they find what they are looking for in the first page.
Organic ranking improvements make it easy for your targeted customers to see you when they search for the services you are offering. SEO’s job is to make you relevant to Google. If you put out relevant, insightful content on your web pages, your visitors would convert to paying customers.
Note that all these would not happen, if SEO doesn’t improve your organic rankings.
SEO is important for small businesses because it provides them with a chance to compete with bigger businesses on an even field. It also accelerates their success rates. For a small business to enjoy all the benefits of SEO, the first step is in acquiring the services of a digital marketing agency. Not just any digital marketing agency, but one that is experienced in SEO for start-ups.
Our digital marketing agency focuses on start-ups and small businesses only. Over the years we have gained quite the experience in SEO strategies that are strictly for start-ups. Make the first step towards building relevance for your business by getting in touch with us today!