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Small Business SEO: 10 Tips to Get Your Website Found Online


Your small business needs a solid online presence to get discovered. Search engine optimization (SEO) is key.

In 2019, Lindsey Bomgren, the founder of the online fitness website Nourish Move ****, was spinning her wheels, creating content that wasn’t reaching her ideal audience.

Lindsey shifted her focus to SEO. And by 2021, her website had blossomed into a lucrative six-figure business.

As of 2024, Nourish Move **** reaches an estimated 180k monthly visitors from search and is a thriving small business.

Domain Overview – Nourishmorelove.com

In this article, you’ll learn what small business SEO is and its benefits. Then, you’ll find ten tips to improve the SEO of your small business website.

What Is Small Business SEO?

Small business SEO involves optimizing your website’s content and structure to attract traffic through search engines like Google.

This helps you gain visibility, generate more sales, and grow your business.

Small business SEO is a subset of general SEO. But with more targeted, niche-specific keywords and fewer resources.

And if your small business has a physical location, you can focus on local search results as well.

Difference Between Small Business SEO and Local SEO

Small business SEO and local SEO are connected. But they have different purposes.

Local SEO helps any business with a physical location, big or small, get found by nearby customers. It focuses on appearing in local searches like “restaurants near me” or “plumbers in San Francisco.”

Google SERP – Plumbers San Francisco

Small business SEO is specifically for smaller companies, whether you have a physical location or not. It’s about using niche-specific keywords to reach your ideal customers wherever they are.

For example, a local hairdresser would primarily focus on local SEO to show up for searches like “hairdressers in Miami.”

Meanwhile, an ecommerce business selling toilet paper nationwide would benefit more from small business SEO.

Google SERP – Toilet paper subscription

SEO Benefits for Small Businesses

  • Increased brand awareness: Ranking in the top 10 results of Google search results pages (SERPs) increases your brand visibility. More visibility means more people learning about your company. Over time, increased awareness can lead to more business.
  • Increased targeted website traffic: SEO focuses on attracting users who are already looking for products or services like yours. And the more targeted traffic you get, the higher your opportunity to turn that traffic into customers or clients.
  • Better brand trust and credibility: Appearing in the top 10 results of search results positions your business as an authority within your niche.
  • Higher conversion rates: Organic traffic (coming from search engines) tends to convert at a higher rate because people are actively searching for your type of business.
  • Being open 24/7: Your target audience is looking for businesses or solutions for their problems at all hours of the day. With an optimized online presence, your business is available to customers whenever they need it.
  • Cost-effective in the long run: Good SEO leads to long-term results. Once you establish top rankings, it’s easier to maintain them than constantly relying on paid advertising.

10 Small Business SEO Tips

Below are the most impactful SEO strategies to increase traffic and sales from organic search. Starting with the most important step, keyword research.

1. Do Keyword Research

Keyword research is about understanding what your potential customers are searching for. Then, use those keywords across your website’s content.

Say you’ve started a website where you review smart home technology. What are people typing into Google about smart homes?

An excellent place to start is Google.

Start typing in “smart home,” but don’t press enter. Google will show you what searchers are typing into Google about smart homes.

Google Suggest – Smart home

You can see folks are interested in “smart home security” and “smart home locks.”

Continue the process and type in “smart home a.”

Google Suggest – Smart home a

Type “smart home b.”

Google Suggest – Smart home b

And so forth.

You can use this data to start creating pages that target these keywords. (More on that in the next tip.)

But while Google shows you what people are searching for, you don’t know how many people are searching for these keywords. It’s also hard to gauge how competitive the keyword is.

That’s where a keyword research tool like Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool is beneficial. It includes a database of more than 25.5 billion keywords and helps you prioritize your keywords.

Here’s how to use it:

Open the Keyword Magic Tool from the left-hand side menu in Semrush.

Semrush – Keyword Magic Tool

Enter your seed keyword (a short, broad phrase relevant to your business) in the tool. You can use the keywords you find on Google. Then, select the primary location you want to reach with SEO. And click “Search.”

Let’s use the keyword “smart home” as an example.

Keyword Magic Tool – Search – Smart home

The tool will show you a list of all the keywords related to your seed keyword. Along with important data to help you pick which keywords to use on your website.

These include:

  • Search intent: It’s the purpose behind the search. Are searchers looking for information or are they looking for a specific site or page? Maybe they’re looking for a brand or service to solve their problems and are ready to make a purchase?
  • Search volume: It shows the average number of monthly searches for a keyword
  • Keyword difficulty: It shows you how hard it would be for a website to rank organically in Google’s top 10 search results for a specific keyword. The lower the percentage, the easier it will be to achieve high rankings.
Keyword Magic Tool – Smart home

Pick the keywords you’d like to target by selecting them and clicking the blue “Add to keyword list” button at the top right corner of the screen. Then, name your list in the “Create a first list” box and click the green check mark to save them.

Keyword Magic Tool – Keyword list

You can navigate to the “Keyword Strategy Builder” tool at the left-hand side menu to find your list later.

Semrush – Keyword Strategy Builder

Alternatively, you can manually create a list of keywords using our free Keyword Research Template. Which looks like this:

Backlinko – Keyword Research Template

2. Create Content That Speaks Your Audience’s Search Goals

Now that you have target keywords, create content that resonates with your audience’s search intent.

Think about what is the underlying question or problem a searcher is trying to solve. Are they seeking information (e.g., “how to bake bread”) or are they ready to buy (e.g., “best smart home speaker“)?

In fact, high-quality content that satisfies search intent and is based on your first-hand experiences is one of the top Google ranking factors.

Google highlights this in its significant update, known as E-E-A-T:

  • Expertise: Back up your content with first-hand experience or by showcasing recognized experts in your field
  • Experience: Highlight relevant case studies, testimonials, or results
  • Authoritativeness: Cite reputable sources and back up claims with data where applicable
  • Trustworthiness: Provide clear author information and be transparent about your business practices

Here are a few ways to understand what your audience needs:

  • Customer interviews: Talk to some of your existing customers or clients. Ask about their challenges, the solutions they’re looking for, and how they went about finding them.
  • Surveys: Use online survey tools like SurveyMonkey to ask a wider audience about their pain points and what kind of information they find helpful.
  • Online forums and communities: Observe the questions people ask in relevant forums or industry-specific online communities. This will give you insights into common problems and the language your target audience uses.
  • Competitor analysis: See what kind of content your competitors are creating. What do they do well, and where are the gaps you could fill?
  • Google Trends: Use the free Google Trends tool to identify trending topics and search queries relevant to your business.

Once you have a good grasp of your audience’s needs, start brainstorming content ideas that answer their questions or solve their problems.

3. Make Sure Your On-Page SEO Is On Point

On-page SEO focuses on elements within each page of your website that you can directly change.

Optimizing these elements helps search engines like Google understand your content better so they can show your pages to the right people.

These include:

Title Tags

Title tags are displayed as page titles in search results. Like this:

Post title tag

Create titles that accurately describe your page. Incorporate your primary keyword, and entice people to click on your page in search results.

Keep your title tag under 60 characters. Titles above 60 characters won’t fully display in Google search results.

Meta Descriptions

Meta description appears in search results right under title tags. Like this:

Post meta description

So, briefly summarize your page to help searchers understand what your page is about. Include a call-to-action to entice users to click.

Keep your meta descriptions under 160 characters.

Header Tags (H1, H2, etc.)

Help Google and readers understand your page structure by organizing your content with header tags.

Include your target keyword naturally in your primary heading (i.e., page title or H1 tag).

Keyword in post heading

And other relevant keywords in H2s, H3s, etc. Add a table of content on your website to help readers navigate to the headers and read sections that interest them the most. Like this:

Table of content in post

Images

Include descriptive file names and alt text (copy that appears on a webpage in case the image doesn’t load).

Use relevant keywords to improve your image SEO.

Image attributes

These texts help Google understand what your webpage is about and include them in relevant searches.

Google Images – Statue of liberty

Internal Links

Internal links connect different pages within the same website. And help readers discover other pages on your site, increasing your website traffic.

These links help search engines understand that the content on your website is connected and relevant.

Strategically link between related pages on your site. Like we do it here:

Backlinko – Internal links

In our example above, people who are reading our on-page SEO guide and are interested in learning more about title tags can click the link in our content. The link will lead them to a dedicated article where they can read more about title tags.

Make sure to have relevant keywords in your anchor text. Anchor text is the clickable text that takes you to another page. Like “title tags” in our screenshot above.

How to Optimize On-Page SEO

You can manually check pages on your website for title tags, meta descriptions, images, internal links, etc.

Alternatively, you can use Semrush’s On Page SEO Checker to identify on-page SEO issues on your website. And get actionable advice on how to resolve them.

Automatically.

Here’s how to use it:

Click on “On Page SEO Checker” in Semrush’s left-hand menu.

Semrush – On Page SEO Checker

Enter your domain and click the green “Get ideas” button.

On Page SEO Checker – Backlinko

The tool will generate a report. And show an overview of optimization ideas to improve your on-page SEO.

On Page SEO Checker – Overview

Navigate to “Optimization Ideas,” where you’ll see a list of all pages that need to be optimized. Click the blue “# ideas” button in the “All Ideas” column to see the breakdown of each idea.

On Page SEO Checker – Optimization Ideas

Here, you’ll see all the ideas for improving individual pages. Including what you’re already doing right.

On Page SEO Checker – Post ideas

Identify the missed opportunities and start improving your on-site SEO with the help of the provided recommendations.

4. Identify and Solve Technical SEO Issues

Technical SEO is the practice of optimizing your website to meet technical requirements of search engines. In other words, making your website accessible to search engines by addressing factors like site structure, speed, and mobile-friendliness.

Common technical SEO issues include:

Crawlability

Can search engines easily navigate your site’s structure and find pages on it?

If search engines can’t crawl your site, your pages won’t appear in search results.

Use Google Search Console (GSC) to identify crawlability issues.

Open GSC and enter your domain.

Google Search Console – Welcome

Then, navigate to Indexing > Pages from the left-hand side panel. You’ll see which pages on your website are indexed and which are not.

GSC – Page indexing

From there, scroll down and check the “Why pages aren’t indexed” section. Then select each individual reason to find out which pages on your website have that specific issue.

GSC – Why pages aren't indexed

Here’s how to improve crawlability of your website:

  • Clear navigation: Use a logical navigation menu structure that helps both users and search engines understand your site hierarchy
  • XML sitemap: Submit a sitemap to Google Search Console to provide a direct map of your pages

Broken Links

Links that lead to 404 errors (known as broken links) create a poor user experience and confuse search engines.

Traffic Think Tank – 404 page

Broken links signal search engines that you neglect website maintenance.

So, make sure to perform site audits every six months to a year.

Identify your broken links by entering your domain in Semrush’s Site Audit tool. And click “Start Audit.”

Semrush – Site Audit

The tool will crawl the pages on your website and flag the broken links.

Site Audit – Report

Click the number across the “Broken” label under “Crawled Pages.” This will open a list of all the dead links on your website.

Next, fix broken links by updating their URLs. Or, if the page is no longer relevant to your website, remove the link.

Slow Site Speed

Slow site speed leads to poor user experience. And can harm your rankings.

Visitors have short attention spans and may not wait for your slow website to load. This signals search engines that your site isn’t optimized for user experience.

Check your site speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Enter your domain in the tool and click “Analyze.”

PageSpeed Insights

The tool will show you the page speed overview for mobile and desktop devices.

PageSpeed Insights – Backlinko

Scroll down to see detailed diagnostics. Click the issues one by one to expand their descriptions and find solutions.

PageSpeed Insights – Diagnostics

Mobile-Friendliness

Mobile traffic often accounts for the majority of website visits.

Does your website adapt well to different screen sizes? Is your site easy to use on smartphones and tablets?

To make sure your website is mobile-friendly, choose a website theme or template designed to adapt to various devices.

Test your website on desktop and mobile devices to see if the design and layout fit the screen size. And if the buttons and links are large enough and spaced for easy tapping.

Security

A secure website (with HTTPS protocol) protects visitors and builds trust.

HTTPS is a trust signal for both users and search engines. And lack of security may result in warnings in browsers.

To improve your website security, get an SSL certificate from your hosting provider. Or use a trusted WordPress plugin (like Really Simple SSL) if your website runs on WordPress.org. Most website builders like Wix already include security certificates.

5. Get Relevant Backlinks

Backlinks are links from other websites to your own. Search engines view them as votes of credibility, boosting your website’s authority.

A link to your website signals to Google that your site is a trusted source of information.

Backlinks can also drive referral traffic and help people discover your website organically.

Here are a few strategies you can use to get backlinks as a small business:

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is when you write articles for websites in your niche. And include a natural link back to your site within the content.

So, find websites relevant to your business and reach out to them, offering valuable content that answers their audience’s needs.

Broken Link Building

Broken link building is finding links to missing websites and getting those links changed to point to your website instead.

But make sure that the page you offer your link to is relevant to your business. And the topic you’re linking naturally fits into the page you want a backlink from.

Again, let’s say you have a blog reviewing smart home gadgets and would like to place your backlink on another similar website.

To find broken links, enter your domain in Semrush’s Backlink Analytics tool and click “Analyze.”

Semrush – Backlink Analytics

Then click “” and “Competitors.”

Backlink Analytics – Competitors

You’ll see a list of “Domain Competitors.” Click on your top competitors’ domains one by one to explore their backlinks.

Backlink Analytics – Competitors report

Then, navigate to the “Indexed Pages” tab. And tick the “Broken Pages” filter.

You’ll see a list of dead links. And the number of pages that link to them in the “Backlinks” column.

Backlink Analytics – Competitor indexed pages

Click the number in the “Backlinks” column and filter for “Active” backlinks. This will show you the websites that are still referring to this dead link.

Then, export your results to save them in a spreadsheet.

Backlink Analytics – Active broken links

Repeat the process for other competitors, too. Finally, paste all your results into one spreadsheet to review them in one place.

Backlink Gap Analysis

Use Semrush’s Backlink Gap tool to find prospects who can link to your website.

Start by adding your domain and the domains of your competitors (up to four). Then, click the “Find prospects” button.

Semrush – Backlink Gap

The tool will show you the prospects you can include in your backlink strategy.

Select the most relevant ones to your business and click the “Start outreach” button.

Backlink Gap – Start outreach

The pop-up will appear, prompting you to select your project and send prospects to the Link Building tool.

Send prospects to Link Building tool

These domains will go to the “Prospects” tab in the Link Building tool.

Link Building tool – Prospects

6. Add Schema Markup

Schema markup is an HTML code you add to your website. It tells search engines what your content is about.

When you clearly define your content’s purpose for Google, it can put it in front of people actively searching for what you offer.

And this can lead to a boost in website traffic and conversions.

When you use schema markup, you can appear in special results in the SERPs, called rich snippets.

How rich snippets look in SERPs varies from one content category to another.

For example, it looks like this for restaurants:

Google SERP – Restaurant schema

And like this for stories:

Google SERP – Top stories

To sum it up, rich snippets take up more SERP real estate compared to regular results.

There are several ways to add schema markup to your page. You can use a WordPress plugin or schema markup generators.

Let’s review both ways.

If your website is run on WordPress, plugins like Yoast and Rank Math can automatically generate schema markup for free.

Enable Schema Markup with WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins offer the easiest way to get schema markup. You set them up once and they take care of the updates on your website automatically.

They use metadata like page title and publishing **** to update Schema markup.

Yoast SEO

Install Yoast SEO and Schema markup settings will automatically be applied.

Yoast SEO – Schema

Rank Math

Go to Rank Math SEO menu > Dashboard > Schema (Structured Data) and toggle the switch to enable it.

RankMath – Schema

Enable Schema Markup with Generators

If your website is based on Webflow, Squarespace, Duda, or any other platform, you’ll need to generate your own schema markup and add it to individual pages.

Let’s review how to do it.

Schema Markup Generator (JSON-LD) by Merkle

The Schema Markup Generator (JSON-LD) by Merkle is a great tool for small businesses. Especially if you’re new to schema markup.

It makes it easy to create a schema for articles, breadcrumbs, events, FAQ pages, and how-to content.

Select your content type.

Schema Markup Generator

Then, fill out the guided fields with information about your page.

Article schema generation

Once you fill out the fields, copy the code visible on the right-hand side of the screen. And paste it in the <head> section of your website.

7. Optimize Your Website for Customers

User experience directly impacts search rankings. A user-friendly website keeps visitors engaged and signals value to search engines.

Here are the key areas to focus to optimize your website for customers:

  • Fast loading speed: People don’t like waiting. Optimize image sizes and minimize bulky code to make your pages load quickly. Use Google PageSpeed to check your site speed and see what needs to be improved.
  • Mobile responsiveness: More than 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices. Ensure your site design adapts seamlessly to different screens like smartphones and tablets.
  • Intuitive navigation: Make it easy for visitors to find what they need. Use clear menus, a functional search bar, and logical content organization.
  • Readable content: Break up text with headings, use bullet points, include relevant images, and simplify your sentences.

Use a tool like Hotjar to understand where people click and scroll on your website.

This tool provides a heatmap and recordings of your user sessions, allowing you to see how users navigate your site.

Heatmaps use visual overlays to show where visitors click, scroll, and spend the most time on your website.

This reveals what they truly find engaging and where they encounter problems.

It looks like this (scroll map on the top and move map on the bottom):

Hotjar – Scroll & move map

Overall, heatmaps can help you optimize:

  • Content: Make sure the most important information sits in areas where people naturally look. This boosts the effectiveness of your pages.
  • Navigation: Identify if users are struggling to find specific sections. This helps reorganize menus or make crucial elements more visible.
  • Design: Identify design elements that might be distracting rather than helping visitors to explore your site

8. Set Up and Optimize Your Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile (GBP) is an important part of local SEO. GBP lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. This includes:

  • Business information: Name, address, phone number (NAP), hours of operation, website, and business description
  • Photos: Showcase your location, products, or services
  • Reviews: Collect and respond to customer reviews to build trust

An optimized profile makes it easier for potential customers to find your business. And take the next step, whether it’s visiting your store or making a purchase.

Start building your business profile by entering your business name and its category.

Start building your Business Profile

Then, enter your business address so that customers can find you.

Enter your business address

Once you enter all your business details, verify your business by entering your mailing address:

Verify your Google Business Profile

Next, record a video of your business showing your location, equipment, and proof of management. Your video won’t be shown publicly. It’s only necessary for Google to verify your local business.

Then, add your services.

Add your services

And business hours.

Add business hours

Finally, add a business description and photos representing your business location and products or services.

Add business description

Once you’re verified, your Google Business Profile will become publicly visible.

Use Semrush’s Listing Management tool to simplify the management of your business listings across various platforms like GBP, Facebook, Apple Maps, TripAdvisor, and Bing.

Once you add or update your NAP in the Listing Management tool, it will automatically update your business information across 150+ directories.

Semrush – Listings Management

Plus, respond to reviews from multiple platforms like Google Maps and Facebook in a single dashboard.

Review Management – Reviews

9. Encourage Customer Reviews

Positive reviews build trust and credibility.

And fresh reviews can improve your local search rankings. It’s one of the signals Google takes that people engage with your business over and over again.

Reviews also offer valuable insights into what your customers **** and where you might have room for improvement.

So, encourage your customers to leave positive reviews.

The best way to get reviews is to provide the best service. Then, prompt the happy customer to leave a review while their positive experience is still fresh in their minds.

You can either ask them verbally. Or have the sign at your location with a QR code directing customers to review sites like Google Business Profile and TripAdvisor.

You can also send automated email follow-ups after a purchase or service, including a direct link to leave a review. And include your review links on your website and social media.

10. Track Your Rankings

Tracking your search engine rankings can help you understand whether your SEO efforts are paying off.

Use Semrush’s Position Tracking tool to see which keywords you’re already ranking well for and where you can improve.

Start by opening the Position Tracking tool. Enter your domain and click the “Set up tracking” button.

Semrush – Position Tracking

Then, configure your targeting settings by adding a target location and language. And selecting the target search engine and device.

If you have a local business, you can optionally include your business name for the local map pack.

Position Tracking – Targeting

Next, add your keywords one per line or separate them by commas. And click the “Start Tracking” button.

Position Tracking – Keywords

The tool will analyze your website and show your rankings distribution by position.

The “Keywords” tab shows you how many of your keywords rank in the top three, 10, 20, and 100 positions.

And the “Top Keywords” tab lists your highest-ranking keywords.

Position Tracking – Rankings

Use SEO to Boost Your Small Business’s Visibility in Search

SEO might seem intimidating, but even minor improvements can yield significant results.

By implementing the strategies we’ve covered in this article, you can put your small business in a good position to attract visitors to your website.

The next step is to perform an SEO audit. Use our 15-step SEO audit checklist to improve your small business SEO.



Source link : Backlinko.com

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