Small businesses just starting out online are at a disadvantage compared to businesses that have been online for years. The idea of overtaking Amazon, a Fortune 500 company or a large law firm that has a long presence on the Internet, can seem daunting and impossible.
And while these entities do have the advantage of age and years of search engine optimization on their side, small businesses can still compete.
You can get your business to the top of Google and increase your visibility, but it will take time. A lot of hard work and effort needs to go into your online advertising much in the same way it has to go into your offline advertising.
Make a commitment to start optimizing your small business for success today by following these simple tips:
1. Google My Business
I know, I know: who doesn’t have a My Business account? A lot of small businesses don’t. You can create an account for free. Simple and easy to setup, an account allows you to show up on local search results. If you’re a plumber and someone in your city searches “plumber,” they won’t see your site as a local business unless you have an account.
Capitalize on local placements and benefit from the large volume of local results popping up in Google.
Potential clients and customers will also be able to see:
- Directions to your location
- Popular times
- Phone, address and website
- Operating hours
If you haven’t done so already, sign up for your free account.
While you’re at it, you’ll want to claim your physical business address on Google Maps and sign up for Google’s Search Console.
2. Check Your Site for Onsite Issues
Onsite issues are a must-fix for small businesses, and little resources need to go into fixing these issues. You’ll need to either check for issues manually or use a tool to help you get started. Screaming Frog is the SEO spider of choice for most small businesses.
When you choose to use Screaming Frog, you’ll be able to:
- Find broken links
- Discover duplicate content
- Review robot.txt files
- Analyze meta data and titles
- Generate sitemaps
- Find and correct redirects
- Extract data
The best part is that there’s a free version available that will provide you with a lot of functionality without paying for the one-year license.
3. Hire an SEO Agency – Maybe
SEO agencies can be helpful – maybe. It’s a hit or miss with an SEO agency. The problem is that there are a whole lot of empty promises to get you to sign a contract. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
SEO is the same way.
No one will get you to the top of the search results overnight.
There are no guaranteed rankings. Google’s algorithm changes often, and if you’re just starting out online, you might be able to do a lot of the initial search engine optimization on your own. There’s a lot to learn, and a marketing coach might be your best option.
A coach will help you learn the basics, answer questions you have and help you jumpstart your online market.
There’s also the benefit of knowing if an agency that you hire (in the future) is using dodgy tactics for fast results that can and lead to your site being penalized.
When, and you most likely will need to in the future, you hire an SEO agency, you’ll need to keep a close eye on them to ensure that they’re not engaging in SEO tactics that lead to website penalties.
It’s better to pay more for a reputable SEO agency than have your site penalized and all of your rankings lost.
4. Set Up Google Analytics
Hopefully, you’ll have done your keyword research, optimized your site’s URLs and started your own blog to lure in traffic. If you haven’t done any of these steps just yet, you need to do them now.
You’ll want to use:
- Proper URL structure for easier navigation and SEO purposes
- Keyword research for blog topic ideas, SEO and keyword integration
- Blog for optimized, evergreen content
But even if you have all of these key components in place, it’s going to be very difficult to know how your site is performing without Google Analytics or another analytics installed on your site. When you use analytics, you’ll be able to see:
- Popular pages
- Bounce rates
- How long people stay on your site
- Traffic sources
- Entry / exit pages
ClickZ’s guide goes through every step needed to properly integrate Google Analytics into your website. This is fast, easy and free, so there’s no reason to wait to install Analytics. Start today, and you’ll be able to: properly analyze and dissect your most popular traffic sources, and correct trouble areas on your website.
The proper mix of refinement and correction can help you boost conversions and raise rankings.