Small businesses need good online visibility more than ever. The main reason is that the online market becomes more crowded and competitive each year. Standing out in such a dynamic environment can be a daunting task, indeed. Fortunately, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can help small businesses reach the top.
That way, it won’t matter that you’re competing against better-funded or well-developed companies that have been present in the market longer than you. SEO can drive results based on your business needs and help you rank high on search engines such as Google. Nowadays, there is no industry that can`t benefit from good SEO, and even auto retailers are using Google My Business to sell more used cars.
By ranking high on search engines, your small business becomes more visible and accessible while consumers become more aware of your company and its offers. With that in mind, here’s a small business checklist that should help you rank higher.
Conduct a competitive analysis
Understanding your competition is vital for ranking high on search engines. There’s no way to surely outrun your competitors if you don’t know what they’re doing. That said, a competitive analysis is simply a must in your SEO strategy.
However, this type of research isn’t designed to help you copy your competitor’s strategies. Instead, it’s designed to help you find the right market gaps so that you can gain a competitive advantage. Here are a few things you should focus on while conducting a competitive analysis.
- Identify your competitors – These aren’t the companies you compete against in the market but companies that rank better than you for relevant keywords.
- Determine which keywords they rank for.
- Determine what kind of content they produce and publish.
- Examine their website and how well optimized it is.
- Determine their SEO strategies and tactics.
Focus on technical SEO
Website functionality and performance are vital for good rankings. The main reason is that these factors influence customer experience on your website, which is a ranking factor on its own.
That’s why you need a good website structure so that search engines can crawl and index your pages accordingly. Here are a few technical SEO aspects you should fix on your website.
- Website speed – Speed is vital when it comes to customer experience. If your pages take too long to load, consumers will abandon your website for good.
- Duplicate content – Avoid having the same versions of content on multiple locations. Search engines won’t know which page to index so they’ll divide ranking between them.
- Broken links – These links result in 404 errors, which means that content is missing from the link because the link is broken. Aside from annoying your website visitors, broken links can diminish your rankings because they prevent link equity. Be sure to find these broken links and replace them with working ones.
- Pages that aren’t optimized – Un-optimized pages are unstructured and they cannot be properly indexed. Search engines will, therefore, ignore any ranking signals originating from these pages.
Leverage local SEO
Local SEO is vital for good rankings and the reason behind it is that consumers tend to first look for businesses nearest to them. Therefore, location and presence on the local market are essential for rankings. The first thing you should do is optimize your Google My Business listing.
If you operate in an oversaturated market, such as Hong Kong, for example, you might consider enlisting a reliable Hong Kong SEO company for help. The main reason is that local experts can manage your local citations and other business listings so that the information you provide is consistent and accurate at all times.
The essence of local SEO is the information you provide such as phone, location, open hours, etc. to business listings and search engines. Furthermore, content, long-tail keywords, positive reviews and other factors are also essential for ranking well on the local market.
Optimize your pages
As mentioned before, page optimization is vital so that you don’t miss out on any ranking signals. If search engines are to index your pages properly, you must make it easy for them to do so.
What’s more, you must help search engine crawlers understand the context of the content on your pages so that they can best match it with the user intent in search queries. That’s why you must focus on on-page optimization. Here’s a list of things you should optimize.
- Optimize title tags.
- Optimize meta descriptions.
- Create SEO-friendly URLs.
- Structure body of content.
- Include relevant keywords.
- Optimize headings.
Ranking high on search engines and search results is a long and demanding process. SEO takes time before it can produce viable results but the effort is well worth it in the end. That’s why small businesses need to use every trick in the book to gain the necessary exposure and visibility in the online market.