Large businesses and organizations will typically have a dedicated team of search engine optimization (SEO) experts to increase exposure and clicks. Small businesses, on the other hand, typically do not, relying instead on one or two team members performing multiple jobs to manage the intricacies of Google and other search engines. Since hiring a specialized SEO team may be out of your budget, here are some ways to put your business on the radar without having to expend too much money in the process.
Use the Three G’s
If your business is starting its SEO journey, begin with the three G’s — Google My Business, Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These three tools give you access to baseline data, ROI, interaction from customers and visibility in local searches — and they’re all free.
Google My Business allows you to create the right consumer-facing screen, showing important information such as hours, website, telephone number and photos. Most importantly, it provides a space for customer interaction. The more interaction, the better your visibility and position on the search engine results page, or SERP.
Google Analytics collects data on all clicks and provides simple, quick methods of storing this data. Though a bit daunting to use at first, it will provide you with critical information, such as where your clicks are coming from, what devices people are accessing it from and duration of time spent on your website. Daily reports allow easy, digestible information to be accessed at any time.
Though similar to Google Analytics, Google Search Console serves a different purpose. It can diagnose internal problems, tell you if any other places are linking back to you and more. Search Console and Analytics actually link together, providing you with all the comprehensive data you could ever need.
Make Your Link Attractive on SERPs.
Titles, brief descriptions and a link are the most prominent things a customer sees about you on their Google results page — and that’s if your website comes up at all. Google yourself and see how you look on SERPs — what does it say about your company? Create meta-descriptions — one to two sentences that show up on the SERP — describing your business with a broad range of keywords and topics.
On that note, keywords will help search engines recognize your website as the answer to questions asked by searchers. Find certain keywords which describe your company and come up often. There might be thousands of words to describe your small business, but you have to find those with high value and searchability. The best keywords will be relevant to your business, have a high search volume and lower competition with other companies. Include those which could help answer user questions, but don’t overdo it.
Reshape Your Website
While Google often makes minor adjustments to its algorithm, this May they are making a change in how they rank web pages based on speed and user experience. The change is something they call “Page Experience” which takes loading speed, crawlability, mobile-friendliness and security into account. Your website should be updated already for user experience, but it’s more important than ever that these factors be primary concerns for your small business’s web presence.
With a comfortable, user-friendly website, you can start to think about marketing it. You won’t show up on the front page of Google right away, so you need to get your link out there. People need to see your product, blog about your product and simply get the word out about your existence.
Lastly, you may be tempted to fool search engines into thinking you have more online presence than you actually do — don’t do it, you will get caught. Google and other search engines are smart and have been catching websites in the act for years.
Even without paid advertisements, you have the tools to grow your business’s visibility to rank higher in SERPs without having to spend the money on dedicated SEO teams.
Cyrus Shepard is SEO strategist at Moz, founder of SEO company Zyppy, and an online marketer, content publisher, speaker, and writer.
SEO tips stock photo by Bernd Schmidt/Shutterstock