SEO is a great equalizer for small businesses.
No matter how big your business, if you get your SEO strategy right, you can appear first in search and attract more customers.
But SEO is a tricky business.
Google makes hundreds of changes to its search algorithms every year.
While most adjustments are small, they can still seriously affect your search ranking if you don’t pay attention.
And, as any top SEO agency will tell you, the competition for attention online is fierce.
With more businesses ‘going digital’, it’s only getting harder to stand out.
That’s why SEO is so important for a small business.
From getting the technical SEO foundation built to creating a longer-term SEO content strategy, if you get it right, you can compete against even the biggest competitor.
To help you out, here’s our list of the Top 10 SEO practices you should follow to get ahead of the game:
Understanding what content will be useful based on a user’s search is Google’s main priority when deciding rankings.
To rank higher on page one, you need to understand what users are expecting to find when making certain searches and match your content to it.
For example, if someone searches for ‘best SEO tools’ what they’re expecting to find is a list of recommendations that they can use.
They’re looking for advice on the best tools they could use depending on their needs.
What they’re not looking for, is 10 reasons why your SEO tool is the best or some other promotional blog from you.
If you’re going to succeed at small business SEO, take the time to understand your target audience, what kind of information they’ll be looking for, and what form is best to give it to them.
Page titles give users an insight about the content on a page so they can decide if it’s of interest, without clicking through to it.
But they’re also a key part of your content’s SEO structure that will determine where you rank in search.
There are several SEO practices to keep in mind when writing titles.
Include your target keywords, and keep user search intent in mind.
But avoid creating duplicate tags and keyword stuffing.
This will just confuse readers and Google, and reduce your search performance.
Plus, Google only displays the first 50-60 characters, so try to keep meta descriptions concise.
A meta description is a brief summary of a page (seen in SERPs) that’s displayed just below the page title.
Although it doesn’t massively impact rankings, it can influence click-through rates and persuade users to visit your website.
Or put them off if it’s badly written.
Aim to write a unique meta-description (between 155 and 160 characters) for each page.
Like your page title, a meta description should give readers an idea of what your content is about, and entice them to click through and read it.
Again, be sure to include your target keywords and consider the search intent of your target audience.
Adding images to blogs, product pages and other important pages on your website can vastly improve the user’s experience.
Plus, if optimized correctly, images can also contribute to your SEO efforts and boost organic rankings too.
Three things you should do when optimizing your images for SEO:
Also, be sure to add alt-text to images you put on a page. These not only help users understand what your image is about, but it’s an opportunity to include your keywords so Google ranks you higher in search.
Websites that take ages to load don’t just leave users frustrated.
They can drastically impact your rankings too.
There are several free tools out there, likeSEMrush, which you can use to check your page speed.
Other SEO best practices to get your pages loading faster include deleting any unnecessary plugins, enabling browser caching, and reducing the number of redirects.
Today, just being online isn’t enough.
You also need a website that offers a great user experience to people browsing on their mobile or smartphone.
This will ensure those interested in your products can find what they are looking for, no matter where they are (at home, at work, on the train, or the other side of the world) or what device they are on.
But, this isn’t just to improve the user experience (although it helps).
Google now operates under a mobile-first indexing policy, meaning mobile-optimized sites will be prioritized in search results over those which aren’t optimized for mobile.
Web pages don’t operate in isolation.
They’re all pieces of a much larger project and should interconnect and compliment each other to give users a great experience.
But many websites are built as if they were their own entity.
You get to the end of one page, then don’t get any directions or links to another page which might be useful.
That’s a mistake.
First, it means users are more likely to leave your site after visiting a single page (because where else can they go?).
Second, you’re hurting your search performance.
Internal links give Google a better understanding of the content on your pages.
When used properly, they can improve your rankings too.
For top-ranking pages that need a little boost from time to time, it’s good SEO practice to add an internal link, or two.
You’ll notice in this blog that we have links to other pages (relevant to this page) that we think you’ll find useful.
What’s more, you can use SEMrush to identify and fix broken links or any other issues.
If you’re no stranger to SEO, chances are you’ll know that backlinks are one of the most important factors Google uses when evaluating where a page should rank.
Websites that have a lot of backlinks have a greater chance of ranking higher in SERPs.
Which is why – if you don’t already – you should focus on building high-quality backlinks that can significantly boost your rankings for specific search queries.
Content is more important for SEO in 2020 than ever before.
You need to make sure it’s relevant, helpful, and ticks all the right boxes for users.
There are a few things you can do to make your website more user-friendly.
Ok, so it goes without saying that the content on your website has to be high quality.
But pages that contain longer form content tend to get more credibility from search engines and rank better on Google.
The short answer is people prefer to get all the information they need in one place.
One of the best SEO practices for creating long form content is to figure out every question a customer might have about a topic, and make sure you answer it.
Make sure you strike a balance between search volume and keyword difficulty.
If you’re a small website then you’ll probably struggle to rank for competitive keywords.
And if they don’t have much search volume you’re just wasting time.
Search for keywords that don’t have much competition, but still have decent search volume.
Google is always looking at ways for users to find the information they need, as quickly as possible.
A Featured Snippet is just one of the SEO practices which have proven popular in 2020.
It usually takes the top spot on Google, above the number one organic ranking, and is referred to as “Position 0”.
Featured Snippets help drive more traffic to your site and increase clicks.
But to really take advantage of this feature, it’s advised you provide clear answers to FAQs (frequently asked questions).
This is because people don’t search for specific keywords.
They ask questions.
So if you answer it directly, you’ll feature higher in search.