While building a website for your small business is a great first step to expanding your audience and meeting the needs of your customers, building a website alone is often not enough to bring new visitors to your online store. Pull. One effective tactic is improving your website’s SEO, or optimizing your site to rank at the top of search engine results. This not only makes it easy for current and potential customers to find your website, but it also ensures that they have a more positive user experience once they are on your site.
Even if you’ve never dabbled in SEO before, there are many simple yet effective steps you can take to improve your site’s rankings. Here, nine business leaders from Council for Young Entrepreneurs recommend the simplest ways small business owners can give their SEO efforts an impactful boost.
1. Increase high quality inbound links
Increasing inbound links from high-quality, high-authority sites in your space can be an effective and inexpensive tactic to boost your SEO. Inbound links can boost your search rank, lend credibility, and drive referral traffic. Of course, you want to choose your targets wisely: well-known experts and authoritative sites are preferable to obscure low-traffic blogs. Pursuing backlinks from companies that offer additional services can be a great marketing strategy and can also boost your SEO. You can offer a link exchange, which means you link to their website on your site if they do the same for you. – Samuel Saxton, ConsumerRating.org
2. Create consistent, authoritative messages
Leveraging consistent blogs to boost SEO is a simple yet effective small business strategy. Creating high-quality, authoritative content with lots of keywords can improve your brand’s ranking and trust in search engines. This drives more organic traffic, resulting in more organic sales. Beware of purely AI-created content. Use AI for strategies and sketches, but always create unique content in the voice of your brand. Always boost through social media and include relevant calls to action for your readers. When it comes to word count and frequency, my agency’s most successful clients — from publicly traded companies to local pest control companies — average around 1,000 words and post at least once a week. Don’t confuse word count with fluff; ensure that involvement always comes first. – Ron Leback, Content Mender
3. Improve site speed
A simple yet effective way for small businesses to increase their SEO efforts is to optimize their website page speed. Slow loading websites can lead to higher bounce rates and lower search engine rankings. By optimizing images, minimizing code and using caching techniques, companies can improve the performance of their website and improve the user experience. This change can positively impact SEO by increasing user engagement, reducing website abandonment rates, and signaling to search engines that the site offers a seamless browsing experience, potentially leading to higher organic search results. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
4. Use keywords and tags correctly
Sometimes the simplest changes can be made at the keyword phrase and tag level. Some small businesses don’t even know what phrases to target. Even if they know what to target, they haven’t put those terms in title tags, headlines, or in the page content, so they’ll never rank. Always check keyword phrase goals and make sure they are being used correctly (and not competing with each other). – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet web design
5. Go deeper into your topics
A simple yet effective way small businesses can boost their SEO efforts is by tapping into topic depth when creating relevant content for their intended audience. Search engines, especially market giant Google, prefer a well-thought-out and detailed page to a dozen with sparse content. So it’s important that you make sure that the content you publish on your site contains detailed information on the topic and helps readers find answers to their questions. This will help you climb the search engine results pages and outperform other players in your respective industry. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable shapes
6. Do regular content updates
Content updates are by far our biggest initiative in 2023. Updating old content doesn’t take long compared to inventing and creating new articles. An easy and simple hack is updating years and numbers in statistics and adding an extra paragraph for clarity. Updates can be supplemented with quotes, statistics and additional ideas. Listicles can expand and grow in length with regular updates following the “skyscraper” technique. The organic boost for up-to-date content is high. – Mario Peshev, DevriX
7. Set up a Google Business Profile
We have advised several of our small business clients to use Google Business to increase their SEO presence. A Google Business Profile is very easy to set up and helps small businesses rank quickly in local keyword searches. When customers search for small businesses, they usually search for local businesses and Google ranks the optimized business pages. – Piyush Jain, Sim palm
8. Make use of user-generated content
A simple and effective way small businesses can boost their SEO efforts is by leveraging user-generated content (UGC). Encourage customers to leave reviews, testimonials or feedback on your website or social media platforms. Not only does this provide valuable social proof for potential customers, but it also generates new and relevant content that search engines prefer. UGC improves the visibility, credibility and engagement of your website and improves search engine rankings. By incorporating UGC into your SEO strategy, you can increase website traffic organically, attract a wider audience, and build trust with both search engines and potential customers. – Andrew Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings
9. Add a table of contents
One way small businesses can give their SEO a big boost is by adding a table of contents to their site’s pages, especially if you’re producing lengthy content. This allows your visitors to effortlessly access the information they are looking for without having to scroll through an entire page. Not only will it help improve your search engine rankings by providing a seamless user experience, but it will also give your pages a chance to appear at the top of search engine recommendations as feature snippets. – Chris Closowski, Simple digital downloads