There is one thing about small business owners that is almost always true. They tend to wear a lot of different hats. Owner, HR, sales, service representative, and a lot of the time marketing falls into that bunch as well.
And we won’t even go over all of the different types of marketing that you need to focus on as a small business, but we are going to talk about one very important piece of the marketing puzzle, SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
What is SEO & Why is SEO Important for Small Businesses?
The goal of SEO is to get your business found online. The primary platform when thinking of achieving this is Google. More specifically, to have your business found online by someone doing a Google search for your products, services, recipes, and everything in between!
If you’re doing your SEO right, it helps your business stand out. When people search for your small business, they won’t have any problem finding you.
Search Engine Optimization has a lot more importance than just getting your website to the top spot on Google. While that may still be the biggest goal of SEO in most cases, it’s hard to achieve that goal with SEO on your website alone, especially if you are a small, local business, you have to make sure to have all corresponding platforms completed and healthy.
A complete SEO strategy focuses on making sure platforms such as Yelp, Google Maps, Facebook, Instagram, etc. are also complete, optimized properly, and that you are using all of their possible services.
On top of that, having those profiles complete allows you to be found more easily on them as well!
Bonus: Apple Maps uses Yelp, Tripadvisor, and Foursquare to get their business data.
Now that’s a lot of jabbering about SEO and kind of why you should care. Let’s dive into some straightforward reasons of how SEO can actually help your business.
How does SEO help your business?
People don’t make it past the first search results page.
When you search for something in Google, what results do you click on? If you are like most people, it will be the one right on top!
If your page isn’t on the first page of Google searches, you’re probably not going to be found. People are most likely to click on a result on the first page for their searches.
But not only the first page, but most people will also focus on the top 3. After the top search result and even more after the top 3, click rates are almost nonexistent. If you want people to click on your website, you either have to pay a pretty good price for Google Ads (an entirely different discussion), or you need to actually care about your SEO.
How does being on the first page benefit your business? The main goal of SEO is to help you get your webpages as close to number one as possible. When SEO is done properly, there will also be a focus on making sure people click your search results using the titles and the descriptions that are edited on the backend.
More people clicking on your webpages = more relevant traffic to your website.
SEO on your website is beneficial in more ways than one.
Not only does proper SEO on your website help you be found better online, but SEO best practices require a lot of cosmetic updates as well. Google likes it when not only the back end of your website looks nice, but so does the front end.
Everything from smooth navigation to fast loading speeds will put you on good terms with Google and will be a huge plus for your website visitors as an added bonus.
How does SEO benefit your website visitors? When SEO is done properly there is a large focus on the user experience of your website. The longer a website visitor stays on your website and the easier it is for them to find the answer they’re looking for, the better your website will do for SEO!
Make sure to think about the end-user when doing SEO and not just the search engine itself!
Local Directories are awesome for small businesses.
Local directories are beneficial for getting more people to see what your business is all about. Do a search for “best restaurants in your area”. You’re going to notice that what you don’t see anywhere near the top of the Google search results are actual, local restaurant websites. You’re going to see Google Maps listings, top 10 Yelp lists, Trip Advisor lists, and other local directories like this. This is why having your business on these types of platforms is so important.
You’re also able to make sure to showcase your business on the listings. Adding pictures, videos, menus, pricing sheets, and plenty of other resources right on them. Most industries have industry-specific directories as well. For example, here’s one for us.
How does being on local directories help your business? There are specific industries that thrive from local directories. Restaurants live and die by their Google My Business and Yelp listings!
People love to see online reviews, and if you have a properly set up local directory, you will see more phone calls, more in-store visits, and more new customers!
It’s like having an employee working for you.
When you make sure your website and local directories are kept up to date, you make your customer’s experience that much smoother. When are you open? They can find that online. Where are you located? Find that online. When are your weekly specials? Find that online. You’re able to get rid of phone calls that are just one-question conversations this way and give you more time to take care of the new customers you’ll have from your improved directory listings and your front-page website.
How does spending time updating your local directories help your business? It saves you time! It makes it easier for customers to get their questions answers. It helps people feel more confident about reaching out to you. Really, there are no negatives about spending time updating your local directories. Go update them now!
Time saved = more happy customers
People trust online reviews.
What if I told you that people trust online reviews as much as they do in-person recommendations? Well, it’s true. It’s 2021, and if you haven’t realized yet, the internet is here for the long haul. So is Google. So is Facebook. And so are all of your online reviews.
It’s almost impossible to remove a negative review, which is why online reviews are so credible. You’re getting real reviews, from real people.
Ask for reviews! We have plenty of clients that are hesitant to simply ask for reviews, but it’s the best and easiest way to get more reviews.
There are so many SEO practices that you can do without knowing too much website coding. Getting your business listed on Google, creating accounts on local directories, and creating social media accounts are just a few examples to start without even editing with your website.
You will want to also make sure Google likes your website too, but that is some of the stuff that can be difficult for people who don’t have at least basic coding experience. You definitely don’t want to dig around in your website’s back-end if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Bonus Content! – Ideas For SEO For Small Businesses In Milwaukee, Wisconsin
With our marketing agency being in Milwaukee, Wisconsin I know this will be a beneficial bonus piece for you that are looking to get an edge over other local, Milwaukee small businesses.
- Make sure to add your location throughout your website. If you’re a company that has an office, store, etc. in Milwaukee, make sure you add that to your website. Add your address to the contact page. Add a Google Maps widget. Also, make sure to add your city of Milwaukee, where applicable all over your website. For example, if you’re a restaurant in Milwaukee, make sure that your website says, “Best Burger in Milwaukee” instead of “Best Burger in Town”.
- Make sure to be strategic with your local directories & social media accounts. If your website says that you’re a bar in Milwaukee, but your Yelp! and Facebook says your bar is any city other than Milwaukee, that’s not good. Make sure that your story lines up through all of your platforms.
- Create a Milwaukee-focused blog. Have new, regularly posted content on your website based around Milwaukee topics, that’s going to be awesome for you. People in Milwaukee will find your website. Which is the goal here!
- Make sure to update regularly! When your hours of operation are different on your Google Maps and your Yelp! and your Bing listings, you’re going to confuse potential visitors.