As a small business, especially in the “startup” phase, your company may not have the funds to hire a full-time SEO service provider. While we can all agree that local SEO is a valuable source of leads for area-based businesses, capturing that coveted real estate is not always a simple task. Today, we are going to cover the three pillars of on-page SEO so that your small business has the best chance of capturing prime online real estate.
SEO can be very complex and can require specialized knowledge in coding, development and conversion optimization. Today, however, we are going to focus on the fundamentals that most anyone can do and still benefit from. If you are a new small business owner or new to SEO concepts, this is the perfect place to start.
What is On-Page SEO, Really?
On-page SEO includes three “pillars”:
- Technical SEO: Can Google access, evaluate, and understand my website?
- Content SEO: Does Google know what I offer, where I offer it and to whom?
- User-Experience (UX) Optimization: Are people who visit my site able to find the information they are seeking easily?
Correctly optimizing each of these pillars will give your business a solid foundation to work from when you decide to launch other online initiatives.
Technical SEO for Small Businesses
If you do not already have a website, check out WordPress, it won’t be perfect out of the box but, if you are competing with other small businesses, it will most likely be good enough to get you started. If you do already have a website, hopefully it is built using a platform like:
If your website is hand coded, you need to have it reviewed by an SEO company or consultant to make sure it is properly built. This could save you a lot of wasted time and money in future months and will allow you to benefit more from your content and user-experience improvements.
Content includes any videos, images, text or audio that is meant to be crawled by search engines and consumed by your customers. At the most basic level, whenever someone searches for a “service + location” (e.g., “hvac repair Nashville”) Google wants to show them a site that offers that service, in that service area. In order to meet that, adding pages to your site that talk about specific services and locations can help you appear more often. That is the “main” content of your site. To re-enforce that you actually do what your location pages say that you do, Google looks for information on your site that confirms you are a local business and that you work in the industry you are advertising. In order to satisfy those requirements, you should include informational content about your service. If as in the above example you are an HVAC company, a blog post or embedded video covering do-it-yourself maintenance tips would be a good signal. To re-enforce that you are local, creating content or covering relevant news from your city on a blog post is also an effective method. Doing the two in combination will effectively tell Google what you do.
So, to summarize, create pages for each service and location that you work in, followed by creating informational content about the product or services you offer. Pretty simple, right?
User-experience optimization is just a fancy way of saying that we want people to be able to find the information they need on your website easily. This is another area that can get complex, but there are some simple steps you take to improve your website, especially when using a website platform like the ones mentioned above.
In order to make your website better for users, you have to think about what it is they looking for in the first place. If you have been in business very long, chances are you know the most common questions potential customers ask and how people generally interact with you and your team. UX simply seeks to highlight answers to common questions while enabling the site visitor to advance their relationship with your business, moving them further along in the buying process.
The beauty of being a small business, especially a service area business is that your potential customers usually want the same basic information across the board.
- What are the hours of operation?
- What is a contact number for the business?
- Who should I speak with when calling?
- Can I schedule or buy online?
- What happens after scheduling a service or ordering a product?
- Do other people like this business?
- Does this business serve my needs?
In addition to making those answers readily available, if you have pre-existing information about your most popular products/services or you have ones that you want to highlight above the rest, those should be prominently featured on your website.
The last thing you should consider is whether or not people going to certain pages are likely to have different needs or questions. Let’s say you offer kitchen remodeling in the greater Nashville, TN area and you have a page on your site for Green Hills and for Antioch, TN. In Green Hills the average price for a 4-bedroom home ranges from $550,000 to $900,000. In Antioch, a 4-bedroom home ranges from $190,000 to $250,000. If a homeowner from each location were to search for kitchen remodeling services, do you think they may have different needs? You, as the small business owner would know best what people calling for remodeling work in $200,000 homes may ask versus people in $750,000 homes. Take this information and carry it over into your website. Remember, user experience is really just helping people get answers and information as quickly and conveniently as possible.
Once you have taken the time to get the basics in place, and to get your “feet under you,” you can transition to more advanced digital marketing tactics that will help your small business experience rapid growth.