Make Your Small Business Visible Locally With This SEO Actionable Guide
Small Trade Businesses (STBs) are essential to the local economy, offering unique services and products you can't find in large retail stores or online marketplaces. Yet, many need to realise how vital Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is for their success.
SEO for trades helps small companies increase website traffic and visibility, resulting in higher conversion rates and long-term profitability.
What I Will Be Covering Here:
Why Small Trade Businesses Should Invest In SEO
Local searches are becoming increasingly popular, with customers relying on search engines to find local services that meet their needs. If your small business wants to remain competitive, you must improve your online visibility and ensure you appear prominently on Google's search engine results page (SERP).
That's where Local SEO comes in. With a well-designed and carefully implemented SEO plan, you can increase your website's ranking, increase traffic and find more potential customers. Not only that, but free SEO tools can also help your small business analyse and monitor keyword searches, competitor campaigns, and industry trends to enhance your digital marketing success further.
Most marketers agree that in the mid-to-long term, SEO provides the best return on investment. Unlike paid ads, where you lose much of the benefit as soon as you stop paying, an investment in SEO means you can reap the rewards for many years to come.
Definition Of SEO And How It Works
SEO is the practice of improving a website's visibility on a search engine's SERP. This involves optimising content, URLs, titles and meta descriptions for specific keywords that potential customers will use to find your business online.
Search engines use algorithms to determine which websites should appear in the SERP, so it's essential to ensure your website follows the guidelines, and you optimise it for successful ranking.
In some cases, even the most straightforward improvements, like paying attention to page titles and using the correct heading structure, can positively affect your search engine rankings in a big way.
How SEO Can Benefit Small Trade Businesses
Despite the immense benefits of SEO, many small businesses are still wary of investing in this practice. Common misconceptions include thinking that SEO takes too long to produce results or is too complicated and expensive.
However, these assumptions need to be corrected; SEO is a cost-effective way to increase traffic and visibility within weeks, not months.
What Tools Do You Need For SEO?
Several helpful free tools are available for small businesses looking to invest in SEO. Depending on your budget and the size of your business, you can opt for free or paid tools that will help with keyword research, content optimisation and performance monitoring.
Here are some free helpful tools that make it easy to develop an effective SEO strategy, even for those with limited technical knowledge or budget:
Critical Elements Of An SEO Strategy
Optimize Content & URLs:
Once you have identified relevant keywords, it's time to optimise your website's content and URLs with those words in mind. The optimisation will help search engines recognise that your website is a good match for potential searches, resulting in improved rankings and visibility.
The first step in creating an effective SEO strategy is researching keywords your customers will likely use when searching for your products or services. Use a keyword planner tool to search out and find relevant keywords to your business:
Keep in mind that, in general, the more search volume a keyword has then, the harder it is to rank for because there is so much more competition. But this is the beauty of being a small business!
You can often find local search keywords that no one else uses and rank highly for them.
Take the example of S Fearn Plumbing below. You can see the ads and the local 3 pack (mapped area showing Google Business Profiles) at the top of the screenshot and below this, at the top of the organic listings S Fearn Plumbing is the number 1 organic listing.
This was achieved without any expensive SEO or link-building program just simple on-page optimisation of the content and titles on S Fearn's website and regular maintenance and updates to his website and Google Business Profile.
Regular monitoring of SEO performance is essential for measuring progress and ensuring any changes have the desired effect.
Several tools are available to help small businesses track their SEO performance, and the best well-known is the free Google Analytics tool, but many other alternatives are available.
Using a combination of Google Analytics and Google Search Console should give you all the information you need to run a successful SEO campaign without breaking the bank.
Explanation Of Important On-Page Elements
On-page SEO is optimising individual web page content for search engine crawlers.
Page Titles :
The title of your webpage should include the primary keyword or phrase you are targeting. This is important for informing search engine crawlers what the page is about and ensuring it appears in relevant SERPs.
Meta Descriptions :
These short descriptions appear beneath a web page's URL on SERPs and provide additional context to show potential customers why they should visit your website. It should be concise and brief and contain good-quality keywords to increase click-through rates.
Page Headings & Subheadings :
Structuring content into different headings and subheadings helps crawlers identify key topics more efficiently, increasing the chances of appearing in relevant SERP results. Pay particular attention to ensuring that only one H1 appears on the page and dividing subsections using the H2 heading.
Generating Backlinks To Your Site Using Reviews & Citations
Gaining citations and reviews is an essential component of SEO for your small business.
Citation building involves getting your business listed in local directories, such as Yelp and Google Business Profile, which helps to increase visibility and provide customers with more information about your products and services.
Reviews are also important as they showcase customer satisfaction with your business and can be used to build trust among potential clients.
Citations help ensure that search engines know your location, how customers can contact you, and what products or services you offer, which helps improve search engine results' accuracy.
Reviews give customers an understanding of what others think about your services or products, which provides them with an idea of how their experience might end up if they decide to buy something from you.
Gaining more positive reviews associated with your name can increase the number of potential customers who will consider buying from you. Last week, I wrote a complete blog post with some ideas for generating more customer reviews.
As well as improving your search engine rank, citations and reviews positively impact brand recognition, credibility, trustworthiness and loyalty.
When people see a lot of good feedback associated with a company's name or product/service offerings, it makes them feel more confident about doing business with that company since they can get an idea of what kind of quality service they can expect.
Reviews also help potential customers understand how other buyers felt about a particular product or service before making a decision, increasing the chances that more customers will choose your business over others.
SEO doesn't have to be expensive or complicated for your small business.
Spend time researching keywords and paying attention to page titles and headings, and you will be well on your way to ranking above the competition.
With the correct SEO strategies, your small trade business can get the exposure it needs to compete with larger companies.
Don't have the time to do it yourself? Contact us, and We'll gladly get your small business website on the map!