SEO Tips for Small Businesses
Digitally optimizing a business can be confusing, especially if it’s your first time! Good(ish) news: you’re NOT alone! Take a deep breath and let out a sigh of relief. Whether you’re a virtual business or a brick-and-mortar company, below are a few helpful SEO tips.
First, A Few Website Optimization Notes!
So how do you optimize a site? Ultimately, it depends on your needs. Every website has commonalities but at the same time, vast differences.
Are you working on an already established site or still creating one? If you already have a site, are you the original designer or did someone else create it? Just beginning to add SEO to your posts/pages? Do you know how to utilize conversion optimization strategies? Not sure if your SEO is implemented and working? Is it possible to over-optimize a site?
So. Many. Things!
If you find that you’re asking yourself a majority of these questions, don’t panic! For small (and even larger) businesses, it’s common to encounter digital limitations and roadblocks AND hurdles galore (oh my!) around every corner. Now let’s breeze over this hurdle and get to the SEO tips!
Note: if you’re taking over an already established website (that someone else created) then things can be a bit more complicated. Let’s assume that you don’t know exactly where the designer left off or what they were previously working on. Do some research to assess where the website stands. If you find that the research is leading to nowhere fast, then consider getting a second opinion from a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Specialist.
7 SEO Tips to Consider Before Optimizing a Website:
1. Mobile Optimization
Most themes on WordPress and other Content Management Systems (CMS) are now mobile compatible (as of late 2015). HOWEVER, not all theme developers guarantee a mobile responsive layout.
If you find yourself in this situation and aren’t a coder familiar with programming, ditch the theme and go with one that already mobile-friendly. Really! Moving around on a website that’s not properly configured is frustrating — even more so for customers!
When using a CMS like WordPress or WIX; you can check to see if a theme is mobile-friendly. On WordPress, if they aren’t, it’ll display a standard vs. mobile WordPress theme.
WIX’s mobile-friendly on/off switch might require you to do some editing to get the view just right. No matter what, much easier than learning HTML5 and CSS3!
2. Compress Those Images!
Compressing images helps to lower the amount of data used on your site. It also helps with page load time. The more data on your website = the longer it takes for pages/photos to load. To add, site speed is a Google site ranking factor.
Here’s a helpful WordPress plugin for compressing images: Smush Image Compression and Optimization By WPMU DEV (no, not an advertisement). The plugin lowers the data size of images while maintaining quality. It can also compress up to 50 images at a time!
3. Verify, Verify, Verify!
Are search engines crawling your website yet? To find out, search your company on the different search engines in the following way — site:(your business URL). If your site doesn’t show as the FIRST result, then it probably isn’t. For a search engine to initially find your site, it needs to be indexed first. To help speed that up, sign up for Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console. With these tools, you can request your website to be indexed.
If your site still isn’t being found, check the settings on each page and post to make sure they get set to “index” and “follow.” Search engines won’t index pages set to “no index” and “no follow.”
Once a search engine crawls a site, then they store the info. Over time, search algorithms match your site with keywords, search terms, etc. The result = they make your site easier to find. The ultimate goal of SEO is to show up on the 1st page of search engines based on keywords relating to your industry, not only your website name. To add, if someone leaves a review or has a question about your company, on say, Google, you can only respond if your site is indexed/verified. As we know, responding is imperative (and so are response times)! Have you ever read reviews or questions about services, but never see the business reply? Not good.
4. Size and Optimize Website Photos
There are a couple of things to consider before putting images onto your site. First, remember that picture size (image dimensions) IS important! Websites, social media and everywhere else in between has sizing guidelines. Perfectly sized images are clear, have zero pixelation and are ENTIRELY viewable. For example, if a larger picture gets added to a space that’s has a smaller set dimension, most of the time you’ll still be able to load the image. However, part of the picture may be cut-off/not entirely viewable.
So how do you find the perfect image size(s)? Themes provide you with the recommended image sizes. Same goes for each social network. You’ll sometimes have to do a bit of searching to find the info, but it’s there somewhere! You can also investigate other websites with a similar layout by viewing image info. Mozilla Firefox makes it easy to find image dimensions. First, open up Mozilla Firefox, go to the website you want to find the dimensions. Right-click on a picture, go down to”View Image Info.” Under the list of items, it gives you information about the image you are viewing. Location, Type (which refers to file type), Size (size of the picture) and Dimensions (The info you are looking for!).
Quick Tip: There are some helpful image sizing guidelines out there. Rebekah Radice has a fantastic guide for social media image sizes.
ANOTHER TIP: don’t forget to add SEO to site images! Using a plugin like Yoast SEO helps to simplify, saves time, and helps you to optimize all at the same time!
5. Start a blog!
Blogs are an excellent way to show off your expertise. Plus, they help followers relate to your business and vice versa! If customers understand what you’re all about, what you offer and can also teach them a thing or two, it’s a win-win! Consistency is important when blogging. So make sure to stick to a preset schedule! Plus, to increase your blog visibility, adding SEO is a must! As mentioned above, a great WordPress plugin to use is Yoast SEO. They offer some neat tips too! What’s not to love about something that keeps your website fresh, adds character, and helps to boost your visibility?
6. Use Forums to Reach Out!
Talk with others who work in your field! No, you don’t have to discuss that super-duper-ultimate-5000 secret business objective. Simply do a little research and find blogs, forums or groups that relate to your biz. Then, participate in conversations! If you’re having trouble finding a topic to talk about, that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Create a new discussion. Chances are, someone, somewhere is probably wondering the same thing! Plus, it’ll get your name out there even more!
Next, keep conversations upbeat and personable. Ask open-ended questions to get more people engaged and never forget that you’re representing your brand’s reputation! Always strive to provide up-to-date info and don’t get discouraged if someone questions your expertise. Be humble and use it as a learning opportunity! Facebook groups are a great place to start looking, and Google Group’s forums have a bunch too!
7. Local SEO Tips and Considerations
So is it possible to appear near the top of search engines specifically in your locale? Sure is! Local SEO takes a bit of research, time and testing to get things fine-tuned.
See below for a few local SEO tips:
- Make your phone number visible
- Ensure your contact page gets filled out entirely
- In the footer of each page, include your contact info
- Only have ONE website for your business (create different pages for different locations)
- Double-check all of the above for accuracy!
Until Next Time!
That’s it for SEO tips (for now)! Stay tuned for additional UGH! Media blog posts and join our mailing list to receive future updates! We share a new blog every other Monday on helpful tips and how-tos that help you to connect the dots within digital optimization → Social Media | SEO | Optimizing Websites
Although we specialize in Conversion Rate Optimization (specifically within SEO, Social Media, and Websites), we may not already be your CRO company. This post does not establish an UGH! Media-client relationship. It is simply for informational purposes only. For more info, please refer to our disclaimer.