3 Simple Ways to Lever SEO: Small Business Tips

SEO is one of those throwaway strategies for small businesses. Crawling, Indexing, algorithms, the list goes on and the terminology can certainly be off-putting. The truth is, much like kicking a ball or learning and instrument, the basics can be picked up pretty quickly.


In this post I’ll be focusing on a number of relatively simple changes you can implement to improve your SEO efforts.


The Search Engine Agenda

You might think that Google runs the show in how us business folk coordinate our digital strategies: well, you’re right, since search engines are, of course the primary method of navigation for most Internet users (Moz, 2015). But don’t repent, there is a whole host of business potential through search engine optimization, that if you’re not making the most of, you can bet your competitors will.


What is SEO?

SEO is the practise of improving webpage visibility and is designed to generate more traffic to your website. There are many aspects to the SEO equation. It can be simple as a word rearrange or to the way in which other sites link to you on the web. Ledford, (2009) envelopes all you really need to know in understanding the basics:


“Search engine optimization is essentially the science of designing your website to maximize your search engine rankings” (Ledford, 2009)


At this stage you’re probably having to ask yourself, is this worth my time and effort? Well, let me retort with a situational response…


Why should I use SEO?

If you, right this second went on the a search engine to access a particular piece of content you authored, the chances are you’d have to compose a carefully worded search query, containing a distinctive key phrase in which to access it on the first page of results.

Now, if we ask a complete stranger to find that content under the given instruction and unfamiliarity of the content, the chances of success are likely to diminish.

Algorithms are complicated and to a novice are seemingly impenetrable. Fortunately, because you’re new to this, we won’t bore you with the inner working of how search engines work. But it’s important you know that there are fundamental dos and don’ts in web design that you most definitely should be getting right:


Why you I invest in SEO:

  • Optimize your sales ‘rockstar’ – 97% of customer’s look-up local businesses online. (Business2community, 2014)
  • Search engines are ‘go to’ directors – 90% of consumers use search engines (BIA & Kelsey, 2010)
  • Turn passive consumer into active customers – 83% of individuals utilizing local websites follow up their research with offline action (BIA & Kelsey, 2010)
  • Search engines grabbing more market share – 80-90% of customers now check online reviews prior to making a purchase (Forbes, 2014)
  • Enhance your visibility – surfers consult a second search engines 22% of search sessions (Telang & Mukhopadhyay, 2003)

With some of those mind-blowing stats in mind, here’s a rundown of some tips and tricks for you to better your SEO efforts (Note: these tips are entirely free to implement, it just requires time in which to put them into practise)


1# Content is King

Have I heard this rather annoying phase before? The likes are, yes you probably have, but for good reason.

Content is the very best way to make your site relevant to the terms people search (Econsultancy, 2014). Featured below, the periodic tables of SEO success factors (Sullivan, 2013) begins with the ‘content’ elements, signalling its search engine value.

The key is to provide content which makes people want to stay on your website for more than a few seconds. Googles placing an increasingly heavy focus on powerful content (Entrepreneur, 2015) which subsequently demands more of businesses to keep offloading ongoing content.


If there’s anything you should take on-board from this post is that authoritative content is an absolute must. What do I mean by this? Well, in order to improve click-through-rates and website dwell times you must develop highly focused content that’s interesting in the eyes of your target audience. Evergreen content is a good starting point, however you must ensure that you’re constantly feeding your users with new, segment-specific content.

Social tie-ins are also a must. Remember that you want to extend your reach so that your content is visible to everyone. Social media is not only a great pathway into your site, but it improves search rankings as search engines use this to determine authority.


2# Target the right opportunities

Keyword research should be a benchmark for any online operation. If you think your website will generate traffic on its own then think again. According to Search Engine Land, (2012) the top spot on Google SERPs represents 36.4% of all clicks – a position we all aspire to be in. If the first search ranking is gold medal of SEO then where do you think you place?

Using Googles KeyWord tool allows you to find your business niche to investigate promising leads that yield higher search rankings. For example if you’re a hairdressers based in Brighton you’ll notice better results if your key words represent “hairdressers in Brighton” than the far broader term “hairdressers”. Googles Keyword Planner is also a fabulous tool to see how competitive key search terms are and may give you ideas of your own.


If you have a unique product or business niche, you can use this to hone your ability to appear on the first page. So think carefully how you set your key word terms. Ensure they’re not overly generic and play around with words that fit the criteria.

But be careful, cramming in too many keywords can affect the quality of the page and be detrimental to viewer perceptions. This is also something Google will quickly sniff out and they’ll only see it as spam. Use semantically related words and phrases to avoid repetition (Econsultancy. 2015)

3# Get Blogging

Okay so technically blogging is just another form of content – but an exceptionally effective one on search rankings. Creating compelling and valuable content will make your website far more likely to attract links naturally (Smarta, 2015).

Too often you see quality blogs which are out of touch with the sites main audience. Address your audience directly since they’re the ones who are going to be reading it.

Focus on unique insights, put your stamp on it and don’t republish anything that’s already been written because you’ll only be wasting your time. Also don’t get too caught up on when your next post is going to be – have faith in those in which will stick around to read what you’ve written – the quality is genuinely better than the quantity.

You might not notice results immediately, but over time over time, you’ll have relevant and frequently updated content for search engines to index (Econsultancy, 2015).

Google changes their algorithms all the time. While blogging might be popular right no, it could all change in the future. A great place to keep an eye on things is Google’s Webmaster Central blog, and sites like Moz which are great for SEO trends.

Further Tips

  • Mobile – Short-form and visual content has become a staple of the modern smartphone user with almost 30% of phone time being spent on a social media apps (Nielsen, 2014). This year Google committed to mobile optimization. If mobile is an area your looking to invest in you might want to check out googles mobile friendly tool which tests your URL to see if its mobile-friendly.
  • Social Media – SEO leverages social sharing and can link to SEO specific parameters such as tags and meta descriptions (Search Engine Land, 2012). Both are inbound and organic strategies which takes minimal effort or upkeep (Forbes, 2015). Increasing your followers, providing external links and optimizing your posts and simple yet effective techniques to give yourself a little nudge up the rankings table.
  • Analytics – it might seem obvious but Googles free analytics tool isn’t only for monitoring traffic to your website, it’s also a great planning tool for SEO. It allows the host to determine the traffic source, search engines use and the key phrases used to get there.



BIA Kelsey, 2010. Nearly All Consumers (97%) Now Use Online Media to Shop Locally, According to BIA/Kelsey and ConStat. [Online]
Available at: http://www.biakelsey.com/Company/Press-Releases/100310-Nearly-All-Consumers-Now-Use-Online-Media-to-Shop-Locally.asp
[Accessed 29 April 2015].

Business 2 Community, 2014. Six Good Reasons Why You Should Invest In Local SEO. [Online]
Available at: http://www.business2community.com/seo/six-good-reasons-invest-local-seo-01032735
[Accessed 29 April 2015].

Charlton, G., 2014. SEO for content marketing: seven success factors. [Online]
Available at: https://econsultancy.com/blog/65117-seo-for-content-marketing-seven-success-factors/
[Accessed 29 April 2015].

Econsultancy, 2015. 32 simple SEO tips for small businesses. [Online] Available at: https://econsultancy.com/blog/66078-32-simple-seo-tips-for-small-businesses/
[Accessed April 29 2015].

Entrepreneur, 2015. Why Authoritative Content Is More Important Than SEO. [Online]
Available at: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/241258
[Accessed 29 April 2015].

Forbes, 2014. 7 Reasons Why Your Business Should Invest In SEO. [Online]
Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2014/03/26/7-reasons-why-your-business-should-invest-in-seo/
[Accessed 29 April 2015].

Forbes, 2014. Negative SEO: Have Mercenaries Been Hired To Torpedo Your Search Rankings?. [Online]
Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2014/03/18/negative-seo-have-mercenaries-been-hired-to-torpedo-your-search-rankings/
[Accessed 29 April 2015].

Ledford, J., 2009. SEO search engine optimization bible. s.l.:John Wiley & Sons.

Moz, 2015. The Beginners Guide to SEO. [Online]
Available at: http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo
[Accessed 29 April 2015].

Search Engine Land, 2012. The Ultimate List of Reasons Why You Need Search Engine Optimization. [Online]
Available at: http://searchengineland.com/the-ultimate-list-of-reasons-why-you-need-search-engine-optimization-121215
[Accessed 29 April 2015].

Smarta, 2015. 6 top SEO tips for small businesses on a budget. [Online]
Available at: http://www.smarta.com/advice/web/search-engine-optimisation/6-top-seo-tips-for-small-businesses-on-a-budget/
[Accessed 29 April 2015].

Sullivan, D., 2013. Updated: The Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors. [Online]
Available at: http://searchengineland.com/now-updated-the-periodic-table-of-seo-success-factors-162513
[Accessed 29 April 2015].

Telang, R. & Mukhopadhyay, T., 2003. The drivers of Web portal use. Electronic Commerce Research and Application (forthcoming)

Nielsen, 2014. HOW SMARTPHONES ARE CHANGING CONSUMERS’ DAILY ROUTINES AROUND THE GLOBE. [Online] Available at: http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/how-smartphones-are-changing-consumers-daily-routines-around-the-globe.html [Accessed 18 April 2015].



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