Getting Started with SEO: A Guide for Small Businesses
Every small business owner who has a website has come across the term Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Some of them may have tried to research SEO and quickly got overwhelmed by it, and others completely avoided it because they were too busy trying to grow their business.
The truth is, every small business owner can start focusing on SEO strategies for their website today at no extra cost. As you may have heard, SEO should not be overlooked as it is very helpful to reach new customers and help you get discovered online.
So, what even is SEO? In simple terms, SEO is a set of techniques businesses implement to boost their websites’ discoverability on search engines. Basically, focusing on SEO makes your website or online store easier to find online. However, SEO is far from basic.
To help you fully understand why you should implement SEO for your business, we interviewed Bookmark website expert and Winner of the 2022 Global 100 SEO Agency of the Year, Sir Sanju Ganglani (from gang&lani media). With years of experience in the digital world, Sanju is a trusted expert in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Social Media, Design & Branding, Printing, and Website Development.
This interview with Sanju will not only help you understand the importance of SEO, but you will also see how you can easily start implementing it on your Bookmark website. So, without further ado, let’s get into it. You can also watch the full interview below while you read along with a breakdown of the complete SEO guide for small businesses in 2022.
Q1) What are the first steps a business owner needs to take to start focusing on their SEO?
First and foremost, you need to know the tools that are available for you. The three free tools that every business owner has access to in order to help build, implement, and monitor a robust SEO strategy are:
Google Search Console (GSC), Google Analytics (GA) & Google My Business (GMB).
GSC gives you access and insights into how Google ranks your website, views your site value, and many other features. GA gives you a full scope of your website’s analytics, featuring metrics like bounce rate, visitor demographics, time spent on site, etc. GMB allows you to list your business on Google as a verified company, which helps your business ranking on Google, increasing your brand discoverability.
Your SEO success will depend on your effort and how you align with Google’s goals, which we’ll get into a bit more soon.
“Bookmark sites are designed to be SEO friendly from the get-go, with access to all the tools you need to rank properly.”
Q2) How do site layouts and page structures affect SEO?
For Google to index your site correctly, the structure of your website must match the structure of your link (URL). In Google’s own words: “You can influence the Google indexing process by how you manage the discovery of your content, which relies on the URL of the page.“
When your page and link structure match and are correctly structured, Google can infer exactly what customers will be able to find on the specific page. This helps the search engine present your page as a relevant option based on the search terms searched by users.
So, as an example, this is how an ideal website structure/link would be set up for SEO:
If your link (URL) is structured like this:
Then, your website needs to be structured like this:
“Google is more likely to rank websites with site structures that match the link (URL) higher than those that have messy links and page layouts.”
Q3) What is the importance of having quality content that website visitors actually care about? How does that help SEO?
To have good quality content on your website, make sure you use a healthy mix of text, graphics, photos, and videos. Videos are the most popular form of website content nowadays because they are easy to digest and share across other channels, like social media.
The more people that like, share, and click on your content, the more traffic Google sees going to your website, which in turn can boost your ranking.
We don’t advise taking any shortcuts with content. If you engage in malpractice (like posting irrelevant content or misusing keywords), there is a risk of being blacklisted or unindexed on Google. Instead, research what content would work best for your business/industry.
For help building your website, mastering SEO, and everything else you need to succeed online, Bookmark’s Hire an Expert program is here for you.
“I’m sure you have heard the nice cliche: Content is King. And while that holds true, it actually is even more relevant today.”
Q4) A massive SEO strategy that can sometimes overwhelm small business owners is keywords. What’s the best way for people to easily start using keywords on their website?
Keywords (or keyphrases) are the terms/words you’d like people to associate with your business.
You can leverage keywords/keyphrases throughout your website. Strategically placing relevant keywords and phrases across your website helps Google and other search engines identify specific pages as relevant results.
We recommend listing out many keywords/phrases you think are relevant to your business; then, you can use Google Search Console to cross-reference your words with an existing list of popular key phrases/terms. Now, you can determine which keywords/phrases are the most popular to be discovered on Google and scatter them throughout your website to boost your SEO (within blogs, using alternative tags on photos, throughout your pages, etc.). And once again, you need to do this strategically, making sure you don’t overdo it.
Bookmark is here to help you implement keywords/phrases as a strategy. Don’t hesitate to reach out today!
“List out what you think your competitors use as keywords in your industry; this can help you get ideas of what you need to be using.”
Q5) Many small business owners have a website that are not optimized for SEO. What’s the best way for them to quickly start tackling these issues?
It’s essential to ensure that your meta-descriptions, headers, and (once again) page/link structure are optimized for SEO. So, double-check these areas. Also, make sure the keywords/phrases you use matches your content, are correctly written, and make sense.
Another area business owners can focus on is the mobile responsiveness of their website. It’s imperative that your website is accessible and built for all mobile devices. Of course, Bookmark websites are automatically optimized for mobile devices.
Bonus: It’s also a good idea to fix errors throughout your website’s content, such as improper photo descriptions and tags, blogs that are too long or short, keywords being stuffed in unnatural areas, etc. If you’d like to learn more about how you can fix these errors, head on over to our Help Center today!
“You don’t want to give Google an excuse to doubt the strength of your website.”
Q6) What even is a SERP?
“SERP is an acronym for Search Engine Results Page, meaning it is the results page you see when you search for anything across online search engines.”
You can use SERPs to determine where you rank, where your competitors rank, and it helps you understand the type of content/wording you need to use to rank higher.
Q7) Backlinks are another side of SEO that can be overwhelming for many small business owners. How can owners start using backlinks as a strategy?
A backlink is essentially a way to have another site promote your content on their website in a manner that is organic and relevant to the content on their website.
Google tracks something called Domain Authority (DA) and Domain Ranking. The higher your DA/DR, the more qualified and popular your website is. Backlinks are a great way to raise your DA/DR if you do them correctly.
In the past, backlink strategies were all about getting the most backlinks in the shortest time possible, but that has been found to backfire in the long run. Instead, it’s important to partner and exchange backlinks with websites that have similar or higher DAs than you. You want to associate your website with other sites that have good quality content and many visitors. Quality over quantity.
“You want to exchange backlinks with other websites with a similar or higher DA compared to yourself.”
Q8) Many SMBs don’t consider that they are often surrounded by business partners, colleagues, and friends who can help boost their SEO. What are the best ways to ask business associates to share links on their websites?
You can leverage the businesses, people, and community around you to start boosting your SEO. By partnering with businesses within your community or working with colleagues, clients, friends and family, you can promote your website content in various ways.
For example, you can reward loyal customers with discounts on other products and services businesses offer within your community. You can also ask your community to leave positive reviews about your business on Google to establish brand recognition and increase discoverability.
Being supported and promoted by other businesses is often overlooked as a strategy, but building these partnerships can lead to even more opportunities to boost your SEO, like backlink exchanges and social media shoutouts.
“There’s just so many different and beautiful ways to collaborate, but it all starts with building that one relationship that’s relevant to your business.”
Whew, that was a lot of unique insights, right?! Thanks Sanju for taking the time to break down SEO in such an informative way.
We hope this interview has helped you better understand the giant world of Search Engine Optimization. Although it can be a lot to take in at first, remember that Bookmark is here to help you on your online journey. Not only do we provide all of the tools you need to start implementing SEO throughout your website, but we also have a ton of great advice and guides to help you grow your business.
Stay tuned next week for another blog filled with the knowledge you need to grow your online presence, and don’t hesitate to reach out via Live Chat if you have any questions.