As a small or medium-sized business, there’s so much to learn when it comes to maximising opportunities to grow your online presence.

SEO can be a tricky terrain to navigate but a basic understanding has become essential for all business owners who want to see their brand become a household name.

Here are 10 SEO tips that small to medium-sized business owners can try before hiring an SEO agency or consultant to provide additional support.

1. Understand your target market and competitors

People’s habits and behaviour can differ online in comparison to the offline world. It’s important that you spend time doing online research to get a better sense of the most prominent websites that are your potential competitors.

Search online for the various products and services you offer and benchmark their social media presence and activity. How do they market themselves online? Do they offer regular discounts? Free postage? Do they provide new content on a regular basis, such as a blog?

2. Master keyword research

The process of keyword research provides an understanding of the key phrases and search terms your customers are likely to use online. It can also help you to see how often these keywords are searched for which, in turn, offers insight into the online demand for those products or services.

Free keyword research tools, such as Google’s Keyword Planner, are valuable to business owners of any size to gain a clearer picture as to how your website should be structured to answer those search queries.

For example, each high and medium priority keyword from your research should have a corresponding page on your site with long-tail keywords being used within blog posts and FAQs.

3. Start blogging or producing regular content

Google loves fresh content and your customers will too. Publishing your own content on a regular basis is a great way to bring in more traffic and help you rank higher.

The content doesn’t necessarily need to be text based, it could be in the form of images of recent projects or video bulletins. The best idea is to try a few different types of content that are tailored to the content consumption habits of your target audience and see which performs better.

4. Build your social media network

Having a strong social media presence is expected by businesses and is an essential trust factor for first-time buyers.

The population of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter continues to grow making it a useful tool for businesses to take advantage of. You don’t need to master every single platform, instead focus on the ones that your target audience are more likely to use and do it well.

Social media enables you connect with your customers in a way that’s beneficial for both you and them as it opens up another line of communication. Understanding and nurturing these online relationships can help your SEO in the long run.

5. Optimise every image on your website

Images can increase the size of your website  leading to slower loading times, which can negatively impact SEO. You should always resize each image you intend to use before uploading it to your database and assign an ‘alt-tag’ which tells Google what the image is about.

Google places a relatively high value on alt texts to determine not only what is on the image but also to determine the topic of surrounding text. Aside from SEO purposes, blind and visually impaired people also rely on alt-tags to tell them what the image is, so it’s beneficial to get into the habit of completing that field in the back up of your website.

6. DIY public relations

Public relations can play a key role in off-page SEO so you should consider ways to promote your brand outside of your own website. Establish and tell a compelling story about your brand to get local media attention and consider giving something back to your local community to maximise publicity.

You can pitch not just to journalists but also bloggers and social media influencers to grow your following and gain useful backlinks to your site which will help with SEO.

7. Understand Google Analytics

Having a basic understanding of Google Analytics will help you appreciate the concept of traffic and its sources. Looking at reports each Google Analytics tab covers — Audience, Acquisition, Behaviour, Conversions, and Real-Time will provide a whole host of valuable information to help grow your business.

The importance of analytics in marketing is akin to financial reports in accounting – you can’t afford to ignore the data at your disposal to regularly measure your marketing activity.

8. Optimise for local SEO

Millions of customers use search engines every day to find the best local businesses and services in their area. If you’re primarily targeting a local audience you can help increase your chances of being found by utilising local SEO tactics.

The main difference between organic and local search is that local search has a geographical component.  If a person searches for an industry + a location, the search engine will know to display results with a local intent. Find out how to optimise your site for local SEO here.

9. Keep your website secure

Security is a top priority when it comes to your online presence. A secure website not only improves trust, but it is the very minimum you can offer to your visitors. If you host any kind of sensitive data, then setting up a secure HTTPS login is a necessary precaution you should take. This is particularly important if your site requires form submissions to be completed or enables card transactions.

Enforcing HTTPS on your site guarantees no information passed between the server and your customer can be intercepted or stolen and is a factor customers look for when choosing who to pass their sensitive data to. 

10. Find time to read SEO guides

Familiarise yourself with SEO by reading as many guides as you can. A great starting point is this handy checklist but there are many tips and tools online that can help you master the basics. SEO is an ever changing concept so it’s vital to keep up to date with best practices.

After implementing these 10 steps, you may find that you want to reach the next level by hiring an expert. That’s where we come in. At WP Tech Support we can help you stay visible to search engines and improve the overall performance of your website. Take a look at our monthly payment plans to choose the level of support that best suits your business requirements.