4 Pieces of SEO Advice for Small Businesses

Written by Nick Stamoulis

Small business owners are in an interesting place when it comes to SEO. They know they need it, but might not have the budget for a full service SEO solution. They have to be a business owner, sales guy, customer service rep, marketing squad and more—and they usually have to do it all by themselves. I know that investing in an SEO campaign can seem like a lot of extra work for a small business owner, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to manage!

Here are 4 pieces of SEO advice for small businesses:

1. Learn the basics of SEO for yourself BEFORE you think about outsourcing.
This is probably one of the most common pieces of SEO advice I give to small business owners. If you don’t know what SEO is how can you possibly know what you’re looking for in an SEO partner? Unfortunately there are plenty of fly-by-night SEO consultants and providers out there looking to take advantage of unsuspecting site owners. While I wish I could say otherwise, small business owners have to careful they aren’t taken for a ride by their SEO partner and understand the basics of SEO for yourself is a good way to ensure that you aren’t getting lost in the smoke and mirrors of a cruddy SEO provider. If you know what the search engines expect to see then you can be sure your SEO provider is being held accountable for their work. You’ll also be in a better place to understand some of the reasoning behind their suggestions when you do finally outsource your SEO.

2. Get comfortable with the idea that SEO is a long term investment.
And when I say long term investment, I’m talking 6+ months as a minimum before you start seeing small results. I’ve worked with site owners that want to know why after a month of link building their site isn’t at the top of the SERPs. It just doesn’t work that way! Google uses over 200 signals to rank websites and we don’t know all of them, nor do we have 100% control over the ones that we do understand. You also can’t control what your competitors are doing, which will impact the kind of end effect your own SEO efforts will have. If your small business website is brand new it’s not going to be a quick or easy road to the top of the SERPs if your competitors have been online and running their own SEO campaigns for five years. SEO is long term, so it’s best to just accept that fact now and strap in for the long haul.

3. Understand how competitive your online niche is.
As I just mentioned, depending on the SEO efforts of your competitors your own SEO campaign might have more or less impact over time. If you exist in fairly small niche with a few competitors you’ve got a better chance of doing well sooner, since there just isn’t as much competition for page 1 in the SERPs. But if you exist in a highly competitive industry, such as SEO, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of businesses competing for the same spots in the SERP using the exact same keywords as you. The competitiveness of your niche effects how hard hitting your SEO campaign needs to be, as well as how long it takes to start seeing a positive impact.

4. Look for small victories over time.
A good piece of SEO advice for anyone, not just small business owners, is to look for small SEO victories over time. For instance, any visitor growth is good, be it 2% or 20%. Keep track of how many non-branded keywords are driving traffic to your site after you implemented your SEO campaign versus before. Even if they only sent 1 or 2 visitors each those are 1 or 2 potential customers you never connected with before! While everyone would love to see 100% jump in visitors in three months with a 47% conversion rate, if you are only looking for the “big” wins you won’t notice the little victories that a good sign that your SEO is working.

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