The internet has leveled the playing field for small businesses. Today, a local mom-and-pop shop can compete online with a corporate competitor thanks in part to search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO). While the former requires an ad budget, the latter is a practice that you can do yourself (to some degree depending on your skillset). The level of competition for digital real estate has increased with more businesses investing in their strategy, however, there is still a lot of growth potential for small businesses that can develop an authentic and relevant website, promoting their brand and providing great service.
If you really want to compete with the big boys and the local competition, consider hiring a company like HLM that specializes in SEO for small businesses.
Still want to give it a go yourself? No problem, we respect that. There are thousands of DIY articles for SEO, videos on how to get started, and Artificial Intelligence programs to help you start with some basic fundamentals. With Google's rapid rollouts of algorithm updates in 2023, you will need to ensure that your website is technically optimized, your content is structured to benefit users and you're able to leverage the right trust signals to help search engines find and crawl your pages.
But before you dive into the more complex aspects of SEO, you'll want to create the goals and framework which will allow you to succeed in your efforts. As you set goals and delegate tasks, it's important to be realistic about timelines, while recognizing the potential results you could get.
Set goals for what you'd like to accomplish. Obviously, your immediate goal is to drive organic search engine traffic to your website - but what do you want them to do once they're there?
Organize your business and marketing for SEO. There should be clearly defined roles and responsibilities, as well as a budget. This way, you reduce inefficiency and miscommunication.
Search for your website in Google. This will let you see whether or not your website is indexed. If it's not indexed, you can take the necessary steps to index it.
Sign up for key SEO tools, such as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, and Bing Webmaster Center. You'll use these later on.
Run Google Analytics for at least two weeks before you start SEO, so that you have baseline data. You may also want to screenshot the original pages.
Check browser compatibility. Your site should work on the last several editions of Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari, on both a Mac and a PC.
Remember that the more technical aspects of SEO are only part of the equation - Google and human visitors alike reward high quality, engaging content. SEO isn't about somehow tricking search engines into driving traffic to your site - it's simply the way that gets relevant content to as many readers as possible.
Start thinking about how you'll turn visitors into leads and leads into conversions once you get them to your site. Lead forms are a great way to accomplish that.
If all of this sounds too daunting, give us a call or shoot us a message. We specialize in driving real results for small businesses, and we’d love to discuss how we could help you.
This blog was originally posted in 2018, and has been revised and republished on November 3, 2023.