Using SEO in your small business
In the last month, I’ve come across 3 small business clients who have no idea what SEO is and how it affects their business and website.
I’ve had to explain to them how it works and why it needs to go hand-in-hand with copywriting.
A website might have great copy but if it cannot be found by potential customers on Google, you are doing your business a great disfavour.
Where small businesses go wrong with SEO
I’ve found some common issues among my small business clients when it comes to knowing about and applying SEO to their business website:
- They don’t know anything about SEO and think it can’t have much to do with generating customer leads. Customers who find your website through typing in search terms are likely to convert.
- They don’t know how Google Analytics works or what Google Search Console can do. These two systems are not complex. There’s a lot of info out there that’s easy to understand and apply to your website.
- They want to generate leads and think printing out flyers or Facebook ads is the answer. But neither of these are providing results. One or two marketing activities done in a vacuum is not likely to work. SEO and good copywriting is one large piece of the marketing pie.
- They are confused about SEO and outsource to dodgy SEO companies who promise to get them on the first page. They are certainly ranking in #1 position but for their business name only. Beware of anyone who promises to get you on the 1st page of Google but cannot explain how.
- They are unaware that a Google business listing is crucial to their business along with Google reviews. They don’t know how to set it up either.
- Too much reliance on social media to bring in customers, very little emphasis on improving their website for Google.
- They don’t know anything about the value of title tags and meta descriptions in persuading a searcher to click through to the website.
- They are too busy working ‘in’ the business to think about how to work ‘on’ the business
- Too much reliance on web developers for SEO who mix technical SEO with the non-technical SEO aspects like SEO copywriting.
Beware of dodgy SEO advice
If your SEO person cannot explain the ins and outs of what they are doing, run!
Most small businesses (in my experience) can’t really tell when they are being given dodgy SEO advice. Yes you are getting results like the #1 ranking. But what are you really ranking for? Is it something your customer is searching for? Or is it just your company name?
Small business SEO case study
A client I recently helped with SEO had no analytics data at all even though her web developer told her ‘your website is fully optimised for SEO’. The company hadn’t even submitted the website’s site map as I quickly found out in my audit.
- They had not bothered to submit a site map or check her pages were indexed by Google.
- Google Search Console was not set up so she had no idea what keywords she was being found for.
- Title tags and meta descriptions were not written and had just her business name in all of them
- Images were large and not optimised, they were slowing her site down. By installing just one plugin, I compressed all her images and cut her page load speed from 7.7 seconds to 5 seconds.
- Her website was non-existent on Google. I couldn’t find the business anywhere in the first 5 pages of search results. No wonder her customers couldn’t find her either.
For 4 years her business had missed out on organic traffic and sales but she could not figure out why.
Initial positive results
She hired me to optimise her business website in December 2017.
The website started generating organic traffic in two weeks once I submitted her website’s site map. Her analytics dashboard started showing data for the first time in 4 years.
- ran an SEO audit to find all the technical problems on her website
- wrote all her title tags and meta descriptions (the text you see under a website name in Google)
- optimised all her pages with high quality keywords and
- rewrote page and blog copy to help rank them better
- compressed the images and reduced page load speed from 7.7 to 5 seconds
Two months later:
- she has gained half a dozen new customers who found her website through search
- her business ranks for most keywords on page 1 and page 2
- quarter of her sales are coming from organic traffic converting into customers. She made over $500 in just 3 months from search traffic. This number is climbing steadily as more people find her business
- Overall search traffic has also increased substantially
This is what SEO done properly, can do for your business.
If you are a small business, do not disregard the value of SEO in bringing customers to your website.
If you want to learn about SEO and do it yourself, this short course is a great place to start (I’m not an affiliate, I just love them). It’s easy to understand information you can use to start improving your website’s SEO from day 1.
If you’re nervous about DIY SEO and want an expert to do it for you, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org to ask how I can help.