As a small business owner, you understand the importance of having a strong online presence. With millions of websites online, it can be challenging to stand out in the crowded digital space. That’s why search engine optimisation (SEO) is critical to your success. SEO is the marketing methodology of optimising your website to gain a better ranking on a SERP, i.e. a search engine’s results page. The higher your website ranks, the more likely you are to be found by potential customers.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the ultimate small business SEO checklist to assist you in enhancing your online visibility and attracting more customers. We’ll cover everything from the research of quality keywords to link building and technical SEO.
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Research Quality Keywords
A first step in any SEO strategy is to set aside time for researching keywords. This requires you to ascertain the words or phrases that your ideal market segment uses to search for products or services like yours. By targeting the right keywords, you can optimise your website to gain a better ranking in SERPs and attract more qualified traffic.
To execute your research of keywords effectively, use tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush. Look for keywords with a high search volume and low competition. Don’t forget to include long-tail keywords, which are longer and more specific phrases that are easier to rank for.
Optimise On-Page Content
Once you’ve identified your target keywords, it’s time to enhance the SEO relevance of your on-page content. Review your website’s title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and body content. Ensure to include your target keywords naturally throughout your content, but avoid keyword stuffing, which can hurt your rankings.
Also, make sure your site is mobile-friendly, as Google now prioritises mobile-friendly websites in search results. Use tools like the Mobile-Friendly Test that Google offers to ensure your site is optimised for mobile devices.
Build Top Quality Backlinks
The term “backlink” refers to links from other websites that point to your site. They’re an essential part of SEO because they signal to search engines that your site is a valuable resource. The greater number of top-quality links you achieve, the more likely your site is to rank higher in SERPs.
To build backlinks, start by composing (or sub-contracting to content writers) top-quality content that your preferred backlink websites will be interested in and, therefore will be keen to link to. You can also make contact with other site owners in your industry and ask for a link back to your site. Just make sure the links are relevant and from reputable websites.
Optimise The Technical Factors
The technical side of SEO requires experts to fix, install or improve the technical factors of your site to boost its ranking results and to make it more efficient for search engine web crawlers or “spider” bots to crawl your site and index it. Some technical SEO tasks are:
- Optimising your website’s speed and load times
- Fixing broken links and 404 errors
- Creating an XML sitemap to help search engines crawl your site
- Adding structured data to your site to help search engines understand your content
You can use tools like Google Search Console or SEMrush to identify and fix technical SEO issues on your website.
Local SEO For Small Businesses
If you’re a small business that serves a local area, then local SEO is critical to your success. Local SEO involves optimising your website to appear in local search results, such as “plumbers near me” or “best coffee shop in Sydney.”
To improve your local SEO, ensure to claim your Google My Business listing and optimise it with accurate information about your business, including your name, address, and phone number. Also, ensure to include local keywords in your on-page content, such as your city or region.
The Ultimate Small Business SEO Checklist
In summary, here’s a checklist of the essential SEO tasks every small business should complete:
- Your first action is to do your research of keywords to identify the words and phrases your target audience uses to search for products or services like yours.
- Optimise your on-page content, including your website’s title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and body content, using your target keywords naturally.
- Build top-quality backlinks from your preferred industry collaborator’s websites by creating shareable content and making contact with other website owners.
- Optimise your website’s technical SEO by fixing broken links and 404 errors, creating an XML sitemap, and adding structured data to the website.
- Claim and optimise your Google My Business listing to boost your local SEO and appear in local search results.
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly, as Google now prioritises mobile-friendly websites in search results.
- Use tools like Google Search Console or SEMrush to identify and fix technical SEO issues on your website.
- Incorporate long-tail keywords in addition to short-tail options to increase your chances of ranking higher in SERPs.
- Use internal linking to assist the search engine crawlers to navigate your site’s structure and understand the hierarchy of your website’s content.
- Make sure your website’s load times are fast, as slow load times can hurt your rankings and user experience.
In conjunction with these essential SEO tasks, there are some unique items that small businesses can implement to further improve their SEO:
- Leverage local events: Participating in local events and promoting them on your website can boost your local SEO by increasing your digital dominance and credibility.
- Use schema markup: Schema markup is a type of structured data that helps search engines better understand your content. By using schema markup, you can improve your chances of appearing in featured snippets and other rich search results.
- Implement voice search optimisation: With the rise of smart speakers and voice assistants, optimising your website for voice search can help you rank higher in voice search results and attract more voice search traffic.
- Use video content: Video content is becoming increasingly popular and can boost your website’s engagement metrics, which are a ranking factor in SEO.
- Optimise for featured snippets: Featured snippets are snippets of content that appear at the top of SERPs, above the organic search results. By optimising your content for featured snippets, you can increase your digital dominance and attract more traffic.
By following this ultimate small business SEO checklist and implementing some unique strategies, you can improve your website’s rankings, attract more qualified traffic, and ultimately, grow your business.
The E-Commerce SEO Checklist
E-commerce businesses face unique SEO challenges compared to brick-and-mortar businesses. E-commerce websites typically have a large number of product pages, which can make it challenging to boost the SEO attractiveness of each page for search engines. However, with the right approach, e-commerce businesses can improve their SEO and attract more traffic to their website. Here are some additional checklist items specifically for e-commerce businesses:
- Optimise Product Pages: Each product page should have a unique title tag and meta description that includes the product name and relevant keywords. Use descriptive and unique product descriptions that include target keywords and provide as much detail as possible about the product. Also, optimise product images by using descriptive file names and alt tags that include keywords.
- Create Unique Content: To stand out from your competitors, create unique and engaging content that adds value to your customers. This can include product reviews, how-to guides, and blog posts that are relevant to your products and industry. The more high-quality content you create, the more likely other websites will link to your site, improving your SEO.
- Use Schema Markup: E-commerce businesses can utilise this tool to provide additional details and advice about their products to search engines. This can include product reviews, pricing, and availability. Schema markup can help search engines understand your content better and display it more prominently in search results.
- Optimise for Mobile: More and more people are using mobile devices to shop online, so it’s essential to re-engineer your e-commerce website for mobile devices. Use responsive design to ensure your website looks good on any device, and optimise page load times for mobile devices.
- Use Internal Linking: Internal linking can help search engines understand the structure of your website and improve the user experience. Link to related products and categories within your website to help users find what they’re looking for and improve your website’s SEO.
By following these additional checklist items, e-commerce businesses can improve their SEO and attract more traffic to their website. With the right approach, e-commerce businesses can stand out in a crowded digital space and drive more sales.
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