There are a lot of reasons why small businesses are currently needing to turn to a more online presence. The current health crisis that is COVID-19 is forcing a lot of people to order goods online that they would normally shop for in person. For that matter, many people are choosing to do more research online than they would prior to the pandemic, due to the simple fact that their budgets are more constrained than they once were. Therefore, it’s crucial that small businesses employ a strong online presence in order to maximize their profit. They need to be easily accessible, ready to answer questions about the goods or services they offer, and for that matter ready to advertise. But at the same time, the internet is more overloaded than ever before. People are used to seeing the same ads over and over, and marketing platforms that were once reliable are now seen as overbearing or irritating. It’s not enough to pay for the traditional pay per click ads that so many businesses online once relied upon. Now, consumers are turning to alternatives like premium SEO.
What is SEO, you may ask? SEO refers to search engine optimization, and it essentially involves ensuring that your website is as optimally prominent in search engine results as possible. It does so through the connection of certain keywords or phrases to your website, which often is done through the use of more organic online marketing material than once corporations were once used to. SEO strategy for small businesses is far different from the type of marketing strategies that small businesses once relied upon. Rather than targeting a large clientele with something like an email marketing campaign, SEO allows businesses to target a more specialized audience that is actively searching for the words or concepts that are associated with the business itself. What this does is allow businesses to have a stronger closing percentage, while at the same time spending less on the marketing strategy than they would if they tried to appeal to too many people at once. Let’s look into some of the ways through which SEO can apply to small businesses.
1. Blog Content
Perhaps the most prominent SEO strategy for small businesses is that which focuses on blog content. Blogs are ideal for small business SEO strategy. After all, people enjoy reading blogs and often see them as entertaining and informative. Perhaps what is most key to the appeal of blogs is that it doesn’t seem like an advertisement. If someone feels as if they’re being too heavily marketed to, they’ll be more likely to be turned off by the business. For that matter, they probably won’t spend much time on a heavy-handed advertisement. People will take the time to read a blog post through if it’s written in an engaging manner, without realizing that they’re actually reading an advertisement. SEO strategy for small businesses strives to create as organic an experience as possible, as they’re actually trying to target that ideal niche audience. Of course, it’s one thing for a small business to host SEO-driven blog content. It’s another thing entirely to create strong blog content.
So, what kinds of blog posts appeal to readers? A lot of it depends on the type of small business you run, and the types of people that you’re trying to reach. One of the goals with SEO content strategy for small businesses is to, again, close in on that specific audience in a way that doesn’t feel harsh or intimidating. Often, approachable but informative content is the best way of accomplishing this. This is why many blog posts created for SEO purposes come in the form of lists or articles. Lists have a huge appeal amongst blog readers; in fact, 36% of them prefer numbered lists or list-driven headlines in the post that they read. It’s easy to create a catchy headline about tips for entrepreneurs or the most beautiful sights in the world; people know that they’re about to read something easy to process and catchy when they see that kind of title. Another major reason why people enjoy this type of content is that they often feel like they’re actually gaining something from it. They expect informative content, and in truth SEO-driven blog posts can genuinely provide it. However, they also need to organically weave within it those optimal keywords and phrases. The long-form style of blog posts also creates the opportunity for that organic blending of real entertainment or information, along with optimization. When a properly optimized blog post is attached to a small business’s website, it will ensure that more people will become aware of that website, in a manner less pressing than typical marketing strategies.
2. Social Media
Of course, the typical content marketing agency is going to advise a small business to host some kind of blog on their website. But this isn’t always possible; quite often, blogs simply don’t fit into a website or a business’s image in a natural way. Of course, the point of SEO is to create a natural experience. A small business can succeed without a blog. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for small businesses to succeed without some kind of social media presence. Now, a business that sells car parts may not necessarily aim to be witty and funny on Twitter, like a lot of major restaurant chains have been recently. But they should at the very least be available on some form of social media. The great thing about social media is that there are so many different options available today, with different connections to specific audiences. An older crowd, for example, may be more drawn to Facebook; their younger counterparts might identify more with Instagram. No matter what a small business focuses on, there is some type of social media that will fit their brand. People feel more comfortable knowing that they can easily connect with and reach out to a small business if they have any questions. Another major benefit of a social media presence is that it actually makes SEO a lot simpler.
Just as SEO can be applied to blog content, it can also be applied to social media content. Of course, the short-form nature of social media means that SEO must happen in a much more compressed manner. However, a quick Facebook post or tweet can show up in search engine results just as a blog post would. It can be much more accessible for people who primarily take in shorter pieces of content, especially on their mobile phones. Social media content also allows small businesses to work with influencers when applicable. Influencers are incredibly useful and have experienced a major boom within the past few years. If your small business operates in an influencer-run world, you should work with influencers to promote your business. SEO strategy for small business can be just as easily applied to influencer-created content as it can be applied to blog posts. It’s often just a matter of the influencer creating the content, and the SEO specialist making alterations in order to optimize it. While SEO strategy for small business may seem a bit difficult to understand first, it’s actually far more applicable to a wide range of content types than some might think.
A number of small businesses may want to focus more on a specific type of content, which isn’t quite as chatty or casual as blog posts or social media content. This is why SEO strategy for small business focuses on offering a wide range of options for its clients. Guides, for example, can be as informative and formal as possible if small businesses require it. For example, if a small business wants to advertise marketing ideas for dental offices, an SEO-optimized guide to these marketing ideas can be a great starting point. Many small businesses that want to be more formal in their presentation appreciate the way their SEO content can fold into this presentation, but a guide itself does not have to be rigid. While some may look over blog posts or social media posts, if they’re seeking out specific information they may find that a guide is easier to process.
Some small businesses also like the idea of using a registration wall for a guide post. A registration wall essentially forces users to create an account or at least enter their email before they gain access to the guide. This shows a real level of interest, and can help generate leads, which is why it’s definitely a valid SEO strategy for small businesses. However, there are limitations to this specific type of strategy, mostly in that it can actually decrease web traffic. The fact is that a lot of people are turned off by the idea of a registration wall, and would rather ignore the guide in the first place rather than give up their email. For that matter, this could also lead to a number of bad leads being entered into a small business’s database; many small business owners don’t like the idea of spending their money on registration walls that may not result in a strong lead generation. That being said, they shouldn’t count out guides in general.
Perhaps one of the less common types of SEO strategy for small businesses is, of course, the video content. Indeed, it might seem a bit out of place at first. How can video content utilize SEO strategy in the same way that written out blog posts, social media posts, or guides would? Well, one great thing about the lack of popularity of video content is that it will be more likely to appear first in search engine results. There will be less competition for optimized video content than there would for written content. Of course, as always the effectiveness of this type of SEO content is going to be highly dependent on the type of small business you run. It’s often more effective for small businesses that sell products to advertise through optimized video content, compared to other types of small businesses.
A great way in which a small business owner can utilize optimized video content is, of course, through demo videos. For example, if a hair salon has developed a specific type of shampoo or conditioner with results that other hair salons can’t offer, they can prove that through a video demonstration. This is a great way of grabbing people’s attention, introducing the product, and proving that it’s really worth the customer’s time and money. On the other hand, if you offer a service through your small business rather than a product, these videos can still be useful. A painter, for example, could show a demonstration on how they paint a house, even if they’re not offering anything particularly revolutionary. Furthermore, video content can be further optimized through the use of text transcripts. This ultimately means that this strategy is multi-faceted, and can furthermore be linked to social media or blog strategy. In fact, it’s perhaps one of the most diverse types of SEO strategy for small businesses.
A lot of older small business owners are less comfortable with SEO content. The fact that it’s not a traditional marketing strategy, and doesn’t always come off as marketing at all, can make it difficult to embrace. But the thing to remember is that consumers have different expectations in this day and age. They want to be marketed to and informed without feeling pushed. They need to feel as if they’re making an active choice, rather than feeling as if the small business is forcing something onto them.
Ultimately, SEO strategy for small business websites isn’t just about advertising. It’s also about helping small businesses really establish themselves online. It helps them create an online identity, whether it’s through blog posts, social media, guides, video content, or the many other means through which SEO can be incorporated.