5 High-impact SEO Tactics for Small Businesses
As a growing business, chances are you’re familiar with the importance of Search Engine Optimization. But SEO growth strategies can take a long time to show impact, and ranking against high-power competitors isn’t an easy task.
So we’ve asked the Director of Marketing at Ladder.io, to share some tips and tricks that nearly every small business owner can implement to start growing a more powerful and reliable search engine presence.
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While referrals, face-to-face sales meetings, and networking are key — it’s a fair bet that SEO doesn’t often come to mind as an important growth channel. True, SEO growth strategies can take a long time to show impact, and ranking against high-power competitors isn’t an easy task, but to maintain steady growth as a business, you need a repeatable, scalable, cross-channel approach and for that, SEO is key.
Here are five growth strategies (with bonus tips and use cases) that nearly every small business owner can implement to start growing a more powerful and reliable search engine presence.
1. SUBMIT TO ONLINE DIRECTORIES
It doesn’t matter if you’re a software as a service giant or a small restaurant, chances are there’s a directory for your business. And you know what directories do? They link back to your website.
- A newly launched startup that needs exposure within that community can use tools like StartupLister or PromoteHour to mass-submit to numerous directories.
- A restaurant owner can submit his/her restaurant to sites like Yelp, OpenTable, and Foursquare to receive both an SEO boost and ratings that can help drive foot traffic.
- A marketing consultant can submit his/her services to directories like AgencySpotter to find new potential leads on a recurring basis.
2. GUEST POSTING ON OTHER SITES
Guest posting is a great way to get your name out in front of your audience by publishing articles and sharing your expertise on other, better-known sites.
To get started, figure out the top blogs and writers in your space and make sure they appeal to your target audience and have a decent readership.
From there, don’t be afraid to simply ask if you can contribute a guest post on their blogs — they’re almost always looking for new content to push to their readers. Writing a high quality guest posts will help you establish yourself as an industry leader and organically push your product.
- Start by creating a list of publications and blogs where you want to be featured. Reach out to the smaller ones until you build a name for yourself and can better target the big fish.
- Be mindful of any guest post guidelines to ensure quick and frictionless publishing.
- Avoid using freelance writers (unless they’re exceptionally high quality). Nobody is as passionate as you about your business and you need that passion to carry over into the content.
3. WEBSITE TITLES & META DESCRIPTIONS
One of the main ways to increase SEO traffic is to experiment with the meta title and meta description on your website.
If you don’t know where to start, look at your competitors. What keywords are they using? What do they say in their page meta descriptions? Use that as a jumping off point in crafting your own copy.
- If you’re entirely lost on how to do this, you can work with an inexpensive SEO consultant on UpWork. Just make sure they’re providing actual, technical SEO services, not just selling backlinks.
- Most content management systems, like WordPress, offer the ability to edit your meta information directly in the admin dashboard.
- Make sure you’re sticking to best practices for meta tagging.
- Use tools like SpyFu, SERPs, and Ahrefs to do some keyword research and find out where you’re ranking. They all have free trials!
4. SWITCH TO PREMIUM WEB HOSTING
It may not seem to matter when you’re first starting out, but don’t be too thrifty with your web hosting solutions. If you suddenly have a blog post explode and go viral, your cheap hosting solution will crumble to bits. Moreover, web hosting impacts page load times and fast load times are big for SEO as it makes it significantly easier for bots to crawl your site.
- Make sure you evaluate all your hosting options. For example, Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS offer different tiers, pricing structures, etc. Do your research.
- Look out for promotions and deals dedicated to startups, small businesses, and non-profits. Often, large companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google offer discounts and credits for businesses of certain industries. This can help offset some of the hosting cost.
5. GIVE TESTIMONIALS
Give testimonials for tools you use and like.
This serves several functions for your business: it will allow you to place a backlink for your website, help increase brand awareness, build relationships with other businesses and influencers, and position yourself as an influential figure with a valued opinion within your space.
- Reach out directly to higher-level marketing and biz dev staff to offer your testimonial.
- Only write testimonials for products you actually like and use. It will be very clear if you’re being disingenuous and are not actually an active user of the product or don’t really enjoy the platform.
As with any SEO tactic, an important thing to note is that without having a proper Google Analytics setup you won’t be able to properly track the impact of your SEO efforts. So invest some time in getting to a baseline analytics setup before diving deep into SEO activity (or any marketing, for that matter).
Ladder.io is a growth solutions company that combines machine learning and a recommendation engine to execute ROI-driven strategy for businesses.