Seo for Small Business 2020

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SEO has evolved over the years to be one of the most important marketing strategies for any business. So many clients are looking to grow their businesses with SEO that most small businesses easily get overlooked. If your SEO is not where it needs to be, then you will not succeed in your business.

This article will provide you with some of the most useful tips to boost your SEO and get ahead of your competition in 2020!

Why SEO Still Matters In 2020

It seems like every day some new “strategy” or technology comes out claiming to the next best thing for business owners. It then becomes hard to determine what actually works for growing your business and what’s just snake oil.

If you’re feeling disillusioned by the countless methods and tools out there, then you might also wonder whether traditional marketing methods are old news. It’s common for business owners to question whether strategies like search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing (SEM) still work in 2020.

The reality is that SEO still matters in 2020, though many of the practices and methods have changed. For example, Google’s 2019 BERT update lit a fire under SEO professionals to focus more on optimizing content based on search intent rather than keywords. Many businesses still need SEO, but they’ll need to adapt to the shifting landscape.

Customer/Client Aquisition For Locally Focused Businesses

SEO is still one of the best customer acquisition strategies for locally focused businesses. What better way to bring customers in the door (or to your website) than to outrank your local competitors?

With local SEO, you can reach prospective customers and clients by targeting users that are searching in your local area. Google tailors the search results to your geographic location, so, if optimized correctly, your website can dominate the local search results for your niche.

Optimize your locally focused business website with local keywords, fill out your Google My Business profile and other directory profiles, gather positive reviews from past clients or customers and conduct backlink outreach to increase your visibility in local search.

Optimizing For Search Intent Through Site Content

Google’s BERT algorithm update in late 2019 showed us that Google is getting much better at understanding (through natural language processing) the context of users’ searches and the intent behind them. This means that websites that publish content that matches what users are actually searching for may be given higher priority in searches. The key is focusing on the intention behind the search, not how often a specific keyword is used in your content.

Aim to create content that is optimized to answer users’ questions and provide as much value as possible. For example, if the keyword you’re trying to rank for is “B2B lead generation,” do a quick Google search of this term to see what pages are ranking in the search results. Are most of the results service pages (say, B2B lead generation services), or are they blog posts (“What is B2B Lead Generation?”). What’s currently ranking can give you a good idea of the type of content you should create. Then, craft content that best provides what the user intended to find. For a service page, that means breaking down the B2B lead generation services you offer, how to contact you, client results, etc. For a blog post, define what B2B lead generation is, how it works, how to get started and anything else a user might want to learn about this topic.

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This update matters for bloggers and business owners who are dependant on organic traffic when it comes to generating ad revenue, leads and sales. You can maximize your traffic-generating potential by creating optimized content that best matches what your target audience is looking for and provides more value than the pages that are currently ranking.

Adopting A Multichannel Approach

We all know the saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” and this certainly applies to marketing. If you rely on a single traffic source to drive business to your website, you’re putting your business at risk if that channel ever were to dry up or disappear altogether.

Google organic search isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so savvy business owners would do well to use SEO alongside existing traffic channels. By taking a multichannel approach, you can continue generating results through your current campaigns while also opening up a consistent stream of new leads.

While SEO may not be a “set it and forget it” strategy, it does have the potential to drive traffic and leads on autopilot. You can easily outsource SEO and/or content creation so you attract organic traffic without taking time away from your primary marketing channels.

Brand Authority And Reach

According to a 2014 survey, 84% of the millennial respondents said they don’t like advertising (and many of them don’t trust it). It seems that many of this generation of buyers are becoming more resistant to traditional tactics like cold calling, email spam and even paid ads.

But with SEO, businesses can reach this demographic where they are already looking for brands — search engines. SEO works as a form of inbound marketing that attracts customers to you rather than interrupting their natural scrolling with pushy sales tactics.

Further, you can broaden your brand’s reach by targeting long-tail keywords that attract highly-targeted traffic. Ranking for question-based (“How do I … ?”) or comparative (“brand A versus brand B”) keywords can solidify your brand as an authority on a topic and position you against your competitors.

Plus, there is massive potential for you to rank for descriptive keywords that draw in a wider audience. For example, broad terms like “digital marketing methods” or “budget travel tips” may be highly competitive, but they also receive a higher number of searches per month. As you gain momentum (in terms of rankings and traffic) from targeting long-tail keywords, you can start going after broad terms with higher traffic-generating potential.

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Tips for a better SEO experience

Tip 1: Focus on technical SEO

Technical SEO is the process of optimizing the structure of your site pages so that the crawlers can properly “read” and index your site. If we were to personify the crawler, the goal is to have it check out your site and then think: “Wow, these pages load fast, the links all work, and everything is secure. I have no qualms about promoting this content.”

Even if your actual writing is amazing, problems with technical SEO will hamper your site’s ability to rank highly in the SERPs. So before creating new content to draw in potential customers, take stock of the quality of your content from a technical perspective.

Some problems are best left to engineers — like making sure your security and encryption protocols are up to date, page speed optimizations, and the structuring of data. If you don’t have that technical background, give these a try:

  • Create a sitemap and submit it to Google — Depending on what tools you used to build your site, there are plugins you can use to create a sitemap. Yoast SEO is one such plugin for WordPress users that generates a sitemap automatically and keeps it up-to-date when you publish new content. You can submit your sitemap to Google via Google Search Console, a free service Google offers to help you manage your presence in Google Search Results.
  • Prune old pages that don’t perform — If your site has a lot of pages that don’t get traffic, your rankings will be negatively affected.
  • Fix broken and old links — The SERP robots will downgrade your content if you consistently send your reader to outdated or broken links. A recent study showed that sending users to high-authority outbound links is looked upon favorably by Google’s ranking algorithm.
  • Optimize your images —Use relevant images with appropriate captions. You should also use the “alt text” section to give a description of the image.

If that feels like a lot, don’t worry. There are tools that can help. Alexa’s SEO audit tool can find areas of weakness and give you step-by-step instructions on how to fix them.

monitor your site's health with recurring site audits

Effort level required to excel at this task: Low. You’ll have to do some research, but helpful tools are readily available, and the actual fixes are not that hard to implement.

Tip 2: Focus on Local SEO

Nearly one-third of all mobile searches are location-based queries, such as “restaurants near me.” And even if the “near me” is not added, Google’s algorithm now automatically prioritizes local options if you just search “restaurants.” SERPs are teeing up small businesses to be successful with local SEO, so it’s paramount that they capitalize on the opportunity.

Nearly one-third of all mobile searches are location-based inquiries.CLICK TO TWEET

The most important part of local SEO is setting up a Google My Business Profile. These are free and easy to maintain.

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First, claim your GMB listing here. Make sure to fill everything out including local phone number and address. The information you enter will now show up in Google’s search results.

Then, as customer reviews come in, you will get alerts. You can respond to these customers and start a conversation. If you are personable and kind, you can bolster your standing in the community.

The other critical feature of Google My Business is the question and answer section. You can proactively answer questions that you think might come up so that potential customers have as frictionless an experience as possible.

use Google My Business to get seen locally

Finally, don’t forget about local directories. YelpTripAdvisor,  and the Yellow Pages allow businesses to register online, and each of them can expose you to new audiences.

Effort level required to excel at this task: Low. Each of these platforms make it easy, so there are really no excuses for hesitating.

Tip 3: Find Keywords Customers Are Searching For

The best way to know what to write is to know what your ideal customer is already searching for. Then, if you can answer their question better than anyone else, you’ll be recognized by the SERPs as a business that should appear at the top of the results.

Luckily, there are plenty of tools out there to make keyword research faster and easier for time-strapped business owners.

To start, you can analyze the suggestions you get from Google’s autocomplete feature. As you type something into the search bar, you’ll notice that you get suggestions. These represent the most searched phrases — i.e., Google is doing keyword research for you. Use the list as a jumping-off point for content ideas.

There are also dedicated keyword research tools such as Alexa’s Keyword Difficulty tool, which provides a quick and easy-to-digest breakdown of keywords related to your site or to a particular topic that you have a good chance of ranking for.

Alexa's keyword difficulty tool is helpful in keyword research

After you identify keywords that are worth focusing on, create a page on your site or a blog post targeting each of those keywords. (Pro tip: make sure you understand the search intent of the keywords you identified.)

Effort level required to excel at this task: Medium. Keyword research can be a tricky SEO task to tackle for time-strapped entrepreneurs as it requires time, knowledge of crawler behavior, strategy, and knowledge of keyword research tools. That said, there are tools that can dramatically simplify the process.

Conclusion

SEO for small businesses is extremely important given the fact that most of the online population ends up on Google or Bing by typing in a search query or clicking on a website they expect to find related information. And every business needs to rank on these search engine query results (aka SERPs) and drive enough organic and/or referral traffic and leads to be able to continually generate revenue page after page, year after year.

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