SEO Strategies For Small Businesses:

... the complete guide

If you’re a small business owner no doubt you’ve been sold SEO every which way from Sunday… and more than likely it’s left you confused, frustrated and feeling like you’re missing out by not taking action sooner.

So today we want to help you put a stop to this once and for all.

Keep reading and you’ll discover:

  • Why SEO is important - in simple to understand terms; no confusing jargon guaranteed.
  • Why you’ve struggled with SEO - and how to fix this
  • 7 ways to improve your SEO (totally free)
  • And much more.

So before we begin, what is all the buzz about SEO and why are you getting bombarded day and in and day out with emails, phone calls and ads telling you "you need it for your small business!"

Here’s why.

Back in the early 2000’s the phone book (Yellow Pages) was the No.1 way to get new customers.

However times have changed.

We’ve been providing SEO services for clients since 2007 onwards.

And already back then, the YellowPages were on the decline.

Yellow Pages Decline Over The Years
Fast forward 10 years and the Yellow Pages, once the hottest advertising medium available to local business owners is less than a quarter the size it once was.

So where did everyone go?

Online!

Early adopters to SEO used to rank and bank like no tomorrow back in the early 2000’s. (check out our article "Yellow Pages V's SEO" to learn more about this shift.)

Today you can’t open a business without every Tom, Dick and Harry trying to sell you SEO, tell you about SEO or convince you some way or another that your business needs to be on Google.

Which is all true (you can learn more about how our SEO services impact business here), however this might leave you searching for quick fixes, overpriced solutions, and everything in between.

Or worse, you’re pushing SEO even further down your list of top priorities.

Rest assured - You're not alone!

Many small business owners feel hopeless or overwhelmed by the concept of managing their SEO with "why is SEO harder for small businesses?" being a very commonly searched term on Google.

The truth is, SEO *is* getting harder to manage, because it's becoming more important, more popular and more influential than ever. But this is true for every company, not just small businesses.

Don't be fooled into thinking that SEO only favours the big websites, leaving small companies to fend for themselves.

Unfortunately, many small business owners fall into the trap of thinking that SEO is too advanced for their company or that hiring specialists like Websites That Sell would cost too much.

Whether you're struggling to succeed at SEO or you’re bravely peeking out from under the covers to see what all the fuss is about this article will help you navigate the minefield.

Read on to discover what SEO means for you and your small business.

Small businesses can struggle to succeed at SEO for a few simple reasons:

  • They have less money to spend on trying to make money
  • They have less time due to having less money
  • Something always pops up to steal their attention
  • They missed the latest algorithm change or update
  • They're competing against big brands with the wrong ammo
  • They haven't accrued authority online
  • Their websites are smaller with fewer pages and less content
  • They don't have the tools and software to manage their SEO effectively
  • They have less clout for link building 
  • Google doesn't have them in the friend zone

With all of this in front of you, we don't blame you for sticking your head in the sand or running away altogether. 

However, let us assure you:

SEO is worth it!

At this point, you may simply be wondering, “What is SEO”?!

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is a multifaceted approach to marketing that can help customers find you across the wide reaches of the internet, make your website easier to understand and give potential customers an easy (and convincing) call to action.

Without SEO, the truth is - your website is likely to fall into obscurity, lost among the throes of the internet with challenging to understand navigation and devastating optics.

Have you ever clicked past page 2 on Google results?

Your potential customers haven’t either.

Still confused?

Read our “What is SEO” blog post to learn more

The main aspects of SEO can be broken down into a few parts:

Content Marketing - think videos, blogs, images, and social media posts that drum up interest in your products or services to bring people to your online platforms, engage them once they arrive and keep them coming back.

Backlinks - these are links from other websites that connect to yours. The more backlinks you have, the more credible your website will appear to search engines like Google. Learn more about our backlink building services here.

Clean Website Code - code is working behind the scenes to display your website’s text, images, sign-up forms- code is the building blocks for your website. Now, with 92% of traffic coming from Google, your code better look “clean” to the fussy search engine bots that crawl your page.

Good User Accessibility - the real MVP of SEO; if your website doesn't have a fast load speed, good user accessibility or easy navigation, people will spend less time on it, and Google will disfavour it, causing your rankings to plummet.

Now that you understand what SEO is, read on to find out why it’s so important for small business owners like yourself.

Whether you're in the service industry or you own a small business selling trinkets - there is one thing every business owner has in common: people are looking for brands like yours online, every day.

Yep, don't let imposter syndrome get in the way; people are searching for your product or services.

You saw people aren’t going to the Yellow Pages anymore.

Yes they are hanging out on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

However the No.1 place people are going to find solutions to their problems (buying products & services) is Google.

You need SEO to make sure they can find you on Google.

But what about paid ads?

While paid ads offer short-term validation and a boost in sales, you will lose your competitive edge once you decide to put the credit card away.

In other words, if you want to get new customers fast then Adwords is a perfect solutions, however as soon as you stop paying for ads this source of business stops.

We believe ads pay a very important role in the long term success of any business, our most successful clients do SEO, run ads, are active on socials and many other marketing channels.

However if you’re at a place where you want to build your website into an asset that keeps producing new customers long term - SEO is what will do exactly this for you.

With strategic SEO marketing for your business, your competitive edge is intact, your reputation is stronger than ever, and more people can find what they're looking for - you!

Smart and savvy small business owners invest in SEO while their peers focus on other things, letting their website fall further and further down the list of search engine results.

With a leg up on your competitors and a favourable, reliable ranking on Google, you will be giving your small business the best chance of success, guaranteed.

Even for a small business with a small offering and a small customer base, SEO is important!

Improving your SEO allows you to:

  • Generate genuine leads that won't waste your time
  • Gain an edge over your competition
  • Get in front of your target audience
  • Expand and promote your brand's online presence
  • Educate your clients or customers before they ring you
  • Build relationships and encourage customer retention
  • Maximise your audience and reach
  • Gain meaningful insight and data from your target market
  • Improve your digital marketing return on investment
  • Increase your rate of conversions and sales
  • Market to your customers without paying for every click through to your website

7 Strategies Small Businesses Can Use To Improve Their SEO

SEO is arguably the most measurable form of marketing - check out our SEO reporting services here to see how we track return on investment down to the dollar, and it can be simpler and more affordable to develop than you may think.

Whether you sell products online or have a brick-and-mortar style business, SEO is essential to boost your organic online presence and keep you at the top of the search engine. With over 40% of web traffic coming from search engines, without SEO - you will be nowhere to be found.

When you hear of SEO, you may think of pages and pages of code or complicated marketing strategies. However, there are some simple ways to improve your SEO instantly

No 1: Hire A Reputable SEO Agency

Owning a business is both incredibly rewarding and a lot of work. You may end up wearing multiple hats or stay up late reviewing spreadsheets and payroll. If you have enough time, you might add a post to your Facebook page and cross your fingers for more customers.

If you want real, measurable results from your marketing, it’s best to hire SEO experts to handle this aspect of your business. The benefits will outweigh the cost for years to come.

Curious about how much it will cost you? Read this guide to SEO pricing and costs.

No 2: Switch To WordPress

While many small business owners start their business website through a company like WIX or Squarespace, this isn't the best strategy for managing your SEO. If you're ready to manage your SEO strategically or you plan to engage with an SEO specialist in the future, building your website on WordPress will be your best bet.

No 3: Get A Google My Business Page

Google My Business (GMB) is a free to start online profile for businesses to make it easier to manage their online presence.

A GMB profile typically includes your location, contact information, shop or product photos, customer ratings and reviews.

Your GMB tells your story and verifies your offerings, making it easy for customers to learn more about you and get in touch.

Reviews are the cornerstone of any business, and with GMB, receiving and displaying customer reviews has never been simpler.

You can sign up for Google My Business here.

No 4: Pay Attention To The Details

By ensuring your website has the correct title tags, URLs, descriptions, address, and a map - you will make Google’s search engine happy and have a better chance of ranking on local "near me" searches.

No 5: Improve Your Content

A website isn't a website if it doesn't have words and images. When it comes to these elements, make sure they're eye-catching, accurate, descriptive, and high quality. Even adding alt text to your images and creating a handful of well-written blogs can improve your ranking significantly.

No 6: Check Your Website's Performance On A Mobile Device

Have you ever abandoned a site immediately if it doesn't load on your phone well? You wouldn't be the only one. With mobile phone searches responsible for over 60% of organic search results, you’ll want to make sure that your website is easy to use and understand on a mobile screen.

To get deeper into these technical concepts check out our article around Google's Core Web Vitals.

No 7: Do Your Keyword Research

We know, it sounds like a lot.

But doing keyword research is essentially just understanding your audience and the terms they search for.

Once you know these terms, you can add them to your content, titles, and meta descriptions to improve your ranking.

If you need help with your keyword research check out our keyword research services here.

The Best SEO Tools For Small Business

  • Semrush.com - perform up to ten free searches a day to track your SEO, content marketing, competitor research and social media marketing 
  • AlsoAsked.com - real-time, geographically specific insight into what people are searching for 
  • AnswerThePublic.com - instant insights from the most common searches of your customers 
  • CanIRank.com - AI-based software to offer actionable recommendations to improve your SEO
  • KWFinder.com - search your keywords to ensure they will easily rank
  • UberSuggest - gain insight into what strategies are working for your competitors 
  • Google Search Console - easily monitor site issues, maintenance needs and adjustments to improve search performance 
  • Google Analytics - understand the customer journey and improve your digital marketing performance
  • Yoast WordPress Plugin - ensure your site meets the highest technical SEO standards, improve your readability, and optimise your content 
  • Markup Validation Service - create a better search engine impression by ensuring your website follows the correct validation standards

Answers to Your Burning SEO Questions

How long does it take to do SEO”?!

We get it. You've seen the urgent need; you've made room in the budget, and you've handed over your website to the experts. As a result, you may expect to see your order count growing, your label machine running out of ink and your bank account exploding.

The truth is - there is not a straightforward timeframe for when you should see the full impact of your results or how long it will take to get your SEO up to scratch.

Depending on your existing website, a comprehensive SEO strategy can take between 3-12 months to drive new customers to your business. Although this may seem long, any smart business owner understands the importance of a future-focused investment strategy.

SEO will continue to drive active traffic to your business, unlike paid ads that drain your bank account and stop generating customers as soon as they are turned off. While we live in a culture of instant validation, SEO isn't something you can set and forget. This marketing strategy works best with a heavy dose of patience and a lot of testing.

Will it be faster if I hire an SEO agency to do the work for me?

More and more, smart business owners are hiring SEO agencies to help them attract new customers.

When you start shopping around for the best SEO company for your small business, look out for big marketing agencies that promise you instant results. If an SEO agency promises you the world in a week, they may be taking you for a ride. To prevent this from happening, compile a list of questions to ask every company that you reach out to.


If you leave the conversation and still don’t understand what the agency will do to boost your traffic, they probably don’t understand their own strategy either.

4 Questions to ask your SEO agency include:

  • How long until I start seeing a return from my SEO and it starts paying for itself?
  • How long will it take for me to start ranking on the first page?
  • How long do I need to do SEO for?
  • How long will I keep my rankings for?

By entering into your SEO strategy with clear expectations and a solid understanding of the process, you will be one step closer to success.

How do I find a trustworthy SEO agency for my small business?

The SEO strategies that worked for your friend who owns a small business with a similar offering to yours, might not work the same for your company. Part of hiring the experts is trusting that they will do the legwork you can't, don't know how, or don't want to do.

However, with a strategy set by a team that cares about your results, you will be provided with realistic expectations along the way. For example, when working with our SEO experts at Websites that Sell, you can expect results within 3-6 months based on your specific strategy, and by 12 months, your SEO will pay for itself.

We can't speak for other agencies, but we understand the importance of complete transparency along the journey. You will soon discover that our strategy is built on transparent, meaningful, and accurate results no matter what stage of SEO you're in.

Take Your SEO To The Next Level

SEO is a constantly moving finish line, and many small businesses fail because they simply can't keep up with it. The fact is, unless SEO is your day to day, ardent, 100% focus, it will never be as successful as those who hire a team of professionals to take care of it.

When you're starting a small business - every dollar, every hour, and every decision feels important. We understand that SEO can feel like too overwhelming of a task to add to your already overflowing to-do list. As a small business owner, you don’t have time to sit and watch the rankings, mitigate issues, and keep on top of changes to keep your SEO in tip top condition.

By engaging with the professionals to manage your SEO, you will be ensuring you don't fall through the cracks of the ever-expanding, unstoppable beast that we call the internet.

By working with a professional to manage your SEO, you will:

  • Never have to worry trying to stay up to date with confusing technical jargon, while still reaping all the benefits of SEO.
  • Never miss an algorithm change or update
  • Make your competition green with envy while you are ranking above them on Google.
  • Start attracting new customers just like the big brands at a fraction of the budget they spend.
  • Stop wasting time on learning confusing software and instead focus on what you do best - selling and providing your products & services to people that need them.
  • Build a website people love.
  • Build a website Google loves AND rewards with boatloads of traffic.

With professional SEO - how fast you grow, the size of your business and the depth of your offering are for you to decide. Get your business in front of the right people at the right time and keep them engaged, so you don't just have leads - you have sales that you can take right to the bank.

Interested In SEO Services That Will Help Your Website Sell?

We're on a mission to generate results, with our client's success being paramount and a reason for celebration. If you're ready to work with the smartest, most dedicated, and results-driven team of SEO professionals, get in touch with us today (we’ve already got the champagne chilling).

You can simply hand over your website and let us do what we do best - generate traffic and leads that actually turn into sales.

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