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Small Budget SEO for Small Business Owners

The digital world is here to stay. While it’s ever changing and expanding, there are certain needs that will not. One of them is Search Engine Optimization, or the infamous SEO. This is your wake-up call: you cannot neglect SEO any longer.

By late 2017, there were an estimated 130+ trillion individual web pages vying for attention. There are only 10 spots on page 1 of search, and few people will go deeper than that, so clearly you cannot leave SEO to chance.

Fewer than 20% of small business owners actively invest in SEO. Most of the remaining 80% know that it’s important, but don’t understand what SEO is and what it does, and unfortunately, the high price tag to hire an SEO firm is quite out of reach for many.  Don’t worry – there is a lot of information available for free from Google, so in theory, many basic SEO practices can be handled with just a small budget. Here’s what you need to know:

Gone are the days of creating your site simply to look good on a desktop or laptop. Today, your site MUST be optimized for mobile. Most people are accessing sites from their smartphone or other devices, so your site has to scale easily to look great on a variety of screen sizes. It’s no longer an option – it’s a necessity.

Make certain you have a strong local presence. This requires accuracy. Make sure your business name, address and phone numbers are consistent across all site listings. They’ll be picked up by search engine crawlers and used to populate aggregate sites like local resource directories, review sites, and so much more. Make a mistake, and you’ll be cleaning it up for what will seem like an eternity.

When planning your website, be sure your metadata (page title, meta description and URL) is click-worthy. Keep the URLs short whenever possible, and be sure to include a target keyword or two in your title.

Before you launch the site, be sure to include a sitemap so that search engines can ‘see’ and ‘index’ all of your pages. Don’t forget your Privacy Policy and copyright notices – and make it a habit to update these every year.

When creating content for your site, focus on thought leadership. Make content that is unique and adds value for the reader, and be sure it is well-written, grammatically correct and without typos. The wrong types of content are not going to provide any lasting value to your site visitors any more than it will to your SEO rankings – it’ll be ignored, and so will your site as it drops deeper and deeper in search results.

Content needs to be helpful, memorable and shareable. Not sure where to begin? Start by listing out your customer’s pain points and show them how you can solve them. Continue to post the right types of content to engage your audience, and you’ll see more repeat visitors, shared links and more exposure to new prospects potential customers. As trust builds, your reputation and rankings will too.

Always include visuals to make content more engaging. Be sure to give them a relevant title to the content they are being matched with, along with alternative descriptions (alt text). These are words that describe what is in or happening in the photo for visually impaired visitors who use specific technology to help them access and browse the web.

Don’t just grab any photo off the web – you may run into copyright issues. Use professional royalty free (free or low cost) or rights managed (more expensive) photography. Candid snaps from your phone are fine for social media, but not for most marketing purposes. Unless you’re a professional photographer or really savvy with a cam, don’t try to do photos of your offices or products yourself. There are plenty of local resources available at an affordable rate.

Finally – static sites are going to tank in search engines. That’s why regularly refreshing your site’s core content and adding new content is so important.

Sound like something more than you want to manage? Check out Serendipit Consulting’s digital services page to see how we can help.  

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