Researching small business SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) tactics? Ended up feeling overwhelmed and a bit frustrated?
Most SEO guides worth their salt are thousands of words long and need updating every six months. If you are a busy SME owner, then you probably think you don’t have time for SEO.
There’s still good news. You can make a difference if you know how, and we’re going to show you what you can achieve with just 30 minutes.
The beauty of the 30-minute-at-a-time approach to SEO is that you can fit it in somewhere, no matter how frantic other business aspects are. SEO will increase traffic, improve visibility and, ultimately, increase sales.
Don’t believe me?
Don’t knock it til you’ve tried.
Small Business SEO: Get Google-Ready
We’re going through this list assuming that you know a little already about SEO and its aims, and you are looking for practical ideas rather than working definitions. If you’re looking to get started with the basics first, try this guide to Digital Marketing.
As Google is the biggest search engine in the world, it is a great idea to begin by making good use of the web tools it offers. Half an hour each is plenty of time to set up and read up about the following Google services.
1- Google Analytics
First of all, take half an hour to set up your analytics account and get to grips with using it. Google Analytics is how you can measure the success of your website and keep tabs on how your quick-fire small business SEO attempts are going.
In the future, if you find yourself able to carve out more time for small business SEO, then Analytics will help you to identify what content is most popular. Google Analytics can also highlight the pages that aren’t working and which are pushing potential customers away.
This will be a recurring 30-minute task but once you figure out what your own personal priorities are for your site (for example, attracting new readers, retaining readers, making sales, etc) then you will be able to monitor performance at a glance.
2- Google Search Console
You can access similar data using Google Analytics and Google Search Console (it used to be called Webmaster Tools), but you will use them for different purposes. Whereas Analytics is for finding out more about the people visiting your site, Search Console allows you to check on the health of your site.
Start off by submitting a sitemap via Search Console. Next, check out your broken links and either redirect them then and there or set aside your next time slot to do so.
Finally, check back regularly to monitor the health of your site.
3- Google Plus
The value of a business profile on Google Plus is more to do with search engine ‘views’ than actual eyeballs. As a social site, it is less frequented than Facebook, but it will help Google to see your business site as reputable. Therefore, it is well worth taking half an hour to register your account, add some unique content and link any relevant social media sites, too.
You use AdWords, Google’s paid search network service, to run a PPC campaign. Whether or not you plan on running a PPC campaign, it is worth setting one up. An AdWords account gives you access to lots of handy tools like Google’s Keyword Research Tool, which you can use to find, analyse and select keywords.
5- And Repeat!
Setting tools up is the easy part! If you really want to get value out of your SEO activities, you need to check back a few times a month to make sure everything you’re doing is actually working.
Check Your Social Platforms
6- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Take 30 minutes to analyse your business profiles. Try to put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer and imagine how they will see your business.
Is your About section as clear as possible? Have you provided enough contact information? Do you list your opening hours, and are they correct?
It can be really helpful to ask a friend or relative to look it over, too. They will likely spot glaring problems faster if they aren’t so familiar with your business as you are.
7- And … schedule!
This is another recurring task, but you will get into the swing of it and it saves so much time compared to posting as you go. Get yourself a social scheduling app like Hootsuite or Buffer. These services allow you to write social content and set it to automatically publish days, weeks or months in the future.
Take half an hour and schedule some social content for the next week.Even just one or two posts per week will help to keep your page on the radar and potential customers will feel more inclined to contact a page that looks busy.
Not sure what kinds of things to post? Here’s a handy list of 30 post ideas. We wrote it with financial service companies in mind but most, if not all, can be adapted to use for your small business SEO.
Check out Your Competitors
8- Scope Out the Competition
Okay, here’s a super quick briefing for how search engines work. First, a user types something into Google. The thing they type in is called a keyword.
Next, Google looks through its index for websites it thinks are related to that keyword.
Finally, Google orders the results based on which website it thinks is most relevant and authoritative.
Okay, moving on.
Take five minutes to think of some keywords relevant to your business. Which phrases do you want to rank for on Google? Bear in mind that more specific keywords are more helpful here.
A bakery is not going to rank for ‘bakery’, but nor are your prospective customers going to be searching for that. Rather, try things like ‘fresh doughnuts Glasgow’, or ‘gluten-free bakery’, depending on your services and products. Got a little list? Now search each keyword on Google and have a look at who is ranking.
They are your competitors.
Make a list of five or so competitors and keep it somewhere safe for your next 30-minute small business SEO hit.
9- Steal the Best Bits
Next, take a little time to look over competitor sites and see if there’s anything they’re doing that you like!
Social media giveaways, interesting websites, better photos. We’re not recommending modelling your own site on theirs but getting a little inspiration is absolutely fine.
10- Piggyback on Their Success
It’s also important to get an idea of what is going on behind the scenes. If you haven’t already heard much about link-building, then here is a super-quick intro!
Next, check out the backlinks for the competitor sites on your list. Do this by entering the URL for the site into the backlinks section of the tool you are using.
A backlink is a link from another site, and from Google’s point of view, a backlink is almost like a recommendation that the site being linked to is reputable. Backlinks — as long as they are joining two reputable sites together — will tell Google that your site is legit and deserves to rank highly for the right searches.
Your competitors may have backlinks that would work for you, too. Once you know where they are mentioned around the web, you can pick up on the high-quality links, too.
Perhaps they are listed in local directories, they have been recommended by bloggers or they have written guest posts sharing their expertise. Even if you don’t have time to follow up on all these links, it will certainly give you an idea of the things you could do to improve your site ranking when you have the time.
Now, you have an idea of the small business SEO you can achieve with just 30 minutes at a time. If you have any questions or feedback, we’d love to hear from you!
Finally, are you thinking of calling in the cavalry to help out with your digital marketing? We can take care of as much or as little as you like. Check out our case studies here and give us a bell for a free consultation.