| 20th March 2019

SEO For Small to Medium Businesses, Why It’s Important and Why You Need It

Or…….in other words FREE SEO!

Local SEO (Search Engine optimisation) is one of those things that someone who has set up a small business doesn’t necessarily know much about or why it’s important.

What I want to do here is to explain some of the easy steps you can take even if your business is small just now, because you’re not planning for it to stay that way right?

Scanning the internet about online marketing and you may read things like SEO is dead! Let’s leave all the negative comments about SEO to one side and talk about how it can be really useful for your business, even outside of helping you get more visibility.

We run many seminars (for people like Doncaster Chamber and the CMI) and we try to give people in this position good, solid advice, very often it’s one of those situations where you don’t know what you don’t know!

So in no particular order, here are some of things you can do quite easily and in most cases for free that will help your business get more visibility, more!

  1. Keyword Research

Do you know how people search for your products and services?

Don’t guess, it’s what we all do as business owners, because we call it one thing we expect everyone else to do the same – BIG MISTAKE! Even small differences can make a big difference when it comes to how competitive phrases might be and therefore how “easy” or “difficult it’s going to be to rank on the first page of Google.

This is what the free Google Keyword Tool looks like, sign up for a free Google account (which gives you more data, you used to be able to use it as a guest but it’s better to open an account these days) and it gives you lots and lots of ideas for similar keywords. The competition data doesn’t look that helpful, Low, Medium or High, but it at least gives you confirmation about how people search. If you really want to know, set up a small test campaign with the phrases Google suggests people use and then after a while click the “Search Terms” tab which will tell you the terms people have actually searched.

There are lots of tools out there, but if you’re a small business looking at SEO for the first time just use the free tool to get up and running! You can get more sophisticated as you grow.

One word of warning with the tool is that let’s say you’re an accountant in Doncaster, right now you can search for just the term “accountants” in Google and you’ll get localised or personalised listings. When you use the Google keyword tool putting the term “accountants” will give you a figure for the national searches, if you want to narrow that down and you search “accountants Doncaster” it will report back on the number of times that search was used including the word “Doncaster”, because as a searcher I can get local results without typing a city or region, the figure I get for the complete term i.e. “accountants Doncaster” will be less than the actual number of searches.

Just something to bear in mind if you’re targeting local customers with SEO.

  1. Google My Business

For a local business this is a must! I’m constantly amazed how many people don’t have this set up! Again, it’s free in your Google account. Just search Google My Business while you’re logged into your Google account and you will be asked to find or identify your business by name or with your phone number. If Google is aware of this as your businesses number it is very straightforward to claim your listing and optimise it.

google my business account

Google My Business (GMB) is the local and sometimes regional map Google shows in its search results for local terms and you can have a red pin sometimes by doing nothing at all. If Google finds your business in an online directory and deems it relevant it can bring that back but it’s still really important you claim your listing and optimise it. You want to make your listing as rich as possible and give searchers as much information about your business as possible.

As well as your general business details you can add photos, videos, special opening offers, a full business description and you can add weekly offers and special deals, but bear in mind these expire after 7 days.

google my business listingSomething to note, in the past you had to use at least one Google recommended category and then you could write the other freehand or free text, if you do that now Google won’t show the ones you’ve effectively designed specially to describe your business, but on the other hand it’s incredibly unlikely that the drop down list Google suggests as categories will be totally suitable for your business. Add as many as you can that Google suggest, but add the others in the business services description

In this listing you can add photos and video which we really suggest you do.

You MUST also build your reviews on Google – We have a really neat of doing this – contact us for details!

Google and getting visibility online is not just for the big companies out there, if you’re after local visibility through SEO there’s a lot you can do that can get you website traffic and enquiries before you engage the services of a consultancy company.

If you do want to take things a step further, then we’d love to hear from you, call us on 01302 211 450 or Contact Us online here

We’re based in Doncaster but cover all over Yorkshire and also have clients in Manchester & London.