DIY SEO Guide for Small Businesses

You’ve designed and built a website for your business and created content. All that’s left to do is to drive more traffic to your site and improve your rankings on Google. You just need a little to optimize your site for search engines and watch the leads roll in.

Now, where do you start?

Most small business owners find themselves here, knowing they need to work on their SEO but lost about where and how to begin. You’re not alone. SEO can be overwhelming and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be.

While SEO has a lot of components, it’s actually a fairly straightforward concept. SEO involves understanding what your target audience is searching for and creating content around those topics, as well as dealing with technical issues that can get in the way of your ranking.

Before you hire an SEO expert or agency to help your site get ranked on the first page of Google, check out our list of do-it-yourself SEO tips to get you started on the right path with optimizing your site.

Know your target audience

In order to be found by your desired customers, you have to know how they’re looking for businesses like yours. Think about your ideal customer and list out their general demographics: age, sex, geographic location, etc. You should also think about their pain points: Why would they want to work with your business? How can you solve a problem for them or meet a specific need that they have?

One of the best ways to figure out what your customers want from you is to talk to your previous customers. Find out what questions they had before working with you and what problems you helped them solve. Remember, in order to be found by your target audience, you have to build your content around what they want and need.

Determine your keywords

Once you have a clear grasp of your target audience and what they’re looking for, it’s time to create content that answers their questions and helps solve their problems. But before you start creating copy for your site and writing blog posts, you need to figure out your keyword strategy. Keywords are the words and phrases that your target audience types into a search engine when they’re looking for products, services or the answer to a question.

Ask yourself: What keywords do you want to rank for on Google and other search engines? Brainstorm keywords related to your industry and the products or services you offer. Keep in mind that you may use different terms for your products and services than customers do, so search for phrases without any of the industry jargon.

Research your competitors

Once you know your keywords, see who your top competitors are and what they’re doing right to get ranked on the first page of Google. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What content do they have that you don’t?
  • How do they structure their site?
  • Where do they place keywords on their site?
  • How do they engage visitors?

You should also take a look at their social media profiles and reviews to see what users love about working with them. This is a great way to figure out ways you can improve your own offerings and user experience.

Create content that matches searcher intent

Google’s goal is to present the most relevant results to their searchers, so if you want to rank, you need to build content that matches the intent of those searchers. Your content should answer a question or solve a problem that searchers have.

Focus your content around the keywords that users are most likely to search for when seeking services like yours, so build out your site content with those words and phrases in mind. When building out new pages, make sure you create a page for each of your high-priority keywords for which you want to rank.

Build pages that are optimized for search

On-page SEO­ is the process of optimizing the elements of a webpage, such as the content and structure, to help it rank higher in search engine results.This includes:

  • Updating the content on your pages to include your chosen keywords
  • Building out new pages based on popular search terms
  • Creating a keyword-rich content area, such as a blog or resource library

As you create new content, make sure that you include keywords in the textual elements of the page, such as the headings, title tags and meta descriptions.

Take advantage of Google Analytics

If you want to do your SEO work well, you need to gain an understanding of analytics. Understanding your website’s traffic, conversions and other data can help you see where you need to improve and enable you to develop a more powerful SEO strategy.

Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to track traffic to your website and analyze your visitor demographics. You can use Google Analytics to see how people find and use your website and determine which pages are the most popular. Plus, you can set goals to reach and track your progress.

Eliminate duplicate content

Using the same content in multiple places on your site can quickly cause your ranking to drop. When search engines find the same piece of content on more than one page, they will show only one page in their search results, keeping the other pages from ranking. Keep your content fresh and original to improve your chances of being pushed to the top of search results.

Use internal links

An internal link connects one page of your site to another. Using internal links on your site makes it easier for users to find and read more of your content and also helps Google to crawl your site.

Use descriptive URLs

Optimizing your URLs is a key component of SEO and can have a huge positive effect on your ranking. When creating a new page on your site, make sure that the URL is easy to read and includes relevant keywords that relate to the content of the page. Keep your URLs as short as possible and be sure to use hyphens in between words.

Improve your site speed

How quickly your website loads is a critical part of how search engines like Google rank your site. A slow load time can also have a negative impact on your user experience, leading visitors to leave your site if pages, images and videos take too long to load.

Make sure your site is mobile-friendly

Don’t you hate it when you visit a website and it takes forever to load? Your prospects feel that way too, so if you want them to stick around and becomes customers, you need to make sure that your site loads quickly.

These days many people are more likely to browse a website on their phone or tablet than on their computer. Google has even made mobile-friendly a factor in how it ranks websites in search results.

Fix your technical SEO issues

A few minor technical issues on your website may not be a big deal, but those small problems can quickly add up and have a negative effect on your SEO.

Start with a free SEO Audit to pinpoint the major technical SEO errors on your site and how to fix them.