How to Pick the Most Affordable SEO Services for Your Startup or Small Business
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of practices that aim to bring in more quality traffic to your site. Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for small businesses in order to ensure that new and returning customers can find them when searching online.
Considering that only 36% of small and medium businesses have an SEO strategy, increasing your online visibility could give you an edge on your competition.
There are many essential SEO practices that can be implemented in-house at an affordable cost for small businesses. SMB marketers must prioritize six main types of SEO to increase their online presence:
- URL Optimization.
- Optimizing title tags with keywords.
- Make sure your copy is formatted correctly.
- Add images with alt tags.
- Make use of internal and external links.
- Understand the importance of link-building strategies.
- Decide on a social media platform to use.
- Conduct outreach to the community.
- Build trust by soliciting reviews and ratings.
- Get in touch with influencers.
3.Optimizing for Local Search
- Customers should find it easy to contact you.
- Structured location data can be added to your website.
- Google My Business optimization.
- Assess the mobile accessibility of your site.
- Assess the usability of the site architecture.
- Audience needs should be reflected in your content.
- Optimize product listings on Google and Amazon.
5.Optimization for Technical SEO
- Assess the URL structure.
- Make sure the website navigation structure is logical.
- When possible, use structured data.
- Check the canonical URLs.
- Build the 404 pages for your website.
- For greater security, add SSL.
- Register with the Google Search Console.
6. Video Optimization
- Add descriptions and tags.
- The thumbnail images you choose should be attractive.
- You can customize your YouTube channel.
Why SMBs should care about SEO
When consumers have a problem, they ask search engines for answers and solutions. Google uses powerful algorithms that ensure relevant web pages rise to the surface.
The top three positions on any search engine results page (SERP) receive the most clicks, while links beneath them receive about 2% of clicks. For most searchers, results on pages 2 and beyond barely exist.
Search engine optimization best practices can help your website rank highly in search engine results pages and thus drive more organic traffic. More visitors mean more opportunities for your brand to get in front of potential customers and ultimately drive more sales.
SEO is a cost-effective way for companies with low marketing budgets to increase brand awareness online. Hiring an SEO expert, however, can speed up the process but is by no means necessary. Most of the advice in this article requires little to no resources except time and mental energy.
1. On-page Optimization
- On-page optimization is the process of improving a website’s content to improve its ranking and earn relevant traffic.
- On-page SEO relies heavily on keywords. Read our complete guide to keyword optimization for more information.
A well-formatted URL should identify each page on your website. Consider it the unique identifier search engines use to identify each page. Your URLs should be concise, use full words formatted in lowercase, and include at least one relevant keyword.
Make sure your copy is formatted correctly
Google has some difficulty reading unformatted text, even the most advanced algorithms. In order to help Google understand the intention of your pages, make sure each page contains one – and only one – H1 tag. The title of this post is an excellent example. H2-H7 tags can be used to create subheads. This paragraph sits under an H3 tag for example.
Make sure each of your HTML tags has a keyword within it. Furthermore, your body copy should contain a keyword every 150-300 words, but don’t force it – this should happen naturally as you write about your subject.
Good web design is not only for robots. Well-structured pages with engaging visual elements keep people interested in your content.
Add images with alt tags
- Besides giving readers something else to look at, images can also benefit your SEO strategy. Optimized images should be:
- The image has been formatted as a JPEG or PNG.
- Images should be named with keywords. For example, a good name for an image of a black Car would be “Black-car.jpg”.
- Saving with small file size.
- Also, each image should be accompanied by an alt tag. When the image is not available to a user – or if they are using a screen-reader – the browser will display the alt text.
Make use of internal and external links
There should be a few links to external sources on every page on your site as well as to other pages on your site. Make sure the links are to trustworthy sources with relevant content. Linking to a respected news site is better than simply a random blogger.
Internal links are essential because they provide a path for readers to follow. Consider where you would like them to go after they finish reading content on your landing page.
2. Off-page Optimization
Off-page optimization refers to actions taken outside of your website to build trust with consumers and bring them to your website.
Understand the importance of link-building strategies
Linking to your website indicates to search algorithms that your site contains valuable information. For example, if you write a blog on how to replace a bicycle tire and several other blogs link to it, your site will rank higher.
You can get more backlinks by publishing your content on your social media page. Google prefers “natural links” that aren’t solicited or paid for. Being a good writer is key to getting links.
Decide on a social media platform to use
While it is not a ranking factor, the use of social media is an essential aspect of off-page optimization since it can drive relevant consumers to your website. This is essentially another way to build links. Moreover, brand mentions on social media can help you get noticed by others.
Your social media strategy should include building a community around your brand. This means there should be a natural flow of information between your brand pages and your followers. If all you post is links to your product pages, readers will get bored and angry.
Build trust by soliciting reviews and ratings
Off-page SEO can help you convince potential customers that your brand is trustworthy. Public reviews and ratings can prove to them that others have had a good experience with your brand.
Some product reviews and ratings will be displayed directly within SERPs. They’ll also appear on third-party eCommerce sites like Amazon as well as on your social media pages. Consider reaching out to customers to ask if they’re willing to review their most recent purchase.
Get in touch with influencers
By working with social media influencers, you can increase your content reach and engagement. People follow influencers online to hear their opinions and participate in discussions.
While influencer marketing sounds straightforward on the surface, it can be a complicated strategy. Read our guide to learn more about working with influencers.
Optimizing for Local Search
Local search marketing allows you to connect with local consumers in real-time as they conduct a search. Here are a few tips pulled from our in-depth guide on local SEO:
Customers should find it easy to contact you
Local search algorithms provide consumers with relevant results from businesses within a nearby geographic location. For example, someone searching for “vegan ice cream” in Portland, Oregon, will see different results than someone conducting the same search in Austin, Texas.
To help customers find your business in real-time, you should include a page on your website that contains your business contact information, including your physical address if relevant.
Structured location data can be added to your website
When you type in your favorite sushi bar’s name into Google, you’ll probably see a nice information card with a picture of the restaurant, a star rating, and other information. How does Google know all of this information?
Google offers a free tool to help you add structured data markup to your site if you don’t have a web developer on hand.
Additionally, one way to ensure your business appears on SERPs is to complete your Google business profile. Not only does this free service make it easy for your customers to find and connect with you, but you can view analytics and see engagement metrics as well.
Assess the mobile accessibility of your site
In 2018, approximately 82% of smartphone shoppers used ‘near me’ searches to find local brands, products, and services. To see how your website performs on mobile, use Google’s free optimization tool.
4. Ecommerce SEO
Digital retailers employ specific SEO techniques so that their product pages appear more prominently on Google and on other sites, such as Amazon.
Assess the usability of the site architecture
eCommerce websites tend to have a lot more pages than restaurants. That means that site organization is extremely important to the user experience.
It’s a general best practice to keep every page on your site 3 or fewer clicks away from your homepage. For example, to get to a specific shoe listing on a fashion site, visitors might first go to the men’s section then footwear, then the specific item.
Audience needs should be reflected in your content
A clothing retailer might write a blog on how to pair a tie with a blazer for its brand. Ecommerce brands need content that draws in visitors and provides value before the point of sale.
This type of informative content can help your site rank for relevant keywords, and it gives you more stories to feature on your social channels. Today’s most successful brands aim to become sources of product knowledge, not just digital retailers.
Optimize product listings on Google and Amazon
Online shoppers mostly turn to either Google or Amazon to shop for products. If your products don’t show up on these sites, they may as well not exist. Product SEO can help you increase your visibility.
Some key product SEO tips include:
Always take clear, high-definition product photos
In product descriptions, use bulleted lists
Put long-tail keywords in your product titles and descriptions
5.Optimization for Technical SEO
There are steps you can take to make sure search engines find your website easily. In addition, technical optimizations help load pages quicker, especially on mobile devices.
Check the canonical URLs
If your website features pages that have the same or similar content to other pages, search engines may penalize your website. You can avoid this with the canonical tag.
For example, if you have two pages with nearly identical content, choose the more important one as the canonical one. Then, add a canonical tag to the section of the second page that links to the canonical page:
Build the 404 pages for your website
Your site architecture should ensure that visitors don’t get lost, but if they do, you need a plan in place to ensure they’re redirected. That’s where your 404 page comes into play.
Your 404 page should help lost visitors find what they’re looking for. The best way to do that is to direct them to your homepage, your internal search bar, or your sitemap.
Register with Google Search Console
The speed and usability of your site may be improved with dozens of adjustments. Rather than making guesses about what needs to be improved, you can go straight to the source to discover what needs to be improved.
When you sign up for Google Search Console, you can get full reports on which of your web pages have been indexed and if any contain errors or red flags.
White hat vs. black hat SEO
The terms “white hat” and “black hat” refer to old Westerns where the protagonist, wearing a wide-brimmed white hat, often engaged in a duel against the antagonist with a black gambler’s hat.
In the early days of SEO, black hats would use tricks to defy search engines’ rules. One black hat technique was to add paragraphs of invisible text to each page, loaded with keywords, which were not readable but would push them to the top of the results.
In recent years, Google and other search engines have become more sophisticated. Black hat techniques do not work anymore, even in the short term. And if they do, they are likely to be penalized once found out.
Basically, white hat tactics are everything we’ve discussed in this article. As white hats, our objective is to rank highly while adhering to Google’s terms and conditions.
Tips for hiring an SEO specialist
There are many advantages to hiring an SEO agency or specialist. SEO practitioners are always on top of the latest Google updates and SEO best practices, which means they can spend more time on holistic strategies that tie all of your digital marketing strategies together into one cohesive strategy.
When looking for an SEO specialist, consider professionals who:
Request a case study or client referral to learn more about their abilities.
Ask about recent challenges the specialist overcame in order to learn more.
Make informed decisions with data. Gut instinct can be wise, but the most successful SEO professionals use data and analytics to fine-tune their strategies. Find out what tools they use to assess their strategies.
A person should have experience writing creative content. Many aspects of SEO are designed in order to please Google’s algorithms, but people who visit your site are just as important. Request samples of web content to ensure the person you hire can appeal to real users.
Remember, SEO is a long-term strategy. If you don’t start seeing results right away, that’s normal. It takes time for Google’s bots to read and index new webpages. Optimize your pages and sign up for our newsletter to get the latest SEO tips and news. It often takes three months or more to see significant movement in your analytics.
Sajid Hussain is a senior content specialist at TechNerds with proven digital marketing experience under his belt. He harbors a passion for writing on a diverse range of topics related to futuristic technologies, innovation, and digital marketing to educate and inspire his readers.