Setting Up for Success: An SEO Checklist for Small Businesses
Looking for ways to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy so that you can drive more organic traffic and generate quality leads? Our SEO checklist for small businesses provides some practical and easy-to-implement tips to help you get noticed and stand out from the competition.
Let’s take a deeper dive into why SEO is so critical for your business and examine which tips and strategies made it onto our comprehensive checklist. We’ll also answer the question, “What is B2B content writing?” and reveal how this SEO tactic can take your traffic-generating capabilities to the next level.
Why Small Businesses Must Prioritize SEO
Recent statistics show that there are approximately 33.2 million small businesses in the United States, accounting for 99.9% of all U.S. companies. If you want your business to stand out from the crowd, you need to invest in SEO.
SEO for small businesses is more important than ever, as 93% of online interactions between consumers and brands begin with a search engine. Optimizing your content for search will make your website easier to find on platforms like Google. In turn, this leads to increased brand awareness and, ultimately, a rise in leads and sales.
If you want your business to thrive, you need a search-engine-optimized website.
Our 15-Point SEO Checklist for Small Businesses
As a savvy business owner, you are already aware of the importance of SEO. But you may not be quite sure where to begin when it comes to optimizing your website. The world of SEO is vast and ever-changing. It can also be a bit mysterious.
The good news is that our 15-point SEO checklist for small businesses provides you with actionable, impactful tips that will help you climb the rankings and get noticed. Whether you are new to SEO or need to retool your site to gain a leg up on the competition, our checklist has some tips for you.
When revamping your SEO strategy, we suggest that you:
1. Familiarize Yourself with Google Analytics
Hopefully, you installed Google Analytics on your website the day you launched it. If you overlooked this important step, don’t worry — installing this tool takes only a few minutes.
Once Google Analytics is installed on your site, you can gain all sorts of valuable insights about your website performance. You can monitor site traffic, page load speed, bounce rate, and much more. Put this information to use to see what works and what aspects of your site need to be enhanced.
2. Install the Right SEO Plugins
An SEO plugin is a tool that helps you optimize the metadata on each page of your website. You will need the right plugins to complete step three on our SEO checklist for small businesses.
While you can add metadata and perform other key SEO tasks without a plugin, the process is quite tedious. Save yourself some time, download a couple of plugins, and take the hassle out of search engine optimization.
3. Create Meta Tags for Each Page
Metadata helps search engines understand your website. This data is also displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) and gives users a sneak peek into the content on your page.
If your pages lack metadata, search engines could penalize your rankings. Prospective leads may feel uneasy about visiting your site as well, as a lack of proper tags can make your pages appear illegitimate.
To fix this issue, launch an SEO plugin and add a meta title and meta description for every page on your website. The meta title should be 60 or fewer characters (including spaces), and the meta description should be under 160 characters. Make sure to include the target keyword in both tags.
4. Do Keyword Research
How do you choose a target keyword? Conducting keyword research is far easier than you might expect: It’s time to channel your inner analyst and start composing a list of key phrases.
As you begin this process, step into the mind of your target audience and imagine what you would type into Google if you were looking for the sort of services or products you offer. For instance, if you run an HVAC company, your clients might type in “AC repair near me.”
Once you have composed your list, conduct a few exploratory Google searches and see which sites pop up. If your website is nowhere to be found, you have some work to do. The good news is the rest of the tips on our checklist can help you sprint toward the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).
5. Make Sure Titles Feature the Main Keyword
Next, review all of your existing site content and compare it to your keyword list. Make sure that the title of every page features a keyword you’d like to target.
For instance, if you want to improve the rankings of your AC repair service page, the phrase “AC repair” must be in the title. The same rule applies to any blog content on your site.
6. Finish Optimizing On-Page Elements
Go through your existing content and ensure that every piece includes a combination of internal and external links. Make sure all links still work; remove or replace any that don’t. Adding plenty of internal links to your content will reduce bounce rate, and linking out to reputable, noncompeting sites can help you provide better value to readers.
Before you transition to the next step on our SEO checklist for small businesses, make sure to add descriptive alt text to all of the images on your website. These tags tell search engines what each image is showing.
Now, you are ready to move on to technical and off-page SEO.
7. Identify and Resolve Technical SEO Issues
Technical SEO helps search engines more efficiently crawl your website, index the information it contains, and assign it a ranking. Crawl issues mean that a search engine is having trouble understanding what sort of content is on a page. For instance, you may have forgotten to include image alt text or meta tags.
Load speed also plays a role in technical SEO. If your pages experience loading issues, it will negatively impact your ranking. Technical SEO is complex, so you may need to employ the services of an experienced web designer to get your website running like a well-oiled machine.
8. Enhance Your Google Business Profile
Hopefully, you have already claimed your free Google Business Profile account. This profile is available to any small business, and it can help you gain traction among local consumers.
If you already have a Google Business Profile, make sure all of your contact and location information is up to date. But if you don’t have one yet, a profile is easy to set up. Just sign up, fill in all of the fields, and attach photos to the listing. Most importantly, select the business categories that best align with the vertical you operate within.
9. Scope Out the Competition
Chances are that you already know who your top local competitors are. Put that information to use and peruse their websites. See what they are doing well, use it for inspiration, and make a note of what you can do better on your own website.
Remember to assess each site from the viewpoint of a customer. Consider what questions you still have about the company’s services. When writing new copy for your site, make sure to address these concerns so that you can differentiate your brand from your competitors.
10. Start Acquiring Backlinks
Backlinks are links to your content from other websites. They play a role in your ranking and provide an extra avenue for acquiring quality traffic.
There are a few ways to build backlinks. One approach involves guest posting (writing blogs for other websites). When you look into guest posting on a particular site, make sure that you can directly mention your brand and link back to your site.
Acquiring quality backlinks takes time, but so do most other aspects of SEO. That said, taking the time to obtain a few high-quality backlinks can majorly impact your rankings.
11. Improve Your Website Speed
According to HubSpot, conversion rates are highest when a webpage loads in under two seconds. Each extra second of load time reduces conversion rates by 4.42%.
Make sure that all of your web pages load quickly. If any pages lag behind, get to the bottom of the issue and fix it. Optimizing page load time and overall website responsiveness will do wonders for your ranking — and for customer satisfaction.
12. Ensure Your Content Is Optimized for Mobile
In 2022, a staggering 63% of U.S. organic search traffic originated from smartphones and other mobile devices. This means that more than six out of ten people who visit your site are likely using a mobile device.
If you want to connect with this huge market, you need to ensure your website is optimized for mobile devices. Otherwise, mobile users will probably bounce from your site and move on to the next result on the SERP.
13. Adopt HTTPS
Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is an extension that encrypts the connection between your website and the user’s device. Adopting HTTPS will demonstrate the legitimacy of your site and make consumers more confident when making purchases or submitting contact information.
Even if customers don’t know what HTTPS means, they will know if your site doesn’t have it. That’s because the search bar will be missing the padlock symbol normally displayed in front of the URL to indicate that a site is secure.
14. Target Long-Tail Keywords
As you probably determined during your research, common industry keywords are highly competitive. The good news is you can still generate quality traffic without competing with dozens of other businesses for the same keywords. To do this, you will need to target long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are generally longer phrases of three to seven words with lower search volumes than the most common keywords. For example, a Tampa, FL, appliance repair company might choose to target “Samsung washing machine repair in Tampa” instead of the simpler “washing machine repair.”
Since these phrases are harder to incorporate into content, many businesses avoid them. By leveraging words that your competitors are neglecting, you can climb the rankings faster and generate quality traffic.
15. Fill Your Site with Captivating Copy
Once you have optimized your existing site and content, it is time to add new copy. Filling your website with revamped service pages, intriguing landing pages, and compelling blogs is the best way to climb the rankings and stay near the top of SERPs.
During this stage of your SEO journey, you have two options: You can create content internally, or you can partner with a firm that provides B2B content writing services.
What is B2B writing, exactly? You simply hire a talented firm like Write Collective to create content for your business. You retain all rights to the content, which means that you can rebrand it as your own, alter it, and publish it straight to your website. Partnering with B2B content writers is the easiest way to take your SEO strategy to the next level.
Win at SEO with Write Collective
Our SEO checklist for small businesses demonstrates how much goes into building your online ranking. However, it all starts with high-quality content. The good news is that you don’t have to spend countless hours behind a keyboard. Instead, partner with Write Collective and leverage our B2B content writing services.
Our B2B content writers have the expertise necessary to tackle virtually any topic. We work with writers who specialize in creating content for diverse fields, including:
Tired of wasting hours creating your own content and want help? A B2B writer from Write Collective will provide you with publish-ready, on-brand SEO content. Check out our suite of business content writing services and place your order today.