SEO for SMBs On a Budget

SEO for SMBs On a Budget

Here are ways how SMB’s can use SEO even on a budget.

Virtually every aspect of life has been connected to the internet in one form or another, and everyone from your grandmother to your customer is online too. Some people have even made it a goal to never even leave the house for the things that they need, from groceries to grenades – it can all be purchased online. This means that all businesses need to be online too, and to succeed they need forward thinking SEO specialists that will maximize their online potential, exposure and authority to reach the largest audience possible while making the most impact with every dollar.

The days when a local small business could trust in a yellow pages ad as the sole marketing drive are long gone because search engines have replaced them. Even businesses that rely heavily on word of mouth can get more traction from that conversation when it’s being shared online in social media or even just a blog than they can when it is person to person. In a time when being in business means having a website, any small business that doesn’t take advantage of basic SEO practices will only be prolonging their inevitable failure.

How Do Small Businesses Use SEO?

In keeping with the Yellow Pages theme, there were companies that tried to be at the front of certain category sections by making their business name “AAA Auto repair” or the like, and this worked because of the way that the Yellow Pages were set up. Today search engines work in a very similar way in that an SEO specialist can do the equivalent of renaming your business to AAA-whatever without having to actually do so.

Even business owners with no training, and the most basic understanding of language can still take advantage of a number of tips and tricks to rank higher, gain more traffic, and convert more looks to leads than if they simply did nothing at all. By creating targeted and worthy social signals, content optimization, and backlink building any small business can be at the top of a search results page, and convert website visitors into customers at a much lower investment than would be required through a brick and mortar transaction. Some of these may sound like scary concepts or unattainable goals, but nothing happens overnight, and all of these tactics are easily manageable with a bit of research and some hard work.

What Tactics are Best?

While the jury is still out on how much social networking matters for website optimization, it is positively clear that it definitely has some effect, and even if it didn’t social media is still a great way to connect with and tune into a small business customer base. Crafting a social media campaign gets easier the more time you put into it. Some small businesses after setting up a Facebook page may be daunted by the challenge of constantly providing content, gaining friends, likes, shares and all the other dazzling options that social sites have, but to be sure, the more you invest in this activity as a regular part of business, the more business you’ll have to discuss and it becomes a cycle of success that gets easier and easier.

For social campaigns and small businesses, the best method is usually to set up a schedule for posting the way you would set up a time to do an estimate, or do accounting. Once the task becomes regular, it becomes less of a chore and more of an escape from things like accounting.

Creating great content for your website is a combination of writing for the search engine bots and the people that will come to your site for information. The trick is to walk the thin line that separates authoritative search engine writing with the user friendly experience that you want to give to each potential customer. There are a number of keyword tools that can aide in this project and even Google itself can be a source for solutions with the combined experiences of everyone else who has gone before you. Crafting the language for your site may at first seem a challenge, but a safe rule of thumb is to assume that if it explains your business and hits on a number of the ways that search engines view information like the keywords that your business uses, then you’ll be off to a good start.

Backlink building is when you get other websites to link to your website. It’s that easy really, but the best practices when it comes to backlink building involve making sure that the links pointing to your site are from reputable sources that lend authority to your site as a whole. Think of backlink building as having friends and family vouch for your products or services only instead of people doing it in a word of mouth format, you instead get the search engines to do it for your website as a whole.

Where to Start?

The best place to start with any SEO endeavor is wherever you are most comfortable. Any positive changes will result in positive feedback, and that in turn will provide confidence to try more, and make the website better, stronger, faster and capable of reaching more people and thus converting more customers. Many people start out with the social media aspect of SEO practices because it is the most fun, and they are already comfortable with the interface. But in truth, it doesn’t matter where a small business starts with SEO as long as some effort is made somewhere, because businesses that procrastinate won’t have too many more chances to reach customers in a world that is driving forward digitally with or without them!


Alexander Ruggie

Owner at 911 Restoration

Alexander Ruggie is the PR Director for 911 Restoration, and he has been in the advertising, marketing and entertainment industries for more than a decade. When Alexander isn't crafting strategies and campaigns to help homeowners in need, he is trying to save the world, one well-worded idea at a time.

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Paul Lupson

Paul Lupson , Head of Product at InnovaReviews.com

You mention the value of friends and family vouching for your service, Alexander. Exactly right, even more convincing to a new potential customer is having previous and present customers say how great your business and for the new customer to see that, right there on your website at the moment they are about to buy or call you. Adding customer reviews is easy, use a service like innovareviews.com - it also puts the reviews into a Google recommended format that adds reviews stars to a company's entry in the search results, making the click-through even more likely.