Every business with an online presence, be it a large one or a small one, needs search engine optimization (SEO). While ranking your website as a small business, especially in niches where there is a lot of competition, can be expensive, you can still get the best out of it even when your budget is small. In fact, it’s possible to spend comparatively little, so little your profit isn’t slashed, and still convert.
Everything depends chiefly on your approach to SEO. This article explores various SEO strategies for small businesses on a limited budget.
A business’ landing page is its first impression and, as you must already know, a customer’s first impression about a business usually sticks. It either encourages them to go ahead and convert or discourages them like a red stop signal. When you optimize your landing page properly, your site will begin to perform better.
Start by looking at the design of the website; ensure that the margins of your page don’t overlap the device’s screen and remove all unnecessary colors. While your site has to be aesthetically pleasing, it also has to be considered professional. For example, pages with too many colors may seem less ‘formal’ and less credible.
In addition, ensure that your landing page is navigable and users can find their way around your landing page or locate your products and services with ease.
Its also important to optimize web pages for mobile and desktop devices in terms of speed and size, but pay particular attention to mobile devices as most consumers use their phones. The page load time has to be fast as delays can reduce conversion by up to seven percent.
Remove any media causing it to lag and disable annoying pop-ups. One pop-up is fine and a video or two could actually improve a site’s performance. In fact, research shows that videos on landing pages can increase conversions by up to 80 percent.
Also, work to ensure your site is secure. A business must have a working SSL certificate approved by most browsers. Nothing will kill your conversions faster than being flagged as unsafe.
A small business needs to gather traffic from as many sources as possible. More traffic means more conversions, and more conversions means more profit.
One great source of traffic for your business is social media ie. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
There are various ways to optimize your social media pages. For example, make sure the name of your social media pages is the same as the name of your website. You could also use an identifying graphic on both, like a logo, so that directed users know they are in the right place.
Next up, strive to get organic traffic. Why? Organic traffic on social media boosts your chances of having a verified page, which is about the best thing that can happen to your business as it builds trust. After all, if it’s verified; people trust it!
You can get organic traffic by observing the algorithm of the social media platform you use. For example, try to determine what kinds of posts will gather more engagements and when they will likely do so.
Also include links to your site on social media posts every now and then. In other words, let your social media pages or profile serve as a giant pointer to your site.
Registering your business with Google Business Profile, previously Google My Business, can be likened to telling Google that you own a business now and that you’d like them to show it to as many users as possible who are interested in companies like yours. It also helps build trust. In fact, a study finds that businesses with a verified Google My Business account were seen to be “twice as reputable.”
This registration is free and can be completed in a few minutes if you know how to go about the process and have the necessary documents available.
All you need do is create a personal Google account and then create a business listing on Google Maps.
You’ll then need to create a My Business profile. Be sure that you do not make any spelling mistakes and that all your information is correct. Suspicious information may be flagged as spam, which means Google won’t show your site on searches.
When your account is complete, you will begin to appear on searches, conversions will be up and customers will give you reviews.
There are various free or low-cost software online that offer the same or similar services provided by paid ones, so why not take advantage of these SEO tools.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are highly recommended for small businesses just starting with SEO as they offer excellent services at little or no cost.
Google Analytics is a free tool any Google user can take advantage of. All you need to do is: get the software, create an account on it and you will be given a product link. Then, embed this product link in your website, and Google will begin to provide you with a real-time analysis of your site.
You will see how users interact with the site, which pages they stay on the most and which pages are barely clicked on. This information is going to help you further understand your site and the users’ behavior so that you can optimize it even more.
Another low-cost tool you can use on your site is called Yoast SEO. It comes as a plug-in on WordPress and works to help your site become more visible to search engine crawlers.
Every business should have an email list. An email list comprises users interested in getting emails from your business on a scheduled basis.
These users can be those who have converted before or users who have not.
The emails you send to your list and how you send them can significantly increase your site’s traffic.
As a rule, however, do not send spam. Spammy emails will only land you in the spam folder, which gives you more than 60 percent assurance that they will not be opened. And even when they are opened, they may not be read.
Schedule all your emails so that users are not tempted to unsubscribe. Sending them monthly or bi-monthly is advised.
Emails are great to market a particular product or service and encourage readers to buy. Make it as appealing and scannable as possible and ensure that you have clear CTA or call to action buttons.
The one marketing technique every small business owner on a limited budget should have is the ability to convince. There are many ways to convince a user to purchase your product.
One is creating a sense of urgency. Make users believe they desperately need that product and watch them rush to hit the buy button.
This is where your product description comes in handy. Take your time and ensure every product is described clearly and in a way that catches the eye. Even if your product description is perfect, your conversions will run low if users are unsure of what they paying for.
Another way to ensure users buy from you is by creating a sense of “value.”
Users who believe your products or services are affordable yet are of a good quality or high standard are likely to purchase them. For instance, instead of selling for a dollar, you can advertise a product for $0.99. The zero in that figure is going to make it seem less expensive than it really is and attract many customers.
Another marketing tactic is to include the shipping fees in the actual price of the product instead of adding shipping costs separately and offer “free shipping”.
In essence, shipping is not free, but it will create a sense of value as consumers will feel as though they are getting a bargain by acquiring your product or services.
Testimonials is another great SEO strategy for small businesses on a limited budget. In fact, one of the ways users test the credibility of a product or website is by checking the reviews and testimonials of other users.
Remember the last time you thought of purchasing a product but decided against it because you went on to read the reviews, and they sounded awful? Unfortunately, you aren’t alone in this. Seventy percent of customers agree to have stopped patronizing a business due to poor customer ratings.
Similarly, remember when your interest in a product spiked because the reviews on that particular product were encouraging?
Users will show more interest in your site when you offer authentic, catchy testimonials. A study by Bazaarvoice’s Conversion Index Volume 8 shows that the number of reviews and testimonials you have can positively affect users’ first conversions.
Encourage people who have bought from you before to leave glowing reviews about your product as it can lead to a rise in your conversion rates.
Select one review and use it on a landing page or on the homepage of your site, where everyone who visits can see it.
A good rapport with buyers is going to increase your conversions, so its essential to respond to comments on your site as often as possible. A particular type of comment you should take seriously are comments containing questions.
The fact that a person gets to the point where they can ask a question means they are interested in what you have to offer. It means they are interested in buying from you, so pay attention.
Reply to every question comment in a way that keeps the user’s mind at peace.
Your response shouldn’t seem like a default response. Add a personal touch and it be as descriptive yet concise as possible.
In addition, comments can help you get links from other well-established websites, help you build relationships with others, grow your network and offer targeted traffic back to your site at no extra cost to you.
Now and then, Google Algorithms change, so there will always be new methods that pop up to rank sites. This can make it easier or more difficult for some sites to grow in ranks on the search engine results page (SERP).
Observe Google changes, and take advantage of them by implementing relevant tactics on your site.
A great way to keep up with changes to Google’s Algorithm is following Google on social media.
You could also join forums or groups where they discuss new SEO trends or follow SEO experts on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to get free SEO information and insights.
Pay attention to keywords. This might seem like an out dated marketing tactic, but trust me, it is not. Keywords have not outlived their usefulness and will not be doing so any time soon.
For your site to rank, you have to pay attention to keywords. Ahrefs conducted a study on the articles ranking in the top search positions and discovered that they ranked for an average of almost 1,000 additional relevant keywords.
For this reason, you can’t underestimate the power of keywords. What words are users in your niche searching for? Discover these words and use them in your articles to rank for additional keywords.
You can use keywords on page titles, image Alt texts and media too. However, its best to first include them in the body of the articles you write and then find a way to include them naturally in your meta description.
You do not have to spend too much to get the best out of SEO. All you have to do is pay attention to what happens on and off your website, making necessary tweaks like the SEO strategies for small businesses on a limited budget mentioned in this article, to draw more traffic and increase conversions.