14 Essential Steps To Improve Your Business’s Foundational SEO Game
In the vast digital landscape, establishing a strong online presence is vital for small businesses. Foundational SEO for small businesses play a pivotal role in enhancing visibility, driving organic traffic, and attracting potential customers.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the essential steps for building a solid foundation, from optimizing your website and claiming business profiles to generating backlinks and leveraging social media.
Think about Foundational SEO as laying the ground work to support your future marketing strategy, just as a construction expert does when building a house or a building. The structure needs to be well supported, there is a lot of planning and strategy for a strong SEO foundation.
Onsite SEO – Foundational SEO On Your Website
From web design to development, your website is the marketing foundation of any business. Search engine optimizing your website not only helps it rank higher on the search engine results pages, but sets the stage for future success on marketing efforts, not only on SEO but paid advertising as well.
1. Keyword Research:
Begin your SEO journey by conducting thorough keyword research. Identify relevant terms and phrases that potential customers might use to find businesses like yours. Tools like Google Keyword Planner and Semrush can assist in discovering high-value keywords with optimal search volume and competition.
2. On-Page Optimization:
Optimize your website’s on-page elements, including titles, meta descriptions, and headers. Ensure each page has a unique and compelling title that incorporates target keywords. Write concise meta descriptions that accurately describe your content and encourage clicks. Utilize headers (H1, H2, etc.) to structure your content logically and include keywords where appropriate.
3. Content Creation:
Create high-quality, informative content that resonates with your target audience. Address common pain points and questions related to your industry. Incorporate keywords naturally, and use headers to enhance readability. Visual elements such as images and videos can make your content more engaging.
4. Site Structure:
Evaluate and improve your website’s structure to enhance user experience and search engine crawlability. Ensure a clear navigation menu that allows users to find information within a few clicks. Map out your pages based on keyword research and create logical URL structures.
5. Schema Markup:
Implement schema markup to provide search engines with additional context about your content. Schema markup can result in rich snippets in search results, offering more information to users and potentially increasing click-through rates. Utilize schema types relevant to your business, such as local business or product markup.
Claiming Business Profiles – Simple But Effective Offsite Foundational SEO
If you were going to do one thing, and one thing only for your business online, make sure that is to claim your Google Business Profile (GBP). Google is the king of search engines, amassing 95.2% of the total queries online, so if your business needs to be somewhere, that would be on Google.
Additionally, Apple just launched Apple Business Connect (ABC) recently which gives you the opportunity to rank on Apple Maps, Siri results, and on all of Apple devices, besides it is fairly easy to claim your ABC listing as well.
6. Google Business Profile:
Claim and optimize your Google Business Profile, a critical step for local businesses. Complete all relevant information, including your business name, address, phone number (NAP), business hours, and website. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews, as these impact both local rankings and user trust.
7. Apple Business Connect:
Leverage Apple Business Connect to ensure your business is discoverable on Apple Maps and Siri. Claim and verify your business, providing accurate details and selecting appropriate categories. An optimized Apple Business Profile enhances your visibility in local searches on Apple devices.
8. Yahoo, Yelp, Bing, and More:
Extend your reach by claiming and optimizing your business profiles on other major platforms like Yahoo, Yelp, Bing, and industry-specific directories. Consistency in NAP details across these platforms is crucial for local SEO. Regularly update and monitor these listings to reflect accurate information.
Building Backlinks – It’s Like Floaters All Websites Need
Building backlinks are essential for a strong foundational SEO. Backlinks are like floaters to your website, the more backlinks you have pointing to your site, the higher on the search engines your website ranks.
You should know, however, that there are many categories and or quality of backlinks depending on the site you are building backlinks from. There are hundreds of directories that you could claim your business listing from, including local ones like your chamber of commerce.
9. Online Directories:
Submit your business to relevant online directories to build valuable backlinks. Directories like Yellow Pages, Chamber of Commerce, and industry-specific platforms provide not only backlinks but also potential referral traffic. Ensure your business information is consistent across all directories, this is an essential step for a solid foundational SEO strategy.
10. Supplier and Business Associations:
Collaborate with suppliers and business associations to acquire backlinks. Reach out to businesses whose products or services complement yours and request inclusion in their “where to buy” or “partners” sections. Offering testimonials in exchange for a backlink is another effective strategy.
11. Monitor Local Listings:
Regularly monitor and manage your local listings to ensure accuracy and consistency in NAP details. Utilize tools to identify and fix any inaccuracies. Google prioritizes businesses with accurate information, contributing to improved local rankings and your foundational SEO strategy.
Social Media Integration – Search Engines Love Local Businesses That Are Social
Foundational SEO gets a boost from social media. If you have the time, invest it on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Share the content that resonates with your line of work, and create new refreshing content for your followers.
12. Social Media Platforms:
Integrate social media into your SEO strategy to amplify your online presence. Create and optimize profiles on popular platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Share relevant content, engage with your audience, and include links back to your website for increased visibility.
13. Content Sharing:
Promote your website content through social media channels. Share blog posts, product updates, and industry insights to showcase your expertise. Encourage followers to share your content, expanding its reach and potentially generating more backlinks.
Review Management – Get More Reviews And Become The Obvious Choice
14. Encourage and Respond to Reviews:
Would you do business with someone that has bad reviews? Yeah, me neither. Reviews are super important for your customers and for search engines like Google as well. Make sure you provide outstanding service, take care of your clients, and respond to each and every review you receive – positive and negative ones. Sometimes getting bad reviews is not as bad as it seems as it makes you seem human and in business.
Actively seek and respond to customer reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and Facebook. Positive reviews contribute to trust and visibility, while responding to negative reviews demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction. Engaging with reviews also signals activity to search engines.
Foundational SEO is a continuous process that requires dedication and consistent effort. By optimizing your website, claiming business profiles, building quality backlinks, and integrating social media, you pave the way for long-term online success.
Keep monitoring performance, adapting to industry changes, and refining your strategy to stay ahead in the ever-evolving digital landscape. Remember, the foundation you build today will shape the success of your small business tomorrow.
Foundational SEO for small businesses is just the start of a long but highly rewarding journey. Building a strong foundation for your marketing efforts not only saves you money in the long run, but the results builds over time.
Think about Foundational SEO as compounding interest, the more you invest on it today, the more profitable it will be in the future.
We have laid out the general steps any local business owner can take today to improve search engine rankings, get more traffic to your offer, and land more clients.
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