In the first part of this BusinessMinded article, Evita Krumina from SEO & Digital Marketing agency UK Linkology discusses the importance of SEO for small businesses and how they can use local SEO to get new customers.

A website is undoubtedly one of the most powerful and valuable assets a small company has, so it pays to make the most of it. Yet many SMEs still don’t appreciate the importance of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and tend favour of other marketing channels instead. Unfortunately, in this day and age of widespread ecommerce, internet and mobile phone use, businesses that do not devote time and resources to SEO are at risk of being left behind.

In our experience, some reasons small businesses avoid SEO include:

  • they perceive it as too difficult or expensive
  • they don’t see the long term benefits or have had poor results in the past
  • perhaps some mistake it for PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising

In fact, even very small businesses can excel at SEO, providing they have some budget and time available.

SEO has changed drastically in the last few years, especially with the recent Google updates (Penguin and Panda), resulting in it being more difficult to fake SEO results. Google has become more advanced now by being able to recognise spammy links from genuine and relevant links. Therefore SEO practice needs to be introduced as a long term process rather than just a quick fix.

For a small business owner, this means they either need to outsource this task to an SEO company or dedicate time and effort in optimising their website to improve visibility. If you are going to give this responsibility to an external firm, remember you get what you pay for, so be careful when choosing an SEO company.

In this two-part article we will look at various aspects for SEO for SMEs including:

  • SEO for local businesses
  • SEO analytics tools
  • What to look for when choosing an SEO agency

 

Local SEO
If you run a business that needs to attract people locally then you should ensure your local SEO is of a high standard. This is something you can do yourself by following the steps below:

1. Create social media profiles for your business
Set up Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter etc accounts and engage with your customers and influencers, though as this post suggests, keep your social media program manageable. One important point is to make sure your profiles are fully completed with a use of relevant keywords and complemented by high quality photos where possible. Don’t go over the top when it comes to using keywords as Google might look at it as a spammy page. The best approach is to write text that sounds natural and flows well.

2. Google+ and YouTube
These are both Google products, meaning that a good use of them will work in favour for you and your business. If you can produce a video this can be powerful for SEO. Make sure you have a 250-500 word description for each video on YouTube. If you have your G+ and YouTube channels linked, then every time you upload a video to YouTube it will be automatically posted to your G+ page.

3. Google Places
The next thing to concentrate on is setting up Google Places for your business. With the help of Google Places you will be able to reach out to millions of Google users quickly for free. Your customers will be able to find your business easier on both Google.com and Google Maps. The listing can be easily managed and edited, and will allow you to have an online presence even if you haven’t got a website yet. Your listing will look more impressive if you add your videos and photos to it. Remember, people want to be able interact with your business.

SEO for small businesses

Google Places can put your business on the map!

4. Local listings and sites
Once you have taken care of your Google account, start concentrating on taking care of the relevant local listings and review websites. Go through each and every one of them and either edit or claim your business on the sites. This will generate links back to your website, drive traffic back and also make it easier for your customers to find you.

One important tip is to make sure that all the listings are the same, meaning the business’s name and address always appears exactly the same way.

The second part of this article will be published next week.

 

About UK Linkology

Evita Bio - Copy

Evita Krumina is a digital account manager at UK Linkology, an SEO and Digital Marketing agency. Evita is a recent MA Marketing and Media graduate who is very interested the latest marketing trends, helping UK Linkology stay ahead of the game in a fast moving industry. Evita is also a specialist at producing content on behalf of resource challenged clients.