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SEO is one of the most important factors in determining whether your customers find your small business website, or a rival one – that makes it crucial to your company’s revenue stream. While SEO is multi-faceted and ever-evolving, I’ve pinpointed the crucial things that you need to know if you run a small business.

What is SEO & why should my SME care about it anyway?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s a tactic for getting your website to feature as high as possible in search results. Why is that important to your small business? Because the higher your site features in search results, the greater the chance of people finding it, visiting it, and buying goods/services from your small business – it really is that simple.

While Google is comfortably the most popular search engine, you shouldn’t forget about the other options – for example, there are 63 million searches made on Bing every month, while millions of people use Yahoo too.

What’s important about on-page & off-page SEO for small businesses?

Whether your business is big or small, old or new, there are two SEO ranking factors you to be aware of – on-page and off-page. Each requires different tactics in order to feature as high
as possible in search results and I’ll give you the skinny now on what you need to do.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO concerns the ranking factors on your own website. It covers a range of different areas, with the key ones being:

  • Keywords
  • Title tags
  • Alt-text
  • Meta description – not a ranking factor in itself, but something you need to be aware of
  • HTTPS/SSL
  • URL
  • Internal links

You can find out more about on-page SEO by checking out the following video:

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO is about the things beyond your own site. Among the range of things that go into off-page SEO are:

  • Social media promotion
  • Guest blog posts
  • Backlinks
  • Community forums

For more tips and tricks on how to get the most from on-page SEO, check out this great article.

What your SME needs to know about traditional SEO & local SEO

One of the most important things to know about SEO is that it’s not one uniform tactic that’s split into on and off page factors, there are two distinct types of SEO – traditional and local. What’s the difference between traditional and local SEO? I’ll let small business owner and SEO expert, Nick Bennet explain:

“In traditional organic SEO, search engines are looking for relevant and trusted content. For local SEO, search engines are seeking out relevant and trusted locations.”

Great, but what you really need to know is whether traditional or local is more important to your small business. The answer is that you need to use both, but local is easier to rank for than traditional. For more information on the difference between the two types of SEO, and how your business can rank in local searches, watch the brilliant video underneath:

Why it’s important to make sure your website is easy to optimize

Getting noticed by search engines and then using this attention to drive traffic to your website is the ultimate goal of SEO. In order to make this as simple as possible, your website needs to be as easy to optimize as possible – making this a reality depends on how your website was constructed.

Using a website builder is “by far the easiest and quickest way” to get your site up and running. Adopting this approach is ideal for people with little to no coding experience, making it simpler than using the WordPress plugin, WooCommerce. However, does using a website builder make it easier to optimize your website?

Shopify comes with built-in features to enhance SEO, including support with optimizing the title tags, URLs, and alt-text of your web pages – all of which are vital parts of on-page SEO. WooCommerce requires you to download the Yoast plugin to optimize your website. However, once you have Yoast, the app will help you with behind the scenes technical work, automatically updating your site to keep pace with Google’s algorithm, and keyword optimization.

These things are important for small starter businesses because how you optimize your website will make a huge difference to your overall SEO strategy. For a more detailed appraisal, press play on the video below:

SEO is something every business needs to know about because using it successfully can have a very positive impact on your revenue. While this article has covered what’s immediately important about small business SEO, there’s so much more that can help. Use the points I’ve covered as the foundation and then keep searching out for tips and tricks to improve your ranking.

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Patrick Foster is an ecommerce expert and writer from Ecommerce Tips — an industry-leading ecommerce blog that offers practical marketing advice so your online store receives the exposure it deserves. Check out the latest posts and tips on Twitter @myecommercetips.