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The UPS Store Small Business blog
  • 29 March 2021
  • Leo Covey

SEO Best Practices for Your Small Business

We can all relate to the experience of “Googling” something in a moment of need, be it a tasty delivery pizza, mobile phone screen repair, or anything else in between. But did you ever consider why certain businesses appear before others in those search results? The answer lies in the field of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the strategy of fine tuning the content and framework of your digital presence in order to increase the quantity and quality of web traffic from organic web searches.

As a small business owner with your own vested real estate in the World Wide Web, SEO is essential to your business’ growth. The right SEO best practices will ensure that your business is pushed higher up in search result rankings so you have a better chance of being picked over the competition.

Content is queen
It sounds straight out of a sci-fi movie, but search engines are constantly sending out web bots or “spiders” to crawl through the internet in search of the most relevant and useful pages for billions of possible search results. These automated pieces of code are hungry for content. Very hungry. And SEO best practices dictate that it is your job to feed them with quality content, so that they report back that your site is the site to visit for whatever it is you’re selling. So what is quality content?

  • It’s unique, relevant and highly specialized based on the products and services you are providing.
  • It’s written in a way that solves problems or answers questions that potential customers have.
  • There’s a lot of it. Every piece of content you publish is another opportunity for a bot to snag one of your pages and boost your search results. This is where a blog, linked to your website, will work to your advantage in terms of SEO best practices.
  • Content can be words, but also images, videos and graphics.
  • It features prominent and abundant usage of your keywords. What’s a keyword? Great question!

Keywords, keywords, keywords!
The universal building block for SEO best practices lies in the keywords you integrate into your digital content. These keywords are mirror reflections of the ways in which people will search for you and your competition on the web. Various free online SEO diagnostic tools like wordcounter.net and seoninjatools.com, as well as any number of licensed products, can help you unlock the keywords and phrases that your top competitors use in their content. Once you have an understanding of the keyword count and density you need to achieve in order to surpass them and advance up the search rankings, you can craft your own content accordingly.

  • Think of it as a numbers game. The more relevant keywords you infuse into your content, the better your search performance.
  • As a small business, consider keywords that speak to the geographical communities you serve and want to reach.
  • If you have access to your website code or Content Management System (CMS), make sure your keywords are also reflected within your metadata. For instance, H1 headings are given more weight in terms of SEO results, so make sure you fold your keywords into these weighted opportunities.

Build profiles for popular review sites
Creating profiles for listings like Google My Business or Yelp will also give your small business more opportunities to pop during relevant searches. Oftentimes, these profiles will appear in search results, before organic results do. Any one of these assets is an entry point into your business, and a back door to boosting your SEO performance.

  • With SEO best practices and keyword strategy top of mind, create as much content as these listings will allow.
  • Be consistent in the way your business is named, how it is described, and how your contact information is listed.
  • Provide links back to your website and social accounts on each listing.

Additional SEO best practices (Advanced checklist)
The content, keywords and metadata found within your website and business listings make up the “bricks” of your SEO best practices. But there are additional frameworks to consider in the way your website is structured that will also affect search performance. Use the below SEO best practice checklist yourself or as a guide to have an intelligent conversation with your digital developer.

  • Does your website domain name contain your keywords? Indeed, it may be too late to change your web address URL. However, if you are in the midst of building out your website for your small business, then including your most relevant keywords in your domain name can only help to boost your rankings.
  • Is your site navigation laid out simply and logically? Back to those bots again: When you make sure that every page of your website links back to a simple navigational structure, you enable the bots to catalog your entire website as opposed to just the pages it can easily find.
  • Are the URLs for your sub-pages organized in a logical fashion? If there is a hierarchy for the way your URLs appear, great. If not, you may need to do some work on the back end to reorganize them. Look at the way this very blog article is displayed in the search bar at the top of your screen. Any one of those keywords could have helped someone discover this blog, and likely helped you arrive here. That’s an example of good SEO best practices.
  • Are you using an SSL Certificate? Providing secure site encryption will protect your customers’ data. Search engines like Google also use it as a preferential factor in boosting SEO performance.
  • Are you using Schema Markups? Content that follows a schema allows search engines to display more useful, intuitive and scannable results, which are prioritized in website rankings.
  • Are your page speeds as fast as possible? Or do you have bottlenecks in your load times which will affect SEO performance?
  • Are you submitting your site to the search engines regularly? Ideally you are doing this after any significant content changes. If your site runs off of a CMS, then this may be as simple as activating a few settings.

SEO best practices are far from a “one-and-done” exercise. As the word “optimization” suggests, this is an evergreen opportunity to continuously fine tune and elevate your game in the world of search results. With a little sweat equity and focus on simple things like content and keywords, you and your small business can gain an incredible competitive edge if you prioritize SEO in your marketing endeavors. Think of SEO best practices as the “secret sauce” to dominating the digital landscape.

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