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Creating an SEO strategy for your small business takes time, research, and investment. And although you may be able to manage the first two, saving money is much more difficult for SMEs – more than 80 percent of small businesses fail because of cash flow problems. This is particularly a problem today as the United States and the global economy face the potential of a financial recession.
There is no way around it: SEO is crucial to reach target customers and increase visibility. For this reason, annual investment in SEO in the U.S. alone has reached $ 80 billion and is expected to continue to grow.
However, good SEO doesn't have to cost a lot of money. Even the smallest company can still use various effective techniques and tools to develop a high quality SEO strategy on a budget. Here are some of the best ways to do this in 2020.
Why SEO is Crucial for Small Businesses
One of the main reasons why SEO is vital for small businesses is that more than half of all website traffic is generated from organic searches, while paid searches make up only 15 percent.
Even if you're in the paid search camp, it's worth noting that between 70 and 80 percent of people completely ignore paid results and some even mistrust companies with sponsored offers.
An SEO focus also helps small businesses create easy-to-use websites that include smooth navigation, valuable content, and simplify problem solving. This contributes to a stronger customer experience that 66 percent of consumers think is more important than pricing.
By increasing website traffic through effective SEO, companies can collect more analytics data to better understand their audience over time.
Six things you can do to help your SEO
There are many things you can do to help your business with SEO. Experts can create an almost endless list. However, here are some of the key starting points.
1. Start a blog
Every small business without a blog misses the chance to increase its reach and traffic, because companies that publish blogs get 97 percent more backlinks than companies that don't.
Blogging is an easy way to add keywords organically to a website. If you regularly create new content, search engine indexers visit the website more often. They are more likely to recognize the valuable content that builds up over time and improve the website's ranking.
Developing personas based on audience goals, age, buying habits, interests, etc. can help companies maximize the relevance of their blog posts.
2. Optimize for mobile devices
Google started mobile-first indexing some time ago and used the mobile versions of websites to determine the ranking. This is to ensure that more and more mobile searchers find what they need conveniently and efficiently, since more than half of all searches are carried out from mobile devices.
Small businesses on a budget can use Google’s free mobile testing tool to assess how well their website is optimized for smartphones. Reducing load times, enabling Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and reducing media size all contribute to increasing mobile performance.
3. Pay attention to metadata
There are many factors that influence the ranking of an SME on Google. Metadata is still an important factor, even if it's not the only one.
To optimize a site's metadata, titles, descriptions, and URLs need to be adjusted to increase visibility. Titles should include the page's target keywords without affecting readability. Meta descriptions should be no longer than 160 characters and should allow a quick breakdown of the content or purpose of a page. Good URLs usually contain keywords, but are short because longer URLs can make search engines struggle to understand a page's topic.
4. Create a sitemap
Creating a sitemap makes search engine work easier by eliminating the risk of errors, especially on large websites or websites with a small number of external links.
Sitemaps are easy to create and there are numerous free tools available to do this for you. One you might consider are XML sitemaps, but there are many. When the sitemap is complete, send it to Google through the search console and add it to the root folder of your website.
5. Use inexpensive tools
There are some great free or "free-mium" SEO tools for small businesses on a budget. One is SEMrush, which is very popular. It does an in-depth SEO review of every website and does competition analysis, topic research and more.
Another option is the free trial version of GrowthBar. It is ideal for keyword and backlink research, studying domain authority, and understanding the market value. It has a user-friendly dashboard that can be accessed through search engine results pages (SERPs).
Finally, try Google PageSpeed Insights. This free tool checks the speed of each website and user experience with a simple, score-based insight. Use this option to identify slow pages and ways to improve their speed.
6. Invite customers to submit reviews
Reviews help small businesses in different ways. First, they help build credibility and gain trust when they appear on SERPs. Seeing a five-star company while the others only have four or three can make customer decisions easier because 88 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they do a personal recommendation.
Encouraging customers to post reviews will create more fresh content for your business. If they contain keywords, so much the better. Invite customers to post reviews after purchase, either on Google or on a special review page.
Follow these tips to develop an effective SEO strategy on a budget on 2020. Small businesses face immense competition from established brands, but there is still a lot you can do to improve your SEO without substantial resources.
Use the tools and commit to regularly publishing new content. Over time, even the smallest company can help increase visibility and improve SERPs.