COVID-19 has forced many small businesses to change the way they operate and interact with customers. Massive changes in business practices and search trends caused by COVID-19 make it more important than ever before for small businesses to invest in SEO.

Small Business SEO Checklist: Strategies To Improve Ranking In Search Engine Results

SEO isn’t easy and it’s not a process that can be completed just once. At Rank Wranglers, we understand how important it is for small businesses to be easily discovered online. This checklist shares just a few examples of the SEO strategies that we typically utilize to help improve a client’s search engine results ranking.

Technical SEO Audit

When there are structural and technical issues on a website, it makes it difficult for a search engine crawler to properly crawl and index pages. A technical SEO audit can identify these issues so that repairs can be made. Common technical issues that can impact ranking include:

  • Slow Page Speed

  • Broken Links

  • Duplicate Content

  • Lack Of SSL Certificate

  • Missing Alt Tags

  • Improper Schema – Or No Schema At All

  • Missing Robots.txt

  • No XML Sitemap

Once any technical issues have been resolved the site can be easily crawled and indexed.

Keyword Research

Finding the right keywords to target isn’t always easy. Keyword research should be done before the website content is ever written, however, that doesn’t mean that optimization can’t occur at a later date. It’s always a good practice to review older content to determine if it needs to be reworked.

It’s important to choose keywords that:

  • include Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords
  • have a large number of monthly searches
  • have low competition in ranking

Keywords are important because these single words and phrases signal to search engines that your content is relevant and meaningful. During on-page optimization, keywords should be placed in the titles, meta descriptions, and the body of the content.

Both short-tail and long-tail keywords should be used in each piece of content.

Local Search Optimization

Businesses with physical locations need to optimize for local search results. This helps to maximize the number of times that customers see that business in search results. Google has indicated that local search results are based on:

  • Relevance
  • Distance
  • Prominence

The optimization process should start with the claiming and optimizing of Google My Business (GMB). The GMB should include as much accurate information as possible. In addition to the basics, quality photographs should be added regularly and reviews managed.

Other relevant online directory listings should also be created. In addition to this work, on-page optimization needs to take place on the website. Ideally, a local landing page should be created and optimized on the website for each location.

Content Audit & Strategy

Creating new content is an important part of SEO. But before new content is created, an audit of the old content should be performed to determine what is performing well and what isn’t.

A content strategy can be created by:

  1. Defining Goals: What should the content do? Content can do many things, such as boost brand awareness, generate leads, attract return customers, and improve search rankings. It’s important to determine goals so that the correct content can be created.
  2. Researching The Desired Audience: Check to see which competitors the desired audience is visiting, which social media platforms they are using, and the different types of content they are interacting with.
  3. Measuring Results: Tools like Google Analytics should be used to measure content performance.
  4. Reviewing Feedback: When feedback is given, especially feedback from customers, it’s important to listen. Valuable information might be shared that could result in changes to the content strategy.

Content strategies should be reviewed regularly as search trends shift.

Obtain Backlinks

When a website has a large number of backlinks, this communicates to search engines that a website is a trustworthy resource. But obtaining quality backlinks is very difficult! To learn more about the link building process, read our post, “A Beginner’s Guide To Link Building“.

How Long Do Results From SEO Take?

SEO is a long-term investment that impacts organic search results. There is no set formula for SEO and as search algorithms change, so do SEO strategies. The reality is that it takes a long time to see results – typically between 3 and 6 months. However, if the competition is fierce, it can take longer.

Some individuals and companies that offer SEO services, claiming that they can get you to the top of search results in a matter of days or weeks. These services use black-hat SEO tactics that will ultimately cause more damage than good and should be avoided.