How Small Businesses Can Compete on Google Using SEO

There are 1.75 billion websites out there and all of them are trying to get Google’s attention. This can often deter many small business owners from search engine optimisation (SEO) activities, because competing seems impossible.

Fortunately, Google doesn’t just look at the size of your website or business. The search engine has evolved to take the user’s needs into consideration and aims to provide the best search experience by providing relevant results.

With this in mind, there are a handful of things you can do to improve the chances of your business showing up on the next search.

Get A Search Engine Friendly Website for Your Business

A search engine friendly website isn’t an overly complex, custom built PHP monster.

For your website to be search engine friendly, it simply needs the following in place:

  • It is built on a CMS (not an express website builder like Wix). Wordpress is a SEO specialist’s favourite because it has SEO built into its foundation.
  • The website copy explaining what your business does, is in text on your website and not based solely on images.
  • Your website is hosted at a good hosting company that helps your website to load quickly.
  • Your image file sizes are tiny, reducing the total size of the page that needs to be downloaded, further increasing your website speed.

Implement Basic SEO

Even though you’ve set your website up for success with a SEO friendly website, you’ll still need to implement the basics that will help Google understand what your website is about.

Typical activities on your once-off SEO task list should include:

  • Keyword research before writing the content for your website.
  • Checking your landing page speed through Google’s speed gauge and implementing the recommendations.
  • Adding the relevant meta-data (HTML code) that helps Google understand what your landing page is about.
  • Creating a Google Search Console profile and submitting your website sitemap for indexing.  

Create (or claim) Your ‘Google My Business’ Listing

Google’s reputation is based on how good the results are that they provide for users looking for something. They’ve created a way for you to list your business on Google Maps to help people find the relevant businesses.

How to Manage Your ‘Google My Business’ Listing

Creating your business listing is only the start, you’ll need to actively manage and update your business listing. Here’s how:

  • Respond to positive and negative reviews. Responding to especially to negative experiences shows potential customers that you have excellent after sales support.  
  • Update your business listing with promotions, special business hours, and your contact details (especially if your landline is down).

Create Relevant Business Directory Listings That Link Back to Your Website

If there’s a lot of competition in your industry, it won’t hurt to create a business listing on various high-quality business directories.

If your website doesn’t pop up on the first page of Google, you might be able to grab a spot through your listing on one of South Africa’s more reputable business directories. For example, medical practitioners can create listings on MedPages.

As a final tip: don’t create business listings on all the directories at once. Google may interpret this you trying to manipulate their Search Results.

You don’t have to spend and arm an a leg to appear on Google, but you will need to spend something; whether it is time to do it yourself, or money to get a SEO company to do it for you.