SEO seems easier for small businesses than enterprise or international SEO.

Yet, ranking #1 on Google in a big city is definitely no cakewalk.

Depending on the keyword and city you are targeting, it can be more difficult than international, or enterprise SEO.

In large metropolitan cities, competition is fierce, especially so for service-based businesses.

For those situations, I have aggregated my top small business SEO tips from my experience working on over 200 small business SEO campaigns.

Small Business SEO Tips:

  1. Skyrocket your rankings with 2 simple content hacks
  2. Fulfill Your Keyword’s Search Intent
  3. Get the most out of your Title Tag
  4. Avoid these 2 common Subheading pitfalls
  5. How to create the perfectly optimized URL
  6. Add Internal Links To Your Important Pages
  7. How To (Effortlessly) Improve Your Website Page Speed
  8. Last but not least

1. Increase The Word Count For Key URLs

You’ve heard the saying “content is king”.

As much as I cringe at saying this, it still holds true today, more than ever.

So why is content king?

Well…

From my experience, one of the fastest (and simplest) ways to improve the visibility of a page is to add 500-1000 words of content.

This also seems to align with large-scale studies, such as this study from Backlinko that analyzed 11.8 million Google search results:

The average word count of a Google top 10 result is 1,447 words.

This is especially true for your important pages like your home, service, city pages, etc.

But, adding content to important pages on your website is a daunting task.

If you’re anything like me, paralysis sets in as you begin to write.

After doing hundreds of small business SEO campaigns I have found two simple content hacks that skyrocket keyword rankings.

Content Tip #1: Add a FAQ section

Adding a FAQ accordion to your page is one of the easiest ways to add content to your site.

The benefits of adding a FAQ section to your page make it a no-brainer:

To easily find FAQs that your audience is interested in, simply type the main keyword for your page and scroll down to the “People Also Ask” SERP feature.

Click on the relevant questions inside the “People Also Ask” SERP feature.

Google will provide more questions to the SERP feature that are relevant to the one you clicked.

Adding FAQ accordions to your most important pages is so beneficial that it feels like cheating.

If you are sitting below the top of page 1 this one little SEO trick could skyrocket your small business to the top.

Content Tip #2: Use Long Tail keywords To Influence Content Blocks On a Page

The anticipation of ranking for your “trophy” keyword can be frustrating.

Let’s face it, in most cases, SEO takes a long time.

While we’re at it, why not get some quick wins under our belt along the way? If anything, it keeps us motivated to stick to our goals in the long journey ahead.

Secondary keywords can be just that, quick wins.

In this context, secondary keywords are searches that are a little more specific than your main keyword, but return the same Google search results or at least a handful of the same URLs.

They have a little less search volume, but you can rank for them a little quicker.

Oftentimes they are referred to as long-tail keywords. I call them secondary keywords because often long-tail keywords are not long, and that’s confusing.

The thing is…

Optimizing the same page for secondary keywords will make it more relevant for your main keyword.

All while opening your website up to an increase in traffic from people using more specific search terms.

SEO Tip: A SEO strategy template can help you organize all of your website’s content and the keywords that each page is targeting

Secondary keywords make great content sections of a page and H2 tags!

And they are simple to find.

Plug in your main keyword to your favorite keyword research tool.

Here’s an example of local seo keyword research:

In this example, I found 3 secondary keywords that can be used as content sections with optimized H2 tags:

You might be wondering, how can the keyword “roofing contractor” make a content section?

Easy.

Write 50-200 words about how you are the most amazing roofing contractor in your city, showcase reviews, testimonials, awards etc.

Get creative.

2. Search Intent > Search Volume

Search intent is the term used to describe the reason why someone conducts a specific search. 

In order to rank for your most important keywords, you have to provide the thing that the person is expecting to find after searching a specific term.

Save yourself time, headache, and resources rather than attempting to rank an informational keyword with your homepage.

It won’t work.

A good way to understand the search intent of a keyword is to focus on the “keyword modifier”.

Keyword modifiers are words used in conjunction with keywords to find something specific.

Create and optimize a service page or even your homepage (under some circumstances) to target keywords that people use to find your services.

Write blog posts to target keywords that are informational.

Don’t try to rank informational keywords on your homepage.

3. Frontload Title Tags With Keywords

This one little SEO optimization can send your keyword rankings soaring.

In a study conducted by Ahrefs, only 4% of top-ranking pages don’t have a title tag.

It’s hands down my favorite and one of the first optimizations I do when working on a website.

Here are a couple of best practices that small businesses can use when crafting your title tag

Front-load your main keyword

Place the main keyword of the page at the front of the Title Tag:

Next, log in to Google Search Console and fetch Google’s robot to the URL of the page you just optimized:

In only a few days to weeks, your title tag will be updated in Google and you will start to see results.

4. Add Keywords, LSI, and Synonyms to Subheadings

Subheadings are an easy way to push up your rankings, as well as increase the number of keywords a page is ranking for.

As easy and beneficial as subheadings are, they are the most common on-page optimization element that I see most small businesses get wrong.

Over the last 10 years, I have had the opportunity to work on hundreds of small business SEO campaigns.

Here are the most common mistakes I came across:

Missing Subheadings

At a minimum, you need to be using keyword-rich H2 tags on your website.

Get creative and find a way to add your main and secondary keywords into your subheadings.

Here are a few SEO tips for H2-H6 Tags on a small business website:

Non-SEO Subeadings

Oftentimes web developers misuse subheadings for design purposes such as sales copy, sidebar labels, and footer labels.

H2 tags are an important SEO factor that Google uses to understand the content and context of a page.

If the page has 5-10 H2 tags that are unrelated to the content and are used sitewide it can throw Google off.

Keep H2 tags specifically for subheadings that include keywords, or variations of your keywords.

5. Use SEO-Friendly URL Structures

If you’re lucky to have registered a domain name with your keyword in it, you’re ahead of the game.

This will not be possible for existing websites, and businesses that want to use their brand name.

If this is you, it’s not the end of the world. 

The next best thing is to optimize your website’s URLs by adding your main keyword in your URL.

This tip works well for service-based businesses that want to use local SEO to target multiple cities.

6. Add More Internal Links!

As quick and easy as it is to add internal links to a small business’s website, it is often overlooked.

Not only do internal links push website visitors to different pages on your website, but it also passes authority and relevance.

When adding an internal link to an important page on your website use your main keyword or a variation of it as the anchor text.

Anchor text tells the website visitor what the page they are about to visit is about.

Not only do website visitors find this useful, but Google also reads anchor text in order to better understand what a page is about.

The most important pages on a small business’s website are often the:

Make sure you add internal links from your blogs and other pages on your website to the most important pages you are trying to rank.

7. Improve Page Speed in Just a Few Clicks

Website speed is a gray area.

For years Google has repeatedly claimed that site speed has an impact on rankings.

In May 2020, Google thrust Core Web Vitals (“essential” metrics for a healthy site) onto the publisher and SEO community.

All the while, SEOs have been skeptical.

Especially with studies like this:

So then why are we even talking about this?

Here’s the thing…

A website’s load time does affect conversion rates, especially for e-commerce stores.

Portent found that:

When pages load in 1 second, the average conversion rate is almost 40%. At a 2-second load time, the conversion rate already drops to 34%. At 3 seconds, the conversion rate begins to level off at 29% and reaches its lowest at a 6-second load time.

So is Google lying? Maybe…

Regardless, there is evidence that page speed affects conversion rates, and we can all agree that faster websites are better.

Now, telling you to improve your website wouldn’t be much of an “SEO tip”, would it?

It seems like a real nuisance to me.

I am going to show you how to effortlessly improve your website’s speed simply by installing plugins, granted you are using WordPress.

If you are not using WordPress, what are you even doing?

Compress Your Images

The biggest cause of a slow website and low page speed scores is large images.

Reducing image file sizes alone has a huge impact on your website’s speed.

Compressing images on your website is a sure way to reduce the file size and therefore speed up your website.

If you use WordPress, you can easily compress the images on your website with one of the following plugins:

Use Browser Caching

Browser caching temporarily stores your website’s resources such as logos, headers, and footers.

That will result in a big increase in speed for your website’s visitors as they won’t have to download them again.

If you are using WordPress, there are a few plugin options to choose from.

The best part is you don’t need to be a coding expert to do it.

Try using one of the following WordPress plugins:

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

A CDN is a network of servers that host your site locally to speed up page load times.

Hosting your website on different servers spread out of the country or countries, it reduces the number of requests to the original server, which slows down load times.

Minify Your Website’s HTML

Another way to speed up your website and increase your page speed scores is to minimize your HTML code.

Minification of HTML is removing unnecessary or duplicated data without impacting how a website visitor views the website.

Once again, here are a few WordPress plugins that you can use to Minify your website’s HTML:

8. Continually Add and Improve Content

According to this study by Ahrefs, the average age of pages in the top 10 of Google is 2 years, and almost three years for position 1!

Final Thoughts

The above small business SEO tips have come from years of experience working on hundreds of small business SEO campaigns.

Do not look over the simple ones, you would be surprised how many small businesses do not have the basics implemented. 

Implementing these SEO tips will quickly and effectively increase your visibility on Google, even in industries and cities where it’s a game of inches.

Enjoy.

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