With 50% of new businesses failing within five years, recent research has revealed that many small businesses are missing out on opportunities to market their business online.

The research found that 73% said they did not advertise online and 42% reported having no digital presence. SEO and other terminology also stumped 48% of business owners surveyed, and only 53% said their websites were easily read on a mobile device.

Being digitally savvy is especially important for start-ups. It can be the difference between your business being seen in the right places by the right people, and even small changes can have a huge impact.

Here, are three instantly achievable tips for small businesses looking to get started with SEO:

1. Sign up to Google Analytics and Google Search Console and add the necessary code to your website. These are two free tools that will enable you to measure performance, even if you don't understand it all immediately. You cannot improve something that you're not measuring, and these tools will measure things such as; the number of visitors landing on your website, the best performing content, keywords driving traffic, any broken links or pages, and the links from other websites that are pointing back to your website.

2. Start local. Most searches in the micro and small business world include local modifiers such as your city or county, e.g. "Plumbers in Croydon". An easy way to start to build some gravitas towards your website is to feature on business directories. This creates 'citations' (mentions) of your business name and confirms your address and other details, in addition to pointing a link back to your website. It's crucial to make sure your information is kept consistent, so finalise your details and use the same information as a template for all directories. These things will help to increase the strength and trust of your website. Just be sure to focus on reputable directories such as Touch Local, 192, Freeindex, and Opendi for example.

3. Focus on the real basics and design each META title and description for each of the key pages on your website as a minimum. The title tag and descriptor underneath the search result is considered as a ranking factor by Google, and can positively influence your rankings for a particular keyword. Your title should include your keyword and brand name as a minimum, but try to be as creative as possible with the character limit (55 is the defacto) that you have available. In the META description, it's more important to include your value proposition and key information, for example "free delivery on all orders", or "free quotation". Remember, you're trying to stand out to win a greater share of the clicks against the other websites competing for the same keyword so details and USPs are key

It's widely reported that somewhere around 90% of all purchasing decisions begin with a search engine and a search query. SEO can therefore play a huge part in the marketing strategy of a small business.

Sharing your expertise through content and delivering value to your target market is the name of the game, and it's a playground that, whilst dominated by some larger brands, isn't policed by them. It's entirely possible for a small business to compete and win on this channel, and doesn't have to involve a huge cost in doing so.

 

By Alex Minchin, founder and director at Zest Digital

 

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