Are you prepared for small business SEO in 2022?
If you’re still scrambling to formulate a strategy, you’re not alone. The uncertainty of ongoing pandemic-related business interruptions and changes in consumer behavior are keeping marketers and SEO pros on their toes.
To help SMBs and marketing professionals, we asked our network of experts, “What’s your best SEO tip for SMBs as we kick off 2022?”
From business networking to sharing customer stories, here are the top tips for small businesses that want to improve their search rankings.
1. Tap Emerging Search Trends
Jeff Riddall, Senior Product Manager at OneLocal, advises all businesses to focus on optimization around topical groups of intent-based keywords at each stage of their customer’s journey, as Google continues to refine its algorithm and ability to determine what content searchers are really after.
“Small businesses should look for keyword opportunities and content gaps where they can add value by answering specific questions that their customers have,” he says.
In addition, Riddall advises small businesses that are introducing ecommerce via Shopify, Amazon, or other such platforms to become aware of what is necessary to optimize their product pages in these environments and the content required to complement and support their products.
“Modern SEO is all about optimized content marketing; and those who are able to provide their customers with timely, relevant content and answers to their product-related questions are most likely to improve their visibility in search,” he adds.
2. Plan Your Content Wisely
Clarentino Aduk, Managing Director at Clarini Online Marketing, recommends that local businesses start producing content on their website on a regular basis, if they aren’t doing so already.
“They need to start thinking less as a local business and more as a media company,” she explains.
SEO consultant Anatolii Ulitovskyi says, “SEO is a long game but it’s possible to increase the speed with the right strategy and implementation.”
“Go deep and not wide in your content strategy. Build authoritative content. Localization is key for discoverability,” says Sigharth Iyer, Head of SEO at resulta.
He adds, “Be the thought leader in your niche and showcase your expertise. Trust signals will be instrumental for dominance. Get those reviews, testimonials, and industry recognition. Prioritize accessibility, inclusion, and user experience in your messaging, sales process, and customer’s journey.”
Rebekah Conway, Content Executive at Sweet Digital, recommends that small businesses take a holistic approach.
“Link your email, social, PPC, and content strategies together to increase reach and engagement, and increase the chances of campaign goals being met,” she says.
3. Use The Right Keywords
Shiva Kumar Vogalaboyina, Sr. Digital Marketing Analyst (PPC Expert) at Visaka Industries Limited, suggests small businesses to focus on long-tail keywords when creating content. This strategy will help you earn more featured snippets that will drive a good amount of traffic to your website.
Ulitovskyi agrees and adds, “Content and links are still the main ranking factors. So, covering these keywords helps to get ranking positions faster. Paid tools provide a good job of finding such keywords. Then check out manually and filter out irrelevant topics.”
“The last step is to choose priorities. Less but quality is still key,” he emphasizes.
Rod Loop suggests that when sending Google review links to your customers, you should use the background search query to associate your brand to your main keyword and watch your listing fly.
Furthermore, “You’ll score 100/100 when you have the right keyword domain URL. Performing less than eight modifications to any page makes your SEO easier,” says Anna Evans.
4. Connect With Businesses In Your Area
Svetlana Stankovic advises that small businesses should not copy big ones.
“Find your niche and build connections with other small businesses in your area. Engage with others in doing something for your community. No matter how small a business is, there are always unique topics to be covered in a meaningful way,” she explains.
5. Share Customer Stories
Digital Organic Growth Consultant Suhrud Potdar encourages entrepreneurs to start writing short stories about their daily interactions with customers at any stage of their business, from inquiry and comparing products to actual sales or after-sales.
“Make these stories a part of your website with basic SEO applied and share them on social media. However simple and small a step it may sound at first, it can drive more people to your brand and take you a long way,” he adds.
Riddall agrees and tells businesses to “Make it easy for customers by including reminders and links to your Google Business Profile, Facebook, or other relevant review pages.”
In fact, Amanda Leeman, SEO Manager at Adept Marketing, says your Google Business Profile could be more important for generating leads than your website.
“Ensure it’s completely filled out. Make sure you’re using keywords in your business descriptions. Ask for reviews, and don’t forget to add and fill out all of your services,” she suggests.
6. Be Resourceful
“Everything you need to rank on Google is available to you when you do some strategic Google searches. The formula is right there,” says Brandy Harworth, Owner of LocalAdz.
Riddall recommends small businesses and SEO pros to tap into the power of tools that automate online review requests and management as reviews have a significant bearing on local search or map pack visibility but can take some time to manage.
“Review requests can be easily triggered based on specific customer actions, such as purchases or completed appointments.
Similar solutions can be used to aid in responding to reviews, which is also important in terms of demonstrating the responsiveness of a business.
Beyond increased organic authority and visibility, obtaining and responding to online reviews is an increasingly critical driver of business growth,” he explains.
The only thing certain about 2022 is that it brings continued uncertainty. However, those small businesses that are tuned in to customer and searcher needs and positioned to respond stand to make the greatest gains this year.
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