Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a key strategy in digital marketing in which SEO specialists employ a range of tactics to improve the quality and quantity of a website’s search traffic. 

Good SEO for small businesses can boost your website’s ranking on the search engine ranking pages (SERPs) and has the potential to attract high-intent traffic that converts to loyal paying customers. 

Why is SEO important for Small Businesses? 

One word. Intent. 

Search intent refers to the primary goal of a potential visitor. A searcher is typically seeking an answer to a problem, and if you can match that intent by providing a solution, SEO has the potential to bring small businesses quality website visitors, that convert and turn into paying customers. 

What are the benefits to Small Businesses from carrying out effective SEO? 

There are several benefits to carrying out effective SEO including

  • An optimised website that provides an excellent user experience. 
  • Easier navigation through a website results in higher click-through rates and time on site. 
  • Google prefers websites that showcase authority and thought-leadership on a given subject. 
  • High intent visitors are more likely to convert to paying (returning) customers. 
  • Businesses can scale and grow through effective SEO that converts. 

What are the different types of SEO for Small Businesses? 

Typically, there are three common types of SEO. These are

  • On-Page SEO: 
  • Off-Page SEO
  • Technical SEO

The table below outlines their specific uses. 

Type of SEOOptimisation Practices for Small Businesses
On-Page SEOThis type of SEO involves optimising the content and structure of your web pages for search engine users. 

This includes title tags such as H1, H2, and H3 headers, meta descriptions, readability, structure, keyword density, image optimization, internal linking, structured data and URL optimisation. 
Off-Page SEO This type of SEO refers to the activities carried out externally from your website, but that drives the external traffic to your website. 

This might involve link-building on external websites, local SEO, guest blogging, public relations, social signals, image and/or video sharing across social platforms, content promotion and even influencer marketing. 
Technical SEOThe more technical aspects of SEO involve optimising a website to match the technical preferences of search engines. 

This might involve crawl budget, analysing and restructuring site architecture, site speed and performance, structure data mark-up, indexation, user design (UX), canonical and hreflang tags. 
Optimisation Practices

Why is my website not ranking? 

There are many reasons why your website may not be ranking, and these can fall within any or all of the three key SEO types discussed earlier: On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO, and Technical SEO

The easiest way to narrow this down is by carrying out an SEO audit. An SEO audit can analyse many aspects of your website’s health that may be affecting its performance. 

Here are some of the most common reasons why your website might not be ranking: 

Reasons why your website isn’t rankingWhy it affects website ranking
You are targeting the wrong keyword terms and phrasesThis goes back to searcher’s intent. How are you supposed to attract the right traffic that converts if you are targeting the wrong keywords? You can’t just guess keywords and see what happens. 

The process of keyword research allows you to narrow down keywords that match the searcher’s intent. You can then target based on a range of factors such as competition and search volume. 

For example, you are going to have more luck if you are a cleaning business  in Glasgow and you are targeting the phrase ‘patio cleaning service in Glasgow’ compared to just ‘patio cleaning.’ 

Your website content is not good enoughLet’s face it. There is no quick fix in SEO. It requires in-depth research, content that answers problems, content that exerts thought-leadership, and consistency. 

You might prefer writing short-form content over long-form, and that is okay, but what Google looks for is that you are following its E-A-T guidelines. 

E-A-T refers to Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. This is what determines how well your content ranks. 

I’ve witnessed quality leads from some of the world’s biggest brands come through from content that is over 4000 words because it meets all three of the E-A-T principle. 
Your website is not indexed correctlyThere is a simple technique for checking if your website is indexed or not. 
Type in

You will then see a list of the indexed pages. 

If nothing shows up, you should speak with your website developer asap as sometimes it can take weeks for a website to index, depending on how big it is. 
Your website is in the Google SandboxAs soon as your website is indexed, it can take weeks, even months before it starts bringing in traffic. 

If your website is fairly new and you are not yet seeing traffic, it could be due to this. 

Google might not trust your website yet, and all it needs is some time to start ranking. 

It is important to continue to posting quality content during this time and following best-practice SEO techniques to get your website out of the Google Sandbox as soon as possible. 
You are operating in a competitive marketIf you are operating in a competitive market such as cyber security, saas, or even fintech space, you will be up against some major competition.

There will be many websites competing for the same keywords phrases and terms, and writing blog content that is all very similar. 

In order to get that competitive advantage, you have to really assess your value proposition. What do you do better than the competition? What is the competition not doing? What are they not writing about? 

Don’t delve into SEO without forming a strategy first. This will give you a better chance of ranking and winning those Featured Snippets. 
Reasons why your website isn’t ranking

What are some best SEO practices I can employ for my small business? 

There are some initial best SEO practices you can employ to help rank your website and this falls within Google’s E-A-T principle. 

I mentioned earlier that E-A-T refers to Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness

If you are serious about your SEO game and are trying to attract new customers, then focusing on this principle will get you off to a good start.

Why is E-A-T important for SEO? 

Google’s E-A-T principle comes from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines.  

Google uses E-A-T to determine the quality of your web pages and the quality of your web pages determines where you will rank in the SERPs. Therefore E-A-T is very important when it comes to ranking your website. 

How do I follow E-A-T SEO to rank my website? 

Provide value for your user. You are a small business that has great expertise in your business industry, otherwise, why would you be in business?

Offer Expertise

You should exert your expertise and thought-leadership to create quality content that solves a problem. By doing this, you can build trust with visitors and match their intent which is more likely going to convert than content that doesn’t showcase expertise. 

Build Authority

Be consistent in the content you produce for your ideal audience. Providing content that so clearly resonates with the audience, solves a problem, and is consistent is going to build authority in your industry. 

Quality content becomes shareable and attracts the opinions of other experts in your industry. Look out for the ripple effect that comes with it when your content is shared on other platforms.  

Be Trustworthy

By employing ethical SEO practices and following Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines, your website is more likely to be seen as a trustworthy source. 

Along with providing quality content that solves problems, employing a range of ethical SEO techniques will improve your website’s reputation, your reputation as thought-leaders and your overall rankings on Google’s SERPs.

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of researching keywords terms and phrases relevant to a particular niche. This process allows you to assess competition levels, search volumes, and related keywords. 

Why is Keyword Research important for Small Businesses? 

Keyword research can benefit small businesses by allowing them to narrow down keywords that bring in the most traffic, and that don’t have too much competition. 

It also helps narrow down searcher intent, so that content can be produced to match that which will more likely turn into a conversion.

Keyword research should be made part of a website’s SEO strategy, so that businesses can produce content that resonates with target audiences, thereby focusing on Google’s E-A-T principle, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. 

Is SEO worth it for Small Businesses?

As a Marketing Consultant that loves Strategy, there are two concepts I’d like to share with you that might convince you why SEO is worth it. These are Red Ocean Strategy and Blue Ocean Strategy. 

Red Ocean Strategy refers to companies that are competing in a heavily saturated industry where all market players are fighting for a bigger piece of the pie. They don’t offer distinct value propositions that allow that leading edge. 

Blue Ocean Strategy, on the other hand, refers to companies offering a distinct value proposition that no other market player matches, therefore putting them in a league of their own. 

Which does your company fall into?

Good SEO practices, along with proper keyword research and excellent content production that meets searcher intent and Google’s E-A-T concept, will help companies establish that value proposition.  

It will put your website ahead in the rankings, and establish authority in your particular niche that no other competitor can beat.

That is Blue Ocean Strategy.

How can an SEO Consultant help my Business? 

An SEO Consultant puts strategy at the heart of SEO. 

They specialise in Search Engine Optimisation and will carry out audits, research, advise, plan and even assist in implementing SEO strategies. 

This is key for achieving website growth, ranking, and establishing authority. 

An SEO Consultant can advise at every step of your website’s SEO journey, and track its progress over time as it makes progress in ranking in the SERPs. 

If hiring an SEO consultant sounds like exactly what you need, then I can most certainly help.