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The Complete Guide to Small Business SEO

office with a lot of windows and a laptop on the table

Search engine optimization isn’t just for big companies.

If you’re a small business owner SEO can improve your website’s search results ranking, sending more traffic your way, and ultimately growing your business.

Almost 58% of the world’s population used the internet in 2019, according to Statista. SEO is a cost-effective way to engage with billions of potential customers.

In this post:

  1. We’ll explain what SEO is and how it can take your website to the next level.
  2. You’ll understand how to use free tools, and how they improve your site.
  3. We’ll help you identify problems that may affect your site’s ranking and performance.

What is SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) helps drive traffic to your site by improving your search result rankings.

This is done by:

  • Including searchable, relevant, and quality keywords to your content.
  • Optimizing the user experience of your website.
  • Getting trusted websites to link to yours.

There are many aspects that contribute to good small business SEO.

To help you get started, we will cover topics including:

  • Tools you can use
  • Writing quality content
  • Checking for SEO related issues
  • Search engine result ranking
  • Local ranking

How to perform SEO on a small business website

Carrying out SEO for your site can seem endless and complicated. Though there are SEO services that do the job for you, let’s look at some tools that can help you do it yourself.

Step 1: Choose a site builder with built-in SEO tools

A website maker is a tool that lets you create a stunning website without needing to write code.

When selecting a site builder, make sure it includes SEO features like meta titles and descriptions, URL structure, alt-text, backlinks, and site speed.

Zyro’s Website Builder offers features that let you build a beautiful website in easy-to-use steps.

Its built-in SEO functionality allows you to focus on other areas of your site, confident you’ll be optimized.

Step 2: Write engaging content

Engaging content is an essential element of a successful website.

Well executed content can help increase your site’s visitors and earn your site a spot on the first page of search engine results.

When creating appealing content, identify with your customer’s needs and give them a solution.

Make sure your content is relevant to your products and services so current and potential customers are more likely to revisit.

Headlines are important because they are the first thing your visitors read, and are read by search engines to know what your web page is about.

They should hook your reader’s interest and make them want to read the rest of your post.

Don’t exaggerate your headlines just to get clicks, and make sure you remain credible.

Keyword research is essential for your website. Keywords are the SEO terms or phrases that people use in search engines.

This is the link between your site and your customers. Different keyword research tools can help you find the best words to use.

Make sure to balance the distribution of your keywords in your article.

Blend the keywords naturally while maintaining the value of your content. Don’t randomly place keywords in your content, just for a higher ranking.

Social media buttons make your site easy to share. Strategically place them on your page.

You can choose to put them in the header, sidebar, or floating bars. Make sure visitors can see these buttons easily and make sure that they’re working too.

Try out Zyro’s AI Content Generator to help you write new content.

Simply select a length, uniqueness and depth setting, and the tool will automatically generate text, with options to choose from, that’s unique and small business SEO friendly.

Step 3: Apply on-page SEO

On-page SEO is the process of optimizing your website’s content, as well as the technical aspects like page structure, keywords, image optimizations, mobile-friendliness, and more.

Use this checklist when adding on-page SEO:

  • Title tags – (page title) make it easy to understand, catchy, and include your primary keywords here.
  • Meta description – affects the CTR (Click Through Rate) of your website. Make it descriptive, keyword-rich, and relevant to your content.
  • Alt-text – (the description of images). In case your image does not load, this text will show up. Keep the info short and descriptive.

All the above are taken into account by search engines when deciding what rank your page should have for different searches.

Step 4: Pay attention to local ranking factors

Local SEO involves marketing your business to local customers, whenever they are looking for them online.

For example, if a user searches for “how to make a donut”, the question isn’t just how-to, but also “donuts near me”, or “best donut in town”.

Search engines take the original search and suggest businesses or lists based on the location of the user.

When trying to improve your ranking in local searches it’s important to familiarize yourself with three elements:

  • Proximity
  • Relevance
  • Prominence

Google MyBusiness is a free online directory. It makes it easier for customers to find your small business and will display your business to more customers if you have a profile listing.

To start a profile, it will ask you for the following:

  • Business name
  • Category
  • Phone number
  • Address

Setting up your profile is simple, and in no time your business is listed and ready for the world to see.

example of google maps and the listing of donut shops in NYC

The dashboard recommends other info you can list to help attract more customers. It is encouraged to get customer reviews and ratings. This helps illustrate the trustworthiness of your business.

It also provides widgets to help you share news with your customers as well as areas to learn more about your business.

Other web directories that you can create a listing on include Yelp, YP.com, and SuperPages.

Step 5: Fix SEO Issues

Pay attention to underlying issues within your website pages which might affect load time or user experience.

One way you can check if your pages are free from small business SEO problems is by using a tool like SiteChecker.

SiteChecker is a free online tool that scans your site and provides you with your website score.

The score includes technical issues that were detected, listing them from critical to minor problems.

Some of the main warning errors you may see when using SiteChecker include:

  • Slow page speed – this is the time it takes your web pages to load. Causes may include large images or scripts, or too many advertisements.
  • Duplicate content – having multiples or similar content. Search engines keep records of websites and compare them against each other. Duplicating content damages your ranking.
  • Broken links – any link that doesn’t go to a working page. This includes links that route to different sites (external links) and to a different part of your website (internal links).
  • Old sitemaps – keep your site map up to date whenever you add a new page, reconstruct links, or remove content.

A site audit report is included in SiteChecker’s free tools, but you will need to upgrade to access other features like site monitoring, rank and backlink tracker, and on-page checker.

You can also try a site performance checker, like GTmetrix.

This free tool will give you scores arranged by the level of impact. With this, you’ll know which problems to prioritize, and get recommendations on how to fix them.

Free SEO tools for your small business site

There are other tools that can help you optimize your website and rank higher for search engines.

Knowing what these tools are and how to use them effectively will help you choose which might work for you.

Google Search Console

google's search console sign up page

Google Search Console (GSC) detects issues that might be preventing your site from performing well in organic search results.

Some features you can utilize are:

  • Top keyword – lists vital searches in Google. The report shows search patterns that lead to your site.
  • Mobile friendly checks the optimization of your site for different viewing devices.
  • Search analytics – gives details about your site’s performance in Google searches. It includes keywords, number of inbound clicks to your site, SERP, CTR, and more.
  • Backlinks shows the number of times your content is mentioned or linked by other websites.
  • Internal links – shows which, among your linked pages, are performing and underperforming.

All reports will help you improve your SEO by making you aware of any technical errors, keyword search information, link quality and quantity, and website optimization.

To use GSC, verify your site by adding it as a property, and use it through your domain provider.

Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing webmaster tools sign in page

Bing webmaster tools give you a variety of insights into your website. It is mobile friendly and provides public tools you can use without needing to sign in.

Some main features it has are:

  • Dashboard – summary of how your site is performing and what areas need attention.
  • Reporting Tools – what leads visitors to your site and how to increase traffic.
  • Diagnostic Tools – information on what people are searching for and where to expand.
  • Notifications – messages and alerts from your site.

It also provides crawl (browsing the web) customization patterns and SEO reports, including recommendations on actions, how to fix the error, and pages that aren’t working.

The keyword research tool implements a small business SEO campaign to find keywords related to areas of your site that need help. You can apply filters for more specific results.

Also, the SEO analyzer gives you the option to select individual pages to evaluate, or just conduct a site-wide report.


checkbots landing page to help with your sites small business SEO

Checkbot is a tool to help your workflow and identify problems early on. Giving you instant feedback makes it good for newer users that have more questions.

Some main tools they feature are:

  • Boosting your SEO speed and security – helps you craft a highly optimized website, improve your search rank, have faster page speeds and strengthen your security.
  • Saving time on testing – no more manual checks, instead it checks everything in minutes.
  • Uncovering problems – finds critical issues lurking in places you didn’t think to check, crawling ability and comprehensive set of tests.
  • Checking all sites you work on – lets you crawl all the sites you want as often as you want.

It has a list of SEO, speed, and security rules it checks. Which include, but are not limited to, broken page links, duplicate pages, eliminating redirect chains and secure password forms.

The free version allows 250 URLs per crawl, unlimited crawls, unlimited sites and supported Ad.

You can upgrade to Pro for $15/month or a year subscription of $120 which will offer even more features.


ubersuggest example for small business seo

Ubersuggest shows you a list of long-tail keywords, which are three or four keywords made into a phrase.

Aside from the phrases, it gives you an option to analyze website traffic and perform a site audit.

To use it, simply enter a domain name or the keywords you need to check. You can use the results to compare your data to your competitors.

You also have an option to narrow your search by related words or phrases that:

  • Are in question form
  • Begin with a preposition
  • Are comparisons

Ubersuggest has a user-friendly interface. As soon as you enter your search word, it will crawl and show you ideas.

The results may feature some unfamiliar acronyms like

  • VOL (Search Volume) – the number of searches a specific keyword has within a month.
  • CPC (Cost Per Click) – the average cost someone pays Google every month for each click. Usually, the higher the amount listed, the more significant the keyphrase.
  • PD (Paid Difficulty) – shows the level of competition a paid keyword has. If you see a higher number, it indicates more engagement.
  • SD (SEO Difficulty) – related to PD, SD shows how tight the competition is for organic searches.

Nail your small business SEO

Take small business SEO one step at a time, and focus on what matters most to your goal.

Continue to do research and experiment with free tools. You can always explore more SEO tools if you feel like it.

If you’re a small business use this guide to help improve your SEO and optimize your website. Remember these areas:

  • Know what SEO is
  • Choose a site builder
  • Write engaging content
  • On-page SEO
  • Local ranking factors
  • Fix SEO issues
  • Free SEO tools

These tools work better when they’re implemented carefully.

Simply by providing quality content, responsive websites, relevant products, and services you can already start to help your small business.

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Written by

Author avatar


Martina is an expert in writing about website building and eCommerce, but her real passion is helping others grow their small business online. From solid branding to punchy marketing strategies, you can count on her for the best growth tricks. In her spare time, Martina loves nothing more than a good scoop of ice-cream and a sweaty match of tennis.

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