Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of optimising your website to improve your rankings in the search results. The objective is to get more organic (non-paid) traffic. It doesn’t matter what kind of product or service you sell or the size of your business, evidence shows that the majority of people use search to find out about items they want to buy. Therefore, getting your product or service listed near the top of results, can make or break your small business. Read on to learn what your small business can do to optimise SEO and get that top ranking.

3 Fundamental Parts of SEO

In order for a small business to optimise for SEO, you need to pay attention to 3 key areas:

Technical – This is related to how your website is constructed and the experience it offers your customers. To compare to a store, if the aisles are blocked, and nothing is labelled, then customers will go elsewhere.

Content – Google wants to see that your content is helpful to your customers. If your small business is plumbing, create content that shows you are an expert, the better your SEO ranking will be.

Quality backlinks – Another factor ranking your website is domain authority which is principally measured by other sites linking back to your content. In other words, talking about you and referencing you.

Technical Performance

Whether it is a new or older site, you should have the tools in place to carry out audits. You can use Google Webmaster Tools, but then also services like SEMRush or Ahrefs to tell you how to improve your site technically. These tools will rank whether it is delivering a good digital experience for users over 100s of factors including speed and site structure. Some of them, like putting meta-descriptions and ensuring images have alt-tags, non-technical people can solve. However, others like slow loading, probably related to javascript, will need a coder.

Content Success

Do your Keyword Research

Your business there should be a marketing plan with appropriate segmentation and positioning. Your business and marketing plan should include an understanding of your competitors, their strengths and how you can compete. Keyword research can help you with that plan and then with the content you create. You can use services like Google Keyword Planner, Moz and Semrush to get keyword insight. They will enable you can see keyword popularity, what keywords your competitors are ranking for and the difficulty of ranking highly for a keyword.

If you are a Spanish teacher, the above platforms will tell you that the keyword – Spanish teacher – is hard to rank for. You can then look around the list of keywords and you may find – children’s Spanish teacher – is not competitive, concluding that it may be better to specialise in teaching children. You should then create content then that uses those more specific keywords rather than the more general ones.

In the above example, you decide to specialise in a niche of your chosen business. However, even if you decide to continue as a generalist Spanish teacher, keyword planning is still really important. That is because research may show you that certain phrasing or local names are not so competitive. You should list them out and work them into your content so you can improve your ranking.

Finally, you should use the above tools to understand the keywords your customers are looking for. For example, I remember working for a client who was providing office space to small businesses. It was only after researching keywords that we discovered that sound proofing was something that those businesses felt was important.

Create Better Content

In order to rank higher, the bottom line is that you have to create better content than your competitors. Google specifically looks for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-A-T), something it has been repeating in its Search Quality Guidelines for years.

The key to creating better content is to look at your competitor’s websites and the content ranking at the top of search results. Content with video and images, receives more clicks and attention than just text. If you see that your competitor has a great blog on a certain topic, improve on it. You can raise the bar by creating an infographic or video – at the very least research your article better and include more images.

In addition, you need to understand why you are creating content: you are creating content for the buyer journey. The buyer journey has the stages of awareness, consideration, and decision. And your customer is looking for different answers at each stage. At the awareness stage your customer doesn’t know about your solution and so you are simply trying to make him more aware of that. Whilst at the decision stage your customer is looking for precise information around your features, pricing and guarantees.  Your content should reflect that and so should your keywords.

In the previous section on keyword planning, you should also add this step of arranging your keywords by stage of the buyer journey. If you have a cleaning business then awareness keywords might be – tips on solving my lack of time – while decision keywords could be – cleaning company businesses.


As I mentioned above backlinks are about other sites linking back to yours. Obviously, it is not helpful for you to get your friend who has a business looking after dogs to link back to your carpentry business. The link has to be from a trustworthy source who writes about similar things to you and is respected in the area. The higher the domain authority of the person who links to you, Google will believe you to be more trustworthy.

Below are some of the strategies you can use to increase backlinks for your small business and optimise SEO:

  • Contact relevant and respected websites about guest blogging opportunities.
  • Get links from companies with whom you have relationships.
  • Get included on comparison sites and on industry expert sites with a view to be reviewed and included in their ‘best of’ lists.
  • Find relevant competing content with lots of backlinks, and then write something better. You can ask the sites with backlinks to link to you instead (Find who is linking back to an article by using tools like Semrush).


With a little bit of work, a small business can do a lot to optimise SEO to improve their website presence. If you don’t do it your competitor will be taking those customers looking for your services.