I have consulted many of businesses ranging from Fortune 100 companies to your local mom and pop shops.
One of the biggest objection I hear from businesses when they are deciding whether to invest their efforts in SEO is: My website’s too small for SEO.
I totally get this mentality. This is how I thought when I started out. If no one’s even showing up to your site, why should you spend time on Content Creation and SEO?
There is an answer. You should spend time on SEO especially if no one visits your site!
The whole point of SEO is to make your website more visible. If you’re not doing SEO, your visibility isn’t increasing. “Doing SEO” could mean the difference between having 0 visitors and getting warm leads from your site.
There’s another reason — one that gets right to the dollars and cents of running a business. SEO is the most cost effective method of marketing for small businesses with a low marketing budget.
For businesses with small budgets, ad spend can be out of reach. Although you may get short-term gains, you can quickly burn through a budget.
SEO is different. Although you won’t see immediate upticks in traffic, you will build a foundation that lasts for years. I still get thousands of visitors from blog posts that I wrote ten years ago!
In addition, the quality of traffic from SEO is far better than you’d get from a PPC campaign. Organic traffic pulls in curious, engaged, and warm traffic. PPC only attracts traffic as long as you’re paying for that user’s click — and it takes a lot to generate the right kind of curiosity, landing page, and customer journey from a paid ad.
I think SEO is crucial for every site, including yours. Even if you literally have no visitors on an average day, there are SEO techniques you can do to get the ball rolling.
Today, SEO plays an important role in my marketing, and it’s one of the first things I suggest to people. It doesn’t have to be difficult or take a long time.
Here’s the best tips to do SEO on a site with no traffic:
Nail Down What Problems You Solve For Customers
Before jumping into SEO, you must first understand the nature of what your small business provides to your customers.
- How, when, and where do customers determine they need your product or service?
- Is it away from home, using their cell phone? Is it at home using a desktop computer or tablet?
- Is it driven by a personal desire, like good food to eat or a great place to spend some time?
- Or is it caused by a disruptive event like a home or personal issue?
These questions color the language your customers will use to find your business. This information will drive your keyword research and content creation, among other tasks.
Focus on Local SEO
Nearly one-third of all mobile searches are location-based queries, such as “restaurants near me.” And even if the “near me” is not added, Google’s algorithm now automatically prioritizes local options if you just search “restaurants.” SERPs are teeing up small businesses to be successful with local SEO, so it’s paramount that they capitalize on the opportunity.
Nearly one-third of all mobile searches are location-based inquiries.
The most important part of local SEO is setting up a Google My Business Profile. These are free and easy to maintain.
Make sure to fill everything out including local phone number and address. The information you enter will now show up in Google’s search results.
The other critical feature of Google My Business is the question and answer section. You can proactively answer questions that you think might come up so that potential customers have as frictionless an experience as possible.
Finally, don’t forget about local directories. Yelp, TripAdvisor, and the Yellow Pages allow businesses to register online, and each of them can expose you to new audiences.
Check How Google Is Displaying Results in Your Niche
Too often, small businesses have no idea who or what they are actually competing with in search.
For example, if you want to focus on a keyword that has a lot of huge international companies ranking on the first page, you should realise that perhaps your expectations need to be tempered.
Another example: if search engines show a lot of images or videos in their results for keywords you want to be visible for, you should consider producing that sort of content rather than just focus purely on text.
Also, often search engines will show local business results – if that’s the case, your efforts need to be adjusted to focus on achieving visibility in those types of results.
Expand Your Keyword Targets
A fantastic and free way to get new ideas for keywords in your niche is by using the data Google gives for each search. After you do any search in Google, you’ll find Searches related to it at the bottom. Can you use any to improve your content?
Similarly, we can get lots of ideas using Google’s Suggest functionality (the list of ideas Google shows when you start typing in the search bar). These terms appear as Google is frequently seeing them used.
Tools such as Keyword Tool and Ubersuggest let you enter your seed keyword and find many variants, all based on real searches.
Even better, some of these tools let you do the same thing for YouTube, Amazon, Wikipedia and more to get other search types such as video or retail terms.
Add Fresh, Relevant Content on a Regular Basis
Google calls it Caffeine, and just like the jolt you get from your morning coffee, it’s used to perk up search rankings. To energize the search results, Google now takes recency into consideration. For publishing and updating your website often, Google rewards your efforts by favoring your content in it’s search results.
Build a Back-link Profile
Earning links back to a website is a core tenet of effective SEO. Successful link-building strategies require a significant investment in time and personnel effort, however.
Only 24% of small businesses invest time in building high-quality backlinks to their website.
Search engines consider links back to a website an endorsement of that website’s content. The more links you have, the more “votes” search engines can use to evaluate your website.
Earning links, however, can be challenging for businesses whose resources are already spread thin in the current environment. Some common link-building practices include:
- Guest blogging or guest posting
- Broken link building from businesses that link to competitors
- Answering questions on Help a Reporter
- Conducting outreach to journalists to earn coverage
At the heart of your local SEO campaign will be building the number of listings you have. In other words, the amount of places you can add your business, and get a citation. Often it is assumed that only business directories count, but actually there are number of ways to expand your portfolio.
It’s also worth doing some competitor analysis, searching for their name and their postcode to find other places they have grabbed a listing.
Keep Up with Industry News
Things can change fairy quickly in SEO, so things that work for a while can become against Google’s rules over time.
As with the recent penalties for bloggers reviewing products, Google will rarely spell things out. It will give advice and hints, but it won’t contact you. You’ll often only know you’ve done something ‘wrong’ when you login to Google Search Console.
MOZ helps to keep yourself updated with the latest updates and changes on Google algorithms.
With so many other decisions to make, conversations to have, and sales to secure, SEO might feel like something small business owners can put off. But the longer you wait, the further you may fall in search results, and the bigger the impact on organic traffic and revenue.
Start today with these actionable tasks to help ensure that people who could be your customers can find you online.
I liked this post very much. I’ve applied these SEO techniques on my tiny website and I was really effective. I like to see more posts like this. Thank you!
Thank you too Joe, nice to hear that you liked this post. 🙂
Thank you for this article, I totally agree with you that SEO is important, especially for small websites.
I have a question for you, with regards to local SEO. If I want to target international traffic but don’t want to miss people near me, I should spend some time to do local SEO, am I right?
If yes, what strategies do you suggest to focus on, taking into consideration that my niche is MMO?
I appreciate your feedback on this question!
Hi Natalie, thanks for your comment. Yes, local SEO is necessary and beneficial if you want to target local people.
Here are some tips to improve your local SEO:
1. Claim Your Business Listings
2. Add Location Pages to Your Website
3. Improve NAP Consistency
4. Update All Things Google My Business
5. Attain Reviews
6. Create Local Content
7. Take Advantage of Google AdWords Keyword Planner
8. Acquire Backlinks from Partners and Sponsorships
Hope it’ll be helpful for you. )
I think that small businesses can indeed only benefit from SEO. They need it to get noticed. How else will they get the word out about their products or services, right? I only learned about SEO a year ago, and I find it a wonderful tool. It is still a learning process, but I can see how it can drive traffic to your website.
I also get Google updates sent to my email about one niche I am blogging about, so I can stay up to date with new products, releases, news, etc. Some of these updates have given me ideas for new content.
Regarding backlinks, when someone links a backlink to my website how do I know it is not spam? I was warned that some may contain spam, so I am not sure what to do when someone backlinks to my website. Do you know how I can tell if it is a legit backlink or spam?
Hi Christine, yes SEO is a great free way for many businesses to show their products and services to the world.
Well, about your question, you don’t need to check every website that links to your site. You just need to make a plan to get quality back link for your website and forget about all those crappy sites that link to your site. It does not hurt your ranking, don’t worry. )
I can accept the caffeine hit analogy, like anything in life if you don’t keep it fresh then everything becomes stale and will be forgotten easily.
I like to do product reviews and have always used nofollow links as I don’t want my link juice flowing anywhere else other than my site.
I can see the benefits in backlinking when it comes to building authority with guest posts but have never been a fan of going down that road, I have never heard of help a reporter before might have a look at it. I just think I am lazy when it comes to SEO optimization.
Yes Kevin, getting back link is an important factor to get rank on search engines so you should always do it the right way.
Some very good ideas here to build SEO. I have adopted many of these though would like more information on how to build a ‘back line profile’? I liked the simplistic way the post is constructed but not as sure about the imagery which in some ways is too big and looks childish. I think they interupt rather than add butother than that is is a very useful post.
Yes, you’re right Trevor. There are many ways to do SEO for your website and the bad ones called black hat SEO. Back hat tactics may bring you some result in short term but it definitely hurts your website and ranking in long term so just focus on white hat tactics which is based on Creating Quality Content for your website on a regular basis.