Search Engine Optimization for Small Businesses | Muletown Digital

Quick Guide: Search Engine Optimization for Small Businesses

If you’re anything like us you likely get about 4 spam or phishing emails a day with companies that promise to get you more traffic on your site. They talk about SEO, creating backlinks, or one of the other big buzz words when it comes to your website presence. These emails are a slightly upgraded version of the “save the prince of Nigeria with your donation” emails. However, they do remind us that this topic is really confusing. So, we have created a very quick overview of how all of this works. This first article will give you a VERY basic understanding of search engine optimization and we’ll work towards more complicated pieces as we go.

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the ever changing way for people to find your business (your website) online. When people run a search in Google for “Small Business Digital Marketing” or “Plumbers” or “queso near me” they are looking for answers to solve a need. If your business can help them, it will appear in the results. So, ultimately, SEO is how good of a match is your website to the questions that the user is searching for. In that aspect. This is super simple, but it gets technically complicated really fast.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

What are the different types of SEO?

When you perform a Google search there are lots of different types of results that will come up. Typically the 3 types are Pay Per Click (PPC)/Sponsored, Local and Organic. Pay Per Click or Sponsored pages compete for your clicks by bidding on them (ie. they pay to show up in the results). Local links show places near your location that provide something along the lines of what you searched for. And organic results are highly trafficked sites that also meet your search engine search requirements. So you may be thinking at this point, which of these do I need? Do I need all 3? How does all of this work? Keep reading, we’re getting there.

Paid Ads (Pay per Click, AdWords, etc)

The fastest way to show up on Google is to pay for a slot. In a very dumbed down way it’s a whole lot like an auction. Businesses bid on placement order, so when you search for something they get found before others or at least show well in the ranking (at least that’s the ultimate goal). The big positive is you get traffic, and if you do it right you can get traffic that’s actually looking to buy what you’re offering. The negative is that it can be very expensive, and it stops as soon as you stop paying. In the paid world of Google, Bing, etc. you basically setup accounts that allow you to advertise on their services and pay for each of the people that are directed to your site through sponsored links.

Google Search of Paid Ads

Local Search Engine Optimization

Local SEO is typically for places that are considered to be “brick and mortar” shops. Places that actually have a physical location. For coffee shops, lawyers, real estate agents, veterinarians, or any other place where you’d physically have a consumer come visit, Local SEO is a HUGE tool that you can take advantage of. This boils down to using tools like your Google My Business page and Local Citations. If your business is showing up first when someone searches for “vet”, Google is assuming they’re looking for a “vet near you” meaning it’ll look for any websites or Google My Business locations that have citations with a local address near them. It can be a little daunting to understand it all, but for now, just know that if you have a brick and mortar, this is what you care about!

Google Search Results - Map Pack

Organic Search Engine Optimization

Organic SEO is typically the last of the search results shown, but they don’t physically cost you money to get the slots. This truly boils down to on-page SEO, keyword research, meta tags, backlinks (people linking to your website that also have great website authority), and a slew of other things. This is what we typically call the “long game.” You work on your organic SEO in chunks, all of the time. The best way to start is just by having relevant content on your website that is easily found by search engines, and content that other people might want to link to. Honestly, it’s harder than that, but just think of this as building your retirement plan. It’s not immediate, it’s not always fun, but in the end, it’s something that will pay off majorly in the long haul.

Google Search - Organic Results

How does Search Engine Optimization (SEO) impact my business?

If SEO is handled properly it can be a massive tool in creating consistent leads for your business. If you are a fence installation company, your hope would be that you’re sending estimators out each day so you can land new jobs. So think about the process that most people go about when they are thinking about putting a fence around their property.

  1. They are likely going to get on their phone and type in “fence installation” or “property fence” or something like that.
  2. Those customers are going to see a list of companies paying for a slot there, they are going to see a map pointing to fence installers with an address near their location at the time of the search. They will also see a slew of information likely below there with tips, tricks, how-to’s and all sorts of information about fence installation.
  3. If you have a great Google My Business page, and good ratings, and you fit the bill, your site shows up on there. They click to go to your website.

At that point the job of SEO is completed. The job is, take the users query, and get them to the most suitable place to answer their questions or provide the service they are looking for. You can have an amazing website, but if nobody can find it, it’s not really doing you a whole lot of good. However, the reverse is also true, if you work on your SEO but your website is shall we say “not the best” you’ll likely have trouble converting those visitors into customers. So you have to be working on all sides of your digital space in order to really provide the best opportunity for your business!

If you’re struggling with your SEO, or your website, or maybe even both things at the same time, we have some solutions for you! Simply contact us and we’ll provide the best route to get you pointed in the right direction.

What can I do?

It’s very difficult to provide a one-size-fits-all guide to SEO which is why we aren’t going to do that, or even attempt to do that here. The reality that even we face, and we live in this world day in and day out, is that each business has different needs. Muletown Digital partners with several different SEO contractors, companies, and specialists to produce the best results possible for each business that we work with. If you’re not sure what to do, or where to start with getting your business found online, please reach out to us so that we can connect with you and help you create a plan. It’s important to understand how SEO works and how each different method works, but when it gets into implementation you’ll likely need a helping hand, and we’re here to make sure your business succeeds!

Quick Tips

  1. If you are a brick and mortar store with a physical location, start out by securing your Google My Business page. 
  2. All businesses, particularly local businesses, but really all businesses benefit from customer reviews. Find a review management system like Trust Pilot, Google Reviews, Yelp, or something that works for your business, or let us help you. If you have a Google My Business page you can start getting reviews right from there!
  3. If you are NOT a location-specific business start by having us run an audit on your website. Contact us for details. We can give you the nuts and bolts about how your website is doing technically. Having a well-built website makes a VERY large difference in your ability to get found online.
  4. If you need help with all of the above and don’t have the time to DIY it get in touch with our team so that we can help you get started!

Muletown Digital is a Columbia based SEO company offering SEO services to businesses throughout Tennessee, including NashvilleSpring HillBrentwood, and Franklin. 

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