When it comes to increasing the online presence of your small business, finding the right SEO services may seem like a daunting task. The industry is rapidly changing, and you will need to consider a lot of factors when making your decision. The most important is your customer base and how they are finding information.
According to Statista’s digital shopping behavior report, 77% of consumers used Google in 2021 to find information about local businesses. With such a significant portion of people relying on the internet to discover businesses near them, optimizing your web presence can bring fantastic returns.
To gain perspective on these returns, consider that the average small business website brings in fewer than 500 visitors per month, with approximately half of that traffic coming from organic search. With the proper Denver local SEO management services, your small business has the potential for tremendous growth.
If you aren’t familiar with the intricacies of SEO, this blog post will give you an understanding of which SEO services your small business needs to climb search rankings.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of following guidelines and best practices to raise your website’s rank in a search engine. Each search engine relies on different guidelines, but since Google accounts for nearly 85% of global search queries, it will be used for the purposes of this blog.
There are many contributing factors to healthy SEO, but since the algorithm used by Google is a fiercely guarded secret, nobody knows the exact formula. If you want to take a deep dive into what makes Google work, you can read the complete Google algorithm update history. But as a small business owner, you have more important things to worry about.
Why Do I Need Small Business SEO Services?
Although understanding and utilizing the proper tactics can seem intimidating, your small business needs SEO because it improves brand visibility, produces qualified leads, increases organic traffic to your website, and above all, accelerates growth. The best part about SEO is that unlike paid ads, which bring a surge of traffic that drops off once the campaign ends, tactfully deployed SEO brings results that last.
If you don’t have a Denver marketing agency to provide you with SEO management services, the first step on your small business SEO journey should be familiarizing yourself with the Google Search Essentials guidelines. These guidelines cover everything from SEO fundamentals to nitty-gritty technical specifications.
The breadth of information provided in the guidelines can be overwhelming, but understanding them plays a key role in any SEO strategy. If the guidelines are not followed, Google may enforce penalties on your website. These penalties can range from lowering your search rank to completely removing it from search results.
The surest way to protect yourself against penalties is to seek out a digital marketing agency that specializes in providing SEO services for small business owners, because running your business shouldn’t require you to become an SEO expert.
To visually understand the positive impact of SEO services, please refer to the the graph below. It represents the visibility growth experienced by a small business after investing in SEO.
SEO Audit Services
The word “audit” can be a harbinger of fear, but worry not. SEO audit services provide a useful (and necessary) way to understand the state of your website. The full scope of an SEO audit examines the content of your website against Google’s established guidelines, the quality of your website’s backlinks, and various local search optimization factors.
By running an SEO audit, you will learn:
If your content is useful and relevant
If Googlebot can effectively search your site
The health of your backlink profile
If the user experience on your site is driving away visitors
If you are taking advantage of every opportunity to reach local customers
At its core, an SEO audit is about identifying and fixing problems that are holding back your website. It’s important to run a quarterly SEO audit to make sure that nothing on your website has fallen into disrepair. There are multiple tools that can help you audit your website, including the free Lighthouse Chrome extension.
However, to get the most out of your SEO audit, the best method is to roll up your sleeves and do it manually. This way, you can ensure that the audit is tailored to your website’s needs and specifications. If you have never done one, or if your SERP rank is falling, you should take those as signs that your website needs an SEO audit.
The information below will give you a base-level understanding of how to conduct a self-audit of your small business website. However, if you are looking for a more in-depth assessment that will free up time for you to focus on your business, consider partnering with a Denver SEO company.
1. On-Page SEO Audit
Crawlability – Google uses software called a web crawler to constantly scour the internet for new and updated content. When auditing your website’s crawlability, you should check the following:
URL naming structure
Image alt text
Hierarchy of heading tags
User Experience – Although Google finds and ranks your website using software, your website should be built for people…not robots. The user experience (UX) to be seamless, secure, and simple. Make sure your website:
Positively reflects searcher intent
Is easy to navigate
Contains visuals that enhance your content
Is accessible to all
Useful Content – One of the recent core updates to Google’s algorithm addresses the quality of content on websites. Small business owners should strive to create people-first content, and you should review your pages to ensure the content is:
Original and provides substantial value to readers
Trustworthy and demonstrates expertise in the subject
Grammatically correct and easy to consume
Comprehensive and fulfilling
2. Technical SEO Audit
Crawlability – Having a crawlable website is so important that we’re including it in two parts of the SEO audit service checklist. Aside from the on-page elements we’ve already covered, there are a few more-advanced items to check for, including:
Submit sitemap to Google
Make sure robots.txt isn’t interfering with crawlable pages
Utilize structured data for rich results
Check Google Search Console for indexing issues
User Experience – Like crawlability, a positive UX is crucial for your website to climb the rankings. The technical aspects of UX that you should audit your site for are:
Linking Structure – There is a lot that can go wrong with links, and if something happens, it’s a major roadblock for your website’s traffic. To make sure that customers flow smoothly, confirm that your website:
Doesn’t have any 404 errors
Doesn’t have too deep of a linking structure
Uses redirects when necessary
Has a clear navigation menu or uses breadcrumbs
3. Local SEO Audit
Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) – Your Google Business Profile can make or break how many potential customers are finding your small business. An insights study conducted by BrightLocal found that 49% of all Google Business Profiles earned more than 1,000 monthly searches. To make sure that your small business is getting in on the action, you should ensure your GBP:
Has been verified
Contains accurate business hours and contact information
Links to your website
Accurately lists your business’ service category/sub-category
Keywords – Homing in on the keywords that your potential customers use is a fundamental goal of SEO. Tools such as Semrush and Moz offer SEO services for small business owners; however, the free versions are extremely limiting. If you don’t have a dedicated marketing agency, keep the following ideas in mind when performing your local SEO keyword research:
Common local terms
Customer search intent
Customer Reviews – Similar to how Google considers the trustworthiness of your content when ranking, it also uses customer reviews as a guiding factor. Here are the best practices for auditing your customer reviews:
Make sure to embed Google reviews on your website
Find negative reviews and provide helpful customer service
Respond to positive reviews
Register your website on the top review sites in your industry
Look for gaps and request product/service-specific reviews from customers
4. Backlink Audit
Quality – If a reputable website has a link that leads to your website, you can mark that as a point on your backlink scorecard. If a spammy or illicit site links to your website, that’s a big deduction. To make sure your backlink profile stays positive, use a backlink checker and look for the following links to potentially disavow:
A large number of unusual country top level domains
Toxic anchor text
Domains that do not rank in Google or have a very low domain authority
Quantity – While it’s not an invitation to seek out “black-hat” SEO tactics, the number of referring domains that your website has matters. If you want to rank for more competitive keywords, your website will need to have more websites linking to it. As a benchmark, you should review:
The number of backlinks your website has
The rate at which you acquire and lose backlinks
The most common anchor text
Competition – An important step in your backlink audit is to analyze the competition. Finding gaps in your backlink portfolio (especially if your content is better) can enable you to funnel traffic to your website. A competitive backlink audit should include identifying:
The type of content that your competition is getting links for
Which domains are linking to the competition
Any links that your competition has lost
Denver Local SEO Services
If you own a small business, investing in Denver local SEO services will boost your visibility in search and drive local customers to your website. Whether you own a restaurant, specialty retail shop, offer a service, or anything in between, building a local SEO strategy should be your top priority for gaining organic traffic.
The best local SEO strategies for small businesses involve a combination of maintaining an accurate Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business), building a portfolio of positive customer reviews, and managing an engaging social media presence. When done correctly, these three techniques produce enormous results.
Local SEO statistics reported by Safari Digital show that 46% of all Google searches include local intent, and more importantly, 28% of all local searches result in a purchase. If you aren’t taking advantage of Denver local SEO, you should consider partnering with a small business marketing consultant to ramp up your efforts. Let’s look at the top local SEO management services that you need to rank higher.
1. Maintain an Accurate Google Business Profile
Having a solid Google Business Profile (GBP) is the hallmark of local SEO. If you haven’t done so yet, create and verify your GBP. It’s completely free and well worth the effort of setting up. Before creating your GBP, you should review the guidelines, which are summarized below:
Business Description – Your description should be high-quality, relevant, and useful. Your business description should not: Mislead customers, focus on special promotions or prices, display links, or contain offensive/inappropriate content.
Name – Your business name should accurately reflect the official name of your business. This is not an opportunity to include keywords or branding. Entering a name that doesn’t match the real-world business name could prompt Google to suspend your business profile.
Address – The address listed should match your small business’ actual location. As a rule of thumb, enter the address like you are sending a letter to yourself. If you operate a service-area business, refer to the guidelines link above for more information.
Website & Phone – Use a local phone number or website that is under the direct control of your business. Do not include information that leads anywhere other than your business.
Business Hours – These guidelines vary depending on the operation schedule of your business. Refer to GBP business hours guidelines for specific information.
Categories – Use categories that best represent what your business is, not what it offers. For example, a fitness center with a smoothie bar should list the category “Gym” and not “Juice shop”.
Menu – Your GBP can have two types of menus: A traditional restaurant/cocktail bar menu or a service-listing menu. If you create a GBP menu, make sure it is complete and representative of what is available at your business.
Products – Retail businesses wishing to list their in-store products must follow Google’s Shopping Ads Policy.
2. Obtain Positive Customer Reviews
What people say about your business matters and gathering a portfolio of positive customer reviews is essential for success. In a world of seemingly-endless options, potential customers turn to online reviews before making a decision. 88% of consumers give online reviews as much merit as personal recommendations.
If you want to capitalize on more opportunities and improve your Denver local SEO ranking, building a portfolio of positive customer reviews is vital. Having a positive online reputation serves the valuable double-function of boosting your SERP ranking while also reinforcing your brand.
Harness the power of customer reviews to boost local SEO by requesting positive customer reviews from your clients. Ideally, the review will include the customer’s experience with your company and use the specific names of products/services they received. But be careful when soliciting reviews—you should never provide incentives or buy reviews. They should be honest and authentic.
To boost local SEO, gain reviews on:
Google Business Profile
Better Business Bureau
An easy way to get reviews is to find a Denver marketing agency that provides email marketing services. Email marketing is a great way to build loyalty with thank-you emails. This is a great place to request reviews. A small business marketing consultant will take the guesswork out of crafting emails that build your brand and get positive customer reviews.
It’s also important to engage with reviews, especially negative ones. If a customer has a bad experience and posts about it, you should make every effort to express concern and provide positive customer service. It’s an opportunity to show that you care about the customer and ease similar concerns that other potential customers reading the review may have.
3. Engaging Social Media Presence
When it comes to outsourcing SEO services for small business growth, social media management may not come to mind, but social media accounts are a hub for customers. They serve as discussion forums, help build community, and offer an important opportunity to raise visibility.
Social media shares and likes won’t directly contribute to local SEO efforts and posting a link to your social media profile won’t count as a backlink. However, social media flexes its SEO muscles by getting your content to the right audience. When your blog posts and landing pages reach interested audiences, the opportunity for your small business to develop meaningful relationships increases.
These relationships can result in partnerships that generate backlinks. In a long-term strategy (and SEO is a long-term strategy), the meaningful relationships that you develop will increase brand awareness and establish you as an authority in your industry. Once you become a recognized authority, bloggers and other backlink-friendly writers will be more likely to link to your content.
On-page & Technical SEO Services
Optimizing your on-page and technical SEO are fundamental strategies that every small business website needs. While the two disciplines are closely related, successfully executing each requires a specific set of skills and knowledge. The information below will serve as an aid in your optimization efforts but partnering with a Denver SEO company can take your organic search visibility to the next level.
From the titles and headers to the keywords and content, on-page SEO is everything that appears on your page, and it all influences how Google ranks your website. Optimizing on-page SEO is particularly important for small businesses because it provides the structure that both search engines and humans need to understand your product or service.
Technical SEO, on the other hand, follows a more advanced definition and often requires a greater level of technical know-how. Elements of technical SEO focus on improving the user experience, adjusting code to influence how your results appear in SERPS, and controlling how Google crawls your website.
Improving both on-page and technical SEO will raise visibility for your website and result in positive SERP positioning. With the right campaign and execution of strategy, you will notice an increase in ranking keywords as well as organic traffic to your website.
1. On-Page SEO
Meta Description – A meta description is a concise summary of what each page on your website is about. It appears directly beneath your site’s clickable link in SERPs and is a deciding factor on whether searchers will click through to your site.
Each page on your website should have a unique meta description that is between 50 and 160 characters long. If it is longer than this, Google may truncate the text that appears, cutting off important words.
Content – Thanks to Google’s helpful content updates, the quality of your content holds sway over how it is ranked. Thin, keyword-stuffed content that serves no purpose other than manipulating your SERP position will prompt Google to impose manual actions on your website. If left unaddressed, manual actions will lower your search rank or cause your website to be omitted from results.
To make sure that your pages remain compliant, be sure to follow the guidelines listed in Google Search Essentials. But to truly excel with local SEO, your content should abide by the concept of E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).
Site Structure – Site structure is the organization of pages and posts on your website. Creating a clean site structure gives search engines a better understanding of how to crawl your site. It also ensures that your users can easily find the pages that they’re looking for.
Your website should be organized in a logical hierarchy that begins with your homepage and branches off into different categories with individual pages. You should avoid building too deep of a website architecture with subpages of subpage of subpages. If you have to click more than three or four times to get to a page, consider a restructure.
2. Technical SEO
User Experience – The user experience begins even before your site loads. If your website is bogged down with large images and clunky code, visitors will leave before they have a chance to browse. When page load time rises from 1 to 3 seconds, the visitors are 32% more likely to leave. A high bounce rate signals that your website is not engaging and will negatively impact your traffic.
The trustworthiness of your website also contributes to a positive UX, and the best way to promote your website as trustworthy is improving cyber security with an SSL certificate. This assures the user that private information entered on your website stays private, and Google rewards sites that have this added layer of security.
Structured Data – For small business owners who are adept at coding, structured data offers a way to influence how your listing appears in SERPs. Structured data makes it easier for Google to identify your site’s contents and allow for something called rich results, which make your listing stand out and increase user engagement.
Implementing structured data on your website requires schema vocabulary along with JSON-LD coding. If the prospect of adding structured data to your website seems overwhelming, seeking out a Denver marketing agency that provides SEO management services for small business owners will take away the stress.
Mobile Friendliness – 63% of all organic search visits occur through mobile devices, and in March of 2021, Google began ranking websites based on the mobile version of the site. If you do not optimize your website for mobile, your position in SERPs will plummet.
To achieve mobile friendliness, build the website using a combination of responsive web design and accelerated mobile pages. These two development methodologies will ensure that your website displays correctly and loads quickly across all devices.
Backlink Building Services
Backlinks can be thought of as votes. A website without votes doesn’t stand a chance of being elected to the front page. But how do you get these important votes for your website? You may think that a good strategy is to seek out fast references from link farms or spammy sites, but this ballot stuffing is considered “black hat SEO” and will end up with your website being penalized.
Instead, you should find reputable, authoritative sites to link to your website. It’s also important to know that the relevancy of the linking sites will influence how much credit Google attributes to the backlink.
Link building is a key to local SEO, but because it can be tedious and time-consuming, you may want to meet with a Denver local SEO company to manage your link-building efforts. However, if you want to provide your own backlink building services, here are some tips to help give your site some link juice.
1. Respond to PR Requests
Journalists are always on the hunt for quotes to fill their articles. You can take advantage of their needs by providing them with expert quotes. This strategy is mutually beneficial because they’ll get their source, and you’ll get a valuable backlink in return. Following the tags #JournoRequest & #PRRequest on social media will alert you of the opportunities. You should also register as a source with HARO (Help A Reporter Out).
The only drawback to these methods is that you will face fierce competition. If you want to secure the source, you’ll need to act quickly. Prepare yourself by generating a list of pre-written quotes on a variety of subjects in your area of expertise, and then keep an eye out for opportunities. When an opportunity arises, just plug your quotes into the template below and send a message to the requesting reporter.
Subject: Expert source quotes for [Request]
Hi [First Name],
My name is [First & Last name] and I am the owner of [Business Name] | [website URL].
I have [#] years of experience with [topic], and I am happy to answer your questions.
- [Quote #1]
- [Quote #2]
Please let me know if you need me to elaborate or would like additional information.
[Your First Name]
2. Conduct Competitive Research
Competitive research is one of the most useful SEO services for small business growth. It sheds light on what your top-ranking competitors’ strategies are, and it gives you a secret weapon to surpass their success, especially regarding backlinks.
There are multiple SEO tools that you can use for competitive backlink analysis, such as Ahrefs and SEO Spyglass, but the learning curve can be steep, and the cost even steeper. Partnering with a local marketing company will give you access to a team of professionals with the right competitive research tools to discover:
What types of content earn links for your competitors
Which websites are prone to linking to content in your niche
Opportunities to overtake broken backlinks
3. Create Link-Worthy Content
With a solid content strategy and some preliminary awareness-building effort, your website may receive natural links without having to seek them out. The best way to ensure that your content receives natural backlinks is to produce high-quality, useful, and easy-to-understand content.
Creating in-depth guides, generating original research, and posting appealing visual assets like charts and infographics will entice people to link to your website. Striving to produce engaging content will turn your website into a backlink magnet.
Picking a Small Business Marketing Consultant
From responsive web design and engaging graphics to thorough research and targeted content, the intricacies of optimizing your website for search involve many moving parts. When picking a Denver marketing agency to provide SEO management services for your small business, you should select a full-service partner that is able to handle your needs.
Because Google’s algorithm is always changing, SEO is an on-going process. There are no secret hacks that will move your website to the top-ranking search result. You should avoid working with anyone who promises that kind of result. Enhancing your SEO presence is a long journey, and it requires a concentrated effort.
If you’re ready to work with a Denver local SEO company that understands the demands of your small business, we’d love to chat with you. Just give us a call at 720.446.6640 or shoot us a message at email@example.com.