Many small and medium-sized businesses choose not to invest in SEO because they assume that their budgets are too small to compete with larger companies. This assumption is wrong. It is possible to beat your competitors and secure the top spot in the search results with a small budget. Here’s how:
See What Your Competitors Are Doing
If you want to beat your competitors, you need to learn more about their SEO efforts. There are a number of tools that allow you to see what keywords your competitors are targeting, Semrush being the most comprehensive one.
Simply enter a competitor’s URL into one of these tools to pull up a list of targeted keywords. You will see total search volume, your competitor’s ranking, and traffic for each keyword in the list.
You can learn a lot from this list of keywords. You may see keywords on this list that you would have never thought to target. Or you may realize that your competitors aren’t targeting a popular keyword, which leaves the door open for your website to target them.
Explore your competitors’ top-ranking pages. Determine how they secured a high ranking for these keywords by figuring out what SEO strategies your competitor implemented on these pages.
Look at the lowest ranking pages, too. If you’re working with a small budget, you can’t afford to waste time or money on an ineffective strategy, so it’s best to learn from your competitors’ successes and mistakes instead.
Conduct An SEO Audit
The next step is identifying and fixing issues that could be negatively impacting your website’s ranking. To do this, you will need to conduct a comprehensive SEO audit using a tool such as SEMRush, ScreamingFrog, or DeepCrawl. Many SEO audit tools offer free trials, so you may not need to pay to complete your audit.
These tools will crawl your website to look for various SEO issues, including:
- Duplicate content
- Missing headers, titles, or meta descriptions
- Broken links
- Page load speed
- non-HTTPS URLs
- Duplicate versions of your site in Google’s index
- Complicated site architecture
- Mobile-friendliness issues
Once the audit is complete, you will receive a list of issues that need to be addressed to improve your SEO. Work your way through this list until every issue has been corrected. Making these changes could have a major impact on your website’s ranking.
Update Your Google My Business Page
Small businesses typically don’t need to target potential customers located across the country. Instead, they need to focus on targeting potential customers located in their community. For this reason, small businesses should focus on local SEO, which is optimizing a website for a specific geographical area.
One of the best ways to improve your ranking in local search results is by updating your Google My Business page. Start by creating a Google My Business page for your business if you don’t have one already. Then, provide information about your business. Incorporate a few of your top keywords when describing your business and the services you provide. Make sure to also add your contact information, including your business’s current address.
Be as specific as possible when choosing the category for your business. For example, if you own a store that sells antique furniture, choose the “Antique Furniture Store” category instead of the “Antique Store” category.
It only takes a few minutes to update your Google My Business page. Once you’re done, your business will have a listing that may appear at the top of local Google searches.
Target Long-Tail Keywords
The vaguer the keyword, the harder it will be to secure the top spot in the search results. Make the most out of your small SEO budget by targeting long-tail keywords instead of general keywords.
A long-tail keyword is a long, specific keyword phrase. For example, say you are marketing a clothing boutique in Seattle that exclusively sells formal women’s gowns. Your first thought might be to target “clothing boutique” or even “women’s clothing boutique.” But you shouldn’t target these general keywords.
Why? First, there are probably dozens if not hundreds of other businesses targeting these exact same keywords. These businesses may sell swimwear, activewear, bridal gowns, and other women’s clothing. Because so many businesses fall under the “clothing boutique” category, you will face a lot of competition when trying to rank for these keywords.
Plus, the people who are performing searches with these keywords may not be looking for businesses like yours. These users could be looking for clothing boutiques that sell many other types of women’s apparel.
To avoid these problems, target a long-tail keyword such as “Seattle women’s formalwear boutique” or “women’s formalwear boutique in Seattle.” These specific keywords will narrow down your audience so your website appears in the search results for people who are actually looking for a business like yours. Furthermore, it ensures you are competing against a much smaller pool of businesses to secure the top spot in the search results.
Take a look at your list of targeted keywords. If you are targeting general keywords, think about how you can make them more specific.
Measure Your Results
If you aren’t measuring your results, you won’t know which efforts are working and which are not. To avoid this problem, use Gryffin’s SEO dashboard to monitor the results of your SEO efforts.
This dashboard pulls data directly from Google Search Console and Google Analytics and presents it in easy-to-read charts and graphs. You can see key metrics for dozens of different sites at a glance, including traffic, impressions, click-through rates, positions, conversions, average session duration, and more. It only takes a few seconds to see how each of these metrics have changed over the last 30 days, which makes it easy to measure your results.
You can also use this dashboard to perform and measure the results of SEO experiments and algorithm updates. This allows you to measure the direct impact that specific changes have had on your site’s ranking.
Gryffin is an affordable SEO dashboard tool designed for businesses of all sizes. Start your free 14-day trial today.