Where do you go when you need answers? Information? Help? Solutions? Products? Services? Google or another search engine! Most (68%) online experiences begin the same way. Further, 80% of major purchases start with online research, even if consumers then go on to buy in person.
We can throw statistics at you all day, but the bottom line is that a strong online presence is a must in today’s competitive marketplace. Critical in this endeavor is a search engine optimization strategy that propels you to the top of the results pages. What do you need to know when it comes to SEO guidelines for 2022?
SEO Tips for Small Businesses In 2022
While there are always changes, SEO guidelines for 2022 start with the tried-and-true fundamentals:
Whether you are new to the world of SEO or a veteran hand, it makes sense to start with keyword research. This will tell you what people are actually searching for - not what you think they’re entering into search engines. Research also uncovers which keywords are ripe for the picking (i.e. you can rank well) and which your competitors are ranking for.
You can use any number of keyword tools available online, but it’s helpful to consult with an SEO agency to make strategic selections. And remember, any keywords for which you want to rank should always fit naturally into your content. Google will tank your rankings if you “stuff” keywords in at random, and consumers will distrust your content as inauthentic.
When it comes to placing the keywords into your content, focus on:
- Title tags
- Header Tags
- Content (e.g. blogs, web copy, ebooks, etc.)
- Alt tags for images and descriptions
Work on Link-Building
Building links is one of the most worthwhile steps you can take to boost your search engine performance. Strong backlinks indicate to Google that your site is reliable, trustworthy, and authoritative. With that in mind:
- Create content worth sharing. When you have compelling content, it prompts other sites to link to it, guiding their own users to your site.
- Post content on reputable sites in your space. For example, a law firm/lawyer might create informative pieces (long form is best) for sites like HG.org, USLegal, Attorney at Law Magazine, etc.
- List your business on relevant local directories (e.g. Google Business Profile, Yellow Pages, Yelp, Foursquare, industry-specific sites, and location-specific directories) and link back to your website.
- Reach out to complementary businesses/sites and ask them to consider linking to your content or engaging in a guest blogging situation with backlinks.
Leverage Social Media
No, on its own, social media is not a ranking factor. So why does this make it one of our top SEO tips for small businesses in 2022?
- It provides an excellent opportunity to share your content and direct people to your website. This does impact search performance in that it boosts positive user signals.
- Social media also increases the likelihood that other people/sites will find your content and share it, creating beneficial backlinks.
- Social profiles can rank in keyword searches. In some cases, your Facebook profile, for example, may rank even higher than your website.
You don’t need to have a presence on every social media channel. Instead, think about your target audience. Where are they spending their time? Pew Research has some helpful demographic data to help you decide where to focus your efforts.
Focus on User Experience
Google’s goal is to deliver the most relevant results to its users. When you offer a clean, easily navigable, engaging website with informative content, it looks better in the eyes of both search engines and consumers. To improve the user experience:
- Improve your page speed. Nothing frustrates and turns away, prospective customers than a slow site. They’ll navigate away as fast as their fingers can click or swipe.
- Use high-quality, original images.
- Make sure your headlines are direct, concise, and keyword optimized.
- Use calls to action that are clear and easy to engage with.
- Write for web readers: use bullet points, lists, headlines, subheaders, and other elements that are easily digestible.
Don’t Forget Technical SEO
On-site SEO is essential, but don’t neglect the more technical aspects, such as:
- Mobile-friendly or mobile-first website
- Site speed
- XML maps
- Structured data markup
- URL optimization
- Breadcrumb menus
- Canonical URLs
- Preferred domain
Not sure what some of these items are? You’re not alone; it is a complex area of SEO. Consulting with a search engine optimization expert is a great step forward.
Conduct a Local SEO Audit
A local SEO audit can uncover a wealth of information regarding your current performance, as well as areas for improvement. THAT Agency will examine everything from page speed to mobile performance and provide targeted strategies to propel your business forward.
Take the first step: contact THAT Agency for an SEO audit.