5 SEO tactics to outrank your competitors

SEO tactics for small businesses

You can have the best website and product but it won’t matter if visitors can’t find your website.

Contrary to popular belief, just because you’ve built a website doesn’t mean that customers will start coming in. In fact, it’s only the first step and search engine optimization (SEO) is the way to get people through your digital door.

Here are 5 SEO tactics that every small business can use

1. Harness the power of long-tail keywords

One of the things that you hear a lot about SEO is about keywords. While they sound simple enough, there are actually two types of keywords.

  • Head terms are high volume keywords and are extremely competitive. You see head terms whenever you type in a broad keyword like pizza, auto-repair or running shoes.
  • Long-tail keywords are the opposite of head terms – they generate low volumes and are less competitive. These keywords are more granular and usually resemble a question or a short phrase like Vancouver artisanal pizza, best running-shoes for beginners and auto-repair tips for experts.

Unless you’re Dominos or Nike, your best bet to compete against larger and even local competitors is to use long-tail keywords to drive traffic to your site. While they generate a small number of searches per month, these queries are more focused and usually mean that people are actively shopping around.

2. Set up a Google My Business account

Have you ever noticed the information on the right hand column when you search for a company? That’s GMB at work, right there. Every business, especially small businesses, need to set one up. It’s completely free and it enables your business to show up on queries that are relevant to a specific location. Creating a GMB account essentially puts you on the “map” whenever a query comes in.

One thing to take note is that your name, address and phone number (NAP) needs to remain consistent throughout all your listings. For example, the NAP for your GMB listing and Yelp listing needs to be the same.

3. Optimize for local SEO

Local SEO doesn’t gain as much fanfare as standard SEO because most businesses focus on reaching a wide audience. However, optimizing for local search results can easily drive a lot of traffic to your site and physical location.

In fact, Google has a preference for serving local businesses, especially those with a physical location. In fact, try it out and search for a broad query like sushi or poutine. After the three ads, the next results that Google shows belong to the Local Pack.

Local Pack
Local Pack for Vancouver restaurants

In essence, the Local Pack focuses on providing businesses that are near and/or popular in a given location. For small businesses trying to compete against large and/or established competitors, the ranking on the local pack provides a lot of visibility.

4. Ask for customer reviews and testimonials

It’s a well-known fact that people seek verification before we buy anything. For example, we may reach out to our social media network, our family, friends and colleagues to find out if they had a good experience with a particular brand.

By gaining reviews from customers, it helps assuage any fears and doubts that potential customers may have about a product or a service. From an SEO perspective, the better your reviews are, the better visibility you receive from Google.

5. Create evergreen content

Everyone says that content is king, but evergreen content is even better. It’s essentially a piece of content that stays relevant, sustainable and lasts for a very long time.

In fact, one of our most popular pieces of content is hardly promoted on any of our networks but it generates a sizable amount of traffic each month.

evergreen content performance – 3 year period

Our article on identifying fraud sites helps drive new visits to our blog each month. Despite being three years old, it still resonates with readers.

So what’s the key to evergreen content? Make sure that you identify a question that potential customers frequently ask then write about it.

If you ever feel that the particular topic you identified has been covered by hundreds of other businesses, approach it from a different angle. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re aiming to create evergreen content:

  • Write for beginners and intermediate readers. Experts won’t necessarily go through extensive content pieces.
  • Hone in on a single topic to keep your writing focused and relevant.
  • Keep it simple because readers may not know technical terms.

No matter how you write your content, make sure that you combine it with keywords that you’d like to rank for. Make sure that you optimize it, but don’t stuff it with keywords.

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