11 Cost-Effective SEO Strategies and Tactics for Small Businesses

Mike Graner
|
2023-02-14

Most consumers conduct an online search before buying products or services. If your page doesn't rank highly on search engines, your target market may not discover you. Likewise, you may fail to generate enough leads despite investing in marketing.

A practical SEO strategy will increase online visibility and drive more traffic to your pages. Ultimately, you can generate more leads and sell your brand at a lower cost. Read on to learn about the top 11 cost-effective SEO tactics and strategies and discover the methods you can use to increase page ranking

1. Optimize your Google business page

Your Google business page provides search information about your brand. If these details are inaccurate or incomplete, you may not be able to attract valuable new leads. Furthermore, outranking brands with detailed information will be challenging.

Some tips on boosting SEO using your Google business page include:

Creating or claiming a Google business listing

Google often creates business listings for brands using website crawl bots. However, these pages may not contain all the information you want them to. Conduct an online search to determine if your brand has a listing. If you do, check the information provided and add the necessary details, for example:

  • The business addresses
  • Operating hours
  • Business website
  • Social media profile
  • Contact information

Create a comprehensive profile if your company doesn't have a Google business listing. Here, include critical information to help searchers find and communicate with your brand. Be sure to select the most appropriate category for your business.

If your brand has a physical location, include images of the premises on your Google business profile. In addition, add pictures of the products or services you offer.

Another vital step when creating or claiming a Google business listing is verification. This process involves Google confirming your location and credibility via mail or postcard.

Verifying your Google business page allows you to display edits made to an existing listing and helps you boost visibility and performance. Another key benefit of this step is gaining access to crucial analytics and reviews.

Get reviews from your customers

Google business reviews can help prospects notice your business during an online search as most users are likely to click on pages with customer feedback. Get feedback from your clients to optimize your business page. 

An ideal strategy is following up with clients and requesting comments. After that, respond to boost engagement and manage your online reputation.

Replying to customers' reviews is an ideal way to increase advocacy. Clients that get a response after providing feedback will likely recommend your company, helping your site get more traffic and rank higher on search engines. You can also boost local SEO by demonstrating that you value customers' opinions.

Leverage Google posts

Google posts will help you promote your small business and boost SEO. Including promotional Google posts on your listing will increase the number of people clicking on your images or links. This will then boost SEO and bring in more revenue. 

Post promotional offers to entice consumers before they visit your website. Ensure the posts have a thumbnail image and a promo description.

Google offers four post templates you can use to optimize your page, including:

  • Event posts
  • “What's New” posts
  • Product posts
  • Offer posts

Event posts allow you to promote upcoming activities. When using these, you can include a catchy headline and the event's date range. You can also add a CTA to direct page visitors to a specific action.

“What's New” Google posts allow you to announce upcoming changes and products. Use these to boost local SEO and online visibility. Here, you can briefly describe your business in about 100 characters. You may also include a CTA button with a link.

Product posts are a cost-effective way to market your items while increasing page ranking. You can include the items' names and price ranges in a single line. After that, attach a CTA button or link to your site.

Offer posts are pretty similar to product posts since they’re promotional. These help you boost engagement while advertising products or services. A Google offer post will allow you to include the date range and a link to your website. The full range view also lets you display the redemption methods.

2. Improve your website

Your company's website is an effective SEO tool. When you optimize it, you can boost your credibility online and better compete with established brands.

Here are some tips on improving your website for SEO:

Upload relevant and authoritative content

Uploading content that's helpful to your target audience will boost site traffic. Likewise, it increases your website authority and relevance for specific keywords. 

Make sure that your content addresses the informational needs of your target market. Before writing blogs and service pages, determine why consumers seek your services or products. After that, tailor your content around these issues for high relevance.

Optimize metadata for SEO

Metadata helps users identify the content they will find on your website. Optimize this feature for SEO by including rich keywords in page descriptions and title tags while ensuring they relate to the content on your site.

Use alt tags

Alt tags offer text descriptions of web images to search engines. These are also helpful to page visitors with visual issues. Use alt tags on your images to ensure search engines can locate your website during specific cases (for example, when consumers use text-only browsers or screen readers).

Improve the page load speed

Search engine algorithms consider your website's loading speed when ranking it. Ensuring your website loads faster will increase SEO by lowering the number of page visitors bouncing and boosting the time users spend on your website, not to mention you’ll avoid frustrating users. 

Some strategies for boosting page load speeds are:

  • Lowering page redirect
  • Allowing web caching for repeat visitors
  • Compressing your images
  • Using a high-quality hosting solution
  • Minifying JavaScript and HTML
  • Using a content delivery network (CDN)

Implement live chats

Live chats can improve your website and help you increase SEO. These allow you to engage page visitors, prompting them to stay on your site longer. Chats also give you the opportunity to answer frequently asked questions and ensure your site is user-friendly.

Offering reliable customer support is the best way to encourage reviews and recommendations. Using live chats, you can assist customers during the buyer's journey. You may also improve their experiences and boost SEO through page mentions and reviews.

Since connecting with customers can be time-consuming when running a small business, it's advisable to outsource these services. A company offering live chat services can ensure timely responses to inquiries and help you build an FAQ database that gives consumers valuable information.

3. Create optimized content

On-page optimization SEO strategy checklist

Optimizing content is another cost-effective SEO strategy. This process ensures your posts help your brand's website rank highly online.

Some practical ways to optimize your content include:

Establishing a content structure

Ensuring your content has a good structure will optimize it for SEO. Before uploading, verify that your pieces have a logical design and natural flow. An ideal way to do this is to format your content using H2, H3, and H4 headers. This will help you organize ideas to avoid confusing readers. Likewise, search engines can identify the most critical sections in the content.

Manage the keyword density

Including keywords in your content is a practical SEO strategy. Still, many small business owners tend to overuse key phrases. This causes their pages to rank poorly since search engines can penalize this practice.

Manage your content carefully to avoid keyword stuffing. Get a solution that allows you to measure keyword density or use a free online tool. These can help balance the phrases throughout the content to avoid penalties.

Add visuals to your content

Content that includes visuals is more likely to capture the attention of a search engine user. As a result, pages that leverage graphics often receive more traffic than those that don't. This can lead to a significant disparity in search engine ranking. 

Include high-quality visuals in your content to boost SEO at a low cost. Break down large sections of text by including images. Make sure the pictures are diverse and reflect your brand's image and message.

Other visuals to add to your content for SEO are:

  • Infographics
  • Memes
  • GIFs
  • Screenshots
  • Presentations
  • Quotes

Videos can help you engage page visitors and boost time spent on your sites. Use high-quality clips to capture your audience's interest and attract more traffic. Unlike written text, visuals allow users to quickly get the information they need, can inspire repeat page visits, and boost SEO.

Leverage linking

Internal and external links significantly influence SEO ranking. When you leverage these, search bots can easily find and rank your pages. Likewise, you will allow users to more easily navigate your website and find related content. Ultimately, links will boost page engagement and user experience metrics.

Include external links in your website and use relevant anchor text. However, only direct users to content from a reputable company or organization. Before adding an internal link to your content, verify that the two pages relate. Moreover, confirm that the attached link expounds on the information in the anchor text.

Focus on local searches

Many small businesses rely on local communities to grow. If consumers within your locality don't know about your brand, it may be challenging to scale. Improve SEO when creating content by focusing on local searches. One way to do this is by attaching keywords to phrases like 'near me.’

Moreover, target the content by addressing issues consumers in a specific area experience. For example, if you offer roofing services, write about storm restoration if the area recently had heavy rain. This strategy will help you rank highly for related searches in your locality.

You can also include locations on service pages. For instance, if you sell flowers in Chicago, ensure your content contains some local area names. Likewise, add the city or state name in the meta title. This will make your pages easily noticeable during an online search.

4. Ensure business pages are mobile friendly

Studies show that over 2 billion people only access the internet using their phones. Most consumers use these devices to find businesses near them or learn more about products.

Ensuring your business pages are mobile-friendly will increase traffic, boosting SEO. Some practical tips include:

Create mobile-friendly content

Many business owners don't consider mobile phones when writing content. This issue limits their traffic to computer browsers. It also causes a high bounce rate from mobile phones, affecting your site's ranking.

When writing content, avoid bulky paragraphs that are hard to read on mobile phones. Break up large blocks of text using bullet lists and subheadings. 

More ways to create mobile-friendly content include:

  • Using captivating introductions
  • Incorporating images
  • Using high-contrast colors
  • Eliminating unnecessary words
  • Using short titles

Create a responsive page design

A responsive page display will make it easy for users to interact with your page when using a phone. Verify that your layout allows consumers to navigate your content easily. Eliminate clutter to ensure that each page only contains helpful, relevant information.

Another way to create a responsive web design is using a mobile theme or template. This will allow you to determine how each page appears to mobile users. You may then reposition some sections or buttons for an improved experience.

Adjust pop-ups to screen sizes

Pop-up messages and ads can frustrate page visitors if they can't close them. Adjust these posts to ensure the close button fits a mobile phone screen. Likewise, verify that the 'X' is large enough for clicking using fingers.

Adjusting pop-ups based on screen sizes will make it easy for mobile phone users to browse your pages and prevent negative reviews on your mobile app or website. This will enhance user experiences, positively impacting SEO.

5. Build your social media  

While social media doesn't directly influence SEO, it helps you generate site traffic. In the long run, you increase page ranking and compete with other enterprises at a lower cost. These platforms are also ideal for marketing your brand to specific consumers.

When creating social media profiles for your company, it’s imperative you make sure that the names match. This will make it easy for users to locate your accounts or pages after a search. 

Once you launch your accounts, embed their links on your website. This will increase traffic on all sites and ultimately rank higher on search engines.

Other practical tips on building your social media are:

  • Posting consistently
  • Ensuring you use the right platforms
  • Posting engaging content
  • Including links to your website on the page
  • Adding a call to action directing followers to your website

Many consumers looking for your services will likely come across your social media page. Use this platform to increase web traffic by posting about lucrative deals, and promoting upcoming events or campaigns using pay-per-click ads.

Another way such platforms can influence SEO is by providing your brand with social proof. When you engage your followers, consumers are more likely to trust you. From there, you can build your credibility in the online space and improve the brand's website SEO performance.

6. Measure your SEO efforts

Tracking your SEO efforts can help you identify effective strategies and reduce brand marketing costs while maintaining your online reputation. When measuring your SEO efforts, you should use several methods to assess key metrics and understand their effects on page ranking. Some practical ways to measure SEO efforts are:

Organic traffic

Organic traffic refers to the number of people visiting your site after it comes up during a search. Tracking this number is the best way to gauge how your page ranks for different results. Use traffic analytics and domain overview to assess the organic traffic to your website.

A domain overview will give you a high-level interpretation of your traffic over a specified period. It will also provide a detailed breakdown of the organic results vs. paid traffic.

After conducting a domain overview, use traffic analytics for a detailed assessment. A solution with this feature will help you identify the number of visits from specific sources, including:

  • Paid ads
  • Social media
  • Search
  • Referrals

Getting such info from traffic analytics simplifies detecting the highest sources of traffic. You may then leverage them for improved and consistent SEO. 

Another benefit of traffic analysis is that you can identify the pages your visitors go to after leaving your website. This will make identifying key competitors ranking for similar keywords easy.

Track the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) visibility

SERPs often consist of organic search and ads. If the snippets in these results aren’t enticing, users are less likely to click on your pages. Track the visibility of your sites on SERP for the primary services and products you offer. After that, assess whether the snippet includes desirable SERP features from your site, including:

  • Reviews
  • Instant answers to questions
  • Image packs
  • Knowledge panel

Checking your site's visibility will help determine if your SEO efforts are efficient. It also simplifies identifying opportunities to rank for featured snippets using particular keywords. Tracking SERP visibility also avoids wasting resources on strategies that don't yield results.

Monitor the Click-Through Rate (CTR)

CTR allows you to identify the number of users who clicked on your brand's website from a SERP. If your CTR is 20% and your site appeared 100 times, 20 people clicked on it.

Measuring the CTR is the best way to assess various SEO efforts. For example, you can use it to determine if your metadata attracts users' attention. Likewise, you can see if you effectively geo-targeted your content.

If you notice a lower click-through rate, you should use effective SEO strategies to boost it. One ideal method is changing your meta descriptions to make them enticing. Ensure the featured snippets directly reflect what your company offers.

Other tips for boosting SEO through high CTR are:

  • Using high-quality visuals
  • Leveraging negative keywords
  • Optimizing images correctly
  • Using a listicle content format
  • Activating breadcrumb navigation
  • Optimizing all URLs for users
  • Using descriptive URLs

Assess your website’s authority over time

Your website's authority score can predict how well it will rank during a search. Tracking this number can help you measure your SEO efforts and adjust your strategies to maintain a higher authority.

Use domain authority scores to compare your site's authority to competitors'. Since assessing and tracking these numbers can be time-consuming, consider using a software solution. An ideal tool should help you measure at least 40 factors influencing domain authority.

Some aspects the software may look at are:

  • Root domain
  • SEO performance
  • Social signals
  • Relevance of backlinks
  • The number of backlinks

If you identify that your domain authority is low, use various methods to boost it and improve SEO. For example, you can build a solid link profile. This will include creating incoming links from high authority or related sites. It will also involve removing low-quality links from your content.

Selecting a good domain name can help you boost your website's authority. Make sure that your site contains the appropriate extension and verify that the name is short and easy to type. You should also avoid hyphens and numbers that may make page visitors think your site isn't credible.

7. Leverage guest posting

Guest posting involves writing content for another company's website. Since you include your brand's link or CTA in the post, this SEO strategy will benefit you in many ways.

First, it increases awareness since you address the other brand's audience. Additionally, you will place your link on a high-authority site. Posting your content on other pages may increase traffic to your website. It also expands your company's network in your field and boosts the number of social media mentions.

Before guest blogging, ensure you select a topic wisely. An ideal subject should directly relate to what your brand does. It must also align with the other company's messaging to prevent conflict.

Other tips to help you leverage guest posting for SEO are:

  • Writing high-quality content
  • Working with brands your consumers also like
  • Finding publications with a bigger audience

The anchor text used when guest posting can determine if the strategy delivers the needed results. Before selecting a phrase, assess if the audience of the publishing site uses it during an online search. After that, evaluate if other relevant terms may help you generate more traffic.

These precautions will ensure you get the best results from the guest post and allow the publication to rank highly on search engines, boosting your site's domain authority.

8. Participate in local events

Participating in business events in your area will build awareness about your services and allow you to create a great first impression on the attendees. Once they leave the event, they will likely search your business to learn more about it.

Attending and contributing during local events is ideal for connecting with established brands. If such enterprises post about the event on social media, you will likely generate significant traffic to your site, allowing you to grow your company within a shorter time.

When running a small business, you can quickly organize events or sponsor those planned by the community. Hosting your activities is ideal if you want to launch a product or focus the attention on your brand only. Conversely, sponsoring would be suitable if you wish your target audience to associate you with a complementary firm.

9. Focus on unique offerings

Capturing the attention of a desirable audience in the online space may be challenging. Users who notice search results have the same content will most likely click on the first three pages. This reduces the click-through rate for lower search engine results.

Focusing on unique aspects of your business is an effective way to attract attention and drive more traffic to your sites. Some ideal strategies to use include:

Studying your competitors

Identifying how your competitors present themselves in the online space will help you focus on unique offerings. Conduct an online search using keywords relevant to your field. Next, identify the pages ranking highly and look for content marketing gaps, including:

  • Shallow meta descriptions
  • Titles that don't relate to the keyword
  • Lack of detailed information about a topic

Once you identify weaknesses in the search engine results, leverage them. For example, edit your meta descriptions to contain detailed information related to searches. 

Highlight unique products or services

Focusing your web content on unique services or products can boost SEO. It also avoids high bounce rates when page visitors must browse your entire website to find a specific item.

Promote your small business by tailoring your marketing efforts on differentiated products. For example, if you sell nutritional products, customize your content around wellness. This will help you rank above similar companies selling a broad range of healthcare items.

Narrow your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns

Pay-per-click campaigns improve SEO by helping your ads appear beside or above organic searches. However, the competition for keywords used in these campaigns can be high, so you may need to invest a lot of money and marketing resources to ensure a high page ranking.

The best SEO strategy when running PPC campaigns is narrowing your focus. Instead of bidding for keywords your competitors use, opt for customized ones. Prioritizing PPC campaigns allows you to geo-target ads.

10. Keep track of search engine trends

Search engines regularly change their methods for ranking websites, applying new restrictions on content and making it tricky for your old pages to boost SEO. Leverage cost-effective ways to boost online visibility by following search engine trends. You can use tools like Google Insights for Search and Google Trends. These will help you identify new techniques for better SEO. Even better, you can stay ahead of competitors and leverage valuable web search data.

Another way to keep track of search engine trends is by subscribing to online magazines. Identify resourceful pages tailoring their content around SEO for small businesses. Next, check if they update their content regularly to include critical discoveries or tech. If yes, sign up for their emailing list to monitor practical SEO strategies.

11. Use artificial intelligence

Leveraging a cost-effective SEO strategy requires dedication and time. Still, you may not have the right talent to track results and monitor your campaigns. Artificial intelligence will help you automate some processes and boost SEO ranking at a lower cost. Some activities you can simplify with AI include:

AI solutions help you identify the most effective SEO strategies. With the right tools, you can measure traffic generated from specific ads and assess the effects of this traffic on page ranking and awareness about your services.

Using technology to implement SEO strategies can lower business costs in many ways. First, it avoids hiring IT and web development experts. Second, it fixes issues affecting your SEO campaigns and prevents wasting resources.

Get the most from an SEO strategy with Smith.ai

When you apply a practical SEO strategy, you will likely experience a spike in website visits. The number of inquiries via call, messages, and email may also rise.

Smith.ai helps you streamline workflow and customer service when employing SEO strategies. With our tools and agents, you’ll capture every lead generated from your website with our outbound call-back and lead-screening and intake services. Moreover, you can respond to many inquiries without outsourcing services from a contact center.

Smith.ai will also furnish you with software to gather valuable metadata and help you make better SEO decisions. If for some reason you find we’re not the right fit for your small business, we offer a 14-day, money-back guarantee. You can chat with us live, right on the website, 24 hours a day. Book your free 30-minute sales consultation to find out more.

Mike Graner

Mike Graner is the Marketing Manager at Smith.ai. He focuses on engaging content, company updates, and in-person events.

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