SEO has long been a bone of contention for small businesses as it’s often ruled by the big brands roaming around the page one of search engine results.  However, times have changed. Small businesses can power-up and rise up to the challenge with some straight-forward SEO hacks. The bonus for startups is that there are no rule books, within reason of course. With agility on their side, there is a great opportunity for startups to start owning SEO. Let me run through my recommended simple steps to take:

1. Keywords Are King

Keywords are two to five word phrases that your potential clients would type into a search engine when looking for you – or a business like yours. Start by listing all the possible words that potential visitors would use to find you online. Select more precise terms to describe your business and products to define your niche or specialty. For example, if you are a graphic designer who specialises in brand design for large companies, you may choose ‘enterprise graphic design’ rather than ‘graphic design’ or ‘start-up graphic design.’

2. Social Rules

Connecting your social profiles, adding alt text to your images and updating your contact info will help close the loop on your company’s online presence. Creating and maintaining a social presence is key to helping drive traffic to your website, and grow your business.

3. Trend Tracking

Each change a search engine makes may have an effect on your rankings, therefore requiring you to tweak your SEO strategy. Set-up Google Alerts for SEO, or on Hootsuite to monitor for daily news coming out.

4. Build-Out The Website

As a smaller business, by nature, your website is going to be smaller in footprint. With less content and pages, it can make the job trickier to boost your SEO efforts as there will be less opportunity for you to rank. A short, sharp blog post focusing on a relevant topic posted regularly will help combat this.

5. Make Media Work

If you work with other companies, encourage a link back scheme – where both websites include a link to the other respective site. Link backs are a great way to build SEO oomph, and this can also be done for any media coverage you secure.

Whilst SEO may seem scary, it is an important tool for a small business as it can help give your online presence some pizazz. Take advantage of technology, there are solutions out there that takes the effort out of SEO. Sometimes all you need is a helping hand in the right direction, which is what I hear often when speaking with small businesses. Taking small, achievable steps is an easy way to work towards building your brand.