No one can predict the future of technology with perfect accuracy. Because of the accelerated changes in the market, foretelling what will happen in certain business markets is unimaginably complicated. However, in the SEO industry, the indispensable role produced by rising SEO trends must not be overlooked for small businesses.
Previously, many search engine algorithm updates have been more favorable to certain types of businesses. For example, the Panda update gave advantages to websites that had quality content. In the same way, an increasing number of SEO trends are favoring small businesses.
If you are an entrepreneur starting out or a small business looking for more conversions, taking advantage of these trends is a wonderful opportunity for growth.
6 SEO Trends That Favor Small Business:
1. Tailor Your Business to Your Locality
The expansion of more personalized results for searchers has been showing each day. The popularity of Cortana and Siri is an example of the amassing of large amounts of data per user.
This kind of personalization favors small businesses located in certain areas. Because most digital assistants will give the user results established on purchase history and location, owners of small businesses can use this opportunity to tailor their business to their location and be included in these searches.
Besides searches that are brand based, most of the results will be local small businesses.
What you can do now:
- Claim and maintain your Google My Business Page.
- List your business correctly on the top online business directories like Yelp, Merchant Circle, Citysearch, etc.
- Check with your local chamber of commerce and newspaper’s website to see if they have local business directories that you can be listed on.
- Get listed on the major citation data aggregators like Neustar (or Localeze), Factual, InfoUSA and Acxiom.
- Always make sure that your business name, address and phone number are consistent on all the directories and citation sites. Misspellings and wrong numbers can create problems with search results and most of all, have you lose potential customers.
- Get unstructured citations and links. If you notice a mention of your business in a local online newspaper, ask them if they will link the citation to your website. Some places to get unstructured citations and links are: customer reviews on google and yelp, press releases, charities you donate to, blogs, local forums, bio info on LinkedIn, and events.
2. Build Your Social Business Presence
In the SEO world, social signals are beginning to play a bigger role. Sharing great content through your social media channels increases the possibility of producing more inbound links, giving an indirect boost of its ranking.
It is becoming more obvious that businesses with a social presence will play a larger role in coming months and years. For small business owners working in a particular location, this is chance to go big!
You may have noticed that Google is working to integrate results from social media in its search engine results. Soon, you may be finding results based upon social contacts. Due to this, small businesses that have a tight niche and have good social connections can gain a huge benefit.
What you can do now:
- Consider the various social media networks and determine where your business would best reach your target audience. You may want to analyze how your competitors are using social media networks and glean ideas from that.
- Create your Business social media profiles if you haven’t already for the networks you’ve chosen (Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, etc).
- Determine your brand tone and write content to suit your target audience. This can include blog posts, images, and videos.
- Look for other relevant people and businesses that are related to your business (without being a direct competitor). Work to connect with them through your social channels.
- When it comes to your content: Analyze, test and repeat.
3. Outfit Your Business Website for Local Searches
It’s no hidden clue that local searches are becoming more popular each day. As time goes on, it is bound to become bigger and more compelling. People are looking for what they need close to where they are. Search engines have noticed this trend and responded with changes.
In 2014, Google’s Pigeon update addressed more relevant local search results and in 2015 they updated the Local Pack showing 3 local results instead of 7. This indicates that Google is becoming more sensitive with local searches. You add the growing popularity of searches on smart phones, making it simple for searchers since their location is already included by default.
In the next few months and years, local searches will only be increasing and small businesses that utilize this will be the ones reaping the rewards. The trends in wearable devices and mobile tech will also increase local search results. Get ready!
What you can do now:
- Make sure your website is optimized for mobile.
- Discover the keywords and phrases that your target customers are searching.
- Optimize your website’s title tags and meta descriptions.
- Consider including a section on your website with frequently updated content like a blog or updated FAQ page. This tells the search engines that your site is current and relevant.
- Create blog content that is local. You can do this by including location terminology, featuring local or neighborhood events, and keeping the seasonal and climate impacts of your local readers in mind.
4. Adjust Your Business Search Terms
Typically, large businesses target generalized keywords with their large budgets and they reap well from these efforts.
However, the new trend in SEO is for long-tail keywords and more conversational searches. This is changing the rules of the game for sure.
People are using more of the lower-competition words and phrases to search and enabling smaller businesses (with smaller budgets) to reap the rewards. So rather than search queries leaning towards high competing keywords, they are trending to more local keywords and question phrasing.
If you can implement this platform appropriately, you can gain increased visibility in search results for your business.
What you can do now:
- Find long-tail keywords and phrases by making a list of what services or products you provide and how searchers may phrase a query. Let’s say you offer landscaping and someone might search: “I am looking for a landscaping service for my backyard so my kids can play safely.” You might think of phrases that include a location like: Phoenix Backyard Landscaping Service or Landscape Your Yard in Arizona. These are just examples to get you thinking.
- Search on your competitor’s website and social channels to see what keywords and phrases are being used to find their products or services. Decide if any of your competitor’s keywords can be more long-tailed or used as phrases for the specific service or product that you offer.
- Take your current keywords and add a location to them. Make your keywords more like a phrase or question.
5. Begin an SEO Strategy Now
It may have been in the past that only large business could reap from an effective SEO strategy, but now it’s becoming much easier for the little guy to benefit from SEO.
Because of algorithm changes and the trend to more local searches, it is no longer an enormous cost to implement good SEO. New trends bring a focus on providing quality content and building healthy links to your website to expand visibility in the searches.
Those who have the most to gain are small businesses that before had a harder time breaking into the snug SEO world.
What you can do now:
- First thing is to focus on increasing the quality of your content. Become the expert resource of information on whatever your industry or niche is.
- Next thing is to focus on getting quality organic links to your site. You can do this by making sure your website is geared towards the ease of the user. Make sure it’s easy to navigate, loads quickly and is interesting to your target audience. We will write more about creating good quality links in a coming blog post.
6. Build Your Business Reputation
Most people search online before they make a purchase, even a purchase from a brick and motor store. This provides an incredible opportunity for small businesses.
Basically, if you can build a strong online reputation, you can pull in those searching for what you offer. Small enterprises can manage their brand reputation much easier than large businesses whose reach stretches across many locations.
What you can do now:
- Work to develop your brand. Make sure your business name reflects what you’re trying to achieve. Your brand name will set expectations in the mind of your customer and you will need to be able to deliver. Ensure you have a logo and graphic design that gives a powerful and positive first impression.
- Start a business blog if you haven’t already. Your online authority will come from the content you produce. Having a blog is a great means to distributing quality content and the search engines love them. You can give your readers tangible solutions to their problems and boost your reputation through regular blog posting.
- Encourage positive reviews of your business. One of the most persuasive marketing methods is digital word of mouth. People tend to trust reviews of past customers. How do you make sure you get good reviews? Give your customers a solid service or product. Be proactive about going after positive reviews. Most people who have a great experience need a little prompting to leave a review, while those with a negative experience will write one on their own accord. If you do get a negative review, do not ignore it. Address the concern and attempt to remedy the issue. You may not only fix the problem but gain a lifelong customer as well.
In the coming months and years, small businesses that are ready to step boldly into an area once dominated by big business will be the ones favored by the search engines. The signs are there for small enterprise owners who will look at the trends and determine their next move. The future looks good for small businesses and SEO is the key.