Introduction to SEO for SMBs
Search engine optimization (SEO) aims to be found on search engines such as Google or Bing and thus build up a flow of visitors, which generates more sales for the company.
Even though they all have a similar goal, there is a different approach for each industry and business. A trustee needs to build his site differently than an electrician. Both use the same tools, but apply them differently. Above all, SMEs differ greatly in their approach from start-ups or large companies.
Start-ups, SMBs and large companies
Companies come in three main forms: Start-up, SME and large enterprise. For each of these forms, the structures, work habits and even the marketing are different. SEO needs to grow and change with your business so that you can make the most of this online marketing tool.
A start-up starts with a handful of pages, while a large company has to maintain several thousands of pages (sometimes even millions). In the midfield, an SME takes care of up to 20 pages and possibly builds up a blog. The focus, as well as the effort, is different in each phase.
In this article I will give you the basic knowledge to make your SME more successful with SEO. Whether you want to do it yourself or look for an agency, these basics must be known to you in this day and age to reach customers online.
Does SEO pay off for SMBs?
I have been advising SMBs for over 12 years and can tell you: Search engine optimization always pays off in the long term. In the following table I have prepared a calculation example for you.
|Possible turnover, depending on the position on the first page on Google for dentists with the keyword "zahnarzt zürich"|
An analysis by Sistrix has measured how high the CTR (how often a search result is clicked on) is on the first page on Google. This data serves as the basis for the calculation.
According to Google, "zahnarzt zürich" is searched for 5,400 times a month. If we now assume a closing rate of 2% and a turnover of CHF 1,000 per new customer, we achieve the results from the table thanks to the following formula.
CTR * Volume/Mt. * Conversion * Turnover
It is also worthwhile for your company
In the best case, a dentist in Zurich can generate CHF 30,000+ in sales per month with SEO. But what if your company makes less turnover per customer or the demand is lower?
Of course, the result is different for every industry. However, your SME already maintains a functioning customer base. In short, an SME is already functioning offline and thus SEO will also have a positive impact on your company's sales. After all, your customers are also online.
Any small or medium business can benefit from SEO.
More sales is of course the ultimate benefit for any business. But well-done SEO brings you not only more sales, but also many other benefits.
- Strengthen your brand
- Simplified employee search
- Inbound marketing (customers come to you)
- Reduced advertising costs
- Sustainable new customer acquisition
- Customers give you more trust
There are really many reasons why an SME should include SEO in their marketing strategy, but one of the most important reasons is timing. Now, when not so many small and medium enterprises invest in SEO, it is easiest to achieve success.
Search engines have limited number of places on the first page (~10 places) and the sooner you grab a place, the better for the future of your business. SEO can also be combined very well with other actions. If you want fast results, check out our offer on online advertising.
Google My Business
What is Google My Business
With a profile on Google My Business (GMB), your business will be displayed on Google Maps. Additionally, you have the chance to show up in the map pack when someone searches for your products or services.
In order to be found in the Map Pack and Google Maps, you have to deal with your GMB profile. And more than just once.
A completed Google My Business profile increases the chance of being assigned to a search query. A complete profile can therefore increase the relevance.
Fill in catchment area, phone number, company images (logo, employees, premises, etc.), opening hours and anything else that applies to your business.
Anyone can suggest changes, so it is important to fill everything out correctly as soon as possible and keep it up to date.
Let's talk a bit more about correct data. NAP is short for Name, Address, and Phone. Remember NAP as a mnemonic that you always keep these three information points exactly the same online, everywhere.
For example, if your name is "Pizzeria Sugo", then the name "Pizzeria Sugo" must be everywhere in this form. The name must not be "Pizzeria Sugo" on Google My Business, "Pizzeria Italia Sugo" in an entry on local.ch and "Pizzeria Sugo AG" on your website. Google tries to make links and the more links can be made with your business, the more trustworthy you will be ranked. If the data does not match 1:1, the Google robots may not register the link as such and thus not rank your business as high as it could.
Consistent maintenance of NAP increases the relevance and awareness of your company, so do not neglect this point.
Do I need a website?
Short answer: No. But you want one.
Long answer: Basically, you can already achieve success with only a Google My Business profile. But on a website you can provide much more information. And because your customers want to know more about you a website will increase the closing rate by a lot.
A website also gives you many more opportunities to be found. Simple example: A floor layer can be found with GMB if someone searches for "Bodenleger in Zürich". But only with a website he can also be found when someone searches for "hole in the parquet". This gives the floor layer a variety of additional possibilities to find new customers.
In addition, a well-designed website that displays high on Google helps to display their GMB profile more prominently.
Responsive / Mobile Friendly
Okay, this is certainly nothing new. It should be clear to everyone by now that most people search the Internet via their smartphone. But what you may not know yet: Google is now only interested in the mobile version of your website.
In other words, anything that can be found on the desktop version but not on the mobile version of your website will be completely ignored by Google. The beautiful and helpful image you are so proud of, but had no place on the mobile version, will not be found on Google.
If you are one of those companies whose website visitors mostly use a computer (B2B is such a case), then you need to think carefully about how you want your website to look on different devices.
After all, you want Google to pick you up and find you well. On the other hand, you also want to give your visitors the best experience on the website.
URL, title and header
The URL, the title and the supertitles must be optimized on every page. Google and Co. use these as signals to find out what your page is actually about. So if you write "Welcome to our site" in the title, it's certainly a nice gesture, but the search engines can't do much with it.
The URL and how to optimize it for SEO
By a URL, we mean something like this: https://knetemann.ch/seo-specialist. Let's quickly dive into the basics:
- https is the protocol (there is also http)
- knetemann.ch is the domain
- /seo-specialist is the called page (the path to it)
When is a URL optimized for SEO? Basic rule number one: When you read a URL, do you understand what to expect when you click on it? If yes, the URL is optimized for SEO. So it must be easy to understand and short. No special characters and no terms that no one understands.
Basic rule number two: the path should contain the main keyword of this page. If you write a post about growing tomatoes, then the words "growing" and "tomatoes" must also appear in the path. If this is not the case, you may not give the search engines enough accurate information and will not be found as a result.
Another important point is to make sure that the communication between the visitor and the website is secured (more on this below). Only websites with https as protocol provide secure communication.
Follow these rules and you will see improvements.
By title I mean the text you click on in the search results.
The title must contain at least their main keyword. As a local business, the city name should also be found. For example, the title of the home page of a shoe store named "Sohlenstolz" could be "Shoes in Zurich: Sohlenstolz has the most beautiful shoes".
You may have heard that the title must not be longer than 60 characters. If the title is longer than about 60 characters, Google will abbreviate it at the end with "...".
But what many don't know, Google also abbreviates the title beforehand if you split it. By split I mean this:
Shoes Zurich | Sohlenstolz: the best shoes | Now 50% discount (65 character)
On Google, this title is displayed like this:
Shoes Zurich | Sohlenstolz: the best shoes ... (50 character).
So in this example we lose 15 characters instead of only 5 because the last part after the "|" is truncated. So the searcher doesn't even know that there is 50% discount. This has a bad effect on the click-through rate.
Therefore, put some thought into the title to make sure it works from the start.
By supertitles I mean the titles in the body text that you see and read on every web page. The hierarchy of these titles is very important. We distinguish between H1, H2, H3 and H4. These titles can go much further, but you usually don't need more than H4.
These titles are used to structure the content on a page. Each of these titles must therefore have a clearly identifiable formatting.
Important: The H1 title must be the most prominent, should be used only once and contain the main keyword.
Now you know how the SEO rabbit runs and how to use this knowledge. With SEO you can give your business a boost. But don't put all your eggs in one basket, try to build up different strategies how to get new customers with your business.
If you have a question about this topic, please feel free to contact me. I have been advising small and medium-sized businesses on online marketing since 2013 and will also be able to help you succeed online.