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If you run a small business, you might be unsure exactly what SEO is and what it can do for your business – all you know is that marketing agencies are constantly telling you that you need to improve yours. 

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help shed light on how to use SEO for small businesses, and provide you with actionable information so you can get started! 

“What is SEO, and what does it mean for my business?”

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is basically how easily your business can be found through search engines (predominantly Google). And with 93% of users’ online experience starting with a search engine, this can significantly impact your reach.  

For example, you need help with a back injury so you type “physiotherapist in Sydney” into Google search. The businesses with higher SEO rankings will show up first in the search results – so you’re more likely to visit their websites before the others. You can see that this clearly gives them an advantage over their lower-ranked competitors when it comes to generating leads

While SEO is a worthwhile investment and an important part of your marketing strategy, we understand if you’d like to familiarise yourself with it more before putting your resources into it. 

Here are a number of things you can do yourself to help improve your business’ SEO performance. 

1. Create valuable, relevant, and SEO-optimised content 

One of the key factors of SEO is content. Google rewards high-quality content that provides value to the visitors of a website. Also, the more genuinely useful content you have, the more likely people are to actually share your content, organically generating traffic and links back to your website.

It’s important that the content you write for your website is: 

  • Relevant
  • Trustworthy
  • Well-written
  • Well-structured

Here’s how to write content that resonates with your audience and has the potential to rank:  

  • Write informative blog posts, how-to guides, and articles related to your industry. If you’re a property broker, provide useful tips on purchasing property. If you’re a dermatologist, write skin care advice. Ask yourself “will the visitors to my website benefit from this content?” 
  • Update your content regularly to keep it fresh and relevant.
  • Use a mix of text, images, and videos to engage different types of users.

Once you have your valuable content, it’s time to make sure it’s SEO-optimised. On-page SEO tools such as Yoast SEO and RankMath (both WordPress plugins) will give you clear suggestions on how to make your article SEO-friendly.  

Tip: After you’ve created your high-quality, SEO-optimised blogs and articles, don’t forget to share in on social media! 

2. Optimise your website for mobile

These days, more people visit websites through their phones than through computer screens. That’s why it’s a non-negotiable that your website not only works properly, but also provides a good user experience to mobile viewers. 

The simplest way to go about this is for you (and several others in your organisation) to explore your website on your phones. 

  • Is it easy to navigate around your website? 
  • Is all of the text visible or do you have to pinch and zoom just to read? 
  • Do images and videos load properly? 
  • Are there any pop-ups or dialog boxes that make navigation difficult or annoying? 

If possible, ask friends or family to do the same, since websites can appear differently on different mobile devices. 

3. Conduct keyword research

Keyword research helps you understand what search terms audiences are using to find your business and others like it. This will enable you to fine-tune your SEO effort so that you provide more of what people are actively looking for. 

For example, let’s say you run an aesthetics clinic in Sydney. Keyword research might tell you that people are getting to your page after searching “microdermabrasion in Sydney” or “injectable filler Sydney.” Now that you know what your potential clients are interested in, you can use this knowledge to guide your marketing strategy: you can write blogs on frequently asked questions about fillers, or run a paid Google Ads campaign for your microdermabrasion services. 

There are many online tools that you can use for this – among the most popular ones are Google Keyword Planner, Semrush, and Ahrefs. 

4. Improve page loading speed

Search engines penalise websites that perform poorly. When a website loads slowly, it’s often because it’s needlessly bogged down with large image and video files, and all sorts of website plugins. 

  • Check for images and videos that are larger or higher-resolution than they need to be. 
  • Don’t use more videos on a single page than is necessary. 
  • Instead of uploading video files directly to your website’s own server, consider uploading to YouTube and then embedding the video on your website instead. 

Another important pillar of SEO is backlinks, or other websites linking back to your own. Note that not all links are treated equally; links from reputable websites with a large audience are more valuable and more likely to boost your SEO rankings. 

To create high-quality backlinks, you should: 

  • Seek opportunities to write guest posts on trustworthy sites and blogs with a good following. 
  • Engage with relevant community forums and share your content (but only when it can truly provide value – don’t spam!)
  • And of course – to reiterate point  #1 – create valuable content that people would actually want to share and repost. 

We can’t stress this enough – the quality of backlinks is crucial. Low-quality links can be ‘toxic’ in that they can negatively affect your page’s search engine visibility. Toxic links are generally those that come from questionable practices, such as websites wherein the content exists solely to spam links and keywords, with no regard for relevance or usefulness of the content. 

Prioritise quality over quantity when it comes to backlinksl for sustainable SEO success. Why? Quality backlinks are more likely to improve your site’s search engine ranking and drive meaningful traffic.

It’s important for website owners to regularly audit their backlink profiles and disavow any toxic links to maintain their site’s integrity and ranking.

6. Focus on Local SEO 

A key part of SEO for small businesses (particularly brick and mortar ones) is making sure your content targets people locally. After all, you want your website and social media to be seen by those most likely to come to your shop. For a more detailed guide on local SEO, click here.

To do this: 

  • Set up and optimise your Google Business Profile. 
  • Encourage satisfied customers to leave a review on your Google Business Profile. 
  • Make sure to mention your location in your business description (e.g., “We’re an artisanal bakery in Brighton, Melbourne.”)

7. Monitor your SEO performance 

As you put more effort into your SEO strategy, you’ll naturally want to know if your work is paying off. You can use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to monitor your website traffic and search performance.

Here a few key metrics you’ll want to pay attention to: 

  • Traffic: You’ll see how many people are visiting your website, when, and which particular pages are getting the most traction. 
  • Keyword rankings (i.e. how well your website ranks for particular keywords)
  • Bounce rate: the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. A fairly high bounce rate means it’s time to examine that page: is it not loading properly? Is it confusing and hard to navigate? Does it not provide any valuable information? 

All this information should help guide your SEO content creation efforts, letting you know what works and what doesn’t. 


The world of SEO, with all its technical jargon, might seem confusing at first, but here’s the bottom line: make sure your website provides value, works on all devices, and is easy to navigate. And don’t forget to state clearly what your small business is and where it’s located! 

Even just by doing the simple action items we listed above, you’ll already have a better grasp of SEO than many local businesses in your area. 

Of course, if you feel that you’d much rather spend time doing what you do best, and leave SEO to the pros, we’re here for you! Click here to learn how we can help, and leave us a message!

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