person typing on laptopIf there’s one thing we know about small business leaders, it’s that they are incredibly busy people. While many small business leaders recognize Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as an important marketing tactic, most don’t have the knowledge or bandwidth to execute everything that needs to be done to optimize their website for search. At the same time, most small businesses have limited digital marketing budgets.

SEO is a game-changer for small and midsize businesses. It’s what makes small, local companies able to compete with the big companies. No matter what industry you’re in or the size of your business, consumers are looking for brands like yours online every day. Investing in SEO, or at least having a working understanding of the basics, is one of the best ways to reach these potential customers.

4 Steps Your Small or Midsize Business Can Take to Improve SEO

While SEO can seem overwhelming, there are four steps we typically encourage small businesses to consider—from simple basics to more complex tactics:

Step 1: Create a website (that’s optimized for search).

One of the reasons small businesses struggle with SEO is because their website isn’t built with search in mind. Sure, your website might look good, but if it’s not structured correctly, you can lose out on a significant amount of search traffic.

In case it helps, here are some of the most important local SEO factors for small and midsize businesses.

Step 2: Optimize the meta-descriptions on each page to reach local customers.

More than likely, you already have a website. But making sure it has relevant keywords that matter to your customers—and therefore search engine results—is an important second step.

The next step for SEO is to make sure all of your primary landing pages are optimized for the keywords you discovered. In other words, you must utilize the appropriate keywords in your titles, meta descriptions, and body content for each page. Also, ensure that every page on your website has a unique meta description and title.

Pro tip: It’s helpful if your metadata description doesn’t exceed the length at which Google begins to truncate the text. In addition, try to make sure that the description will entice users to click-through to your site.

If you need to optimize your meta-descriptions and website content for search, here are a few details and rules you’ll need to consider.

Step 3: Set up and optimize your Google My Business page.

Google My Business should be a focal point for any small business, especially if you want to maximize the power of search. It’s incredibly simple to set up your Google My Business page, and it can make a big impact. As a small business, you should leverage every element of Google My Business pages to your advantage—images, videos, Q&A, reviews, and posts you publish.

Step 4: Look for creative opportunities to increase reach outside your city or region.

Many businesses serve clients across the country or region and are looking for ways to rank high in searches outside their cities. One of the most common questions we get as an SEO firm is, “How do we rank beyond the city where our headquarters is located?”

This is where you can begin to get creative with your SEO tactics and strategies. You might consider creating content focused on specific cities or regions. Taking this approach allows you to build up the authority of your site with quality external links, and you could increase your search rankings for location-specific keywords.

If you want to rank high outside of your business’ physical location, here are a few specific tips to help you rank in searches conducted outside your area.

You don’t have to execute every step mentioned above, but if you’re looking to take advantage of everything SEO can offer your small or midsize business, I’d encourage you to take the next step. SEO success doesn’t happen overnight for any business. That’s why it’s incredibly important to take action to address the basic issues and then tweak as you go.