SEO Consulting for Small Businesses
Nobody ever said being a small business owner was easy. For many, the entrepreneur’s day can include anything from business development to taking out the trash (somebody’s got to do it).
There is so much pressure on a small business owner to succeed and while they often know they need to implement marketing efforts to grow their business, a lot of times those efforts seem to fall on the backburner, or the entrepreneur simply doesn’t know where to start.
As a consultant, you must help them see the importance of marketing, especially when it comes to SEO, which can make all the difference for a smaller company. Show them that you are the expert and can help them take a few things off their plate.
Here are a few pointers to help you with your small business clients’ SEO efforts.
Help your clients hone in on their target audience
I’d actually say this for businesses both big and small: helping your clients find their niche and truly understand who their audience is is imperative before you start any SEO efforts.
Knowing who you are trying to target will help to streamline your efforts and avoid spinning your wheels.
You and your client need to understand their audience’s wants and pain points.
Learn their shopping habits. Understand a day in their life.
When you know all of this you can put an emphasis on what makes your client’s business unique. This will help with keyword development and the necessary content creation you need to reach your client’s audience.
Help them understand who they are and how to showcase it
Many small businesses don’t actually take the time to figure out who they are as a company, they’re just focused on getting their products and services sold.
As a marketer, help them to truly figure out their brand identity. The more they know this, the easier it will be to let their personality shine and make emotional connections with their audience.
Think about their brand promise, personality, logo, tagline, core values, culture, and so on. The more those are established, the more people will feel like they can relate to the people in the company and stand behind whatever your client is selling.
Having this all put together can really help with content development, and in turn, their SEO efforts.
Help them write great content
Content is the air of marketing these days. Ensuring your client is writing great content for their audience will help them get a significant boost with SEO efforts. You really need to guide them on this because many small business owners simply create content about their products and services and leave it at that, because they usually just don’t know that there is more to do.
Help them identify the keywords they should target in their content and provide best practices for them (or ghostwrite the content on their behalf).
Be honest with them about their chances to rank for certain terms and what it will take to get them to where they want to be based on their current standing within their industry.
Get their content found
It’s not enough to ensure their content is written, you must help to ensure their content is seen. Have your client share the content across their social networks and in emails to their followers. Make the content so great that people will want to share it with their own networks.
If your client is developing strategic partnerships, see if those partners would be willing to share the content as well.
Key tactics to pay attention to
When it comes to your small business clients, make a checklist of things you need to get done for them for their SEO efforts. Often times the to-dos need to be spread out over time due to budget constraints, so be sure to prioritize what’s most important. Some of the tactics may include (I’m leaving content out of this list since we talked about it above, but that will likely be one of the top priorities):
- Keyword research
- Ensuring their website is well-structured and mobile friendly
- Ensuring on-page elements are optimized
- If they’re a local business, implementing local SEO tactics (more on that below)
- Putting a link-building strategy in place
- Adding proof, trust, and authority elements to their site such as testimonials, association badges, awards, media recognition, and so on.
- Registering their business with Google Search Console
- Building their online reviews
The list goes on but whatever you do, just make sure it ties into their goals and immediate necessities and that your tactics make sense for that particular business.
Reiterate why it’s important to hire a professional
When your clients see the price tag of your efforts, they may start wondering if they can handle SEO tactics on their own to avoid the cost. While they technically could, it is often too much for a small business owner to have on their plate. SEO takes a lot of time and effort and if it isn’t a priority it won’t get done.
By hiring a professional, like yourself, they’ll get better results in less time. Make sure they see your work as an investment for their business, not an expense.
When chatting with your client show:
- That you practice what you preach
- How you will improve their SEO
- What strategies you use for link building
- Which overall strategies you’ll implement
- Any case studies you may have
- How you will measure your efforts
Make them see that although they may spend a bit working with you, it’ll all be worth it.
Pay attention to results
As your clients’ consultant, you need to be able to report back to them on what’s working and what’s not so that you know where to optimize. This is especially important for small businesses because even the smallest tweaks can make all the difference in performance.
Notes for local business consulting
Not all small businesses are local, but for those that are, there are a few specific tactics to pay attention to.
- Optimize their Google My Business listing
- Implement a backlink strategy
- Ensure their NAP (name, address, and phone) is included on their homepage
- Recommend they embed a Google Map on their site
- Suggest they include local content on their site
- Recommend they build strategic partnerships and get involved in their community
- Get them listed in listing and directories
- Build their online reviews on their GMB listings and other relevant industry sites for their business
Helpful SEO tools to use
There are a plethora of tools you can use to support your clients with their SEO efforts, but a few that I recommend include:
This is a free tool that Google provides that could help you identify potential areas for improvement.
This tool is very powerful in identifying intent and questions your client’s prospect may have so that you can more easily target them.
This is a great tool to get insights on your competitors, which can be very helpful when determining your client’s SEO strategy. The tool can also be used to help you find keywords and for checking backlinks to your site, among other useful functions.
Google in itself can be a very useful tool for keyword research and to understand what people are looking for. When you start typing a search term, look at the drop-down menu that appears because that can give you insight into other common searches related to that term. At the bottom of the results page, you’ll also find searches related to that term that can also give you a lot of good insights.
Once all is said and done, just be sure to set realistic expectations with your clients. SEO is a process with a lot of moving pieces. Remind them SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, but if they put in time and effort they should start to see the benefits roll in.
What areas of SEO do you struggle with the most with your clients? What tactics are you seeing the most success with?
Need more tips on search engine optimization? Check out our entire Guide to SEO.