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How Small Businesses Can Improve Their SEO

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On the JJ Barnes Blog, to help support my fellow small business owners and bloggers, I share top tips for how small businesses can improve their SEO and get more attention on their work.

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I’m sure my fellow entrepreneurs and creative minds will know the struggle of pouring your heart and soul into your business or blog, only to see crickets chirping in the response. But fear not! The wonderful world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is here to help you get your amazing work in front of the eyes (and wallets) it deserves.

Whether you’re a baker with the most delicious cupcakes on the planet or a blogger crafting thought-provoking content, strong SEO is the key to unlocking a flood of website traffic. In this post, I’m sharing some of my favorite, actionable tips specifically designed for small businesses and bloggers like you. So grab your metaphorical shovel, because I’m about to dig into the goldmine of online visibility!

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Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

To help me out, James Dooley, an investor and partner at Searcharoo, sent over his top six simple strategies that can help small businesses enhance their SEO performance.

How Small Businesses Can Improve Their SEO

What Is SEO?

Imagine you have a fantastic bakery with the most delicious cupcakes in town. But if no one knows it’s there, they can’t come and try them, right? That’s where SEO comes in.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s like putting up neon signs in the online world, but instead of lights, you use keywords and other tricks to help people find your website when they search for things related to your business.

So, for a baker, that might mean optimizing their website with words like “cupcakes near me” or “best bakery in town.” When people search for those things, your bakery is more likely to show up near the top of the search results. This means more people see your delicious treats and hopefully come visit your shop!

SEO is a powerful tool for small businesses and bloggers because it helps them get their amazing work seen by more people, completely for free! It’s like having a superpower to attract more customers and fans without needing a giant marketing budget.

1. Claim And Optimise Local Business Listings

Local business listings are like neon signs in the digital age, attracting customers searching for what you offer nearby. Ensure your business is listed on Google My Business, Bing Places, and other relevant local directories. But simply having a listing isn’t enough.

Here’s how you, as a small business owner or blogger with a local focus, can claim and optimize your local business listings for maximum impact:

Claiming Your Listing

  1. Start by pinpointing the major listing platforms like Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business), Yelp, Bing Places, and industry-specific directories relevant to your business.
  2. Search for your business name on each platform. If you find an existing listing, claim it! This usually involves verifying ownership through a code sent via mail or phone.
  3. If no listing exists, create one on each platform. Be sure to provide accurate and consistent information across all listings.

Optimizing Your Listing

  1. Fill out all the details! This includes your business name, address, phone number, website URL, opening hours, and a detailed description of your offerings.
  2. Sprinkle relevant keywords throughout your descriptions. Think about what terms people might use to search for a business like yours in your area.
  3. Add high-quality photos that showcase your business, products, or services. Visuals are a powerful way to grab attention and make a positive first impression.
  4. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your listings. Positive reviews build trust and credibility, influencing potential customers. Respond to all reviews, thanking happy customers and addressing any concerns professionally.
  5. Keep your information up-to-date, especially your address, phone number, and business hours. Search engines favor listings with accurate and current data.

Provide accurate, up-to-date information about your business, including your address, contact details, and operating hours. This will improve your local search visibility and make it easier for customers to find you.

-James Dooley

2. Leverage Social Media

In the ever-evolving world of SEO, social media has become a secret weapon for small businesses and bloggers. It’s not just about sharing cat videos (although, who doesn’t love those?) – it’s about strategically using these platforms to amplify your content, build brand awareness, and ultimately, improve your search engine ranking. Maintain an active presence on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Here’s how you can transform your social media presence into an SEO superpower:

Content is Still King (and Queen):

  • Share your blog posts, articles, or website content on your social media channels. Tease snippets with captivating headlines and visuals to entice clicks and drive traffic back to your website.
  • Not everything needs to live on your website first. Create engaging, social-media-specific content like polls, quizzes, or infographics to keep your audience glued to your feed.


  • Don’t just throw random hashtags on your posts. Use relevant, industry-specific hashtags that people are actually searching for. Tools like **#**Later or **#**Hootsuite can help you discover trending hashtags.
  • While hashtags are important for discovery, cramming your post with irrelevant ones can look spammy. Stick to 5-10 targeted hashtags for maximum impact.

Engagement is Your Endgame:

  • Respond to comments and messages promptly. Encourage conversation and build relationships with your audience.
  • Host contests or giveaways related to your brand or niche to generate excitement and attract new followers.
  • Partner with other bloggers or businesses in your industry for cross-promotion. This expands your reach and taps into new audiences.

Share engaging content, interact with your followers, and encourage them to leave positive reviews. This can help build your brand’s credibility and authority, which can positively impact your SEO.

-James Dooley

3. Optimise Your Website

In today’s online world, a well-optimized website is essential for attracting visitors, converting them into customers (or fans!), and ultimately, achieving your business or blogging goals. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, loads quickly, and has a clean, user-friendly design. Use relevant keywords throughout your content, including in page titles, headings, and meta descriptions. This will help search engines understand the relevance and quality of your website.

Here are some practical website optimization tips to transform your online space into a traffic magnet:

Importance Of Content:

  • Search engines favour websites with regularly updated content. Publish high-quality blog posts, articles, or product descriptions that are informative, engaging, and relevant to your target audience.
  • Sprinkle relevant keywords throughout your website content, but naturally, not like sprinkles on a dessert (you don’t want a sugar crash!). Keyword research tools can help you identify search terms people use to find businesses or content like yours.
  • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. More and more people browse the web on their smartphones and tablets, so a website that looks clunky or functions poorly on these devices will scare visitors away.

Technical Tweaks:

  • Website loading speed is crucial. A slow-loading website is a surefire way to lose visitors. Use website optimization tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to identify areas for improvement.
  • Your website should be easy to navigate. Visitors should be able to find the information they need quickly and intuitively. Create a clear and concise navigation menu and structure your website logically.
  • Images are powerful tools, but large, unoptimized images can slow down your website. Use high-quality images that are the right size and format for your website.


  • Optimize your meta descriptions and title tags. These are snippets of text that appear in search engine results pages (SERPs). Craft compelling titles and descriptions that accurately reflect your content and entice clicks.
  • Internal linking (linking between pages on your website) and external linking (linking to reputable websites) are important SEO signals. Strategic linking helps search engines understand the structure and content of your website and can improve your ranking.

4. Create Valuable Content

To truly capture attention and climb the search engine ladder, you need to create valuable content that resonates with your target audience. Regularly publish high-quality, informative content on your website, such as blog posts, guides, and industry insights. This can help you attract and retain customers and improve your search engine rankings.

Here’s how small businesses and bloggers can craft content that’s both SEO-friendly and captivating:

Know Your Audience:

  • Before diving in, understand your ideal customer or reader. What are their interests, pain points, and online behavior? Researching demographics and online communities can provide valuable insights.
  • What are people searching for related to your niche? Use keyword research tools to identify search terms with high volume and low competition. Tailor your content to address these queries and provide solutions.

Content That Captivates:

  • Don’t just rehash the same information everyone else is putting out there. Offer unique insights, fresh perspectives, and valuable data to establish yourself as a thought leader.
  • Experiment with different content formats! Blog posts, infographics, videos, and case studies can all be SEO powerhouses when strategically used.
  • Weave narratives into your content. People connect with stories. Use case studies, client testimonials, or even personal anecdotes to make your content relatable and engaging.
  • High-quality images, infographics, and videos can break up text, add visual interest, and improve user experience.

SEO Optimization:

  • Integrate relevant keywords naturally throughout your content. Don’t stuff keywords in an attempt to game the system – search engines are smarter than that these days!
  • Craft compelling headlines that accurately reflect your content and entice clicks. Use strong verbs, keywords, and a touch of intrigue.
  • Meta descriptions are short snippets are like trailers for your content on search engine results pages. Write clear, concise meta descriptions that summarize your content and encourage clicks.

5. Encourage Online Reviews

Online reviews are like digital gold for small businesses and bloggers. They not only build trust and credibility with potential customers, but they also play a surprising role in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Actively encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on platforms like Google, Facebook, and industry-specific directories.

Here are some tips to turn you into a review magnet and climb the search engine ladder:

Deliver Stellar Service (It All Starts Here):

  • The foundation of a thriving online review profile is exceptional customer service. Make sure your customers or readers have a positive experience that compels them to want to shout about it from the digital rooftops!
  • Small gestures can go a long way. A handwritten thank you note, a surprise discount, or personalized recommendations can leave a lasting impression and nudge customers towards leaving a positive review.

Make Leaving Reviews Easy and Appealing:

  • Streamline the review process! Provide clear links to your preferred review platforms on your website, social media pages, and even email signatures. Consider including QR codes that lead directly to review pages.
  • After a positive interaction, send a polite follow-up email or message politely requesting a review. Offer clear instructions on how and where to leave one.
  • Contests, discounts, or giveaways can entice people to leave reviews. However, be mindful of review platform guidelines – some frown upon offering rewards in exchange for reviews themselves.

Positive reviews can enhance your brand’s credibility and improve your local search visibility.

-James Dooley

6. Monitor And Adapt

To stay ahead of the curve and ensure your website and social media channels are optimized for lasting success, you need to become a master of monitoring and adaptation. Continuously monitor the SEO performance of your website using tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

Here are some tips to help you navigate this ever-evolving landscape:

Website Monitoring:

  • Embrace website analytics tools like Google Analytics. These tools provide invaluable insights into your website traffic, user behavior, and keyword performance. Track key metrics like bounce rate, time on site, and page views to understand how visitors interact with your content.
  • Regularly monitor your keyword rankings. Tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs can help you track your position for relevant keywords and identify areas for improvement.
  • Don’t neglect Google Search Console. This free tool provides valuable insights into how search engines see your website. Use it to identify crawl errors, broken links, and mobile usability issues that might be hindering your SEO performance.

Social Media Monitoring:

  • LTools like Brandwatch or Sprout Social can help you track brand mentions and conversations happening on social media. Pay attention to what people are saying about your brand, industry trends, and what kind of content resonates most with your audience.
  • Monitor how your social media posts are performing. Track metrics like likes, comments, shares, and click-through rates to gauge audience engagement.
  • Keep an eye on your competitors’ social media strategies. See what kind of content they’re creating, what hashtags they’re using, and how they’re interacting with their audience. Don’t copy them, but use their strategies as inspiration to refine your own approach.

Identify areas for improvement and adjust your strategies accordingly. Continuously refine your approach to stay ahead of the curve and maintain a strong online presence.

-James Dooley

About Searcharoo

Introducing Searcharoo, your go-to destination for top-notch SEO link-building solutions. Founded in 2018 by Karl Hudson and Tom Phillips, Searcharoo addresses the market’s need for premium links without hassle or inflated costs. Led by Karl and new partners James Dooley and Kasra Dash, their UK-based team boasts over 30 years of collective experience in search engine marketing.

With a focus on scalability, white-label services, and unrivalled customer support, Searcharoo has successfully placed over 10,000 links online, solidifying their reputation as a trusted name in the industry. 

James Dooley is an investor and partner in Searcharoo.

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