7 Ways Small Businesses Can Use SEO to Boost Customer Service and Growth

Most know that increased search engine visibility boosts website traffic, but what are the best ways of applying it to enhance the customer experience?

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By Scott Baradell

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The user experience a website provides is a crucial ranking factor for search engines like Google's, which is why there's such a close association between search engine optimization (SEO) and customer service. In today's corporate world, the right SEO marketing strategies can give you a powerful leg up in expanding a small business.
SEO refers to the use of specific strategies to boost a website's ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs), and the main reason for adopting SEO-based marketing tactics — particularly as a small business — is to attract organic (non-paid) traffic.

There are several ways you can use such strategies to their maximum potential:

1. Produce relevant content

Rather than generating material around keywords only, concentrate on creating content that's truly useful. In other words, give prospective customers information that they are looking for. Relevant content is what makes you visible in search engines and turns potential clients into paying clients.

This content, whether it's a blog article or a social post, must be created with a specific purpose in mind, and with a primary focus on client demands. Users visit your site for a reason, and addressing that reason can help you improve search visibility and conversion rates.

2. Make navigation easy

Website navigation, particularly the navigation bar (aka menu bar), must be user-friendly and easy to understand. Visitors must be able to effortlessly find their way through a site, as it's been repeatedly shown that they'll quickly abandon ones that have complex navigation structures.

The goal of a menu bar is to make it as simple as possible for users to search for and discover the information they need. It should have links to those pages you consider the most important. Also, ensure that all pages in a navigation menu can be indexed easily by search engines.

Related: 11 Ways to Get Visitors to Spend More Time on Your Website

3. Make content easy to read

Nobody enjoys reading something that's difficult or boring. A good first step in avoiding both is eliminating the use of the passive voice wherever possible. Your sentences should be short and easy to understand, and grouped into small paragraphs and sections. Use bullets to structure wherever possible, and use bold and italics when applicable. Readable posts will result in more repeat visitors and a greater conversion rate.

4. Use videos and images

While written material allows you to include relevant keywords that help boost search engine ranking, visual media is another vital tool, as it can help to enhance searchable content even more. Visually-engaging media is both interesting for users and has a significant impact on marketing efforts. Any image or video used, however, must be relevant to the page content.

5. Keep content fresh

Regular posting (at least once a month, preferably more) and maintaining quality content will help you stay competitive. Besides new posts, you can also update existing material regularly, which means frequent indexing, as this increases the chances of search engines such as Bing and Google visiting your site.

Related: Will Today's Influencer Content Still Be Around in 20 Years? The Answer Lies With Syndication.

6. Improve website speed

One of the most crucial ranking factors for Google is site speed, so faster loading helps with SEO, as well as with client engagement. Hosting your website on trusted servers, compressing images and removing bloated and/or unessential code will all help to speed things up.

7. Make sure your connection is secure

The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is a set of rules and standards that regulates how data is transferred online, and Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is its more advanced form. Essentially, HTTP is risky, while HTTPS is secure, and is often required because it allows customers to submit credit card information. Google will not send users to vulnerable sites, so it's vital to ensure that your connection is secure. HTTPS websites are preferred by its ranking algorithm, so those that are safer will inevitably outrank those that are not.

Related: Learn How to Protect your Business and Others From Cyber Attacks

Incorporating the right small business SEO marketing tactics is important if you want users to find the information they need. A site should be easy to find, provide value to visitors and offer relevant content that addresses their needs. And improving your search engine efforts doesn't have to be difficult; you simply need to know how to go about it.

Scott Baradell

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CEO of Idea Grove

Trust expert Scott Baradell is editor of the "Trust Signals" blog, author of the upcoming book "Trust Signals" and CEO of Idea Grove, a unified PR and marketing agency. Idea Grove has ranked three times as an Inc. 5000 company and was named 2020 Agency of the Year by the Dallas PRSA.

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