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5 SEO Tips for Small Businesses in 2024

4 Mins read

For small business owners, SEO can seem intimidating and daunting. It’s a calculus between the time and resources available to invest and the perceived ROI. In 2024, it may feel like ROI is harder than ever to predict, but some tips can help you understand SEO and play to its advantages for better visibility in search results.

There’s a lot of information about SEO out there and companies are competing to teach you SEO for free. It’s a crowded field—every major SEO tool provider, agency, and even the search engines publish content about SEO. This makes it easy to find information but also feel overloaded with information.

Here are some simple tips every SMB can use to start their SEO journey.

Tip #1: Focus on People-First Content

As competition for top rankings on valuable search terms has gotten more fierce, it’s become easier than ever to learn the strategies and tactics that facilitate top-ranking content. This accessibility can be attributed to Google’s guidance and SEO education.

To start, Google says to create “people-first” content. This means creating content that dives deeply into a topic and is targeted for human readership, rather than trying to create for search engine algorithms and the specific purpose of ranking well in search results.

To do this, get into your audience’s mindset to see their curiosities and priorities from their POV as the end-user instead of as a business owner who needs to “figure out” SEO. The former is more likely to help you sustain growth over the longer term, while the latter is likely to result in short-sighted decisions.

Even if you’ve made some SEO choices that have you on the “losing side” of a Google algorithm update, the search engine’s guidance on recovering visibility remains consistent with creating people-first content—improve your content quality and showcase better experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

Tip #2: You have expertise – showcase it for better SEO

Many SEOs agree that Google will prioritize surfacing content that highlights first-hand experience. The company hinted at this when it added “experience” to its “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness” (E-A-T) search quality rater criteria. Small business owners should use their experience to inform and distinguish their content. This is how SMBs can hold their own against a wave of automatically generated content.

The great thing about this advantage is that you already have it at your disposal—you know exactly what goes into your product or service and why. For example, if you own a regional chain of candle shops, explain how to make a long-burning candle. Answer specific questions on your website to provide helpful and tailored insights for your businesses.

Tip #3: Use AI to jumpstart your SEO journey

Generative AI technologies, like ChatGPT, offer ways to augment your productivity and can help give you a much-needed boost. You still need to review and edit outputs to get the best results. Here are some common ways SEOs use generative AI in an SMB setting:

  • Generating lists of potential topics: You could use it as an initial stage of your content planning. This isn’t the same as keyword research (because ChatGPT can’t provide search volume, keyword difficulty, etc.)
  • Creating content briefs: Creative and detailed prompts help ChatGPT generate content briefs that can yield effective content. Just don’t forget to review and edit the content to ensure it aligns with your brand.
  • Title tag and meta description optimization: You can apply generative AI to create compelling title tags and descriptions of your content, eliminating time-consuming and deciduous tasks.

If you’re using the free version of ChatGPT (3.5), one thing to note is that the data cutoff date is January 2022, meaning that the tool doesn’t have access to newer information. Keep this in mind as you evaluate ways to use ChatGPT to improve your SEO workflows.

Tip #4: Use Easy-to-Use Tools

As a small business owner, you generally don’t need all the bells and whistles or complete customization over every aspect of your website. Instead, ease of use and reliability are likely to be larger priorities.

Code-free website platforms, like Wix, offer all the customization you need to optimize your website for search while eliminating traditional pain points like understanding web development, updating plugins, managing website security, or resolving downtime issues. Local businesses can even combine code-free solutions with Google Business Profile to manage their entire online presence.

Not only is it easier to maintain a website, but it’s also easier to optimize it. Some tools provide a straightforward checklist to audit your content’s on-page elements. You still need to understand the basics, like keyword research, but these guardrails ease the learning curve for more novice website owners while providing experienced SEOs with an easy way to spot-check their work.

Tip #5: Remember you’re not alone in struggling with SEO

If you’ve been frustrated trying to rank your website, you might think the guidance thus far doesn’t match reality. More than one thing can be true:

  • It’s easier than ever to learn SEO and optimize your business website.
  • More businesses rely on SEO than ever before, intensifying competition, while Google’s updates decrease opportunities to drive traffic to your website.

Diving deeper into the second point: Google’s seemingly ever-increasing number of search result features impacts the number of listings that are immediately visible to users, meaning that ranking number eight, for example, might have diminished impressions and clicks compared to, say, a decade ago (when the search results looked more like a traditional list of 10 links).

Additionally, generative AI in search results stands to resolve queries for users without them ever having to leave the search engine…and with little attribution offered to the websites from which the answers were sourced.

The clear winner here is the search engine—every change Google makes is to bring in more revenue, and users typically win as a result, too. So, while there is more competition and seemingly fewer clicks up for grabs, everyone is subject to these dynamic circumstances. Remember, you’re not alone, it’s a challenge for everyone.

Takeaway: You don’t need perfect SEO—you just need to get started

“Perfect is the enemy of good” applies to SEO. Many of the principal aspects are analogous to your mission as a small business owner: to look after your audience’s pain points and to make them aware of your offerings. In 2024, to kick-start your SEO journey, focus on your target audience, supply the desired content, and lean into available tools to help you.

George Nguyen is the Director of SEO Editorial at Wix.

SEO stock image by Creativa Images/Shutterstock

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