SMEs and SEO: 9 Recommendations to Improve Your Natural Referencing

Local SEO vs On-Page SEO

SEO is a race. And your company is affected, whether it likes it or not. If your company does not occupy the first place of the SERP (the search engine results page), your competitors might use the best Wikipedia editors and benefit from it… and who deprive you of an activity that you could have generated yourself.

It is therefore high time to put your uncertainties, frustrations, and doubts aside, and fully embark on an SEO strategy adapted to your SME. With this in mind, we give you 9 recommendations to follow to distance your main rivals on the market, boost the number of visitors to your website, and become essential on the Web.

1. Give Coherent Objectives to your SME SEO Strategy

Before even talking about the levers of natural referencing in concrete terms, you have to take the time to think about the outlines of your SEO strategy. What are you looking to accomplish? What goals do you hope to achieve?

These preliminary questions are perhaps even more important for an SME than for a large company. Why? Because small structures generally have a limited catchment area and are in competition with other local players, or because they position themselves in a niche market.

As a result, the objectives of an SME’s SEO strategy must be more precise and more targeted than those of a company that, for example, would seek to sell its products or services throughout France, or would hit a larger target.

In most cases, the SEO approach of an SME will therefore aim to increase its visibility and its notoriety at the local level and/or with a restricted target. To do this, you have to start by having a website adapted to the real needs of the company, which is not as simple as you might think: according to the 34% of French VSEs and SMEs do not even have a showcase site (apart from social networks), and only 20% of them can count on an online shop to sell their products or services.

2. Optimize Your Website Technically

Natural referencing is a complex discipline, which includes more than 200 levers. Beyond content and keywords, which we will come back to, an important part of this optimization involves improving the technical performance of the site.

In essence, this involves ensuring that your pages are displayed under the right conditions (in terms of speed and content), that your site is easy to navigate (by a well-structured architecture and intuitive), and that data exchanges between Internet users and your server are secure. You must also hunt for errors to correct them: broken URLs, broken links, sitemap to update, the existence of duplicate content, etc.

And since our recommendations concern SEO applied to SMEs, it is impossible to ignore an essential technical data: mobile compatibility. Since your SEO strategy relies heavily on localized queries and taking into account that these queries are most often made on mobile devices (in two years, Google has seen a 150% increase in mobile queries “near now”, 200% of “open + now + nearby” queries, and 900% of “near today/tonight” queries), it is essential to ensure that your pages web are optimized for mobile screens.

3. Choose Relevant Keywords for Your SEO

In SEO, keywords are an unshakeable pillar of optimizing a web page. To identify the relevant keywords to work with as part of your SMB SEO strategy, you must first understand what terms are typed by Internet users who are looking for companies like yours or who are interested in the products/services you offer.

Here, the use of localized queries is essential. Your efforts are aimed at positioning your website on searches with strong local potential, either because they contain geographical terms (city, department, region, etc.), or because they are typed in by Internet users from a smartphone.

With the geolocation feature activated. Either way, it’s in your best interest to work with localized keywords. As such, note that a quarter of the queries made each day on Google include at least one geolocation element. 

4. Place Your Keywords in the HTML Tags of Your Web Pages

Once the right keywords have been identified, you still need to place them effectively on your web pages. This is one of the main levers of natural referencing: the positioning of requests in HTML tags strongly influences the ranking of pages in engine results. Here are the three most important:

  • Title tags appear above organic links in the SERP. The placement of the main keyword is essential, ideally in the first position. Try not to exceed 70 characters to prevent your title from being truncated by the engines.
  • Architecture tags are those that structure your web page, in particular “Nh tags “(title 1, title 2, etc.). These allow you to structure your content, but also to give valuable indications to the robots of the engines as to the importance of the different parts of your page.
  • Meta description tags, which appear below organic links. The presence of a keyword is not mandatory, the weight of this tag being very relative, but it helps Internet users to identify the essential terms as they have searched for them themselves.

5. Publish Relevant Content on Your Site

SEO optimization of your website is nothing without quality and relevant content. Content must be at the heart of your SME’s SEO strategy, with a triple objective in mind:

  • provide useful information to Internet users (by implementing a content marketing strategy),
  • more effectively reference your pages on search engines (with relevant work on keywords and semantics),
  • and drive conversions (especially by showcasing your expertise and using combinations of CTAs + landing pages + forms).

On this point, we must nevertheless remain realistic: it is useless to face the behemoths of your sector (with very extensive websites and present on the Web for a long time, therefore enjoying a strong authority) on their ground. On the contrary, try to promote what sets you apart, either by playing on the local dimension of your activity or by highlighting niche products/services that are aimed at very specific targets.

Also, remember to post regularly. Engines like well-optimized content, but they also appreciate its freshness. A good way to meet this requirement and boost your SME SEO is to create and maintain a blog. This will allow you to cover a large portion of keywords and subjects, show your expertise, and work on a large number of queries, but also to publish articles with a sustained frequency.

6. Create a Business Listing on Google My Business

Google My Business is a free local listing service for businesses. Creating a business listing on this service allows your company to be listed in Google’s “local pack”, whether on the SERP or Google Maps and provides users with practical and useful information.

It is, therefore, a powerful SEO tool for an SME, and more broadly a solid lever for digital visibility. This is all the more important since 76% of Internet users who search for a local brand get there within 24 hours provided, they have the necessary information to do so!

However, creating a Google My Business listing is not enough: you also need to optimize it, by filling in as many fields as possible, adding visuals, managing the reviews left by customers, and creating posts…

7. Keep an Eye on Your Competitors

When thinking about your SME SEO strategy, have a good reflex: go see what your competitors are doing!

But be careful, because we are not only talking about your competitors on the market… but also about all the sites that occupy high places in the SERP on the queries that interest you.

Thus, the first positions on Google can be occupied by institutions, directories, information sites, etc. A good example is that of a real estate agency, which must reference itself not only taking into account the other professionals present in its sector but also the many ad portals which are generally very well optimized at the local level.

It is therefore important, above all, to understand who your competitors are on search engines – by typing different queries that relate to your activity, your products or services, etc. – and take a look at the SEO strategies they deploy. You can take inspiration from the content they publish, the topics they cover, and the keywords they work on.

8. Have an Active Social Media Presence

Certainly, a company has every interest in being present on social networks to gain visibility. But what is less known is that social presence can have an indirect influence on organic traffic. This influence stems from the authority gained by the brand by two mechanisms:

  • A strong social presence will help optimize your overall visibility, and therefore your notoriety. Internet users who have known you on Facebook or Twitter will then be able to search for you on the search engines, which will send positive signals to the robots. They can also publish on their site external links that refer to your pages.
  • Internet users who consult your social accounts are likely to click on the links you offer them, and therefore to go to your website or your product sheets. This will increase your number of visitors and improve your statistics, especially if they use your links to navigate between the different pages of your site and stay there for as long as possible.

9. Measure the Performance of Your SEO Strategy for SMEs

Our final recommendation concerns tracking the performance of your SEO strategy. It is crucial, in fact, to be able to determine if your efforts are bearing fruit or if there are still obstacles to be unblocked – and, if so, which obstacles they are.

To do this, you need to set up the right monitoring and reporting tools, starting with Google Analytics and the Google Search Console, which have the advantage of being powerful, operated by Google, and free.

  • The Google Search Console collects data about the display of your website in the SERP (what crawlers see) and how people access it from Google, based on indicators such as the number of clicks or the words -targeted keys. This is a valuable tool for evaluating the results of your SME SEO strategy, and for improving the various points.
  • Google Analytics takes over once Internet users have arrived on your website, but without focusing on the Search channel: they can come from paid ads, social networks, referrals, etc. Many indicators then allow you to visualize the behaviour of users and the actions taken.

These two tools are therefore used in complementarity because they cover the entire spectrum of organic web marketing.

It’s never too late to start (or to redirect) your natural referencing strategy, and thus boost the digital visibility of your company. Provided, of course, that you adapt your SEO approach to the needs of your SME!

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