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Your Guide To SEO Basics

Search engine optimization, commonly referred to as the acronym SEO, has been around for decades. Some date the practices of SEO back to the late nineties. And yet, why are some not utilizing SEO strategies to their small business’s advantage? 

As a small business owner, your company gains physical foot traffic and sales by the way in which you market and display your shop’s physical exterior and interior. It goes without saying that a strong visual and traditional marketing presence with genuine customer service often leads to a happy, loyal customer purchasing your product or service. The same objective goes into building your small business brand’s presence, online. 

What Is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through a search engine such as Bing, Google, or Yahoo. All search engines have the same goals: 

  • Show users quick search results.
  • Show users options that are most relative to their search intent.
  • Show users a wide variety of relative result options they can choose from.

Where SEO comes in, is by implementing a variety of tactics on your website. All of which show search engines that your website’s content is the best result for the user’s search query.  

So, what does SEO have to do with your brand’s online presence? The answer? Everything.  

Why Is SEO Important for Small Businesses?

What differentiates your store from another? Not just your brand name, but what you sell. The same simple concept ties ties into how your brand presence is perceived online, by search engines and users.

SEO is both affordable and quantifiable. But SEO isn’t only ensuring your website ranks #1 in the search engine page results. SEO helps your website get in front of the right users who are more likely to convert by opting into building trust with your brand based on how you present yourself online.

Benefits of SEO for Small Businesses 

There is a multitude of SEO benefits that we could list out, but we’d run the risk of producing a novel rather than a blog. So, we will keep things short and sweet. Some of the most beneficial return on investments from an SEO strategy include:


Local SEO helps small businesses ensure that they don’t get calls from states outside of their service area, or generate out-of-state leads, or even worse, strictly from other countries. Local SEO not only helps users know where your business is physically located but also where you provide services or products.


Are your website navigation, landing pages, and content laid out sensibly for users? The average user attention span is less than 10 seconds. Start asking yourself, is your website aesthetically pleasing to the eye? Is your website easy to navigate? Have you explained what it is your company provides? If not, then you run the risk of losing user’s attention to your competitor, whose website may resonate better.


There are a lot of issues surrounding trust and website security. The health of your website is of the upmost importance in the eyes of Google, as their algorithm restricts users from clicking through to websites that are seemingly ‘unsecure’. Part of the foundation of SEO are crawl reports and run-of-the-mill maintenance, to ensure that there are:

  • No broken pages,
  • No broken links,
  • No malicious third-party websites linking back to your website.

It seems like a lot to consider if you are just beginning your website’s SEO journey. Luckily, our team has put together some of our favorite, free, and insightful links to help build your SEO knowledge base.

Best SEO News Sources

The following news sources are listed by difficulty:

SEARCH ENGINE JOURNAL | Low Difficulty Resources

  • This website operates in dual purpose, with SEO training programs and ebooks, as well as industry updates and tips. This publication’s articles are shorter than most, but most importantly, their author’s tone of voice and explanations are very user-friendly for beginners.

SEACH ENGINE WATCH | Medium Difficulty Resources

  • This publication organizes their articles by industry and digital marketing skillset, e.g. Social Media, Content, SEO, Development). They also have great online learnings for beginners as well as the most up to date articles detailing industry trends.

SEARCH ENGINE ROUND TABLE | Higher Difficulty Resources

  • Our SEO team references this website quite often. This resource always publishes articles that give a pulse on any and all Google search algorithm updates. Although, checking in on this website too often may drive one mad, as algorithms change quite often. Only sometimes do they have a major impact. When major algorithm updates do occur, they’re normally industry-specific or related to (E)expertise, (A)authoritativeness, and (T)trustworthiness. This is better known as EAT, which is Google’s search algorithm guidelines.

Six Free SEO Tools

In addition to good SEO resources, here are some free online tools to help your existing website.

free SEO tools infographic


A lot of this information can be overwhelming and daunting. We also know that most small businesses can’t have a full-time dedicated staffer who manages expectations on website performance and visibility. If you’re interested in outsourcing to a team of SEO specialists, consider the customizable SEO service packages from Search Actions.

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