Best SEO strategies for small businesses


Investing in SEO is one of the best things a small business can do to promote its products and services. But what are the best SEO strategies for small businesses that don’t have large marketing budgets?

In this article, we provide some proven strategies that work. If you want to find out more about SEO, visit our Calgary SEO page.

What is SEO?

What is online marketing or search engine optimization (SEO)? According to SEO is:

“… the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your brand, through non-paid … search engine results.”

Getting great SEO results and showing up on the first page on Google or Bing usually requires a combination of paid and unpaid marketing techniques. In this article, we cover some simple and inexpensive SEO strategies that can help small businesses.


Small Business SEO Strategies

Knowing which SEO strategies to pursue as a small business is crucial. Our company recommends that small businesses pursue local SEO strategies. 

Here are the best SEO strategies for small businesses that you can pursue to make an impact and drive traffic to your websites.

1. SEO tuned small business website

Focus on creating a great-looking and well-performing website that targets localized keywords and search phrases. Use the website to talk about how you meet the local market demand for a particular product or service. 

Most customers love supporting local businesses and interacting with people in their area. Talk about your services, unique offering, and what sets you apart from the other local businesses that provide the same services.

Tune your pages and website with the help of SEO plugins, if you are using WordPress. This is one of the main reasons why WordPress is the best platform for SEO


2. Create a Google My Business Profile

Having a Google My Business (GMB) profile with a physical address is another key component of a local SEO strategy. This allows small businesses to get a local map listing that will further drive traffic directly to the business or the website. 

We recommend that businesses fill out as much information as possible in their GMB listing, and start working on getting as many reviews as possible. Having a complete profile with lots of reviews will help increase the positioning of your business. This is one of the best SEO strategies for small businesses since Google Maps results usually show up on the top of search engine results. 

3. Create a Local SEO Strategy

We recommend local SEO strategies by using local keywords or popular search phrases. For example, if you are searching for a dentist in Calgary on Google the results will show various dental clinics and services located around Calgary.

Search engines like Google place great value on relevance to the user. This means that having an effective local SEO strategy is crucial because users are the ones looking for a service or product close to where they live or work.

Having a local SEO strategy can be as simple as using keywords that are relevant to your location and having a well-optimized website that talks about how you meet the needs of those living in your area.

If you have an e-commerce website, this should not be a problem because you can set specific geographical targeting for different products or services.

4. Publish Local Content

Increasing the amount of locally relevant content on a website is one of the best SEO strategies for small businesses that are targeting people in their local vicinity.

Including information about your business, services, and how you can help people from the community will attract visitors to your website who are looking for a specific product or service offered by you.

Creating great content for people locally is best done by writing genuinely about what you love to do. For example, if you are a restaurant owner your blog posts may include reviews on local restaurants, recipes based on local ingredients, or different cuisines popular in the area.

5. Optimize for Mobile

Another important component of a local SEO strategy is to optimize websites for mobile devices and to create unique titles and meta descriptions that are short and concise.

Almost 70% of your visitors may be coming from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Your title tags should be short and resemble the question people would ask in Google search when looking for a product or service.

For example, if you own a bakery people would likely search for something like: “Best pastry in Calgary”. The best SEO strategy for small businesses, in this case, would be to create a unique title like: “Best Pastry in Calgary | The Culinary Scoop”

The meta description would be short and concise (about 150 characters) which answers the question asked by potential visitors about your bakery.


6. Target Long-Tail Keywords

Using long-tail keywords is one of the best SEO strategies for small businesses because they are very specific and can help you rank well in search results.

The good thing about using long-tail keywords is that there tends to be less competition compared to generic keywords and people who use them tend to convert into customers more often.

Long-tail keywords are formed by using the root word and then adding 3 or 4 additional words that describe your product or service.

For example, if you own a restaurant and offer lamb burgers as a menu item people may search for: “Best lamb burger in Calgary”. The root word is best so we will use it with the words: “best lamb burger” and add Calgary to the end.

This is a long-tail keyword because it can help your restaurant rank for search queries like “Best lamb burgers in Airdrie, Best lamb burgers in Okotoks, etc.”

This is better than targeting short phrases such as: best kebab or best burger because you can rank well for several different locations instead of just one. To learn more about keyword research, check out this article that we wrote.

7. Build Local Links

Building links is one of the best SEO strategies for small businesses because it helps with not only local search rankings but also helps you rank well on product or service searches.

Link building for local SEO is done by getting relevant websites to link back to yours using keywords relevant to your business.

For example, if you are a dentist in Calgary, relevant websites that may link to you would include: “Best dentist in Calgary” or “Dentist in Airdrie”.

The simplest way to find these websites is by using search queries like: “” and then plugging the domain into Google.

This will reveal all websites that are linking to your website.

You can find out which websites are most relevant by looking at the search results and seeing if they are local or targeted towards a certain location. The right SEO strategy for small businesses would be to reach out to these websites with valuable content that is relevant to their users. Link building is one of the hardest parts of SEO, and this is why we partner up with premium link building providers for larger projects.

8. Optimize for Local Search

It is important to optimize websites for local search by including the city or location in the page title.

This helps with not only local SEO but that you can also rank well on product and service searches which get 10 times more traffic than generic keywords.

Using your keyword within the page title is best done without adding additional words that don’t add to the meaning of the title.

For example, if you own a bakery in Calgary an effective local SEO strategy would be to include ‘bakery in Calgary in the page title for your website.

The above statement doesn’t use additional words and makes it a lot easier for search engines to understand what your website is about.


9. Optimize Your Site Structure

The website structure is one of the best SEO strategies for small businesses because it helps search engines understand what your website is about.

By providing a clear site structure you can improve indexation and ranking.

Using breadcrumbs on every page helps search engines navigate throughout sites more easily.

Breadcrumbs are a series of links at the top or bottom of a page that show the path from the homepage, for example:

Home > Bakery > Products > Cupcakes

This tells search engines what each page is about and which keywords they should be targeting.

10. Measure Results and Adjust

Google Analytics and Google Search Console are free tools from Google that can help business owners track their SEO results and fix any errors that may impact SEO performance. 

We highly recommend linking your website to these services which are free and offer great features that are easy to use and understand. Google Analytics will offer insights into how many people are visiting your website and which pages are the most popular. Google Search Console has similar metrics but it also provides insight into any performance-related issues and errors that can be resolved for even better SEO performance.

Our website implementation services often include setting up these tools for free, so get in touch with us to get started

Check your site and find out what you can change immediately to make your site better with our SEO test.


Small Business SEO Strategies Conclusion

These two strategies can help a small business get great SEO results without investing a large amount of money. We recommend them to all of our small business clients because they are easy to set up and maintain. 

If you need help with your SEO strategy, contact us today to see how we can help.

Our Experience

Our agency works with many local companies that drive thousands of visits to their website every month using SEO strategies. We have been building websites and helping clients drive traffic to those websites since 2007. Find out more about Clio by clicking here.

Clio can help you get started on your SEO journey by advising where to focus your internet marketing efforts. We are often asked if our Calgary SEO services can make your website appear on the first page of Google. The answer is YES but this is neither cheap nor easy. Visit our case studies page to see how we have helped clients implement the best SEO strategies for small businesses.

We can help you simplify your SEO journey by sharing some lessons learned we have acquired over the years and helping you define your marketing strategy.

Contact Clio Websites to improve your SEO results.

About the author

Nat Miletic is the founder of Clio Websites, a Calgary-based web design company. Nat writes about WordPress, SEO, and responsive web design.

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