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  • Writer's pictureRhiannon Harradine

How to Create an SEO Strategy for Your Small Business

Updated: 4 days ago

When it comes to doing any form of marketing for your small business, it really helps to have a strategy in place. SEO is no different. For it to drive valuable traffic to your website, SEO requires a strategy with clear objectives. This might sound like a chore, especially when you want to dive in and get started. However, it need not be complicated. My guide shows you how to create an SEO strategy for your small business.

This article was originally published in October 2022. Last updated April 2024.

How to Create an SEO Strategy

Step 1: Audit Your Website and Your Business

Effective SEO starts with a good website. User experience is key to a good website that drives traffic, leads and sales. After all, what's the point in people finding your website if they cannot find what they need, get in touch or make the all-important purchase or booking?

Your website does not have to be big, expensive or fancy. However, it does need to be well-structured and functional. The steps required for your customers to checkout, sign up, or enquire should be easy to follow and require as few steps as possible.

You can audit your website yourself by using it as a customer would. This can help you to spot any issues that need fixing, such as broken links / buttons, checkout issues and missing or outdated information.

Need help, or want an expert's insight? I offer an SEO auditing service!

My SEO Audit service is perfect for small businesses that want to carry out SEO on their websites, but who don't know where to start. For £250* you get an in-depth understanding of how your website is performing, where the issues are and the actions you can take to improve your website's SEO. Not only can you save time on auditing your own website, but you can be safe in the knowledge that you are on the right track when you come to optimising your website.

*price correct April 2024. For current pricing, please visit the SEO Audit page.

Step 2: Keyword Research & Allocation

When you carry out SEO on your website, the aim is to drive organic (free) traffic (visits) to your website from search engines such as Google. So, when your target audience searches for relevant products, services or topics, your website can appear on that first page of results.

Your SEO strategy will be centred around a list of target keywords, which you will need to select carefully. The number of keywords you target will depend on the size of your website and the type of business. Larger websites will require more keywords, whilst smaller websites and niche businesses may need to target fewer keywords. As a rough guide, you want to aim for one keyword for every website page.

Your target keywords need to be selected carefully:

  • They must be relevant to your business,

  • They must be relevant to your audience (i.e. are people actually using them?)

  • They need to have a purpose (i.e. what are people looking for when they use that keyword? Are they seeking information, or are they actively looking to buy?)

Broadly speaking, you can split keywords into two main categories.

Short-tail keywords: The first category contains (generally) shorter keywords that describe a product or service. These keywords will usually have a relatively high search volume, and they will often be more competitive. However, these keywords are often "high intent" meaning the people searching them are more likely to be actively looking to make a purchase, enquiry or booking. These keywords are likely to appear across your website, especially on your product / service pages.

Long-tail keywords: The second category contains longer, more specific keywords. These keywords often include questions or "how to" searches. These keywords are often less competitive, but they may have lower search volumes and a "low intent" because the search engine user is not actively looking to buy something - they are simply seeking information. These keywords can make really good blog topics because they can help you build visibility and credibility among people who are new to your business and who may one day become customers.

It is a good idea to target a spread of keywords, perhaps leaning into the less competitive ones to start with. You can always go back in 6-12 months, reassess your keywords and start targeting more competitive ones. The example below illustrates why your choice of keywords is so important to SEO success.

Example: Online Retailer Selling Horse Riding Boots

An online retailer of riding boots will probably want to target obvious keywords such as “horse riding boots”, “ladies riding boots” and “children’s riding boots”. The keyword “horse riding boots” has a search volume of over 8,000 and a keyword difficulty of 30 (SE Ranking, April 2024). It has a commercial intent, meaning people use this keyword when they are looking to make a purchase (in this case they're looking to buy riding boots). This makes it a relatively valuable but also competitive keyword.

On the other hand, “how much are horse riding boots” has a search volume of 10 and a keyword difficulty of 13 (SE Ranking, April 2024). This makes it an easier keyword to rank for. However, the search intent is informational, meaning people use this keyword to carry out research. They aren't actively looking to make a purchase at this time.

Which of these keywords should our online equestrian retailer target? There is no right or wrong answer, as it depends on so many factors. One is easy to rank for but won't bring many sales (at least not as quickly), whilst the other is more difficult to rank for but could lead to significant sales if you can get onto that first page! My advice would be to target both. Use "horse riding boots" on a product or category page, and "how much are horse riding boots" for a blog article that compares the various brands and types of riding boot that the retailer stocks.

how to create an seo strategy
Understanding how to create an SEO strategy for your small business means you can optimise your website for attainable but relevant keywords that will help to drive free traffic and generate sales.

Keyword Research Tools

There are a couple of free or cheap keyword research tools available. Google Trends, Ahrefs and Chat GPT are three options, and they will help you get started.

SEO consultants like myself use more specialised tools such as SE Ranking, which allows my clients to benefit from keyword research that is based on recent, detailed data and in-depth insights that you cannot get using free tools.

Keyword Allocation

Every page of your website needs a focus keyword, and this should ideally be unique to every page (although this is not always possible). Ideally, you should also allocate a secondary keyword and reserve keyword to each page. This will take some time, because you will need to organise your keywords based on where they are most relevant, factoring in search intent, competition and search volume.

Tip: Create a spreadsheet that with columns for your pages, their allocated keywords, SEO Titles, SEO Descriptions and h1 tags.

If you want to take the legwork out of your SEO strategy creation, book a free discovery call and ask me about a one-off keyword research and strategy service!

Step 3: Write Your SEO Titles, Descriptions & Page Headings

This next bit sounds highly technical, but it’s actually basic SEO. Every page on your website needs an SEO title, an SEO description (also known as meta titles and descriptions) and a h1 (header 1) tag.

SEO Titles & Descriptions

If you don’t specify SEO titles or descriptions, Google will just pull one from the text on the page. SEO titles and descriptions are what you see when you search for something in Google. Each search result has an SEO title (in blue) and an SEO description (in black / grey), and they are used by search engines and search engine users to identify what the website page is about.

Your SEO title should be around 55-60 characters long and it should include your focus keyword. Your SEO description should also include your focus keyword, but it should be around 155-160 characters long. Use an online character counter to check the length of your SEO titles and descriptions.

Your website CMS should indicate where you need to enter your SEO titles and descriptions (it's really straightforward in WordPress, Wix and Shopify). If you aren’t sure, visit the help section for your CMS.

For more detailed instructions, read my how-to guides on writing SEO Titles and SEO Descriptions.

H1 Tags

H1 (header 1) tags also tell Google and your readers what is on the website page. They appear on the page itself, usually at the top. In your CMS, they will be marked or formatted as “h1”. Again, refer to your website CMS help section for assistance.

Your H1 should include your focus keyword. It needs to clearly state what the page is about, and it should be different from your SEO Title.

Step 4: Create Your SEO Strategy Schedule

You now have your basic SEO strategy mapped out. This will form the foundations of your wider SEO efforts, which you can carry out over several months depending on your time constraints.

Depending on how much time you have to commit to SEO, you could aim to optimise one or two pages every month and write a blog article each month. This involves adding keywords to your website text, writing optimised blog articles for your target audience and optimising the images on your website. I will cover page optimisation and blogging in another guide.

Once you have completed the steps in this guide, you will have made a really good start on your SEO. Whilst this stage may seem tedious, it will allow you to embark on your SEO strategy safe in the knowledge that you are on the right track.

If you like, you can go ahead and add your new SEO titles and descriptions and h1 tags to your website pages straight away. Then, you can go back and optimise the page text and images on each website page individually. This is how I carry out my own SEO strategy and I find it provides a modest SEO boost within a few weeks.

SEO Consultancy Services for Small Businesses

Since 2020, I have helped many small businesses get found online with SEO. My SEO consultancy services, products and self-study courses help small business owners increase their online visibility, credibility and sales without needing to rely on expensive paid ads, viral videos or agency outsourcing.

I offer a range of SEO consultancy services to UK small businesses, including 1:1 Power Hours, SEO Auditing and intensive SEO consultancy packages.

1:1 Power Hours | £99* per hour

Map out your next steps with my power hours! Held via Zoom, these super-focused SEO & content marketing consultancy sessions are there to point you in the right direction so you can take action with confidence. Whether you want to map out a blog plan, SEO strategy or simply get a dose of content inspiration, these power hours are for you.

Bookable online, or you can DM me on Instagram @purplehorsemarketing or drop me an email at - tell me where you want to go and I'll suggest how I can help you get there! Discover my Power Hours and book online today.

SEO Audits | £250 each*

If you are about to embark on an SEO campaign, you want to understand where you are now, and how to get to where you want to be! Sure, you can carry out basic website auditing yourself, but this doesn't give you a full understanding of how your website is performing or why. That's where my SEO audits come in. This one-off package gives you detailed insights into your website's current rankings and technical issues, as well as a bespoke report and actionable recommendations for how to transform your website into a visible marketing channel that works for your business. Plus, you'll get a free 1:1 Power Hour included with this package!

Bookable online, or you can DM me on Instagram @purplehorsemarketing or drop me an email at - tell me where you want to go and I'll suggest how I can help you get there! Discover my SEO Audits and book online today.

Monthly Ten Hour SEO Consultancy Package | £2,250 (or £750 PCM for 3 months)*

Are you looking for intensive SEO support, consultancy and accountability? My monthly SEO consultancy package is for UK businesses that want to invest in long-term visibility, credibility and conversions and are looking to make the most of what SEO and content marketing have to offer.

This package includes ten hours of support, calls and consultancy per month, for a minimum of three months. During this time, I can support your business with just about anything related to SEO and blogging, including SEO / blog strategy, reporting and insights, content creation and optimisation, blog templates, keyword research and more. Slots are strictly limited to 3 businesses at any one time.

Book a free 30 minute Discovery Call, DM me on Instagram @purplehorsemarketing or drop me an email at - tell me where you want to go and I'll suggest how I can help you get there!

*Prices are correct April 2024. Please visit the relevant service pages for up-to-date pricing.


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