How to Improve SEO: 10 Effective Techniques to Drive Organic Traffic

As a small business owner, having a website is a great first step toward reaching new customers. Your website essentially serves as an online extension of your business that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, attracting visitors can be an uphill climb for new businesses or businesses that recently launched their websites. 

There are, ultimately, two main types of website traffic: paid and organic. Paid traffic comes from paid advertisements, whether through ads on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram or search engines like Google. If you’re just getting started, your business may not have the budget for a full-on, paid advertising campaign just yet. Instead, new business owners try various techniques to increase organic traffic to their website without having to spend a dime. Here, we’ve rounded up 10 areas of your website that can be improved to boost SEO and drive organic traffic.

Jump To:

Understanding SEO
Content and SEO Keywords
Headings and Header Tags
Update SEO Meta Titles, Meta Descriptions, and URLs
Optimizing Images and Videos
Page Speeds and Page-Loading Times
Responsive Design
Rich Snippets and Structured Data Markup
Social Media Marketing
Working with Google


Understanding SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a term used to describe how a website’s on-page, off-page, technical, and even local listings are optimized to appeal to search engines. When visitors search for a product or service on Google, for example, the search engine will try to serve the visitor with the most relevant web pages related to their search. By optimizing your website, you can help Google and other search engines better understand your business website and present your web pages to more visitors.

When it comes to your business website, you can tackle a few easy wins without any prior technical or website-building knowledge. Improving your on-page and off-page SEO can include tasks as simple as updating your website content and reaching out to other websites for backlinks or promotions. Other tasks like improving your business website’s speed or updating your design for mobile devices may require a developer to help. In general, having a basic understanding of what SEO is and why it’s important for your business website is a pretty good place to start when planning an SEO strategy. For now, let’s start with a few easy, on-page SEO tasks.

Content and SEO Keywords

To get started with on-page SEO, you’ll want to do a bit of keyword research. This process involves using SEO tools or even simply searching within Google to determine the exact keywords and phrases your potential customers use in their online searches. Once you have a list of target SEO keywords, you can then optimize your website’s headings, paragraphs, and even images to reflect those exact terms. 

Some of the best tools for conducting SEO keyword research include Semrush, Ahrefs, and Moz. These tools can cost nearly $100 per month to use, but they can provide valuable, accurate insights about your website, your competitors’ websites, and your overall market so you can build and stay on top of your winning SEO strategy. If you’re just starting out or aren’t ready to add a paid SEO tool to your marketing budget, all of these tools do have limited, free plan tiers that allow for a few searches per month.

After you complete keyword research for your business, you can begin to update the content on your website with your target keywords and phrases. You’ll want to limit each page to no more than three target keywords or phrases. Rewrite your page’s content to include these words in key places like the first sentence of paragraphs, near the end of paragraphs, in bold text, and in headings. 

Another good rule of thumb is to keep your keyword density between 1 percent and 3 percent of the overall word count. This means your chosen keywords shouldn’t account for more than 3 percent of text or Google could start to categorize your web page as spam. For best results, try using a document editor like Google Docs or Microsoft Word (Microsoft 365) to take advantage of their word count and “find/replace” tools to monitor how often keywords appear in your content. 

Read our article on How to Drive Traffic to Your Business Website for other ways to gain new visitors and drive sales.

Headings and Header Tags

One of the most important places to use on-page SEO is your website headings. Headings often appear in a bolded, larger font than the rest of your content to highlight the focus of each section of content. While fun, creative headings may seem pleasing for the reader, content headings are one of the key places that Google scans to decipher a page’s content. Adding keywords and key phrases to headings is a sure way to boost your on-page SEO and encourage search engines to promote your website as a viable result for those keyword searches. 

It’s important to note that making your page headings large and bold isn’t enough. You’ll also want to ensure that each heading is tagged with a header tag. Header tags help to structure a website’s content, using a hierarchy that search engines can understand. 

Following SEO best practices, each page of your website should only have one top-level “H1” header tag. This tag is seen as the title and overall topic of the page. Throughout the content, you also can use “H2,” “H3,” “H4,” “H5,” and “H6” tags to further outline your website’s content. Think of these tags as numbers in order of importance where “H1” is the most important and “H6” is the least important or least relevant to your website content. 

It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t add one of the lower-level tags, such as “H3” or “H4,” without first having an “H2” tag somewhere prior to them. While it may seem insignificant, creating proper headings and header tags is one simple way to improve your business website’s SEO without much technical knowledge.

Update SEO Meta Titles, Meta Descriptions, and URLs

Moving onto another important aspect of your business’s SEO strategy, you’ll want to update the meta titles, meta descriptions, and URLs to include target keywords for each page on your website. Before you get overwhelmed by the terms, meta titles and meta descriptions are simply short snippets displayed in search results that let people know what to expect when visiting your website. Google also uses these titles and descriptions to identify what each web page is about.

As a rule of thumb, your meta titles should be no more than 70 characters while your meta descriptions should be no more than 160 characters. While it’s possible to have longer SEO metadata, anything beyond these character counts will be cut off in your page’s Google preview within search results.

Optimizing Images and Videos

Images and videos remain one of the most neglected aspects of SEO, yet also can be one of the easiest to improve. Optimizing media file names, converting file types, compressing media file sizes, and adding “alt text” to images and videos is yet another way to quickly improve your business website’s SEO

Use your existing keyword research to rename media files before uploading them to your site to strengthen your keyword position for each page. You also can cleverly insert SEO keywords into “alt text” descriptions for images and videos as long as the text still describes the media for accessibility purposes. 

Use an image editor to convert or compress your images and videos into smaller file sizes. The smaller the size of an image or video file, the less data your website’s server must load before displaying the page to visitors. This is especially important if your website receives a decent amount of traffic from mobile devices. Websites often load more slowly on mobile devices because they have fewer resources than desktop or laptop computers. Yet, about 50 percent of today’s web traffic comes from mobile devices. Keeping media file sizes small will help your website compete by having faster pages and better response times between clicks.

Improve Page Speed and Page-Loading Times

Speaking of fast websites, many small business owners often forget the importance of having a fast business website. Several studies have shown users are more likely to stay and interact with a website if it doesn’t take longer than two seconds to load. This is likely the reason behind Google’s “two seconds or less” recommendation as seen via the Google PageSpeed tool. Because search engines want to provide visitors with the best websites that also deliver the best user experience, page speeds ultimately play an important part in improving SEO.

Here are a few things you can do to improve your website’s page-loading speed:

  • Reduce Page Sizes: Compressing image and video files as well as limiting page animations and interactivity are a few ways to reduce the size of your web pages. 
  • Remove Unnecessary Plugins and Apps: Depending on how it’s built, your site may have several apps and plugins installed for various purposes. It’s a good idea to limit the use of these tools to only those necessary for the design and functionality of your website. Remove any apps you aren’t using or large apps that provide little benefit to improve page speeds.
  • Use Developer Tools to Find Resource Hogs: Free resources like Chrome DevTools can help you identify which website tasks are utilizing the most resources. From there, you can determine if these tasks are necessary or if you can scale them down or remove them to improve your website’s page-loading speed and overall user experience.

Improving your web page speeds is a vital part of a strong business SEO strategy that may require the help of a web developer to move forward. Once you get your website’s loading time under two seconds, you’ll quickly notice your website’s pages start to rank higher in search engine results. 

Responsive Design

As previously mentioned, about half of all website traffic comes from a mobile device — whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, or even a smart watch. As a result, Google makes an effort to show websites optimized for mobile devices first in its search results. These sites apply what’s known as “responsive” design.

For some website builders, a responsive design can have a completely different look than a desktop design. For others, the responsive design is simply a reiteration of the desktop design — just with larger fonts, fewer images and interactivity, and/or more drastic color contrasts to accommodate smaller screens and reduce user eye strain. Whatever the case is for your website, having a responsive design is key if you want to improve your small business’s SEO.

To help business owners improve their mobile design, Google released its Mobile-Friendly Test to inspect websites and identify areas for improvement. To use this tool, simply enter your business’s web address to receive a score from Google along with recommendations for improvement. Making those recommended improvements is another task you may want a web developer to handle to ensure it’s done properly. 

Rich Snippets and Structured Data

Rich snippets and structured data are little bits of code you can add to web pages to enhance their search engine listings. For example, you can add product structured data, or schema, on your website’s product page to include things like pricing, product ratings, and brand details to feed directly into Google search results. Local businesses can use local business schema on their pages to let Google know that a particular page or website pertains to a local business. Google will then try to include the phone number, address, and business hours for the site underneath the original search result link. 

Without getting too deep into implementation, adding rich snippets and structured data schemas to your website can add a little flare to your business’s search result to help it stand out among the sea of links. Depending on the website builder you use, structured data may already be set up on your website. If not, you may want to hire a web developer to implement structured data on your business site.

Social Media Marketing

Moving away from some of the more technical aspects of SEO, your business’s social media presence also can be a powerful tool in helping you boost its search engine rankings. If you’ve ever searched for a business on Google, you may notice its social media pages often show up on the first page of results along with its official website and other relevant web pages. This can be an easy win for new small business websites that may not have domain authority with their official website, but already have an established social media presence. 

To ensure your small business’s social media accounts show up in search results, make sure your profiles include the name of your business, its location, if applicable, and the link to its official website in the bio section. It also can help to add links to any business social media accounts directly on your business website. This’ll help search engines correlate your social media pages with your business website and thus begin to show those social profiles as relevant search results to visitors.

Working with Google

As you can tell by now, no one is more invested in improving SEO for your business website than Google. Over the years, it’s developed several free tools to help website owners help themselves when it comes to just about every aspect of SEO. The last two essential tools we’ll cover in this article, for the sake of improving SEO, are Google Analytics and Google Search Console. 

Google Analytics is a tool you can install on your website to track visitors. By signing up for Google Analytics and installing your unique tracking code on your website, you’ll be able to know how many people visit your site, how they found your business, where they’re located, what device they used, how long they interacted with your site, and so much more. While this data may not be exact, it’s the best resource available today to discover any kind of information about your business website’s traffic.

Google Search Console is another great tool developed by Google that’ll help you monitor organic search engine traffic to your website. Once you verify your website ownership through Google Search Console, you’ll be able to see how much of your traffic comes from search engines, the keywords that brought new visitors to your site, website errors that may be preventing search engine success, and more. 

It’s important to sign up for — and keep an eye on — both of these free tools from Google as part of your overall SEO strategy.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you’ve found these 10 techniques for improving SEO useful for your business website’s SEO strategy. While some of these tasks require a bit of technical knowledge to implement, a lot of them include quick and simple changes you can do on your own. The most important takeaway is that you should utilize every inch of your website and online presence to target those valuable keywords and reach more potential customers. 

When your business is ready, you also can begin to plan, develop, and implement a paid advertising campaign to assist your SEO efforts and drive even more traffic to your business website. For now, new and small businesses can find the most value in using these 10 SEO techniques to gain free, organic traffic in no time.

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