3 Small Business SEO Essentials for 2024

As 2024 rolls on, just like last year SEO continues to evolve rapidly. For the small business, staying ahead of these changes is difficult but yet it is crucial to maintaining your online visibility and, as such, your competitiveness. With this in mind, Brand Nova Digital is here to give us advice on three small business SEO essentials for SMEs in 2024 and beyond.

1.  Use AI with caution

In March this year, Google rolled out a significant update which required website owners to prioritise quality over quantity particularly when it came to content creation.

While AI allows large amounts of content to be turned out at startling speeds, the March update showed that Google is now cracking down on this. In fact, there has been a substantial drop in rankings for sites that rely heavily on AI generated content.

To avoid being penalised for such content, businesses need to be careful in marking out their priorities. They should focus on well researched, high-quality content that is written for and appeals to the reader.

While AI can have some parts to play in generating ideas, and perhaps even suggesting a structure for content, human input is of vital importance. Only humans can really ensure that content is relevant, written with your target audience in mind, in terms of the content they will like to read and the questions they will be asking.

AI algorithms are really good at finding and penalising AI content these days. While investing more time and even perhaps funds into your content might be frustrating, it will result in valuable content that will help your audience, providing a better ROI than simply using AI for everything.

2.  Prioritise content over link building

Following on from the first point, if your budget is limited, it can be difficult to decide where to focus your resources. While backlinks have been at the cornerstone of many digital marketing strategies for a long while, and they remain important, high-quality content remains and has even grown in importance.

A robust content strategy will attract and keep browsers at your website and there are plenty of tools that can help with this, too.

Answer The Public and alsoasked.com can help you work out the questions your target audience wants to be answered. This should drive your content strategy, as you aim to become a trusted resource to them. Not only will this boost your SEO because your content will be seen as more relevant, but your customers will likely be more satisfied with the advice and information they get from your website.

3.  Get to grips with technical SEO, page speed is a priority

While content is king, it achieves nothing without technical SEO as a partner. Think of what your browsers want from your content, and you’ll recognise that page speed is one of the most important aspects of your site.  After all, how can they read and enjoy your content if they are stuck waiting for it to load?

There are plenty of ways in which you can improve your loading speed and technical SEO. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights or GTMetrix to conduct a thorough audit of your website speed and identify elements that are slowing down your site. Commonly, these include large images, excessive JavaScript and inefficient configurations. It is important that your web design or branding agency understands how to compress images, and how to design websites that look great, but do not take so long to download that your customers will not wait around to see them!

Fixing these aspects of your site can greatly improve page load times. Another option could be to implement lazy loading, which can defer the loading of offscreen images. You can also leverage browser caching to speed up things for repeat visitors.

Staying competitive is difficult, especially when you are a small business, yet by spending time and effort learning and implementing the latest SEO trends and techniques, you can improve your online visibility, helping to drive business growth.