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SEO for Small Businesses

September 14, 2023
September 20, 2023
Episode Number:

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is how websites prepare and portray themselves to search engines like Google and Bing. The goal of SEO is to generate as much traffic (ideally organic traffic) as possible from the right people - namely prospective customers. The problem with SEO is that many industries and specific keywords are very competitive and require a lot of effort by someone that knows what the search engines want. In order for them to operate effectively they'll need to work with a developer and/or CMS to ensure good technical SEO and be given control over at least some of the website's content (ie blog posts) so that they can try and rank in as many relevant keywords as possible. For small businesses, having someone do their SEO for them seems like a massive gamble, so its a hard sell. If the small business tries to do their own SEO, they may find that their efforts aren't yielding any leads because SEO is not only time consuming, but can also get complex. In this episode, Matt and Mike discuss how to deliver the best possible SEO service to a small business that is on a tight budget, with minimal free time to dedicate to content and keyword research.


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Show Notes

What you'll learn in this episode

  • How to help clients that have small business and/or low-budgets when it comes to SEO
  • Navigating SEO with minimal available tools, time, and support
    - Being efficient with what you do have
  • Leveraging small business "SEO strengths" to help bring your clients leads

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  • SEO for small businesses is a challenge because they don't have the budget, staff, time, or expertise to constantly strive for high page rankings
  • Companies that focus on SEO will:
    - Make a strategy
    - Implement it
    - Check and analyze data (ie search console)
    - Adjust the strategy according to the analysis
    - Continually work from there, innovating, iterating, and executing according to the evolving dataset
  • For a small business without the budget the SEO results are typically worse (they won't go as widespread) than a fully fledged strategy, but to make the most out of their budget/time we can:
    - Implement great Technical SEO
    - Leverage their SEO Strengths
    - Push for Content and Efficiency

Technical SEO

  • Make sure you have solid technical SEO especially if you have a lack of content/keyword seeking
  • This includes:
    - Ensuring the domain targets the business' main keyword(s)
    - Having a nice graphic on each page (ie OpenGraph) so if a customer shares a link on social media the post looks professional 
    - You can do this on a budget by finding a few good looking stock photos 
    - Writing good meta titles and descriptions that are proper length and target the appropriate keywords
    - Proper heading hierarchy (h1, h2, h3, etc.)
  • As much relevant text as possible
    - This is really challenging for small businesses that don't do much online anything (no blogs, don't have big descriptions for their services, etc.)
  • Split single scroll pages to separate pages 
    - Controversial, but I do this strategy for businesses that don't have a lot of content on their site
    - Separate pages forces people to write at least a little more content and you can spread out to more keywords on small sites with minimal pages
  • Connect and test all your analytics tools (ie analytics and search console) so that you can see and find issues quickly
    - I find search console to be the most helpful for small businesses as many are fine with just 100 visits a month so traffic amount isn't as important as targeting specific keywords to find leads

SEO Strengths

  • Search for things that your client has as SEO strengths:
    - Trying to sell local only (target keywords that the locals would use)
    - Famous local name, can use that brand as your main keyword sometimes
    - If your client has a good reputation within their service area you can leverage good backlinks (ie on local small business registries, blogs that cover local news & business, radio stations sites, etc.)
    - Their business compliments social media well (we will cover this separately)
    - Have content written for specific local angles (ie if you make fire pits, having blogs that talk about the local fire regulations and fire permits will help locals read them in plain English over the local town hall's page on the matter)
  • Social media strength
    - Many businesses compliment social media really well, but they don't leverage it at all, or not efficiently
    - For example, a contractor might not want to write blog posts on construction, but they always take tonnes of photos of their project. We can leverage this for site content:
    -- Social media feed on the site to keep it fresh
    -- Teach them to write up half decent descriptions for their Instagram posts and point their Insta profile to their site
    -- If they're good at writing descriptions we can design a system where they "social post" on their site almost as a blog post via a CMS. This will help them target more keyword (this is the hardest thing to convince them to do)
    - If the business is known among locals, teaching your client to interact with other local businesses can net them some good cross promo (ie your client and their friendly business might repost each other on Twitter/X)

Content and Efficiency

  • Content is king in SEO, as you write more you can target more, gain authority, and have more pages that people might want to share (backlinks)
  • We've already mentioned one major efficiency (changing social media posts into mini blogs)
  • Make your CMS and surrounding workflow as efficient as possible (ie posts automatically go into the CMS as drafts, or vice versa)
  • SEO-centric businesses will constantly evolve and change their SEO, but this constant obsession with the site will turn off many small businesses, to help them we can sell them on a finite amount of SEO
    - We can get a writer to write up say 10-50 articles and that's it (best done with timeless articles)
    - Can do a yearly SEO check instead of daily, and adjust course once per year as needed