SEO For Small Businesses: 5 Common Mistakes

by | Jan 18, 2022 | Local SEO, SEO, SEO Basics

SEO For Small Businesses

 Before we talk about mistakes small business owners make when using seo let’s start with an important statistic. An incredible 92% of UK adults use the internet, compared to around 25% at the turn of the century.

In the past 20 years, there has been a fundamental shift in the way that we connect with each other, collect information, and organize our lives.
For businesses, the internet provides a huge marketplace where it can successfully market to its audience.

If you run or work for a small business, you’ll know that your website is at the heart of your online presence. Getting traffic to your website is crucial; it helps to generate new customers, leads, and sales.

The more people that find your business online, the more your brand’s recognition and authority can grow. Organic search is one of the best ways that you can do this.

Search engine optimization, commonly abbreviated to SEO, is central to every business’s online digital marketing strategy.

In short, SEO is a digital marketing strategy that aims to increase a business’s visibility and help them rank higher on search engines such as Google. This will allow small business owners to get their products of service in front of potential customers.

However, all to often we see the same small business SEO mistakes being made and the truth is these SEO mistakes are easily avoided as long as you know what they are before you start your SEO campaign. 

In this blog post, we will highlight 5 common mistakes small business owners make when using seo and we tell you how to avoid making them in your own business! 

5 Mistakes Small Business Owners Make When Using SEO [and how to avoid them]

1. Using the Wrong Keywords

In SEO, keywords refer to words and phrases in your content that make it possible for online users to find your website through search engine results. For example, if your website is location based hairdressers and wants to target local SEO then it’s content could include the phrase ‘Hairdresser in Glasgow’, then people who search for that are more likely to see your website listed near the top of a search result.

Basically, search engines like Google are focused on making searches as relevant and useful as possible (also trustworthy, which we’ll touch on again later). When you use the most relevant keywords for your business type, location, and target audience, your search ranking and visibility will profit. Even in this very article, there are specific keywords being used!

Over at our agency Lead Better SEO  we perform keyword research to help you make your webpage (and blog) content better optimized for search engine results.
It doesn’t matter if your business website is targeting local search or national search it will be vital that you choose the correct keywords and then use those keywords within quality content pieces on your website.

Common SEO Mistakes. Marion sits at her desk behind her laptop, hand on chin holding a mug

2. Slow and Unappealing Website

Search engines don’t like to promote websites to their users that are slow or unaesthetic—two words that really limit the overall user experience.

Website speed affects SEO (page speed is a ranking factor for SEO) and this is one area where many businesses fall down without even realising it.

It’s vital that your website speed is as quick as it can be, there are websites out there where you can test your website speed and let you know where the keyw areas are that you have to improve on.

In terms of unappealing websites, this point is closely linked to what is known as the bounce rate. The bounce rate is the percentage of online users that visit and leave your website without taking any action. Actions could be clicking on a link, completing a form, or buying something.

Here’s an important statistic to remember: it takes just 50 milliseconds for online users to form an opinion about your website (first impressions really do count!) If people aren’t impressed by your website’s aesthetics, they are more likely than not to look elsewhere.

The bottom line is: if your website isn’t fast, appealing and easy to navigate then it’s likely hurting your SEO ranking.

3. Letting Content Become Stale

Target keywords are great, but they need to be included in up-to-date, interesting, and relevant content. All the content on your website should be accurate, valuable to the visitor, keyword-focused, and engaging. There should be regular ‘Call to Actions’ on your website’s pages.

Many websites simply don’t pay enough attention to the quality of their online content. It isn’t enough to have content on your website, it has to have value, it has to offer something to the website visitor.

The same goes for blogs, too. Blogs boost your business’s authority and expertise within its industry. Strong blog content helps with SEO, providing greater visibility, helping you to remain current, and enhancing trustworthiness both among search engines and your ideal customers who may be visiting your website.

Blogs also promote user engagement and their content can easily be shared on your business’s social media accounts for greater visibility.

Blogs are a wonderful way of sharing your expertise and knowledge. If you have a great blog on your website then it can help build the relationship between you and your website visitors.

They also help to keep people on your site for longer, which is good for SEO and for your conversation rates.

When people are reading your blogs you want them to take action that moves them further down your customer journey. It might be that they sign up for your newsletter, or they share a post, leave a comment or even reach out and enquire.

In other words a blog can help you not only rank in the search engines but it can help you grow your business brand awareness, grow your email list, build relationships with customers and of course grow your sales!

4. Not Optimizing for Mobile

When it comes to the public’s browsing habits, we know that more people globally are now using their mobiles rather than their desktop computers to perform online searches. Almost 55% of the current market share belongs to mobiles, followed by desktops at around 42% and tablets at around 3%.

If your website isn’t properly optimized for mobile, this is certainly hurting your business’s ranking and visibility on search results. A website that is properly optimized for mobile devices will have better usability overall. If you haven’t yet optimized your website for mobile, now is the time to do so.

5. Not Using Internal Links 

When it comes to SEO I have one strategy that I love more than ANY other because of the amazing results it can bring our client websites.

That strategy is an internal linking SEO strategy! 

This strategy is all about utilizing the power of internally linking between pages on your website.  Internal linking helps both bots and humans to better understand and navigate your website. 

Having internal links increases page authority and improves the credibility of each page. 

Also, internal links prevent your site from having orphaned pages (pages with no links), which is important because Google will not index orphaned pages.

We have had clients TRIPPLE their organic traffic within a month once we have implemented and internal linking strategy. It’s that powerful 

Local SEO Mistakes 

If you run a location-based business website, you may wonder if these SEO tips and small business mistakes apply to you.

The easy answer is yes they do. We see these mistakes repeated whether your business is a global or a local business.

Whats more, there are actually some additional local SEO mistakes we see being made by business who a geographical target base when it comes to search.

The most common of which is not claiming their Google business profile page. This resource from Google is totally free so if you serve a specific location with your business then you NEED to make sure you claim your Google Business Profile page.

Then you need to ensure that you are using it correctly. Optimise it and update it regularly, don’t forget to ask for reviews and then reply to them when you get them .

Even if they are bad, Google will like to see you answering any reviews you get! And all reviews good or bad will help you boost your SEO

Useful Advice About SEO for Small Businesses

Okay, let’s finish with a joke: where is the best place to hide a dead body? The answer: on the second page of Google search results!

Most people don’t go beyond the first page of a search result; the first few results are the most likely to be clicked on.

That’s why SEO for small businesses is so important. Here at The SEO Upcycler, we’re the No. 1 choice for small and female entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses. Click here to learn more about our 1-1 SEO intensive session and contact our team to boost your SEO strategy.

Lastly, I hope this post about mistakes small business owners make when using SEO was helpful to you and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and if you could share this post to spread the reach of it that would be wonderful!


SEO Mistakes – FAQ

Q) How can a business recover if it has been penalised for previous SEO mistakes?

Finding out that your business website has been penalised by Google can be quite unsettling. However, it’s important to know that recovery is possible.

First things first, you’ll want to check Google Search Console for any notifications. Google is quite transparent and will often tell you the reason for the penalty.

There are mainly two types of penalties: manual and algorithmic. A manual penalty is when a Google reviewer has manually flagged your site for not complying with their guidelines.

An algorithmic penalty happens when your site falls foul of Google’s algorithm updates.

Recovery involves taking a clear and methodical approach. Start by addressing the issues outlined by Google. This could mean removing unnatural links, improving your content, or making your site more user-friendly.

Once you’ve made these changes, you can submit a reconsideration request to Google for manual penalties, or simply wait for the algorithm to recognize your improvements in the case of algorithmic penalties.

Remember, honesty and transparency in your reconsideration request can go a long way. Recovery might take some time, but it’s a crucial step toward rebuilding your online presence.


Q) What strategies will improve SEO if a website has been using the wrong keywords

If you’ve been targeting the wrong keywords, it’s like trying to catch fish in a pool where they don’t swim. But don’t worry, shifting your keyword strategy isn’t as daunting as it might seem.

Start with thorough keyword research to understand what your potential customers are actually searching for.

Tools like Google Keyword Planner or even questions in online forums related to your business can provide insight into the right keywords.

Once you’ve identified more suitable keywords, it’s time to gently weave them into your website’s fabric.

Update your page titles, meta descriptions, and content to include these keywords naturally.

But remember, it’s not just about sprinkling keywords here and there; your content should still be engaging and provide value to your readers.

This more targeted approach will not only attract the right audience but also improve your visibility on search engines.


Q) How to properly update and refresh stale content to boost SEO?

Refreshing stale content on your website is like giving your home a new lease of life with a spring clean and some new decorations.

Begin by reviewing your existing content to identify outdated pieces, no longer relevant, or underperforming.

Ask yourself: Does this provide value to my readers? Is it accurate and up-to-date?

For content that needs a facelift, updating outdated statistics, incorporating recent developments in your field, and adding new, relevant keywords can make a world of difference.

But don’t just focus on the facts; consider how you can make the content more engaging and enjoyable to read.

Perhaps you can add some new images, videos, or infographics to break up the text and make it more visually appealing.

Remember, updating your content is not just about SEO. It’s about re-engaging your audience and providing them with valuable, timely information.

By regularly refreshing your content, you’re not only improving your search engine rankings but also building trust and authority with your audience.

Small Business SEO Checklist

Looking for some more help when it comes to your SEO campaign, so you can avoid the most common SEO mistakes business owners make? Then why not grab my small business SEO Checklist – filled with loads of useful tips to keep you on track and best of all its totally FREE!


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SEO For Small Businesses


I'm Marion an online marketing strategist from Scotland. I'm the founder of and co-founder of and I have also created various training courses and programmes. I love all things vintage and upcycled and spending time with my husband, 2 kids and crazy dog!

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