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  • Writer's pictureCarli Van Stolk

What Are The Four Main Types of SEO? A Guide for Small Businesses

SEO can be overwhelming.

It’s not as simple as choosing a keyword in a blog and trying to rank for it (although that’s certainly part of it).

There are also many different types of SEO, which makes it more complex. Each one can be a bit of a puzzle to understand and prioritize what your business needs most.

Improving each type of SEO is a surefire way to boost traffic, drive leads, and ultimately, gain more customers.

Here’s an overview of the four main types of SEO. This guide gives small business owners an understanding of what each one is, identifies which one to start with, and explains how each can help you reach your target audience.

On-Page SEO

First thing’s first: start with on-page SEO. This includes anything that people see when they land on your website, such as title tags, meta descriptions, keywords, blogs, etc.

For example, the organic search results for “dog food” brings up two main companies, Amazon and Petco. What you see here for these two brands is a snippet of their on-page SEO.

Finessing your on-page SEO requires a careful balance of keyword analysis and strategy, search query analysis, a website content audit, and eventually producing content yourself—ideally long-form content.

On-page SEO can have a significant impact on how findable you are to your audience. If you only focus on one type of SEO, start with this.

Off-Page SEO

Once you’ve dialed in your on-page SEO, start improving your off-page SEO. This includes anything that’s happening outside of your website content pages, such as digital PR, social media marketing, backlinks, reviews, etc.

These social media snippets below are examples of Petco’s off-page SEO in action. Notice how neither of them is the actual Petco website itself.

Stronger off-page SEO tells Google that you’re a trusted source, and as a result, it favours you more. For example, Google will likely favour Business A with 20 other sites linking to it over Business B with one site linking to it—whether or not Business A has a better product or not.

This is an opportunity to build strong media and PR relationships, as well as optimize your social media marketing. Off-page SEO is a fantastic way to help your business rank higher.

Location SEO for Physical Businesses

If you have a brick-and-mortar location, this type of SEO is a definite must-do.

Location SEO involves driving any online user to your physical location. Ensure your phone number, hours, address, business category, inventory (if applicable) and search queries are accurate and up to date so that you’re findable to your audience.

Petco’s example below is the strongest form of location SEO, out of the two other businesses pictured here. Ideally, your Google My Business information looks something like theirs with updated inventory, hours, a phone number, reviews, accurate category, and address.

Technical SEO

Last but not least, technical SEO. This one is more challenging than the others but is increasingly important. Google favours sites with stronger technical SEO and has suggested that this is becoming more essential in the years to come.

Technical SEO involves aspects like your site’s page speed, mobile friendliness, and page load time. Here are some of the core technical SEO terms any business owner—and specifically E-commerce business owner—should know about.

And while you can play around with the technical SEO world yourself, you may want the help of your developer friends to implement any changes.

Ready to try taking action yourself? Try ‘diagnosing’ technical SEO issues on your own with Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

Below you can see that Petco has some areas to work on. Further down the page, PageSpeed Insights explains how you can fix these, but you’ll still need the help of a developer to implement any changes.

Ready to Dive In?

No matter what SEO you want to focus on, it’s crucial to build a plan first.

Create a roadmap to help identify your target keywords, update and unify your content and messaging, and implement the different types of SEO from there. Once you narrow down which keywords you want to rank for and start optimizing for search, you’re sure to start ranking.

Happy SEO-ing!


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