Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is not just a digital marketing buzzword, it’s a crucial aspect of running a successful online business. E-commerce websites and business sites stand to drastically increase their bottom line by simply dedicating time (and a bit of money) to their website SEO.

The global health pandemic ushered in a culture of spending more time indoors and working from home, which resulted in a massive 15% internet usage increase in South Africa. Besides spending more time on the internet, people increasingly opt to shop online instead of venturing to overcrowded shopping malls.

As a small business owner, you want your business to stay at the forefront of your customers’ minds, plus get new eyeballs to your website. Giving your website some much-needed TLC on the SEO front will improve your organic ranking and ultimately increase your bottom line.

SEO Checklist for Small and Medium Businesses:

  1. Descriptive URLs
  2. Title tags and meta descriptions
  3. Optimize H1s
  4. Link internally and externally
  5. Optimize images
  6. Mobile-friendly
  7. Website security
  8. Structured data
  9. Keyword-rich content
  10. Link building


1. Descriptive URLs

Keep your website URLs short but descriptive. Avoid using strange characters and make them as simple as possible. Short and descriptive URLs offer a better user experience for customers, and search engines tend to favour clean and simple URLs.

2. Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Write thorough and descriptive title tags and meta descriptions.

Title tags are the clickable headlines that appear on Google search results. Meta Descriptions are a brief description of the page contents and appear below the title tag on Google search results. Meta titles and descriptions tell search engines what the page is about and also attract more clicks to your website. Write compelling meta titles and descriptions to attract customers. Include your targeted keywords so that search engines know exactly what the page contents are. 

Ensure that your main keywords appear in the title along with variations in the description. Abide by the character limitations and make your titles and descriptions catchy. Meta titles should not be longer than 70 characters. Meta descriptions should not exceed 160 characters. 

3. Optimize H1s

Ensure that your main keyword(s) appears as close to the beginning as possible in your H1. The H1 signals what the page is about to search engines. 

 4. Link Internally and Externally

Insert internal links where applicable to help point customers to relevant information and establish a relationship within your website content. Use high-quality external links from authoritative websites.

5. Optimize Images

Your image alt tag describes the image to assist search engines understand what the image is about. Be descriptive in your alt tags to help your images rank better on search engines.

6. Mobile-Friendly                                

South Africa is a mobile saturated economy, and most people access the internet from their mobile phones. Ensure that your website is easy to navigate on mobile and is user-friendly.

7. Website Security

Website security is crucial for business websites to protect sensitive data from cyberattacks. Install an SSL certificate to keep your data safe, protect customer information, and improve your search engine rankings.

8. Structured data

Add structured data code to your website to help search engines display more of the URLs’ information. Adopt a multimedia approach to your website content by adding videos and infographics in addition to structured data, this will improve your chances of search engines displaying your website in search results.

9. Keyword-Rich Content

Create keyword-rich content, high-quality videos, and compelling imagery for your website. Search engines love meaty content that answers questions and provides solutions. Consider blogging to target long tail keywords and to create shareable content.

Read more: Video Marketing Statistics 2021

10. Link building

Work on a link building strategy to get authoritative websites in your industry to link to your site. Backlinks are important because they signal to search engines that authoritative websites vouch for your content. 

If you incorporate these tips into your SEO strategy, you’ll be on the right path to improving your search engine visibility and getting more eyes on your website. We’re also answering some frequently asked questions about SEO for business:

Is SEO worth it for small businesses?

Yes, SEO is crucial for small local businesses. Online visibility helps bring more traffic to your website, and in the long run, it means an increase in your bottom line.

How much should a small business spend on SEO?

Most small businesses don’t have the financial means to employ a full-time SEO Specialist, and the next best thing is to DIY. 1-grid offers an affordable DIY SEO tool for small businesses, Website Rank. Our SEO tool starts from as little as R249 a month and requires no coding knowledge.

How much does SEO cost per month?

Website Rank starts from as little as R249 a month and can go up to R499 a month.

How many hours does SEO take?

All you need to do is dedicate a few hours in the week to complete the tasks that Website Rank will give you. Our SEO tool gives you detailed reports, monitors keywords, and analyses your competitors.

Is SEO difficult to learn?

Not at all. Website Rank inspects your website regularly and gives you detailed weekly tasks to complete – it’s like having a personal SEO coach. Start by conducting a FREE website audit to get a general SEO score.