SEO for the Small Business Owner

SEO is a buzzword in web design, but what is it? In this post, we'll break down what SEO actually is and provide practical advice for small business owners to improve their website's performance and ranking.


5 min read


Does this sound familiar? You open your email to find messages from “digital marketers” offering to boost your website’s SEO.

Super annoying, right? Even at betonicah, a web design studio, we get these emails all the time. The worst part? Most of them are straight-up scams.

SEO has truly become one of the biggest buzzwords in web design, but what even is it?

In this post, we'll break down what SEO actually is and provide practical advice for small business owners to improve their website's performance and ranking.


What is SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of optimizing your website to rank higher in search engine results.

For example, if you run an interior renovation company, you want your website to appear at the top when customers search for “contractors in Langley” or “interior renovations Surrey.”

More visibility means more customers.

Websites at the top have implemented effective SEO strategies proving to Google that their content is relevant and accessible.

The SEO Checklist

How can we get your website to rank above your competitors? Think of SEO as a checklist:

  • Relevant Keywords: Use words your customers are likely to search for. For a coffee shop, include terms like “best coffee in Langley” or “premium roasts.”
  • Business Information: Ensure your phone number, address, service area, and email are easy to find and accurate. This helps customers and builds trust with search engines.
  • Quality Content: Create valuable content that answers your customers’ questions through service sections, blog posts, videos, or guides.
  • Regular Updates: An established website with regular updates signals to search engines that your business is active and relevant.
  • Online Presence: Set up Google My Business, maintain social media pages, and get links from reputable sites to boost your credibility.
  • Responsive Website: Ensure your site works well on phones and tablets, loads quickly, and is easy to navigate.
  • Accessibility: Make your site accessible to people using tools like screen readers, broadening your audience and improving your SEO.

Homer running on a treadmill.

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Remember, SEO is a long-term strategy. Be skeptical of any service promising immediate results; effective SEO requires ongoing effort and consistency.

Avoid services that rely heavily on paid Google AdWords as a primary strategy, as this can be expensive and inefficient, especially for small or growing businesses. Additionally, steer clear of services selling backlinks—links on existing websites meant to boost your trustworthiness. Google is not easily fooled by these tactics, and they will harm your long-term growth.

As a general rule of thumb, anyone who cold calls offering SEO services is likely a scam. They may just take your money or provide a "fluff" service with no real value.

Ensuring your website is up-to-date, responsive, and filled with quality content is the most effective way to grow your business online in the long term.


While the word SEO does get thrown around a lot nowadays, it's still an extremely important aspect of web design. By focusing on creating a great user experience with quality content and a responsive site, and by regularly updating your website, you will achieve long-term growth over time.

If you're unsure whether your website ticks all the boxes, we offer 100% free website audits. Feel free to reach out to us, and let's see if we can work together.

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