How to use SEO to attract more customers to your business

November 16, 2023 | 7 minute read

Mari Smith

Written by

Mari Smith
Mari Smith International, Inc.

Mari Smith is widely known as the Premier Facebook Marketing Expert and a top Social Media Thought Leader. Mari has worked with a wide range of industries over the past 15+ years, providing strategic social media marketing consulting and training services.


What good is your business if no one can find you?


That’s the point of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. SEO is defined by Oxford Languages as “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.”


Whether your business is online, brick and mortar, or a hybrid, you need a strong digital presence: a comprehensive, branded website and social media to match. Through SEO, you can make your business more visible in search. That way, prospects, clients, and customers can find the products and services your business has to offer.


First, let’s look at the big picture.


The major search players

Google is the No. 1 search engine, followed by YouTube and Facebook.


Every day, visitors spend an average of 15.27 minutes on Google. It is also the most visited website in the world.


According to a recent study by Sistrix, the first position of organic results in Google Search has an average click-through rate (CTR) of 28.5%. Results in the second and third positions have a CTR of 15.7% and 11% respectively. The vast majority of searchers rarely go past the first several results, let alone the first page (the top ten results). So, if you are not being ranked high for your desired keywords and phrases on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), then you’re likely missing out on a ton of business.


Ready for some good news? Having an active social media presence helps with search! You can actually use your social media content to rank higher on Google. Though those social posts need to be optimized, as well. Facebook recently started strongly encouraging the use of hashtags in posts for better discoverability. So, in essence, SEO on Facebook is now a thing.


Keywords are key

Keywords are the terms used to search for information on the web. Search terms can be a word or two or even a phrase. Knowing what keywords people would use to find your business is critical to good SEO.


You may already know the top keywords for your business. If you don’t, you can use a free keyword search tool to do some research. Other free resources:


  • Google ads keyword planner: The ultimate keyword search tool, Google Keyword Planner is good for finding volume, metrics, and forecasts of keywords.

  • Keyword generator: See what people are searching for on YouTube, Amazon, and more.

  • Wordtracker: Great for finding new keywords, as well as looking at the keywords of competitors. 


You can even do a search for keyword tools to see which ones rank higher than others, or even test new keywords and research ones you think are good for your business.


Knowing the right keywords is important when your business creates content – such as a blog post on your website – to increase the number of visitors coming to your site. In other words, more visits increase the odds of more sales.


Search intent

Google has improved its algorithm significantly over the years to better determine people’s search intent. That basically means Google continually works to improve the quality of results that best fit the search term. It’s critical to ensure your website and blog content fits the search intent of your audience.


See this helpful article by Yoast on four types of search intent.


To find what your audience searches for on Google, try to think like your audience. For example, typing in, “How to…” typically means someone is looking to learn a skill, and is not necessarily looking to buy. Searching for “How to make holiday wreaths” shows videos and blog posts with creative ideas and step-by-step instructions for making your own wreath at home.


  • If your small business is in the consulting, education, or instruction-based realm, videos targeting the “how to” search intent could be an effective strategy to educate people about your expertise and your business.


On the other hand, the search “Where to buy affordable holiday wreaths” signals more transactional intent, so results include a variety of online stores with specific recommended products for purchase, as well as a Google map with local stores.


  • If you have a retail or ecommerce space, “Where” is a crucial keyword, since the intent of the user is to buy. 


Spend some time typing in various search terms on Google pertaining to your business and do some competitive research using keyword tools. You will learn what keywords may be working for competitors, or you may learn what may work best to differentiate your business. The goal is to determine what will drive the most visits – or traffic – to your site.


Social media and search

Social media sites play a key role in maximizing SEO as they are among the most visited sites globally. Here’s what to consider for the three largest social media sites.



All Facebook business page posts are public, and, therefore, discoverable on Google. As I mentioned above, Facebook is the third most trafficked website in the world.


To start optimizing the SEO of your business, first review your Facebook page. Ensure you’ve filled out every field in the About section with keyword-rich descriptions. You also want to include your highest priority keywords in as many of your posts as you can.



As the No. 2 search engine, YouTube is a must for any business that creates video content. Relevant videos typically appear on page one of the Search Engine Results Pages.


Whether you upload videos or go live on YouTube, make sure to include keywords in the description. You can also repurpose content from other platforms by uploading to your YouTube channel. Examples:


  • Let’s say you do a Facebook Live video broadcast. As a next step, download the replay and upload to YouTube. Add a custom thumbnail and keyword-rich description, and you are good to go.

  • Or you can just take clips of the Facebook Live video to repurpose. Facebook has a relatively new built-in tool that allows you to make clips of longer videos.


X (formerly Twitter)

Posts, (formerly known as tweets), very often show up near the top of the Search Engine Results Pages. So, if you’re actively using X, be sure to also use your primary keywords and a few hashtags when posting. Quick note, only public accounts show up in search engine results pages, so make sure your posts aren’t protected. This is all free SEO for your business, so make sure it’s available to be seen!


SEO-friendly content best practices

Aim for long-form content

According to a 2021 study conducted by Semrush, longreads (3000 words or more) get 3x more traffic, 4x more shares, and 3.5x more backlinks than articles of average length (901-1200 words).


Create compelling title tags and meta descriptions

This sounds technical but it is easy. Title tags and meta descriptions allow you to add additional keywords to your content. A title tag is a keyword-rich headline and meta descriptions are short summaries that help websites find your page. These should both match search intent and include target keywords. Plus, your title should be descriptive, while the meta description needs to be accurate and action oriented.


Optimize, compress, and provide alt tags for your images

Search engines also search photo captions for keywords, so include text – alt tags – for your art elements. Jpegs are perfect for photos with text while pngs are better for graphics with text. Also, since larger image files impact website load time, compress your images before uploading. (Free image compression tools include TinyPNG, ImageOptim, and ShortPixel.)


Use plugins

Add a special tool/plugin to your website for easy SEO optimization. There are a variety of such tools out there. One of the most popular is by Yoast.


Bottom line

Making your business more visible online is as simple as improving your SEO. It may not happen overnight, but it will definitely happen over time when you put into practice the suggestions in this article.


Just make sure your keywords are aligned with your business - and you have solid content to match. And you’ll be good to go!

Important Disclosures and Information

Bank of America engages with Mari Smith to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned. All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Mari Smith.

Bank of America, Merrill, their affiliates and advisors do not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. Consult your own legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions. Any informational materials provided are for your discussion or review purposes only. The content on the Center for Business Empowerment (including, without limitations, third party and any Bank of America content) is provided “as is” and carries no express or implied warranties, or promise or guaranty of success. Bank of America does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, usefulness, non-infringement of intellectual property rights, or quality of any content, regardless of who originates that content, and disclaims the same to the extent allowable by law. All third party trademarks, service marks, trade names and logos referenced in this material are the property of their respective owners. Bank of America does not deliver and is not responsible for the products, services or performance of any third party.


Not all materials on the Center for Business Empowerment will be available in Spanish.


Certain links may direct you away from Bank of America to unaffiliated sites. Bank of America has not been involved in the preparation of the content supplied at unaffiliated sites and does not guarantee or assume any responsibility for their content. When you visit these sites, you are agreeing to all of their terms of use, including their privacy and security policies.


Credit cards, credit lines and loans are subject to credit approval and creditworthiness. Some restrictions may apply.


Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as “MLPF&S" or “Merrill") makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed or provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp."). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member SIPC, and a wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp.


Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A., and affiliated banks, Members FDIC, and wholly owned subsidiaries of BofA Corp.


“Bank of America” and “BofA Securities” are the marketing names used by the Global Banking and Global Markets division of Bank of America Corporation. Lending, derivatives, other commercial banking activities, and trading in certain financial instruments are performed globally by banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation, including Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC. Trading in securities and financial instruments, and strategic advisory, and other investment banking activities, are performed globally by investment banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“Investment Banking Affiliates”), including, in the United States, BofA Securities, Inc., which is a registered broker-dealer and Member of SIPC, and, in other jurisdictions, by locally registered entities. BofA Securities, Inc. is a registered futures commission merchant with the CFTC and a member of the NFA.


Investment products: