7 SEO-boosting actions to boff out during a slow summer

Close up of Studio Cotton founder Aime with her blonde hair tied up, wearing a brown dress and holding her hand to her mouth
Aime Cox
Founder of Studio Cotton
Aime is utterly obsessed with sharing heaps of small business and website advice that’s easy to action
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Hello sunshine, and howdy-doody sales slowdowns. Summertime can mean a selling slump for a lot of small businesses; our clients and customers are soaking up some rays (or maybe running for the shade) instead of hitting our checkout buttons and submitting those enquiry forms.

This can mean that a lot of us small business owners are finding our schedules a little less densely-packed than usual.

Whilst I love a chance to catch my small-business-breath as much as the next gal, it can also mean an opportunity to cross some of those lingering, low-priority activities off of our to-do lists.

And boy-oh-boy do I bet the bottom of your to-do list has one item that reads “SORT OUT SEO”.

SEO, or search engine optimisation, is the process of, well, optimising our websites for search engines. SEO is a topic we write about all the time here on the Studio Cotton blog, but in short the goal is to rank as highly and as often as possible in Google’s search results, so that we get more visitors and more sales.

As a marketing/sales channel, SEO has one of the best returns on investment – but it also takes a while to pay off and has a reputation for being techy, mysterious, expensive, and only for big brands.

Well – it’s not. At least, it doesn’t have to be. That’s why I’ve picked my 7 SEO-boosting actions to boff out during a slow summer, so you can use this quieter period to increase future-you’s website traffic and sales.


1. Get on your suppliers’ websites

Unsolicited positive testimonials are one of my favourite methods for building backlinks, which is just the SEO term for any link from another website to your website.

If you’re already thinking “OMG WTF are backlinks?” – quickly pop over to my article, The first 6 things to do with backlinks (for an absolute SEO beginner) that I popped together for our friends at Bristol Markets.

A ruddy brilliant source of backlinks are the client rosters and testimonials you’ll often find on other small business’ websites. Remember that product photographer who shot your collection last Christmas? Head to their website right now and look for a list of client logos or their client testimonials – you should be on them.

If not, just drop them a quick email which basically says, “Hey Photographer, I was just thinking about how wonderful it was working with you last year – and I realised I never sent you a testimonial, sorry! Here’s one to add to your website, and the URL to use to link it back to us. Thank you so much, and look forward to working together again soon”.

Repeat this with all of your suppliers – consultants, designers, printers, stylists, venues – anyone who has provided your small business with a service.

If you’re looking for more ways to create backlinks with people you already, know, check out 7 simple and free SEO backlink building tips using only your existing contacts and relationships.


2. Run your competitors through an SEO backlink checker, and nab their sources

This backlink building technique has been one of the most successful for Studio Cotton. Backlink checkers like our go-to from Ahrefs allow you to quickly review which websites are linking to your business, so that you can see if your backlink building efforts are paying off.

A lesser used feature is that you can actually run any website through the same checker – and find out where your competitors are getting their backlinks too.

I do this all the time with other web design companies, digital marketing agencies, small business service providers, similar Bristolian business, and even freelancers with overlapping services.

  • Look out for local and industry directories – and sign up for all the free ones
  • Keep an eye out for blogs and podcasts – and follow the creators on social media before crafting a pitch
  • Find the journalists and editors from press spots – and follow them on Twitter
  • Make a note of paid partnerships – and see if they make sense within your marketing budget


3. Write an autumnal blog (or 3) for your website

Blogging can have a massive positive impact on SEO, particularly for service businesses and online shops with a smaller range. However, it does take a while to get done, and it saps up a lot of brain power and creativity.

Blogs also take about 4-8 weeks to really populate in Google search results – so if they’re seasonal it’s best to hit that publish button about a month before the time your audience will want to read them.

That’s why a summer slowdown is the perfect time to boff out your autumn and winter content – because I know you won’t have the time or momentum to do it later.

If you aim for one blog a month, and give yourself December off, that means 3 blogs for September, October, and November are all you need. I reckon you should start with a listicle as they’re the easiest blogs to write – and here’s 6 simple steps to writing a banging listicle blog for your small business website.


4. Cast an SEO-eye over your most popular website content/products

In my experience working with literally hundreds of small businesses – content that is getting read is often the most neglected on a website. After all, it’s working – so why rock the boat?

Bestselling products, top-read blogs and most-visited service pages can often go unedited for months or years, but not this summer – because you’re about to cast your SEO-eyes all over them.

Set time aside to go through 5-10 most popular pieces of content – add in your SEO keywords, check everything is still technically correct, fix and add links, double check you’ve including all the info your customers need, and maybe even refresh the photography.



SEO-ified product descriptions

We create utterly thorough and seductive descriptions that give your customers all the information they need and Google everything it loves.



5. Now do the same with your under-performing website content

Sometimes you have a product, blog article or service page that just isn’t get the audience love you know it deserves. Maybe it’s selling well on Etsy but not on your website, or it’s getting heaps of Instagram likes but no website hits, or goes down a treat by word-of-mouth but isn’t converting into website enquiries.

Again, in my proper extensive experience – the issue is often that the audience just isn’t finding and understanding that piece of content – rather than the content itself being bad.

A little SEO TLC goes a long way, so again select 5-10 pieces of underperforming content, and go through them with a fine-toothed SEO comb.


6. Start with your Christmas collections, categories & content

Christmastime is a terrible period to add Christmas content to your website. Not only will you probably be up-to-the-eyeballs, but you’ll have missed that 4-8 week window your SEO efforts need to really vest.

I’d like your Christmas content to be added in late September and early October – with everything front and centre the moment Halloween is behind us.

For ecommerce businesses, that means prepping all of your Christmas offers, Christmas gifting collections, and maybe even your Christmas gift guides. Service businesses – we’ll be looking at any festive offers you’ve got going on, and all the relevant holiday-themed blogs.

Pop on a lil She & Him, Mariah, or Bublé – and dump all your Christmas and festive content into a Google Doc this July.


7. Clear out your back end

I’ve been working with websites since, like, 2006 – and I will never not giggle when talking about your back end. Or my back end.

If you’ve not yet encountered this filthy-feeling lingo – your website back end is just the side of your website that your visitors can’t see. It’s the content management system, your ecommerce functions – all the stuff you need to log in to access.

And I want you to give it a good clear out. Delete apps and plugins you don’t need, remove custom code that’s not in use, delete old pages that haven’t been live since 2019, and give your media library a good going over.

Of course – make sure to double check you’re not accidentally removing something that you actually need.

Now most of those activities are more for website tidiness than SEO, but keeping your website as lean as possible can minimise the actual size of your website – which will make it load faster.

You know who loves fast websites? Your customers. And Google. Google freakin’ loves a speedy site.

Screw you, spring cleaning: it’s time for our summer back-end brush-up.



So those are my picks for big-impact SEO actions to nail this summer. Of course, you can totally ignore all of them and instead sit back, sip on an ice latte, and have a little snooze instead – those are trés important activities for the stressed out small business owner too.

If you’d like more bitesize SEO help, make sure to follow me at @studio.cotton on Instagram, where I’m always dropping delectable nuggets of small business website help.

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