“The success of every website now depends on search engine optimization and digital marketing strategy. If you are on the first page of all major search engines then you are ahead among your competitors in terms of online sales.” - Dr. Christopher Dayagdag
What comes to mind whenever you hear Search Engine Optimization ? Difficult. I know! I had the same impression when I first heard about it, but remember that first impressions aren't always correct. Small business SEO isn't as difficult as it may appear.
According to a very successful marketer, Neil Patel,
"Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your online content so that a search engine likes to show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword."
SEO is indeed a powerful modern marketing strategy that can catapult a small business to success. However, SEO doesn't have to be difficult. As long as you know what you need to focus on you'll make significant progress with your small business SEO strategy.
You have the option to do SEO for your small business yourself. My goal in this article is to give you some tools and tips if you choose to go this route.
You may choose to hire a SEO expert. Before you go this route, it's really important you are prepared to ask the right questions to properly qualify any SEO expert.
The Importance of Search Engine Optimization
SEO puts your small business in the "seen zone" of the internet world. SEO is more of a strategy on how to get the word out about who you are and what you do. Building a website isn't enough anymore for the world to notice your small business.
SEO is a great investment. It does require time, money, and patience to be successful and it will be an ongoing project for your business. But, it's kind of like the "gift that keeps on giving" because the return on investment will keep coming in as long as you do it right. SEO is not difficult to learn. If you don't have the luxury of time, hire a consultant or an agency to do the job for you.
SEO can help boost sales. If coupled with proper research, it can bring more visitors to your website which translates to more profit. More profit means infinite opportunity for your small business.
SEO is affordable. When done correctly, SEO doesn't have to break the bank. It can be cost-effective, very targeted and it can be applied locally, nationally or even internationally.
The results you get from SEO are very trackable. Google Analytics is a great tool that will give you access to these results. It can tell how many potential customers are coming to your website, what keywords they use to find you, and many more factors that will help you determine the progress and ROI of your SEO efforts.
SEO builds credibility. SEO can put your website on top of the search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. SEO, when done properly, will tell people that your business is reputable and trustworthy.
Check out our FREE cheat sheet to help you catapult your marketing to the next level. Click the image below to check it out.
Things to Focus On - A Beginners Guide To Small Business SEO
- Google search
- Google autofill results
- Google related search
- Forums related to your product/service
- Answer The Public
- Soovle or Ubersuggest
- Paid tools can be really helpful and make the process quicker if you have the budget. The Definitive Guide below has some great recommendations for paid keyword research tools.
2. On-Page SEO
Once you've got great keywords to optimize for SEO you need to optimize the page you want to rank by optimizing specific areas of the web page. This is called on-page SEO. Here is some of the common terminology of on-page SEO with some quick tips.
Backlinko wrote a great article about best practices for On-Page SEO that will give you some more details on all of this. I'd highly recommend checking it out.
- Title Tags are an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. Title tags should be 60 characters or less and should contain your main focus keyword. If possible, it's great to have the keyword start the title tag but it's not absolutely necessary.
- Meta Description is the 160 character or less snippet used to summarize a web page’s content. Make it descriptive of the content, but don't stuff your keyword all over the place. Try using synonyms or variations of your main focus keyword.
- Heading Tags are tags to let search engines know about the headings on a page. They have a top-down hierarchy from H1 to H6. Your H1 heading tag may be the same as your Title tag or a slight variation of it and should have your main focus keyword in it. Your subheadings should be H2 or H3 heading tags.
- Keyword Density tells you how often keywords or keyword phrases appear in a text in relation to the total number of words a webpage contains. You should try to use your main focus keyword a few times in the text, but keep it natural.
- Schema markup is a code that you put on your website to help search engines like Google to return more informative results for users. This is pretty advanced and I would recommend you enlist the help of a SEO expert before diving into this. Schema is still relatively new, but it is an SEO ranking factor and will help your SEO efforts if you use it.
3. Content Marketing
Content marketing simply means producing articles, blogs, images, and videos consistently to stir interest from your audience and maintain existing relationships.
Content marketing is essential for any successful, long-term SEO strategy today. You must have content as part of your SEO strategy, otherwise, any results you see will be fleeting.Here are some best practices for using content for SEO:
- Your content should offer tons of value.
- Your content should be specific to your target market.
- You should have an effective content distribution strategy.
- If you have to choose between short, frequent content and longer, in-depth content I would focus on longer, in-depth content.
- Don't be afraid to try different content formats.
- Always personalize content for users.
- Ask for feedback to improve content.
- Target long tail keywords to maximize the effectiveness of your content for SEO.
For some additional resources check out this article for effective content marketing tactics
Backlinks are achieved when other websites link to your website from their own page. In general, the more sites that link to your site the higher you will rank in search engines like Google.Here are a few tactics to gain backlinks:
- Write guest articles on reputable websites in your niche.
- Interview people within your industry and include their thoughts on your blog. Publish the post that includes them, then ask them to share the post on their social network. Ask if they can also link back to your site.
- Check your competitor’s backlinks and if possible replicate the best backlinks from them.
- Find broken links on other sites that are relevant to a blog article you wrote. Email the site owner letting them know about the broken link with a link to your article as a replacement.
Want even more ideas for getting backlinks? Here are some additional ideas for getting backlinks
SEO is constantly evolving, but it doesn't have to be difficult. Focus by starting on the 4 tips above and I'm sure you will see improvement in your website's rankings. Track your results and make tweaks as necessary...even the best in SEO are learning new things every day.
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