When it comes to getting your small business out there in front of the eyes of your customers and potential leads, there’s nothing better or more effective than good old-fashioned SEO. Think about the last time or any time you’ve used Google or your preferred search engine.
When you searched for something, whether it was for a product or information, did you simply search through page after page of results trying to find what best suits you or what looks best suited, or did you merely click on the first result on the first page to see whether it was any good?
If you’re like the majority of your customers, the chances are you went with the latter, just like the vast majority of people do. This is why it’s so important to work hard and optimize your content to be SEO-friendly, helping you reach the top positions on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
However, while the idea is simple; optimize and increase your ranking, how are you supposed to actually maximize your content and get to the top spots, especially when everybody, including your most outstanding competition, is trying to do the same?
Today, we’re going to explore exactly how a small business like yours can start implementing SEO into your content strategy right now and optimize everything you have to get to the top of the SERPs. If done correctly, you can dramatically expand your reach and brand awareness to reach rates of success you may have thought were years away!
Take The Time To Learn About It
While you probably know the basics of SEO, you should dive in a bit deeper and learn more about it. SEO can be a complex subject but if you dedicate some time to it, it might become your second nature. Fortunately, SEO is easy to learn about.
There are dozens of free resources online. Learn from them – there are the basics like keywords and backlinks but there are even more strategies that you could put to good use. An excellent starting point is Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
If you want to approach the topic studiously, you can enroll in a course where an expert would tell you all about it and teach you how to implement it.
Value First, SEO Later
Hand in hand with the consideration above, it’s always incredibly important to make sure you’re putting your customers/leads/readers/viewers first when it comes to content, and that SEO comes second.
Imagine you’re a customer and you’re clicking on a website that interests you for their products or services, or perhaps you’re reading a blog post that interests you or educates you on something you want to know. Now imagine clicking on it, but only finding the information isn’t that great, it’s set out poorly, and most of the sentences you’re reading are unreadable and stuffed with keywords and phrases.
Sure, the content you’re reading might be optimized for SEO reasons, but from a reader’s perspective, the material is awful and unreadable and doesn’t provide any value to you. This is going to make your readers click off your content, and you’ll have lost a potential engagement.
When it comes to creating content, sure you need to have SEO in mind, but the most important thing to remember above all else is making sure your content is valuable to your reader. What’s more, if you have people going onto your website expecting something and they’re getting something else and end up clicking off quickly, this will affect what is known as your bounce rate.
The shorter the amount of time someone spends on your website, the lower your website pages will rank in terms of SEO.
To avoid stuffing, put keywords in headlines, subheadings, first 100 words of your posts and then sprinkle it throughout the text here and there – every two paragraphs will suffice.
Do Research: Get Prepared
Having effective SEO practices means doing your research and making sure you have everything you need to create optimized content from start to finish naturally. This means researching which keywords and key phrases you’re going to be implementing and which will help you achieve the best rank.
The most important way to look at this is to think about how people are going to be searching for each piece of content, and how you want your content ranked. For example, let’s imagine you’re writing a blog post on how to make sushi at home.
You might have keywords for what kind of sushi you’re making, sushi making techniques, ingredients for sushi and so on. You might also want to think about less obvious approaches that people could take. In this example, you might have fun things to do at home on a rainy day or great meal ideas for Valentine’s Day.
This is a great example (Valentine’s Day) because you’re using trending topics to boost your content’s ranking further. However, one of the most important things to remember is voice searching.
Thanks to the rise of Google Assistant and Siri, as well as home devices, more and more people are using voice search in their daily lives. So, instead of writing ‘good sushi recipes home’ into Google, they are instead using ‘How to make sushi at home,’ so these are the phrases you’re going to want to think about.
Optimize the Use of Backlinks
It’s important to make sure you’re thinking about how you’re going to implement backlinks into your content to further boost your SEO ranking, as well as developing connections that can help your website become more discoverable.
When you link to other websites, you create a backlink that helps to boost your site ranking because you’re actively listening to quality, authority sources, which then backs up the authority of your post. Likewise, you need to be proactive in making sure people are backlinking your content.
To do this, it can be a beneficial idea to connect with people, influencers and other businesses and get them to backlink your content in their content and visa versa. As long as the content you’re being backlinked in is genuine, provides real value to the reader, and doesn’t have a poor SEO ranking themselves, this can be a great way to help each other out!
Put links to relevant case studies, research studies, articles and so on in your text. The websites you are linking to should be high in authority online and they should be in your niche or related to the topic you are writing about. You can also comment on their posts on the blog and then place a link to the post you want to rank higher. Just make sure that your comment is relevant and valuable – the best thing that could happen is people commenting back on your comment so try to make that happen by truly bringing value.
You can cold pitch people by telling them about your article or warm pitch them by engaging with them over a longer period of time and then asking them to share your link.
Finally, the best way to rank higher and get more backlinks is to write truly valuable, in-depth content that’s useful to your readers.
Post Regularly and Consistently
There’s nothing better for boosting your website’s SEO ranking than posting consistent content regularly. Websites are rewarded for their consistency, and the more you post, the higher you’ll rank. This is true on every platform, but make sure the quality remains consistent.
If the content on your website becomes stale, insignificant and irrelevant, this is something the search engines are going to be aware of, and it’s going to result in your website being ranked poorly, especially as time goes on. Instead, make sure you’re updating it regularly.
“Practicing this and making it become a habit can have so many benefits, from boosting your SEO ranking, to helping more people find you since you’ll have more content for people to read and connect with. The higher your organic incoming traffic, the higher you’ll rank” says Tina Goodwin, a small business owner at Essay writing service reviews and EssayRoo.
For one, keep to a consistent schedule – in this case, there is no single best schedule. If you can keep up with it, post daily. You can also post twice a week or once a week or three times a week. Whatever you decide is best for your business, you should stick to it.
Next, you should have a content audit once or twice a year where you would analyze your content and update it to meet current standards. For instance, update links if some of them don’t work, see if you can fix the content that performed poorly and discard it if you can’t. Replicate the strategies you used for content that had good performance. Optimize for new SEO practices.
These are just some of the things that you could do in your audit. For more tips, look for content audit guides from experts.
Optimize for Your Local Area
Whether your website exists to operate in your local area, or you’re a business online, it can still pay to optimize your website for your local area because Google and other search engines love this. The more information you can provide on this front, once again, the higher you’ll rank.
This means filling out your Google Business profile and handing over your address and personal information to make it public. Make sure all business aspects are covered and the boxes filled in, including contact information and opening times; especially if you’re a physical business.
This is all so important because the more information you can give, the better the experience Google can provide for their users. Thus the higher they’ll rank you if you’re filling in all the boxes. Even if you’re a business that operates online, fill in as much of this information as you can.
Use Your Analytics and Build Moving Forward
The problem with SEO is that there are no hard and fast rules as to what works and what doesn’t. What works really well for one business and helps them rise to the top might not be ideal for you, and in some cases, it might even damage you! That’s why it’s important to find what works best for you.
Thankfully, there are numerous ways you can do this. Most notably is looking at your website and content analytics and researching them. When you see what works for you, try different things and then look at your analytics to see what’s working best.
“For example, if you’re posting content on two similar topics, try a slightly different tone of voice, try different keywords, try different META descriptions and try formatting your content in a slightly different way. You can then see what works and doesn’t work for your business, ultimately giving you the exact details of what is best for you and your own SEO ranking” explains Sherry Quinn, an SEO specialist for Custom writing services and Simplegrad.
Include Social Media
It’s important to remember that your social media pages are all part of your SEO processes and that these posts and profiles will affect your overall ranking. Remember what we were saying about backlinking above? Your social media is all part of it.
Let’s imagine you’ve got a website linked to your social media pages and you’re looking to increase your SEO ranking. If you drive your social media pages and you have lots of interactions and engagement and tens of thousands of followers all being a part of your online community, this is only going to influence your website because it’s linked positively.
This is why it’s so important to make sure you’re linking your website to your social media pages using the official boxes and links. Sites like Pinterest will require you to connect your account using an HTML file or bit of code in your footer, so make sure you’re using these to get things right.
Enhance Your SEO Skills
One of the most significant drawbacks small business owners will have when it comes to SEO is not having the skills to know what’s going on. Even if you’re not actively sorting out and managing the SEO yourself, it’s important to make sure you at least have a basic understanding, so you know what’s going on.
“The more in the loop you can be with SEO, the more you’ll be able to suggest things, manage the direction it’s going and understand the thought processes behind the actions your company is taking. Get educated” shares David Turner, a tech writer for Revieweal and Essay services.
Let’s Talk About Costs
Now, as a small business, you’re probably wondering how much SEO is actually going to cost you and what kind of dent is this going to put into your budget. The hard and fast answer to this is that it depends on what approach you take.
If you outsource your content to a third-party supplier who handles the SEO on your behalf, so you don’t really need to worry about it, this is going to cost you whatever the agency is charging. On the other hand, you could do all your SEO for free and yourself, but this will cost you time that you could be spending on other things.
However, if you’ve got the skills to do it yourself and you understand what you’re doing; this can be one of the best routes to take. Nevertheless, the golden rule with SEO is that you do it correctly or you don’t do it all. There’s no point in only having the job, but it won’t have a positive effect.
If you’re going to implement SEO into your business (which it’s highly recommended you do if you want to be on the front of Google), then you need to go all the way and optimize every aspect of your business. With this in mind, you’re welcome to it being a steady and continuous process that happens over time.
It certainly won’t simply happen overnight.
Jenny Han works as a passionate marketing specialist and digital writer at Top Canadian Writers. She loves getting engaged with the small business owners who are seeking marketing related information, startups, brand development, and personal growth. With more than five years of experience, Jenny enjoys supporting smart people to achieve online success.