In this day and age, no sensible marketing campaign can be imagined without the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). And truly, taking into consideration the recent research that says that as much as 72% of customers who did a local search visited the shop within five minutes, doing your best to get noticed by Google seems like a very viable marketing approach.
But, as necessary as SEO might be, the fact remains that most of the small business owners are still very unfamiliar with this concept and don’t know what it takes to put their company on the map. Let us try to address this problem in the following guide.
A matter of content
There is no denying that content makes a very powerful marketing asset. However, in terms of SEO, content is nothing more than raw material that search engines use to fulfill the user’s intent or, in other words, the search keywords the users are typing into the browser. Since users’ intents can be different (inquiring, purchasing, learning, etc.), the content you are putting out there needs to be capable of fulfilling as many of these intents as possible. The more versatile your content is, the higher you are going to rank.
What’s the deal with keywords?
Generally speaking, keywords are the words that sum up your business or products in the simplest possible terms. They are also the words potential customers use to search the web, so it is your goal to optimize your content with optimal keywords for the optimal audience in the optimal mood. Of course, keywords are science in itself, but there are a couple of general guidelines you should follow:
- Focus on used phrases
- Avoid vanity keywords
- Repeat the keywords but vary the meaning of search phrases
- Think like a consumer (use phrases you would use in some particular situation)
- Consider the article
Using links to your advantage
In the simplest of terms, links could be considered as votes for the content on the page being linked to (your website). The more links you manage to build and the stronger the content is on the linking page, the more votes you get when Google passes the judgment where your website will rank in its search results. As you can probably guess, the anchor text (visible, clickable text in a hyperlink) should be focused on your keywords. Also, the links should create a strong and sensible connection between the content and the website.
KPIs are the king
So, now that you know the holy trinity of SEO (content, keywords, links), it is time to cover some of the more intricate details of this process. The first of them is definitely Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or, in other words, various marketing metrics that tell you how successful your online endeavors are. Without them, you are deaf and blind, and your content strategies will lack any real purpose. So be sure to get yourself quality reporting software and cut this issue in its roots.
The importance of local SEO
SEO is a term that covers a lot of things and can be used in a number of different ways. Taking into consideration that you are running a small business, it is highly advised that you skip the global outreach and focus your SEO efforts on your local market. Here are some of the viable strategies that proved to be quite effective in small, self-contained environments:
- Add location pages to your website
- Optimize title tags, meta descriptions, and headers to target geographic search phrases
- Improve internal linking structure
- Focus on local content
- Engage in social media and encourage local guest blogging
Find your niche
Although this consideration strays a bit out of the SEO topic, the fact remains that businesses that offer unique products and services have a much easier job finding the functional long-tail keywords (the longer and more specific keywords consumers use when they are closer to a purchase) than their generally-oriented competitors. So, do your best to push your small business in some specific direction and let your content strategies lead the way. You will see just how powerful this synergy can turn out to be.
We hope that now you have some general idea of the basic SEO mechanics and requirements. This marketing approach proved to be incredibly efficient in the years prior and as long as consumers are using the web to find the things they want to purchase, we have no reason to believe the things will change any time soon. So, start working on your content strategies as soon as possible – the sooner you manage to edge out the local competition, the better.