So, you’re a small business that has a local or regional market. Or, you’re an early stage startup with some traction. You might be asking yourself, does search engine optimization (SEO) matter for me? The answer is yes! It does. You cannot ignore SEO. Plus, the earlier you build SEO into your standard operating procedure, the better.
SEO comes in two different forms - on-page and off-page. On-Page is your website, coding, and content. Off-page SEO is links back to your website, social media, reviews, etc. To help with SEO, you’ll need to tackle both. I’m not going to get super complicated and technical. When we are just starting out, simple is best. As we scale, we can add more complicated SEO techniques.
Keywords within your content and website are one of the easiest and most important aspects of SEO
Take a little time to research keywords or key phrase development (long-tail keywords). Proper SEO can ensure your company appears on the first page of Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
Use high-ranking keywords specific to your industry, topic, website, etc.
The keywords you choose depend on your customer’s challenge, audience, strategy, etc. Put yourself in their shoes, what would you search for on Google? The unaware population will search based on the problem, not a specific product. Research and use keywords that rank highest around the problem you are trying to solve.
There are plenty of free tools to find keywords. There are plenty of free keyword tools. I’ll list a few below:
KW Finder - https://kwfinder.com/
Wordtracker – https://www.wordtracker.com/
WordStream – http://www.wordstream.com/keywords/
InstaKeywords – http://www.instakeywords.com/
Google Trends – https://www.google.com/trends/
Ubersuggest – https://ubersuggest.io/
Don’t overcomplicate keywords
When you are first starting out, don’t overcomplicate your keyword usage. Find a relevant set of keywords. Add them to your website, blogs, and content (on-page). Continue to refer to this set of keywords as you develop new content or update your website.
Start a blog and produce high-value content
As we’ve touched on before, content is king! Blogging with high-value content is essential to SEO. Ensure you use keywords in the body, titles, headlines, and subheadings. Share your content on social media (off-page).
Search engines crawl your website and the contained content. They determine if the information is useful. Create original content that answers questions your audience types in search engines. Ensure that you create content on a regular basis.
Use SEO Website Tools
Use free website analysis and content performance tools. The free version of the Varvy SEO Tool provides website and content performance information. It will also list the domains linking back to recent social media mentions.
Sign up for Google Analytics and create custom reports. You can choose many different variables and metrics.
SEOCentro SEO Analyzer is a tool that analyzes:
Social media ranking
It even gives information on top performing keywords.
Link the content within your site (on-page) and back to your site (off-page)
Your content might reference items located in other content within your site. Use hyperlinks to connect the two pieces of content. Remember to promote your content on social media. Always provide links back to the content on your website. This helps SEO, promotes traffic back to your site, and increases your authority rankings. If you’ve heard the term “backlink,” now you know what it is.
Use the free version of Open Site Explorer. This tool helps tracking links coming back to your pages - https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/.
Consider using free PR Services
You might be thinking that PR doesn’t exactly sound like SEO strategy. Think about it. Your press release will spread across the World Wide Web and shared on social media. It will contain keywords and links back to your site. This creates buzz, awareness, and traffic! SEO heaven.
If you are a local or more regional business, you’ll want to create local business pages
You’ll need to create local business pages. Plus, claim your business on Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, Google, Yellow Pages (YP), etc. In SEO world, this is called local citations. When someone types a search for Dog Sitter Springfield, MA ... your business comes up. You can read more about this on Moz Local.
Provide complete and accurate information on each page
Ensure your contact information complete and the same across each business page. Your phone number, hours, address, website, etc. Add several photos of your location. Chose the correct business category. You can select more than one category if applicable. I’ve listed a few tools below that will help you find and claim your business on various local sites.
https://moz.com/local/search - Moz uses data to score your business
Use Google MapMaker to search for your business and phone number. You can determine if there are duplicate listings for your business.
Ask for customer reviews. Don’t be scared, just do it!
Social proof goes a long way. Ask for customer reviews on TripAdvisor, Yelp, Foursquare, etc. Search Engines look for customer reviews. Not only will this help with SEO, but also with increasing local traffic.
If you are hyper-local or hyper-regional, use long-tail keywords that include your location
Ensure you have local or regional keywords within your content. This will help search engines associate your business with your exact location. Example: You are a photographer in Austin, TX. You scatter "photographer Austin, TX throughout your content. When someone types “Photographer Austin, TX” into Google, you have a higher likelihood showing up in the first page results.
Focus on these few SEO tips in the beginning. They are easy to do and free. As you grow, consider hiring an employee responsible for SEO or third party provider.
Next week we’ll discuss using your network as a marketing tool. Feel free to sign up for my newsletter to receive these posts and other articles in your email.
I hope this post helped. As always, I welcome feedback and comments. If relevant, please share it with your friends and network. Looking forward to hearing from you.