SEO is one of those marketing terms you’ll hear over and over as a small business owner and have no idea what it actually is. So before we get into the thick of it, let’s go over the basics:
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The idea is to make your website rank higher on search engines for various keywords specific to your industry. Search Engines, such as Google, rank the content that comes up in searches based off of each webpage’s keyword relevance.
For instance, say you’re shopping for a Blue Hat and type the words “Blue Hat” into Google, you’re going to see a myriad of products pop up which have descriptions that contain the words “blue” and “hat” in them. These are called keywords. If you take anything away from this blog let it be this: SEO is powered by keywords. It’s your new Mitochondria – Keywords are the powerhouse of SEO.
Here’s why: if you use the right keywords at just the right amount, Google will recognize your webpage as relevant and likely pull up your product/service on a higher page of a specific search.
Why is SEO important?
To put it plainly, you want to show up on the first page of a Google search to have the best opportunity to get the most qualified traffic for your website. After completing the (highly-worth) task of Search Engine Optimization throughout the pages of your website, you’ll likely gain much more traffic to your website than simply relying on word-of-mouth marketing. The goal here is ultimately to increase your brand exposure in order to gain new customers/clients.
Let’s test your SEO:
Step 1: Type your Business Name into the Google Search Bar
● You’ll probably notice you show up close to the top, if not first in the ranking.
Step 2: This time, type in your Type of Product/Service + The Region You Serve in the Search Bar
● ie. This search might look like “Photographer San Antonio”
● Now you’ll probably be much much lower in the Google Ranking, you might not even find yourself within the first 5 pages.
As you’ve figured out by now, people aren’t going to search for your small business if they don’t already know what it is. That’s why it’s important to gain exposure through SEO by using Keywords throughout your website – potential customers are looking for you, they just don’t know your business name yet!
Okay, now that we’re all a little less confused, let’s get into it. The Million Dollar Question:
How do I use SEO for my Business?
First things first, you need to develop a list of keywords that best fit your small business. These will vary by topic and webpage, so rule of thumb is to create a new list of keywords for each type and piece of content you post. For instance, the keywords you use on your Website Copy will be a little bit more broad than that of a Blog Post.
Now let’s put it into practice:
There are many ways you can incorporate SEO practices into your Small Business’ Marketing Strategy. Seriously, the list goes on and on. But here are five that you can start doing today.
1 – Website Copy
Optimizing your Website Copy is a natural first step in the SEO process. This is where you can really lean into some of the broader keywords surrounding your business. Some examples of this would be adding in locations you serve, as well as types of products and services you provide. Once your website reflects these keywords more consistently, you’ll have a better chance at showing up higher in those ‘type of service + location’ search results.
2 – Blog Writing
Not only is blog writing the fastest way to create natural SEO, but it’s absolutely necessary to create a thriving online business. Blog/article writing gives your business a platform to write as much as you possibly can about your expertise, products, and/or service. And with that much room for words, you can naturally fit in A LOT of keywords. Blogging is basically a double-edged sword where one side is gaining trust with your customers and the other is ranking higher on Google.
3 – Alt Text
Alt Text is a type of ‘invisible’ wording (stay with me) that you can insert on the backend of an image. Once the text is entered, it allows the image to be searchable. Yeah that was a lot, let me boil it down – it’s basically like a photo caption that you can’t see. You’ll find the option to add Alt Text as you’re uploading an image to your content – whether that’s for a blog, a product photo, or just simply a photo on your website. Alt Text gives that wiggle room you need to slide in those few keywords that you can’t naturally fit into any more sentences. In addition, doing so can help your website get a bit of extra traffic from Google image searches, so why not do it?
4 – Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
Both of these elements are what you see generate after a search. Each webpage pops up as a bolded title (the Title Tag) and a small description underneath (the Meta Description). It’s important to update these on the backend of your website, because otherwise the information will auto-generate and, in turn, won’t be optimized to what you’re expecting prospective clients to search for. The best practice for writing both of these elements is to incorporate more of the keywords you know your prospective customers will be searching for, so you’ll want to make these fields unique rather than copying the content you’ve already used on the webpage.
5 – Page Speed
We can’t talk about all of these SEO Strategies without mentioning Page Speed. Everything you’ve learned so far is dependent on how fast your web page generates. Why? Because people are impatient, and they’ll exit your website or page if it doesn’t load fast enough. This is called Bounce Rate – if you have a high Bounce Rate, this means people are leaving your webpage within seconds of clicking on it instead of staying on for a longer amount of time. When your Page Speed is slow, you have a higher Bounce Rate. Therefore, all of your hard work creating a beautifully optimized page is for nothing if nobody sticks around to look at it.
There are many ways to improve your Page Speed, too many to even fit onto here. We’ll cover all of them in a later blog – so make sure you bookmark this page so you can access all of the great (and free) business tips we have coming out!
And that’s it! You’re an SEO expert!
Just kidding, we’re barely scratching the surface here. But that’s good news for you as a Small Business Owner, because there’s even more potential for your business to grow and gain exposure.
Want to give SEO a try, but don’t have the time? Get in touch with an SEO expert today.