What DIY Small Business Marketers Need to Know About SEO
in Small Business Marketing on January 2, 2020
Three top tips for using keywords to get small business websites noticed.
What is SEO? Well, it stands for “search engine optimization.” In essence, it’s the practice of increasing organic traffic to your website by providing useful and relevant online content by Google and other search engines. That’s a fancy way of saying: SEO gets your website noticed.
If you’re not familiar with the term “organic” traffic, it simply means visitors to your website who have found you without the help of online advertising, such as pay-per-click (PPC.) PPC can be effective, but it might not be in your small business marketing budget. Other than the time you spend working on your SEO, search engine optimization is free. You achieve search engine optimization by adding content to your website that contains relevant, helpful information, presented in a concise manner. That content also needs to include terms that help Google understand what your site is about, while helping humans get answers to their online searches.
Keywords are the key
Google (and other search engines) are on a mission to get online searchers the fastest and best answer to any question they might have. So, your best practice to get search engines to send traffic to your website is to offer clear answers to the questions your current and future customers might be asking in your blog content. The words and phrases people use to ask their online questions are called “keywords”, and including them on your website and in your blog posts is, well … key.
So, with all that in mind, here are three top tips to effectively use keywords to optimize your SEO and get your small business website noticed.
- Don’t try to take the whole pie. Give some serious thought to your keywords. For example, if you’re a freelance graphic designer just starting out in Indianapolis, you may have a hard time finding your way to page one in a search for “graphic designers in Indianapolis.” There are lots of them out there who’ve probably been around longer than you have. So, instead, focus on your niche specialties and optimize the heck out of them. For example, if you specialize in wedding invitations, try using “custom wedding invitation design” or “unique wedding invitations.” This strategy is commonly referred to as using “longtail” keywords. Essentially, that means that you’re not trying to own the whole pie, just a few tasty slivers of it.
- Publish or perish. Google is like that nosy next door neighbor who always notices if you switch up your daily routine. If you’re not constantly adding new content to your site, that “nosy neighbor” assumes you’ve gone on vacation and stops paying attention. According to hubspot.com, blogging is one of the best ways to add new content to your website on a regular basis. If you don’t have time to do it, see if you can find an intern who is knowledgeable about writing for SEO, or hire a freelance writer to do it for you. Once you’ve posted your content, be sure to share it on your social media platforms to maximize its impact. And our final piece of advice here is, don’t be tempted to simply re-post others’ content pieces, or worse yet, plagiarize them. Your nosy neighbor will also figure that out and punish you in your rankings. Your savvy customers will notice too!
- Don’t overdo it. Once you’ve chosen some keywords, it’s not a competition to see how many times you can get those words on the page. Keywords will get folks to your page, but if your content doesn’t actually address the question they’ve asked, or doesn’t answer the age-old question, “What’s in it for me?” they’ll go right on to the next site. Writing content specifically for the use of using keywords and cramming them into your post is called “keyword stuffing”, and it might do you more harm than good. While there’s no absolute rule about how many times you should use your keywords on a page or in a post, a good rule of thumb, according to Moz.com, is to use your keywords once in your title, once in your headline, two to three times in your content, and once in your meta description, which is the summary of your blog post that will appear in the search results. (Most website management platforms will allow you to edit this. If not, you can use a plugin like “Yoast” to edit your content.)
What’s the KEY takeaway?
Your website is your virtual storefront. Taking a little time to improve your SEO with blogging that offers truly helpful and relevant content along with strategic use of keywords can be the difference between your storefront sitting on a dark, overcrowded side street or occupying primo real estate on a bustling downtown street corner. So start optimizing today.
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