What is SEO and Why do small businesses need SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is broken into two parts, quality and quantity of traffic to a website through organic search results. For example, organic means when a user searches “best restaurant near me” and your restaurant is on page one without having to pay for ads or for it to be listed on page one. In short, traffic you don’t have to pay for.
I’ll explain about the two types of traffic to help you understand more about SEO.
Traffic quality – you want to attract the right customers. If your restaurant is located in Southern Oregon then you don’t want someone in Maine seeing your restaurant. Also, you want your traffic to be interested in your brand. This way you’re converting your traffic into conversions.
Traffic quantity – after you’ve started attracting the right customers the more traffic the better. Keep up the great work at this point and don’t stop. Many people think once traffic is there it’ll always be there. It’s an never ending steam engine.
Why you need SEO
There are so many searches every single minute. You want your business to be in the rankings when people are searching topics related to your small business. Hardly anyone goes beyond page 1 and less than 2% of people go beyond page 2 on Google. Why lose out on all that potential new business? You want to be targeting the right keywords so you are getting the right traffic to your website.
Here are my top 4 website SEO basics for small businesses
Keyword Research and Keyword Targeting
What do you want to rank for and what does your company focus on? Answering these questions will help you know what to focus your strategies around.
Use Google Keyword Planner and Google Search Console to see what people are searching. Keyword planner is a great tool to use to see an estimate of traffic relating to searches. This will help you determine which will fit your content best. Ubbersuggest is another great free keyword tool. Type in your domain and the tool will suggest keywords for you to utilize, estimated monthly searches, ranking difficulty, and estimated traffic to your site.
The saying is true, content is king. After you’ve done your keyword research you can start to develop your content around your keywords. Don’t stuff your keywords into your content. Let them flow naturally and use like words and phrases. Start focusing on long-tail keywords as they’re easier to rank for and lower competition. Shorter keywords like ‘shoes’ will have major competitors ranking on the top page. You’ll want to use long-tail keywords like ‘low top blue shoes’. Optimize your content and write engaging content. You want people coming back. Blog and blog often. Post on social media daily if you can.
You’ll want to know your buyer personas. This will really help you develop the best content to fit the needs and wants of your customers.
Solve problems in your content as well. This will help you rank higher for more long-tail keywords.
Links – Link building and internal link structure
The days of buying links are gone. Google cracked down on those spammers. The best approach is to follow the above items, build amazing and engaging content. This way your readers will want to share your content naturally on social media.
Internal linking is a number of things but in basic it’s making sure you’re linking to other pages of your website naturally. So if you write a blog about the top 10 national parks. Maybe you’ll have some opportunities to link to another blog about hiking, caming, RV things, and other related articles. Do you see where I’m going here?
Also, make sure your link structure doesn’t go more than 3 clicks deep. So from the home page a user should be able to access all pages from within three clicks. Have a good navigation structure in your header and your most important pages in the footer.
There are quite a few things that are involved with on-page seo optimization. It includes making sure your have the most optimized page titles, meta descriptions, URL structure, Alt attributes, and schema markup.
Title tags – you want to make sure you’re describing your page as best as you can while using your keyword as well. Be as descriptive as possible but not too long. Use this tool, SERP Snippet Generator, it’s my favorite when optimizing titles and meta descriptions.
Meta description – this is where you want to go in more depth about what you’re offering on the page. Again, be descriptive and make sure you use your keyword.
URL – this can be your page title or shorten it but make sure it still makes sense what the page is about. Make sure your URL is in text format and not dates and numbers. If you’re on WordPress it’s an easy switch in your settings.
Alt attributes – these are your image alt tags and anchor text. Anytime you add an image to your webpage you want to make sure you add a descriptive alt tag with your keyword. This way bots and others can read what your image is if they can’t see the image. Google bots can’t see what the image is so you need to tell them what it is, that’s what the alt tags are for.
Schema markup – for reviews, html code, and so much more.