6 Steps for Small Business SEO

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If you own a small business, you naturally want your website to rank high. You might be wondering why it’s not ranking high and getting lots of traffic. There’s a good reason.

So is SEO Easy or Difficult? Tell Us.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing website pages (and the website as a whole) to rank better in search engine results pages. It can be easy if you don’t have much competition and extremely difficult and time consuming if you have a lot of competition.

What is the top selling soda out there?

Coca-Cola_logo_2007It’s Coca-Cola, of course. Is that by chance? No. It’s because they worked at it. They’ve done a lot of work on branding themselves. They’ve spent millions and billions (probably trillions by now – easily) on advertising to get to the top. Their brand is strong but it’s only because they’ve worked at it. And then continue to work at it to stay at the top, right?

SEO works about the same way.

Years ago, you really only had to get a good Yellow Pages ad and you could get lots of phone calls and business, right? You had to think about it once a year and either renew your ad or maybe buy a bigger one. That’s not the case now and I run into business owners almost every day who are still in this mindset.

But Your Website is the Best, Right?

It’s really easy to be biased about your business. It’s natural. You do things better than the guy down the road, so you should rank higher, right?

Well, first of all, he probably thinks the same thing. Secondly, it almost doesn’t matter. What matters is who is publishing content and what people are looking for.

That’s right, you’re now not just running your business, you’re a publisher. Every business is. Just like you need to hire someone to clean your office, you now need to be in the publishing business in order to rank your website higher and get more traffic. The world is now online. You need to get your story out there and you need to publish content that people are looking for on their mobile devices.

The Secret to SEO

The best thing you can do to get your website to rank higher is… (drumroll, please)… post great content on your blog.

That’s pretty simple, right?

You must publish “link worthy” content. It has to be so good that people will want to tell others about it. If it’s not that good, then you simply won’t see the results you want.

Spend hours on it or pay someone to do it. Think of it as another bill like a utility bill or something. It’s part of your advertising budget now and it’s just a part of doing business.

6 Steps to Rank Higher

Alright, so content is the best thing you can do but there are other steps in order to make sure the great content you’re publishing does its absolute best.

I cover these steps in detail in my SEO book but I’ll lay them out for you:

  1. Is your design ok? Is it responsive?
  2. Is your website structure ok?
  3. Do keyword research
  4. Optimize existing content (keywords, adding on to articles, etc.)
  5. Create new content
  6. Optimize existing content again.

Repeat steps 5 and 6.

So first, you want to make sure you website was set up right. There are a LOT (I mean a LOT) of small, technical details that go into setting up a website correctly. You need to make sure every, single step was done correctly. Missing a few of them can have an impact. Choose a website design company that has been around a long time.

Keyword research is, well… key. It’s like taking a reading on a map. Set your course before you put tons of time and effort into a new design and new content. Take the easy way there – not the hard way. This step is super important.

Next, you’ll need to optimize content that you already have. You might combine articles (use proper redirects), remove some articles and then add more content to existing articles to make them the best they can be.

Then, every month you need to see how you’re doing, look for new keywords, optimize content and keep writing new content.

Local Business Reviews

word-of-mouthLocal reviews matter… a ton! Get them. Stop putting it off while your competition does it. YOU need to do it. Get on that.

Most people I talk to use Amazon.com for shopping and they look at reviews of products before they buy. They might not even purchase at Amazon but they go there for the reviews. That way, you know what you’re buying and you know if it’s any good or not. Your business needs good reviews.

Look on Google, Yelp, Angie’s List or wherever. Just Google your company name and see what shows up.

Reviews and word of mouth is just… huge.

You have plenty of happy customers and, if you ask them, they will write up a good review for you. You just need to ask them, so do it.

Don’t Deny What I’m Saying

How you get business now is from ranking well on search. That’s it. That’s where we are. The Internet is not a fad. It’s here to stay, for sure. You need to pay attention to SEO and take steps today to improve your website’s rankings.

It’s content. Your website needs to be THE authority on your topic/niche. You can do it – especially if you serve a local market. It’s not very difficult and it CAN be done.

About 25% or so of the searches Google sees are NEW searches. They’ve never seen that question or search before but they need to find an answer. Google goes to your website and it knows what is there. If someone’s search phrase happens to match perfectly with what a certain post (page) on your website says, then you might have a great chance of showing up.

Here’s a dumb example, which will serve 2 purposes…

This is something nobody would ever search for but let’s say someone just happens to search for this phrase (and I’ve included some content):

porcupineWhy do porcupines love to play poker with hairless dogs?

Porcupines are creatures that really like to gamble. Their quills help to protect them against predators but hairless dogs come in many breeds, which makes them perfect poker partners for porcupines. The two species tend not to fight each other and many people say it’s the perfect combination.

Ok, so that’s a new phrase. I’d be willing to bet that nobody has ever spoken that phrase/question and it has never been searched. I just searched for that phase, though, and Google gave me some results. The results sucked, of course, because it’s not a topic that has really ever been a topic.

Now, this is an old trick but I just “seeded” Google for that phrase. It found that someone is searching on it and they’re now trying to find good content for it in case they get that search again. I’ll finish posting this article and check that search again in a few days and this new post here in my blog should rank for it.

The point is, this page on the Internet is the only page out there that talks about how porcupines will tend to play poker with dogs that are hairless. If that phrase is ever searched again, this page should come up. That is how your blog needs to work… no, it shouldn’t be that obscure but you get the point – the more content, the better. It’s like how a bigger net will catch more fish.

The secondary point of what I just wrote is that there are lots of SEO companies out there that will say they can get your website to rank high. Guess how they do it. They use a phrase that doesn’t get a lot of searches and they rank you for it because it’s easy to do. It’s like my porcupines playing poker with hairless dogs phrase here. Do you want to pay $800 a month to rank for that? I hope not but I see it happening all the time.

So don’t fall for those SEO companies with those offers. Instead, look for companies that honestly tell you that they cannot guarantee rankings because they are telling the truth and setting the right expectations.

Conclusion

Ok, I’m about 1400 words in right now, so I better wrap things up.

We started talking about small business SEO and getting better rankings. Make sure you’re in the right mindset and know that about 90% of SEO has to do with content. You are in the publishing business now, so welcome to it. I don’t care if you manufacture metal pipes or playing cards for animals, you need to create and publish content for your website to rank well.

Websites today are very intricate. They have to work well on many devices, so it’s no wonder. Get your website evaluated by a good, reputable website design company, then get it fixed or redesigned. Next, get your publishing plan in place. Hire a copywriter if you need to or find some college kids who need money. Paying $20 for a 800 word article is about the right amount but maybe pay $50 for a really good 1500 word article full of facts and solutions to people’s problems that is based on solid keyword research. Do that and you’ll rank higher.

Guess what? You’re still reading this article, so it must have captivated your attention and it must have information that you didn’t know about or you would have left a long time ago. The time someone spends on a page is called “dwell time” and it’s a big factor now. It needs to be high. You can easily accomplish that with writing or even with relevant YouTube videos that you just paste in (embed).

See? Like I said… lots of little factors like that go into a successful website.

-Tony


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