Small business owners are notoriously frustrated by the topic of search engine optimization. This is because SEO is a relatively new industry and is highly complex. It is further complicated by the fact that Google puts out misinformation and confuses the industry by holding their ranking algorithm as a highly guarded secret.
If you think that sounds a little bit paranoid, read the 10-K from Google, Inc. They are, after all, a publicly traded company and are required to report to their shareholders the risks they see in the marketplace. In these pages, you will see them stating in plain words that guarding their search algorithm is a primary objective of theirs.
It’s common for SEO professionals to tell small business owners to start a blog and to produce content on a regular basis as part of their SEO regiment. Many business owners become frustrated after they’ve written a few blog posts and don’t see any significant spike in their organic traffic.
In this article, we will outline four simple steps that will have a transformative impact on small business SEO. None of these activities are particularly complicated, but they do take time and effort and need to be applied on a repetitive basis.
Write longer blog posts
Google has developed a strong preference for longer blog post than they used to have. It was common a few years ago for top rankings to have three or four hundred words on a page. This is no longer true today and first page rankings typically have an excess of 1,500 words.
If writing 1,500 words on a regular basis sounds daunting, it might be time to think about hiring an agency or web design firm to complete this critical digital marketing activity for you.
If you plan to hit the high word count required by Google by adding in fluff or thin content, think again. Google has also become quite capable of weeding out content that users do and don’t like.
Many SEOs are now talking about “searcher intent.” This is a fancy term used to describe how effective a blog post is at answering a specific question posed by the searcher. In your quest to create a well-researched piece, you need to make sure you’re actually answering the question or Google will not likely rank your content.
It’s also true that over 2 million blog posts are placed on the internet each day. In addition to being useful, your content has to entice users to stay on the page and explore other content on the website.
Modern approaches to user experience include bigger font sizes, wider line spacing, and less clutter on the page. The right-hand and left-hand navigation bar that was once guaranteed to be present on every blog has been slowly disappearing. Modern web pages are much easier on the eye and invite users to dwell longer, scrolling as they consume very long-form content.
Another major change in how blog posts are produced is the ratio of images to words. It was common a few years ago to have a single image on a blog post. Today, you would be hard-pressed to find a page one ranking where there are not at least 20 unique images in the blog post.
Build backlinks to every page
After you have produced excellent content that thoroughly answers the searchers’ intent, you need to spend serious time promoting your blog post. Here we are talking about backlinks to that specific page on your website.
Again, we have seen significant shifts in what Google prefers over what used to rank a few years ago. Today, most page one rankings have specific backlinks to that subpage that are highly relevant and authoritative.
Authoritative links come from websites that carry a strong domain authority, also known as domain rating. There are several third-party tools which can help you gauge the strength of an overall domain. As you look to acquire backlinks to promote your website, you want to get high domain backlinks (all things being equal).
Google has also told us that the relevancy of backlinks is a second critical component in building strong SEO for your website. If your website is about dog food, for example, a link from an automotive website is far less valuable than a link from a dog training website because of relevancy. In many cases, it would be better to have a lower domain authority link from a highly relevant site than a backlink from a high domain authority site that has no relevance to your vertical.
If this all sounds confusing, that’s because it is. And again, if you find this task overwhelming, you may want to consider outsourcing SEO to an agency or web design shop. In all likelihood, you have already outsourced this tedious task to a private label seo company who is highly specialized in matching good backlinks with good content.
The third step you need to take in boosting your small business SEO is to amp up your social media practices. You probably already have social media profiles and maintain some presence on these various pages. Work this into a routine where you are giving your followers relevant information on a regular basis.
Consistency is key as you want to grow your followers over time. This audience becomes critical as your first distribution point for a new blog post. You want immediate engagement for each and every post so that there are comments and social proof that the content is engaging.
Your social media followers are an excellent source for launch engagement of a new blog post. They are prime to digest your content because they followed you in the hopes that content such as this would soon be released.
Viewing your social media activities as a method for building a friendly audience will help boost and amplify your content so others can find it. These are also potential backlink creators waiting for your next blog post. None of this technique will work if your social media presence is subpar and inconsistent.
In a very similar vein, email marketing is an excellent extension of your SEO as well. Most small business owners know they should be maintaining a list of carefully procured, opted-in email addresses that can be used when a new blog post is ready to launch.
Pop-ups have seen a resurgence in the last year and have excellent conversion rates for acquiring email addresses. If necessary, offer something free in return for the user surrendering their email address.
Examples of free giveaways include white papers, informational kits, or other free exchanges that visitors to your website with find valuable.
SEO for small business can be a complicated project. But it doesn’t have to be if you follow the four steps outlined in this article. You’ve probably been told by a search engine optimization professional before that blogging on a regular basis is excellent for your search engine presence. This is true, but you need to blog to a higher standard today than you did three years ago. Blog posts are longer, more well-researched, and include many more images.
Your website user experience is likely in need of an overhaul to match modern standards. Additionally, you need to coordinate your blog post promotion with a well-secured social media presence and extensive email list.
If you learn to coordinate these various commercial activities and have strong content to promote, Google will reward your website with highly valuable traffic and customer conversions.