What is SEO – In a Nutshell
Many entrepreneurs are in need of more knowledge when the question, “What is SEO?” is presented. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the marketing strategy used to increase a website’s ranking with search engines organic (unpaid) results, such as Google, Bing, etc. Higher rankings can cause an increase in the amount of visitors to your website; ergo, increased sales, donations, etc. Google, the most popular search engine, promotes pages that searchers find useful. Therefore, content that is SEO-friendly is imperative.
SEO Doesn’t “Have To” Break the Bank
The SEO process can be intimidating to a lay business person with little or no online expertise. So, SEO companies can charge an exorbitant amount of money for their services, many praying on the online inexperience of business owners. Most promise to place your website at the top of Google search results. Google constantly reworks the processes used to rank search results in an attempt to keep organic (unpaid) search results on a fair and level playing field for all. In reality, there are only two ways that I’ve found to realize the goal of consistent top rankings.
- buy an ad with Google, Bing or even Facebook, which you can easily do for yourself.
- spend every waking minute focusing on your website
– analyze your “analytics” data (explained in a later blog) and tweak your content to increase results
– research the current results trends of each search engine
FYI: You don’t have time to do this; and the SEO company won’t either.
Implementing Basic SEO
There are a few things you need to focus on with a small business website where SEO is concerned. This article leans more toward website optimization. In a later blog I’ll be going into steps outside of your website. For now we’ll focus on your website as it pertains to SEO.
Create with SEO in Mind
The following list will help in setting up, or updating, your website with a basic SEO strategy. Print and use this list when you sit down to plan your site or when you meet with your web developer.
- Write (or outsource) well-written, grammatically correct, spellchecked and proofread, useful content.
If you’re not a writer, hire one. There are plenty of reasonably priced content writers. If you don’t know of one, check out somewhere like Upwork for a freelancer; I am also available for hire at Chelsi Graphics, choose “Content.”
- Include keywords (words and phrases people will likely use to search for your products and services). Keywords must flow naturally and don’t overdo it.
What keywords bring up your competitors in search results?
- Include professional-grade images and videos.
Clear images, not blurry; research product photography best practices or hire a photographer (a student if necessary).
Videos that don’t bounce; hire a videographer (student?) or at least buy an inexpensive tripod.
- Update your site regularly; add or change your content.
Ease of Navigation
- Create easy ways for users to navigate and link to your site.
- Be sure your site is mobile-friendly.
- Add links for visitors to share your content, via social media, etc.
- Share links with businesses that complement your business.
Link to their site if they will link to yours.
- Register your website on Google and Bing, possibly others.
- Create and submit an XML sitemap.
- Check your site for errors.
- Use free analytics tools to optimize your site.
Do Your Own Research
Having a degree of knowledge is a safeguard against being pushed into things you don’t need, or spending too much. So, even when you hire someone for their expertise, you need enough information to keep from being taken. This is an area where I’ve found that ignorance is seriously preyed upon. That’s why I began this blog. To inform and protect my fellow small business entrepreneurs.
My next blog, “Understanding SEO” will include a checklist of steps to follow, after your website has been created. These are steps that most small businesses will outsource. But, sitting down with a list and saying, “this is what I want done,” is more cost effective than blindly hiring a company or individual without knowing exactly what you’re paying for!
Until next week, Blessings!