Small businesses often ask me for help with their SEO. And it’s understandable — SEO is very technical and can seem like “black magic.” If you haven’t kept up with the ever-changing optimization, Google algorithm updates and tactics, it can seem daunting to tackle. And, because SEO experts are highly sought after and hard to find, they are often paid well and not accessible to the average small business budget. As a small business owner, this might leave you feeling like SEO is something you’ll never be able to understand or tackle.
One of the more important questions to ask yourself today as a business owner is: do I need help with SEO? Search Engine Optimization is the art of making sure your website is being found in search engines by the thousands of people searching every day for the service your business provides.
If you’re not sure if you need help, let’s begin with opening a Google search in your internet browser and typing in your top keywords. Do you come up first on the web page? If not, the answer is clear, and you need help with your SEO.
SEO, backlinks, and google rankings can be a point of confusion for a lot of small businesses or digital marketers just getting started. But these marketing tools are often considered the backbone of any marketing strategy and an integral part of what we do at First Page. What good is amazing content if people can’t find it? This month’s roundup is highlighting the behind the scene tools necessary for your digital marketing machine to really thrive.
SEO and content marketing go together like milk and cookies — you can’t (or shouldn’t) have one without the other. There are a variety of benefits from SEO. It demands fresh, new content and keywords to ensure your website can rank better. SEO also requires backlinks to your website. And, really great content naturally builds backlinks (for free!) as other brands and individuals link to your blog post.
If you’ve ever had a discussion about SEO, you’ve definitely heard the terms “backlinks” and “link building.” Over the last decade, link building has remained one of the most effective ways of improving organic search results and driving increased traffic to websites. Remember how spammy the internet was in the early ‘90s? If you wrote a blog, you'd receive dozens to hundreds of comments saying, "Great post! Check out my business LINK." Now, Google has made it nearly impossible to link spam by creating an algorithm that only rewards very specific and strict link strategies. If you want your website to rank, you are forced to create high-quality links and content. Let’s dive a bit deeper.
Recently while on my Unsettled trip to Medellin, Colombia with other aspiring digital nomads, we were invited to share with the group our professional background. While explaining my marketing agency and our focus on growing businesses organic search and revenue through content/SEO, one of the group members asked me, "Well isn't that type of SEO dead? I don't use Google, I search for a restaurant on TripAdvisor, and I search for products on Amazon's mobile app." Another one said, "What about voice search?"
Both of these examples (mobile and voice search) are important mediums that are changing the way people search... and they're going to impact the SEO industry going forward. But, that doesn't mean that the content-focused SEO we've used in the last 5-10 years is dead. Let's take a look at how mobile and voice search might change our industry...
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the single most important marketing channel for a small business, and if you’re not investing in it today you need to be. Why is it the most important? I’ll let these SEO statistics speak for themselves:
- 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine such as Google or Bing
- Search is the #1 driver of traffic to content sites, beating social media by more than 300%
- 70-80% of users ignore paid search advertising and click on organic search results
- 30% of all clicks in organic search results in Google go to the top three results
- 72% of all people who performed a local search ended up visiting a store that was within five miles of them
What these stats tell us is that people use search engines frequently to make a decision about a purchase or business, and it’s important your business is on the first page of Google (or even better, the first three organic search results).
So how do you get your small business to rank in search results? Small business owners often spend money hiring expensive SEO consultants or agencies without seeing results. And it can be hard to compete for the top three positions against big box companies that have giant marketing budgets. But there’s still hope for the little guys!
I’ve put together a few quick strategies that your business can use to start playing in the SEO sandbox.