Charles Kim is COO and Co-Founder of Executive Digital.
Successful businesses are keeping a stronghold on their markets by realizing the importance of digital marketing.
The foundation of all online marketing is search engine optimization (SEO). Billions of searches on Google every day have compelled businesses to compete in the race for organic traffic.
SEO For Small Businesses
As a business owner, you have to take into account the nuances of your industry and adjust the SEO strategy to your unique consumer. SEO bridges a gap between how consumers see public businesses and how businesses see their consumers. Good SEO will simplify industry jargon in order to capture organic traffic as people use the web on their own terms.
SEO Best Practices
1. Starting Your Keyword Research
Keyword research is the process of finding out the monetary value, popularity and specific wording of any phrase.
The only real way to know exactly what consumers are typing in their online searches is by using a keyword tool. A common search engine is a type of keyword tool and should be utilized for initial research.
Start by coming up with your own keywords. List out keywords and phrases that you believe represent your brand.
Next, you’ll want to verify your research. The list of words you come up with must then be used within a search engine. See what the web has to show for each of the words. Your objective is to evaluate each keyword to learn about how it can be used in your marketing.
Researching keywords that are relevant to your products and services is crucial to driving quality traffic to your website. Various tools will allow you to see what terms people are searching for that are associated with your own keyword ideas and the volume of monthly searches that are being performed, as well as the competition level.
Finally, practice the process of elimination. Start with eliminating any words that are too competitive for your brand to actually use. Competitive keywords are those that other brands are not only using, but thriving with. You can use any keyword that exists, but a phrase that your competitor already ranks for likely won’t work well for you.
2. Doing Competitor Research
Best SEO practices include a thorough analysis of your competitors.
You might find that, though there are no identical brands located directly in your area, one larger and miles away from you is taking your online traffic. Having a deep understanding of your competitors gives you a strategic point of view regarding your local market. Your competitors have a substantial influence, and what they do or don’t do gives or takes away from your market opportunities.
Here’s why you want competitor research to be part of your SEO development:
• Finding new strategies: Interestingly, what your competitors do to achieve great SEO can be duplicated to produce success for yourself. You don’t need to copy what others are doing entirely, but knowing how others are using their SEO tells you about what does or doesn’t work for your market.
• Securing your differentiation: You’ll find it impossible to make a standout statement if you incidentally rehash what your competitors are saying. A detailed understanding of your market gives you the data you need to differentiate yourself. Consumers are attracted to differences, and search technology can also tell if you’re the original or an impostor. You can use competitor research to make your SEO strategy as unique as possible.
3. Developing Your Content Strategy
Basic SEO relies on content. Don’t be lured in by marketing agencies that sell SEO services without any framework for content creation. You don’t need to produce long pages of content to appease your readers. Content, as it relates to SEO, is what we use to complete the process of search engine optimization.
Every SEO process starts with search engines first collecting data about your website and, thus, about your business. The keywords that you’ve decided on, based on the prior steps, are what search engines should find. Your challenge when creating content is to form a strategy that enables your message to optimize the keywords that you’ve selected.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when building your content:
• Know your audience: After you’ve collected your keywords, your next step is to construct ideas that immediately get to the core of what your consumer needs.
• Be concise: Being strategic about the topics that you cover in your content can help you to be concise and straight to the point. Try to also edit for fewer words, outline your key ideas, and stay intimate with your leads.
4. Moving To Sitemaps And On-Site SEO
The technical aspects of SEO call for you to implement an SEO strategy into the physical structure of your website. A sitemap, for example, is an ideal place to position all of your keywords, but you must do it in a way that makes sense for the format of your website. A sitemap is a navigation tool for visitors and is used by search engines to see your pages as a cohesive whole.
Your next step is to input your on-site SEO into:
• Headlines and tags: When searching a website for its keywords, search engines first find any existing headlines. Headlines are important areas for keywords because both the consumer and the search engines will read them.
• Anchor links and URLs: You can also expand your keyword use by organizing your site’s URLs. You’ve likely come across optimized URLs before; they use statements like “/your-awesome-guide-to-SEO.” When building the right URL, you want to avoid readouts like “/4632LKj763.” Nothing is left unscanned when your website is analyzed for keywords. Your brand can certainly lose its rank if your URLs aren’t optimized with relevant phrases.
If you investigate and give some of these SEO strategies a try, you will find success in generating more organic traffic to your website.