SEO basics

SEO Basics: Getting Your Small Business Started

As a small business owner, there are many aspects you need to oversee in order for your business to succeed. However, one aspect you might be overlooking is search engine optimization (SEO). With SEO, you can better grow your organic presence in market. Organic presence means non-paid placement in search engine results. For example, if you own a retail shop, and Google “summer dresses,” the organic results are what are below paid ads.

SEO is a vital marketing aspect to expand your brand.

In fact, only 19.2 percent of clicks go to the first two paid advertisements on Google’s search results page.

Practicing good SEO tactics isn’t always easy. If you’re not familiar with marketing or SEO, here are some basics to help you begin.

Check your rankings

Before you can begin an SEO strategy, you need to know where you stand amongst your competitors. Rankings are important for traffic going to your online store.

The number one position in Google results gets 33 percent of traffic, and the percentage only declines from there.

You want to make sure you’re ranking on the first results page and at least in the top five positions.

There are plenty of tools out there that can help you see how you’re ranking for terms in your industry. Using these rankings, you can see who is ahead of you and look at what they are producing to get them such high rankings. Of course, you shouldn’t compare yourself too much with large chains. Look to these chains for inspiration and as a guide to your content, but focus on outranking any local competitors.

Related: 9 Tips for SEO Success

Content is king

Having high quality content is a necessity for your rankings. Google wants to see that you’re an authority figure in your industry. Blogs are a great way to publish high quality content for your site. With a blog, you’ll have more opportunities to rank higher in your industry. For example, if you run an accounting business, your blog could offer accounting tips and resources for other small business owners and individuals who might not be great at personal financing. People will come to your site for your help and eventually might even purchase one of your services.

It’s also important to post enough to keep up interest, but not so much to where people will unsubscribe from an email list. Posting high quality content two or three times a week is more valuable than posting decent content every single day. On social media channels, the number of times you should post varies, but the quality should always be high.

Optimize for keywords

In your content, you’ll want to include keywords you’d like to rank for that also pertain to the content’s topic. Google will crawl your content and then index it in its search. You don’t want to include too much of the same keyword, however, as Google could assume your website is spam and will penalize you for it.

For example, if you own a retail shop and run a blog about summer trends, you don’t want a paragraph that has the term “summer trends” in every sentence. If this is something you struggle with, Text Optimizer is a great, free tool to help you see how well you’re optimizing for keywords in your content.

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Look for link building opportunities

Once you have your site optimized for SEO, reach out to influencers who could link back to your site with a “follow” link. Link juice from a high domain ranked site will increase your site’s domain rankings, which will then increase your rankings on Google.

Two popular ways to do this are guest blogging and reaching out to influencers. You can guest post for a popular blog, which will give your business a shout out in the author bio, or you can send an influencer your product or service to try out for free. If they like it, they can recommend it to their followers. Both will provide links back to your business’s online site, increasing your domain rank.

SEO overview

As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate, so you might be overlooking SEO in your marketing strategy. It’s important to remember that SEO takes time to see results. While quick results and turnaround are good, they’re not as permanent. Once you improve your domain authority, you’ll see longer-lasting results than you would from paid ads. These results will increase traffic to your online store, which will in turn give you a higher chance of making a sale.

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