If you’re a business owner in 2021, you probably have a website. If you have a website, you’ve no doubt heard about SEO, which is short for Search Engine Optimization.
SEO is the art of making your website rank higher on the results pages of search engines, like those performed on Google and Bing. Because Google is the king of search engines in the United States, most SEO teachers focus on helping their students perform better on Google… and they wouldn’t be wrong.
I myself am a small business owner in Hawaii; Maui to be exact. I specialize in helping other small businesses around me with their marketing. One of my favorite things to do is turn around a small business by helping them move more of their marketing and commerce online.
One of the biggest obstacles to successful online marketing is slaying the giant of SEO. To those unacquainted with SEO, it seems intimidating. I love making it simple for my clients, teaching them how to do it, or improving their SEO and teaching them how to maintain their ranking.
Throughout my work, I also realized that many small businesses face a huge problem.
Also read: Budgeting For Local SEO
The Necessary Evil
To sum it up, SEO is necessary. But SEO is scary.
Regarding the fact that SEO is necessary, the numbers don’t lie. Search engine rank is one of the biggest determinants of web traffic. Users don’t always have the time to scroll through hundreds of possible websites when they perform a quick Google search. They usually stick with the top 5 options, or if they’re really desperate, the first page of results.
When a website finds itself on the dreaded “page 2” of Google’s results, they can expect their traffic to drop off by a considerable margin.
Web traffic leads to foot traffic and e-commerce store traffic. This of course leads to sales and revenue. I don’t know about you, but my business can use all of the web traffic it can get!
On the other hand, SEO is scary. To the uninitiated, it seems incomprehensible. Many business owners don’t even know where to start. This causes some to try a couple of basic tactics and call it good, and others to refuse to begin.
Other businesses outsource SEO to someone else, who maybe doesn’t have their best interests in mind. I’ve encountered several “SEO mills” who will promise you the world for a low monthly fee, but I’ve also seen that they have little time or interest in learning a business’s unique goals and issues.
Despite these challenges, good SEO is still needed. If I told you, “Here’s a simple way to gain 50% more foot traffic in your store,” you’d probably jump at the opportunity. SEO can help you get that much web traffic and more, which will lead to foot traffic and online orders.
By the way, SEO pairs quite nicely with starting some form of e-commerce. If you’re new to online, I have a guide about getting started. If you have a shop page but want to maximize your revenue through social media, then check out our guide on using Instagram (and Facebook). If you’re wondering whether e-commerce could work for you at all, then read this real-life story of e-commerce success.
If you want a more comprehensive guide, we’ve developed a FREE resource called Organic SEO Methodology: Driving Your Business to Online Success. Check it out!
3 Basic SEO Building Blocks
If you want to get started with SEO, don’t get intimidated! Let me explain the three most basic pieces for you to get started.
The humble keyword is the basic building block of successful SEO practices. This is a word that matches, or at least correlates with the words that searchers use when trying to find a business like yours.
The best practice related to keywords is to make a list of keywords relevant to your business and use them a decent amount in all your web pages. Don’t overuse them to the point where your writing stops making sense, however.
A fantastic starting tool for keyword research is called ubersuggest. You can type in the nature of your business and learn suggested keywords… and even starting points for blog posts.
You can also use answerthepublic to determine the real questions searchers are asking, and develop web content that answers those questions.
- Header Tags
Header tags are a piece of code most web platforms use to determine your titles and subtitles. Most web development platforms automatically change your header tags when you change the headers and subheaders on your pages.
Search engines tend to rank websites higher when their header tags are relevant to the search. Google will scan your web pages’ headers to determine if the content matches the search terms.
All you have to do is sprinkle your keyword terms into your headers and subheaders. Don’t add so much that the headers stop making sense, however. Another good tactic is to only use H1-size headers once on each page and to use H2’s and H3’s as you go farther down the page.
Backlinks are internal links to other pages on your website. They help guide and direct traffic, as well as boost SEO ranking.
You’ve already seen several backlinks on this blog post. Some link to other blog posts, others link to free guides that our website provides, and one links to a call-to-action inviting the reader into deeper engagement with our company.
Your site’s pages should follow a similar pattern. Generally speaking, pages with less traffic will benefit more when they have more backlinks leading to them. You can tell which pages have less traffic by going to the traffic tab in WordPress, Squarespace, or the web development platform of your choice. From there, determine which pages need some love, and add more links to them on other pages.
If you can do these three things, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of other business owners who refuse to engage with SEO. And you’ll be one step closer to slaying the giant of SEO!
To dive deeper into this topic, read our FREE e-guide called Quality SEO Link Building: Developing Your Online Profile Through Quality Links.
If you ever need help with SEO, feel free to reach out to me!
Photos courtesy of Adeolu Eletu and Lukas Blazek