Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a necessary component of any successful small business website. The internet has become the primary resource for information on virtually everything, from goods and services to relationships. To meet the needs of customers searching for solutions, small businesses need to ensure their website content is easily visible and what better way than SEO to achieve this?
For companies new to SEO, getting started can be a bit of a mystery, like planning a trip in uncharted territory. How do you know which keywords to use in optimization? Can you implement an effective SEO campaign yourself, or will you require outside assistance? Our agency at TopRank Online Marketing has established the following 5 SEO Essentialsfor those who could grow their business through improving search visibility, but don’t know where to begin.
1. Establish a Plan of Action: It’s important that small business owners know what they ultimately want to achieve with a SEO effort. Common goals include: Are you looking to increase your site traffic? Up your brand visibility among your target audience? Generate more leads? Solidifying your goals is a necessary step in deciding which SEO tactics to deploy and how to measure results.
2. Assess Your Capabilities: The next step is to discover whether you have the resources to implement an effective search engine optimization program. Most small companies have limited marketing resources, so it’s important to be efficient. Decide whether you will need to outsource some, or all, of your tactics. Search engine optimization involves a broad mix of skills ranging from dealing with code and server side issues to creative keyword copywriting to ongoing content promotion and link building. Leveraging outside help to get started can advance a small business SEO program in very significant ways.
Once you have established what your business goals are and what you hope to attain with your SEO program, take a look at your budget, internal SEO knowledge and bandwidth to decide what you can accomplish yourself and what you will need help with in the short and long term.
3. Determine Measurements of Success: Measuring the success of a small business SEO program is essential and should match the specific marketing goals that have been set. Many companies continue to determine SEO success solely by rankings for keywords in the search results, which has become largely irrelevant. Search results for the same keyword will vary by the geographic location of the searcher, whether they’re logged in to Google and their past search history.
Other metrics to consider include changes in organic search traffic for optimized keywords over a given period of time as well as conversions. Reference the objectives you established at the start of your SEO efforts in order to solidify precise metrics that will clearly indicate the success of your SEO campaign. Also, don’t forget to take benchmark measurements so you have a documented starting point.
4. Implement and Promote: The right keyword research should result in a Keyword Glossary that can be used for a content optimization audit and serve as a resource for future content creation, digital asset optimization and link building. Code and server side audits should handle any technical issues along with template and database optimization where necessary. Processes for content optimization on an ongoing basis will empower whoever adds and maintain content to the web site in order to produce keyword optimized copy as part of regular web site maintenance. Keywords, content and links are the fundamentals to any SEO program. Each need attention at the start, as well as on an ongoing basis to achieve momentum and to create an advantage over competitors.
After implementation, SEO efforts can be taken to the next level by finding the target audience online, rather than waiting for them to find you. Knowing where your prospective customers are interacting with one another online, and promoting useful content from your website as a resource within that space, can increase the reach of your SEO program by encouraging direct traffic and inbound links.
5. Maintain an Ongoing Program: In the world of search engines and online marketing, many things can and do change. Search engines are constantly upgrading the way in which they determine web page rankings. Businesses and the mix of goods and services may also change over time. After the initial site optimization, any future changes to the web site, especially with a content management system, can affect all past SEO efforts. An effective SEO program needs to adapt in order to survive and thrive in the changing online environment. A consistent, ongoing SEO program is the best bet to ensure optimized content continues to maintain visibility on search engines for customers that are looking. Ongoing search engine optimization efforts also provide oversight of implementation, continued link acquisition, opportunistic content promotion, coordination with other departments such as Public Relations, Advertising, Customer Service and HR as well as search analytics insight.
If search engine optimization isn’t a core skill for your company, selecting the right SEO tactics and resources can be as challenging as charting a course through the unknown. Each company has unique needs and it’s important to keep web site marketing goals clearly in mind in order to establish a campaign that will be successful and pay off. Follow these 5 SEO Essentials and you’ll be able to navigate your way to a good start. If you’re thinking about hiring an outside SEO resource, check out “How to Hire a SEO Firm – According to Google“.