As a small business owner, you may see SEO as an unnecessary expense. You may even believe it is not worth your time and effort because SEO is dying anyway — but this could not be further from the truth. SEO is constantly growing in importance and expanding into new areas. Before, it played a major role for large and midsize businesses. Now it is just as crucial for small businesses.
What Is SEO?
Many people think they know what SEO is but it is much more complex than it appears on the surface. For instance, although keywords and content are a big part of SEO, there are many other elements involved. These all fall into two categories:
• On-Page SEO. Any effort you take to improve individual pages to enhance your ranking in search engine results is on-page SEO. As well as keywords, this includes formatting, URLs, navigation, load speed, on-site blogging and responsive design.
• Off-Page SEO. You can also improve SEO by taking action off your website. The most well-known aspect of off-page SEO is link building, but this category also encompasses social media, business profiles and articles.
How To Get Started
Although it is true that SEO can be complex, this is no excuse to neglect it altogether. Much of SEO costs nothing more than your time, and it is much more effective than traditional marketing tactics. For example, inbound leads (like from SEO) cost 61% less than outbound leads (like cold calling), according to Search Engine Journal. It is also simple to put tactics in place — once you know how.
• Local SEO. Google favors local content, as it has extra value for users. As a small business, you may have an advantage over even the biggest corporations if you have a unique knowledge of your local audience. Much of local SEO is based around long-tail keywords. By researching potential terms with a tool like Google Keyword Planner, you can find phrases that describe what your business offers with a location included. Simply creating content based around these keywords will help you reach the top position in search engine results.
• Social Media. Social media is an ideal place to share content from your website or blog to drive traffic to your site. You need to post regularly and interact with users.
• Link Building. Another aspect to add to your initial SEO strategy is link building. Bear in mind that to Google, the size of your business is not important — if you use black hat techniques, you will be penalized. Black hat techniques consist of any low-quality methods and spam. Instead, you need to use link building to show your authority, such as by guest blogging, sending pages to high-quality, relevant directories and creating content others want to share.