Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has proved to be a godsend strategy for digital marketing. It is a simple and inexpensive way for small businesses to increase their presence online.
Before the advent of the internet, most businesses largely relied on print and electronic media to advertise their products. Besides being expensive, print and electronic media was not readily available for most people. It was therefore difficult to reach a target population at an appropriate time.
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is a marketing technique of using specific keywords (commonly searched) in a website’s content. When those keywords are searched online, Google’s algorithms will mark your website as relevant and rank it on its first page.
Considering the fact that there are numerous businesses using the SEO keyword strategy, there is stiff competition when it comes to getting ranked on the first page of Google and other search engines. As such, you need to be as creative as possible to get that top spot.
The advantage of being ranked on Google’s first page is that millions of people will notice your website – and probably click on it.
The reason why being ranked on the first page is important is because very few people go past the first page of Google search results. This means if your website is ranked in the second or third page, the probability of someone seeing it is very minimal.
However, the good news is that anyone can rank on Google’s first page. All you need is to implement a good SEO keyword strategy.
The first step towards a successful SEO marketing strategy is understanding your business. That’s the only way you will be able to come up with relevant and searchable keywords.
FACT: 75% of internet users never scroll past the first page of search engines. (Junto, 2017)
Best local strategies for small businesses?
As mentioned above, search engine optimization is a very competitive area. The only way to stay ahead of the competition is to apply various SEO techniques that are unique to your business.
For example, you need to deeply understand your business inside out. That way, you will be able to generate keywords that will rank your business highly on Google.
Easy SEO tips for small businesses:
- Conduct keyword Search
Keywords are the engine that drives search engine optimization. Before starting to implement an SEO marketing strategy, the first thing you should think of is keywords. You have to conduct some research and find out which keywords are commonly used to search your business.
Keywords are important because they identify your business to internet users. The more accurate and strategically you use them, the easier people will notice you.
There are various ways through which you can search the right keywords. One of them is a digital analytics dashboard. Diib’s keyword tool is invaluable because it has a functionality that’s able to tell how often a certain keyword is searched and where the search is being done. It can also give you suggestions for your specific niche. One of the big advantages to the Diib keyword tool is that it allows you to research those keywords your competitors may be ranking for so you can better structure your campaign. This is an example of what that feature looks like:
- Understand that the right keywords are not necessarily popular
There is always the temptation of picking popular keywords at the expanse of the right ones. While conducting your search and research, you will definitely come across popular keywords related to your business. However, this doesn’t mean they are the right ones to use for an SEO marketing strategy.
Using popular keywords will only reduce your chances of being ranked high by Google. Why is because there will be stiff competition – since every other business will be using the same keywords to get ranked.
That’s why you need to be smarter than that. Come up with keywords that are right, but not popular (or highly searched) for your business.
For instance, if you are running a small business that has a growing website, it is better to focus on niche keywords that will attract smaller and specific potential customers.
For example, if your business is focused on selling sports shoes in Texas, you can use a keyword phrase such as “buy running shoes”. In this instance, the search volume (meaning the number of people searching for that exact phrase), is 720. So, your chances of ranking in the first 10-15 results isn’t that great.
However, a more effective keyword phrase to use could be “places to buy running shoes near me” or “how to buy the best running shoes for you”. Although the first set of keywords will narrow down your search, the second set, with 110 and 90 search volume’s will definitely rank your website higher on a Google Search Results Page. You are much more likely to rank higher with less competition.
- Optimum Keyword density
An SEO strategy requires an understanding of how the Google algorithm works. You, therefore, have to play around with that.
One such way is by using the right amount of keywords. Google algorithms check on content that is relevant to the keyword phrase or keyword. It doesn’t just focus on the presence of the keywords.
Besides, excessive use of keywords is considered as Keyword stuffing by Google. This can lead your website to be flagged as spam – making it impossible for anyone to search and find you since Google won’t permit your website to appear on its search results.
The minimum keyword density is 1%. It is not recommended to go past 3%. This basically means having between 1 to 4 keywords in a copy of 500 words.
How is Keyword Density calculated? The keyword density formula that will help you with calculations is: divide the number of keywords on the total amount of words and multiply by 100.
- Understand where to place keywords in an article
After coming up with the right keywords to use, the next step is to know how to strategically place them in your content. Strategic keyword placement means putting them in places that will have a bigger impact when someone comes across your content.
For example, you should ensure to use a keyword or keyword phrases in the title or subtitles of your article. You can then spread the rest of the keywords naturally throughout the article. Here is an example, following with our running shoe example above.
You can easily see each keyword used in the title and meta description of the first organic search result.
Doing this will provide Google’s algorithm with proof that your content is highly relevant to the keyword phrases.
- Engage on social media platforms
The use of social media is one of the easy SEO tips most businesses are using. If your business is active on a major social media platform, then it is likely to gain favor as far as Google algorithm is concerned.
FACT: 71% of those who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are more likely to recommend it to others. (GetAmbassador, 2017)
- Use Hyperlinks
Another method used by algorithms to determine the relevance of keywords is to see just how those keywords are used to expand on other information needed by the person searching. The best way of achieving this is by hyperlinking your keywords or keyword phrases.
A hyperlink will either direct the user in another part of your website or on a different website altogether – for more information about the keyword.
What is a hyperlink? It is a link from a hypertext file or document to another location or file, typically activated by clicking on a highlighted word or image on the screen. These are typically underlined and written in blue text.
- Spread keywords throughout the website
Besides placing keywords and keyword phrases in your content, it’s also vital to have them strategically placed in different parts of your website. This includes URLs, navigation bars among others.
If an algorithm notices that your chosen keyword phrases are embedded in your website apart from your content, then it will mark your website as a valuable source of information.
- Write fresh content
Apart from properly using keywords, it is also imperative to write relevant, regular and engaging content.
Google will always choose the most up-to-date information to share with searchers. That means if you write outdated articles, your chances of being ranked on the first page of Google will be significantly lower.
The only way to stay ahead of your competitors is to constantly generate new content that’s associated with your keywords. This however doesn’t mean posting the same articles several times.
Find new topics that are relevant to your product or services and create content based on them.
Most users also prefer current information when searching for products and services online. This means if your articles are outdated, then few people will be interested in reading them.
FACT: Quality content is the key factor in any good SEO strategy. Improvements in content have been known to increase blog traffic by as much as 2,000%. (SearchEnginePeople, 2018)
- Secure, build and update your local business listings
It is also important to list your business locally. You can do this by using Google my Business to attract more local customers. Google My Business set up is simple and straightforward, as you can see in the following graphic.
DIY SEO Strategies & SEO tips for 2020
There’s a general perception that every small business or company needs a great consultant in order to succeed in SEO marketing.
As much as a consultancy firm can help boost your business through various SEO strategies, the truth is that you can also apply certain principles and still succeed to rank your business highly.
The other thing is that most digital marketing agencies can be costly. This means you will have to share with them a certain percentage of your profit. That’s why most people are opting to implement SEO marketing strategies by themselves in order to save money.
How to be successful in DIY SEO strategies
- Conduct competitor research and do better than they do
There’s no doubt most businesses have turned into search engine optimization as a preferred marketing strategy. Most websites have mastered the art of comparing value instead of algorithms. They use different types of tools to crawl websites and see what SEO techniques their competitors are using.
If you have decided to implement an SEO strategy by yourself, it is therefore important to study and analyze the competitive techniques of website ranking for your keywords. This includes exploring tactics such as content creation, link building techniques, keyword targeting among others.
Did You Know? Diib® offers our clients insights into not only their own website health, but that of their key competitors. Research what keywords they rank for, specific campaign success and their backlink strategy.
- Understand your users
The ultimate goal of any website should be to provide value to users. Value can mean a lot of things, but for search engine optimization all aspects should be geared towards benefiting the user. For example, the content you create for the purpose of informing, educating, or entertaining them.
Additionally, all the features on your website should be designed in such a way that no one has to struggle to figure out how to use them. In other words, every element of your website should be focused on your users.
Gaining insights on user behavior is not difficult. You can achieve it by engaging people visiting your website and asking them questions. Mapping out your website design could look something like this:
(Image credit: SearchEngineJournal)
- Site architecture/Interface
Website architecture refers to how information is arranged on your website and the ease of navigation. It is the ability to understand your users and what they expect when they visit your site.
For instance, you should know how they navigate different functionalities, the nomenclature they are accustomed to, and their mental model of decision making.
- Great website design
The design of your website speaks volumes about your business or brand. The good thing is that there are hundreds of design templates available online. That means you don’t have to be tech-savvy to decide which one will attract users.
FACT: It takes about 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not, whether they’ll stay or leave.
- Research on keywords
For a DIY SEO strategy to succeed for a small business, you need to target the correct amount of keywords. The problem is that most people tend to only target keyword phrases according to their search volume. This is not always effective if your aim is to increase business SEO.
The best way to target the correct keywords is to start by understanding why you want to optimize your website in the first place. There are basically two types of keywords used by small businesses – data-driven and vanity keywords.
- Data-driven keywords: Data-driven keywords or keyword phrases are those that comprise qualitative and quantitative data points. For example, they may include user insights, contextual value, search volume, and paid conversations.
- Vanity keywords: Vanity keywords are commonly used in situations where a small business owner wants to have them ranked – but there is not enough information to validate the importance of ranking them.
FACT: As reported in Google SEO insights, organic results that include long tail terms (keywords) in the title have a 3-5% higher CTR than organic results with 1-2 keywords in the title.
- Create a link strategy
The internal linking we are talking about here is not the one previously mentioned regarding navigation. In this instance, link strategy refers to the ability to choose the right keywords and keyword phrases in your articles and link them to other pages within your website.
The following are the benefits of internal linking:
- To increase business SEO
- Offers users with navigation options
- It helps in distributing ranking metrics all over your website
This is a graphic showing how those links might be set up.
- Blog frequently
Blogging is another key strategy in achieving when it comes to implementing an SEO strategy on your own. However, just having a blog is not enough. This is because blogs mainly exist for the purposes of publishing.
The most important thing is to understand what information is valuable to your customers. After that, choose appropriate keywords to use in every blog post. Ensure that you post current and relevant information – that will keep readers engaged.
FACT: 53% of marketers say blogging is their top content marketing priority. (HubSpot)
- Tracking and analysis
The most important point about doing SEO for yourself, is the ability to track your success, and tweak strategies depending on the results you are getting.
You can do that by using Google Analytics – which allows you to check the performance of your website regularly. Diib’s user interface syncs with Google Analytics and Facebook to bring you a complete picture of your website health. Take a look at what your Diib User Dashboard would look like.
- Optimize a Google My Business listing
Google my Business can help drive new customers to your business. All you need is to make your listings as visible as possible to your local customers. A recent study showed that 56% of local bricks and mortar style businesses have not claimed their Google My Business listing. Which is unfortunate as it is a free and simple way to drive more traffic to your site.
FACT: 96% of Google My Business listings are viewed at least 25 times per month with 49% of listings receiving over 1000 searches per month.
How to develop SEO Strategy
An SEO strategy can only work if you understand how to develop and implement it. It is the process of planning and implementing steps meant to improve search engine rankings.
Steps on how to develop the best SEO strategy for 2020:
- Come up with a list of keywords
Keywords are what drives search engine Optimization. That is the reason why keyword search is always the first step in an SEO marketing strategy. How do you come up with a list of keywords?
The best option is to use Google search. Type the words that you believe customers are likely to use when searching for your product. It is important that you understand different types of keywords. For instance, in a search for “what is anchor text” you’ll see other phrases people are searching for, which may be similar to your original search.
The most common ones include long-tailed and short-tailed keywords. It is better to use long-tailed keywords because they are less competitive compared to short-tailed keywords. In addition, long-tailed keywords target specific clients.
- Analyze the first page of Google
After creating a keyword list, the next step is finding out what’s not and what’s working for those keywords. Type one or two of those keywords on Google search then write down the top 10 results you find.
- Create something unique
The above steps will have already given you a clue of what other people are doing when it comes to ranking on Google’s first page. It’s your time now to create super quality content. You can choose to create something different or something better…or BOTH!
- Add a hook
A great way to improve your chances of being ranked on the first page is to add backlinks. A recent study showed that there’s a strong correlation between links and ranking on Google’s first page. But how do you link?
Start by finding out why other people link to particular types of content within your industry and apply that “hook” to your own content.
What is a backlink? According to Moz, “A backlink is a link created when one website links to another. Backlinks are also called “inbound links” or “incoming links.” Backlinks are important to SEO”.
- On-page SEO optimization
This is where you optimize your articles or content for SEO purposes. There are two main On-page SEO strategies that can easily optimize your content.
The first one is known as internal linking. As long as you apply it right you will be amazed by the results. The second technique is called semantic SEO. This is about finding words that are related to your target keywords.
- Free SEO tracking software
After setting up everything, you need to find ways of tracking and determining if your SEO strategies are working or not. There are several free SEO tracking software such as Ahrefs, Woorank, SEMrush, BuzzStream among others. Diib offers a comprehensive solution to all your SEO needs.
Diib® is the Solution for Small Business SEO
Search Engine Optimization has become the most preferred mode of digital advertising for most businesses. This can be difficult and time consuming to navigate for the small to medium sized business owner. Diib® offers an easy to understand User Dashboard designed to:
- Provide Custom Alerts, which keep you informed on your website health and any changes to the google algorithms that can affect your traffic patterns.
- Give Objectives with customized suggestions on ways to improve your website health and organic traffic.
- Offer our clients insights into not only their own website health, but that of their key competitors.
- Allow you to sync your Facebook profile, giving you insights into the specifics of your social media campaign. Things like specific post performance, demographics of users, best time of day to post and conversions.
- Provide a monthly collaborative session with a Diib growth expert that can help you fine tune your SEO efforts and guide you to growth and success.
Call today at 800-303-3510 or click here to get your free 60 website scan and learn more about your SEO strengths and weaknesses.
While this is more of an inexact science, the general rule of thumb is to include specific keywords no more than five times in a standard blog post. Anything else can be considered spammy to the reader and negatively impact the user experience.
Most SEO projects in 2020 will cost between $750-$2,000 per month based on the scope of the project. A one-time project will range between $5,000-$30,000 and hourly rates for consultants fall between $80-$200/hour.
When company executives are willing to invest in professional SEO services, you want to hire an SEO company. With a reputable and trusted SEO agency, your business can take your SEO strategy to the next level. You can accomplish and earn more, which impacts your bottom line.
SEO is constantly changing and evolving. This means your SEO strategy will need to be reviewed periodically for efficacy and relevancy.
Backlinks are especially valuable for SEO because they represent a “vote of confidence” from one site to another. This is vital for good website ranking.
In addition to the steps mentioned above, you must be willing to try new things and step outside of your comfort zone. Network with other small business owners and see what works best for them.
SEO is not only about search engines and ranking, although that is a good portion of it, but good SEO practices improve the user experience and usability of a web site.