The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated businesses’ shift to digital. These include mom-and-pop shops that had to shut down their physical stores permanently and move their business online. If a similar thing happened to your small business, you probably now have a website to cater to your customers. But do you find it hard to attract more customers online? You may need a bit of help from SEO.
As a digital marketing strategy, search engine optimization (SEO) levels the playing field between big companies and small businesses. If you execute this right, you can attract more customers than established businesses. To help you compete, here’s a quick SEO guide for the average business owner.
Make Awesome, Lovable Content
Having a website is a chance to connect with your audience—and you’ve got about a few seconds to make it happen. It’s kind of like a love-at-first-sight situation. Time should stop, and your website should be the only thing the visitors see. Their eyes must be locked on whatever you’ve written there.
When visitors stay on your website, this sends a signal to Google and other search engines that your website is informative and valuable to the readers. The next time a user searches for something related to your business, Google would likely rank you high on search engine results pages (SERPs). And that’s exactly how SEO works. You optimize your website to make it visible to potential customers using Google and other search engines.
How can you create content that makes readers—and search engines—fall in love with you? Do the following:
Know Your Audience a Little Better
You probably know the demographics of your target buyers: their age range, gender, and income level. This time, take it two steps further by knowing their psychographics or their motivations to buy. Do they want a new pair of running shoes because they want to switch to a healthier lifestyle? Or do they need it for their next marathon? When you know why your buyers buy, you can anticipate what they would search on Google, and you’ll know what to write on your blogs and product pages to meet their search intent.
Write for Your Audience—Not the Search Engines
Write for your audience, so Google can also understand the value of your content—not vice versa. Make sure your language is easy to understand and the content is digestible. Also, pick an interesting topic.
You don’t need to talk about your products on your blog all the time. Say you’re a siding contractor. You can offer great value to potential customers if you write blogs about the advantages of stone veneers that mimic the look of natural stone. General topics about home maintenance are great options, too. Create blogs that resonate well with your target buyers, even if that content doesn’t directly push your services.
Associate with the Right Crowd
External links are as important as internal links. When you link to news sites and other reliable sources, your content becomes more credible. You show readers and search engines that you know what you’re talking about—and that you’re connected to those who have authority in your industry.
Be the Talk of the Town
Think about the last time you picked up your phone and searched for a new Italian restaurant to try in your area. You probably tapped the first four or five-star listing that popped up on Google. The process may seem ordinary, but it is a result of a well-executed local SEO strategy.
Local SEO is optimizing your website so it ranks better for a local audience. With local SEO, potential customers can find you at the exact moment that they need you. Here’s how to start your local SEO:
Create Google My Business Listing
Google My Business (GMB) is a free, easy-to-use business listing tool that helps you manage your brand’s online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. You can also interact with customers through GMB. Make sure to respond to customer reviews, especially to those who are not favorable.
Include Local Keywords on Content
Remember when you used your phone to search for a new restaurant to try in your area? You probably typed the name of your town or city along with the phrase “Italian restaurant.” Your local customers do the same when searching for a business like yours on Google.
To match the search intent of your local customers online, make sure the content on your website includes geo-tagged keywords. Plus, it’d help if you write engaging blogs about your local community. Sometimes, you need to join the conversation before you can even be the talk of the town.
These are some SEO fundamentals you need to learn as a small business owner trying their hand at digital marketing. Once you’ve mastered content creation and local SEO, it’ll be easier for you to execute more complex SEO strategies. For now, hopefully, this guide helps you boost your SEO rankings.