What on earth is SEO and why should you care? This quote from Forbes’ 7 Reasons Why Your Business Should Invest in SEO, provides a good answer why business owners should care:
Search are engines grabbing more market share – Somewhere between 80-90% of customers now check online reviews prior to making a purchase, and this number is only expected to increase. It won’t be long before virtually everyone is searching for products and services online. Do you want them to be able to locate your business, or not? Without organic SEO in place, people will have a very hard time finding you and will instead find your competitors.
They say the best way to know if you are mastering a subject is if you can teach it to others. Well, this post is an effort to practice mastery of what I’m learning.
As a digital marketing professional, I’m going to share what I’ve learned about SEO for small businesses with you and provide you with some actionable advice that you can put to use right away–so search engines can find you before your competitors.
Now in full disclosure, I confess I’m not, yet, an SEO sensai. I’m still a newbie and don’t take myself too seriously. So, be warned that this post may read like a cross between Tech Crunch and an urban blog laced with references to 90s R&B. 🙂
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Industry leader, MOZ, offers this SEO beginner’s guide for anyone who prefers to geek out. But for others who need a lay around-the-way illustration, let’s think of SEO more pragmatically. Consider…
- A website’s main objective it to enter into a relationship with a human being.
- So, the website dresses and lays itself out in such a way to be attractive to the latest search engine robots passing by to check out the latest and greatest websites.
They (websites) cloth themselves in garments of text and images arranged in such a way to be most attractive to these search engine pimps–I mean robots. 🙂
These robots collect the best sites and rank them according to an ever-evolving set of complex criteria–so as to keep poor quality sites (aka scrubs) from ranking and encountering human beings.
For everybody in the SEO world knows that search engines–don’t want NO SCRUBS. Engines are constantly finding new ways to say no to scrubs (aka poor quality sites) hanging out the passenger side of their best friend’s ride trying to rank. 🙂
Shout out to TLC–that ode to 90s R & B. Okay. Carrying on….
To rank means to appear between numbers 1 and 10 on Google’s search engine results page (also known as SERP). SERP is the website promised land. It’s where all the fly websites hangout.
And of course, being number one or close to number one on the SERP is absolutely everything! This is why websites dress up for search engines so they can be scooped up to be chosen by you and me.
Chosen as in when you are suffering from anxiety at 2 am and the Google SERP delivers you that Harvard medical degree enabling you to diagnose your worrisome symptoms. Or, when you are in a new city, craving pizza and the Google SERP points you to the best pizza spots in town–cosigned by 50 five star reviews.
And Oh! I’d be remised if I didn’t mention that Google bots are not the only suitors in town on the prowl for sexy websites. Yahoo and Bing have search engine robots who deliver to their SERP, too. And guess what?
Once you dress your site up to attract Google’s SERP, it’s poised to attract all the other boys on the yard. In this way, only, is SEO simple–like men. 🙂 So, don’t sleep on Yahoo and Bing. They don’t want any scrubs either and are looking for love in the cyber club, too.
Okay, all jokes aside. You should know that early adopters to the online business industry and social platforms as well as big, well-known, brands (with money to pay SEO agencies to consistently employ strategies to improve their ranking) dominate the Google search results page, often crushing the little guy.
It’s been common to find a big box brand, (with shallow to no engaging content on their site) out ranking a local small business who has awesome content and even better products and services.
For a long time, there was little a small business could do or little they understood they could do…to compete.
In steps the millennial generation with a slew of software solutions (SaaS) that have figured out, to a great degree, how Google bots roll–giving small business and online business owners the tools needed to make ranking more likely and less complicated.
The good news is, in today’s market, there are so many software tools and plugins to choose from that, if an owner has the time, with modest effort and consistency, they could perform competitive SEO strategies on their own. For, it’s not uncommon, to see small businesses appearing right next to big box brands on the Google SERP. And in some cases, leap right over competition and dominate.
To make this a reality for any small business reader, below are my top 3 SEO experts sharing free tips business owners can use to improve their website’s ranking. SEO takes time and consistency, so if an owner is unable to commit the focus and time to learn and perform the strategies consistency, then there are many skilled professionals in the market place standing by to assist you. I am one.
- MOZ, a leader in SEO education, is the SEO expert’s expert. One of their writers created a helpful checklist for the novice in SEO. It is perfect for a business owner with no marketing budget. The writer starts the checklist with this word of caution, “Before you do any SEO you need to research the part of the web you will be trying to change. Many people believe this is the most important step in the SEO process. No skipping!”
- Online marketing guru, Neil Patel, tells small business how they can compete with the big boys on his QuickSprout blog. Neil says, “It all boils down to two specific marketing strategies: SEO and social media. When done correctly, these strategies can help any small business compete with the big boys….It’s part of the glory of digital marketing. Anyone can compete. Anyone can succeed.”
- Can I Rank, an innovative SEO (SaaS), shares its 9 Best Local SEO Tips for Small Business. They conclude their tips with this helpful reminder, “Local SEO is not a campaign, it’s a business practice. Plan and budget for the long haul, but the rewards for your time and money are very worth it. Follow these local SEO tips and you should be seeing these rewards sooner than later!”
So if you are a small business owner, you have a good start on where to begin strengthening your online presence and gaining more traffic via local and organic searches. Tweet me @goodbyebrokegirl to let me know if you read these blog posts and implemented any of the strategies these experts suggest.