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SEO basics for small business owners

Image of business meeting with laptop and graphs.

Fact: Everyone wants their website to rank at the top of the Google search.

I get it. Your website is up and running, but it’s buried on page 10 of the Google search results. You need to start thinking about SEO.

Understanding SEO is like learning a new language. It’s important to incorporate SEO when you’re developing your overall content strategy. In order to get started, you need to learn the basics and give it some time. For years, small business owners and digital marketers have been working together to demystify the process of SEO.

How do people use SEO to gain visibility and traction online?

It’s likely that you already have experience with SEO, even if you don’t realize it. We all use Google’s search engine to find what we’re looking for online. Think about how you perform searches for products or services. Which words or phrases do you use? How quickly do you change your search terms when you can’t find what you’re looking for?

The top 3 Google search results usually get about 70% of the clicks. If people don’t find what they’re looking for at the top of the first page, most likely they’ll adjust their search criteria and try again.

Google’s goal is to return the best results for your search inquiry. The algorithm is sophisticated, and it uses a combination of factors to determine which websites are most relevant to what the searcher is looking for. There’s a lot to consider when you’re creating your SEO content strategy including your audience, competition, location, keywords, relevance and usefulness.

It’s important to begin learning about how to incorporate SEO into your overall content marketing strategy. In order to grow your website traffic and increase your ranking, the first priority will always be to create content that is engaging to your audience. Your website should be easy to navigate and should provide information that makes it simple for your visitors to find what they’re looking for.

Content creation is a long game.

Website content, blogs, social media and email newsletters are all pieces of the puzzle. In today’s digital landscape, there are a lot of opportunities to reach your audience. The primary goal is to guide users to your website and provide content that speaks to their needs so that they’ll stick around long enough to engage with your brand.

If you haven’t already, sign up for a Google Analytics account and link your business website. Take some time to get familiar with the dashboard. It’s easy to use and can provide valuable insights about your website visitors.

Next, get familiar with some of the SEO basics you need to know and start creating content!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The process of growing website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or web page to users of a search engine.

Google accounts for about 90% of online searches, but people also use sites like Bing and Yandex.

Search Engine Results Page (SERPS)

These are the pages displayed by search engines in response to search queries.

SEO Content

Your SEO content is all of the content that you create to help your website rank higher in the search engines. This includes all of the content written on your site and the navigation and structure of your website.

On-page SEO

The practice of optimizing individual web pages with the goal of achieving a higher ranking on search engines. On-page SEO includes the content and the HTML source code of a page. This activity happens within your website.

Off-page SEO

Activities that happen outside of your website that help to raise the ranking of your site with a search engine, including backlinks.

Backlinks

Links from other websites that drive users back to your site, thus increasing traffic.

Keywords and Keyword phrases

The words and phrases in your content that make it possible for people to find your site through search engines. In order to optimize your website, you want to incorporate keywords and phrases into your content that potential users may enter into a search engine.

Keywords Research

The process of analyzing search terms that people enter into search engines. Consider your users and organize them into groups. Based on your products or services, which keywords are your users likely to enter into a search engine?

In order to take advantage of keyword optimization, you need to understand your customers, and their specific goals.

*I like to use Moz.

Organic Search Traffic

Search results that are earned, not paid.

Paid Search Traffic

Advertising through the sponsored listings of a search engine page or a partner site.

Paid Ads

Advertising online in an effort to drive traffic back to your website. Think: Facebook ads!

Pay per click (PPC)

Online advertising model used to drive traffic to websites. This is where it starts to get interesting!

Cost per thousand (CPM)

Advertising bought on the basis of impression. The cost an advertiser pays for a thousand views or clicks on an ad.

White Hat SEO

When your SEO strategy and practices align with the search engines’ terms of service.

Black Hat SEO

Deliberate manipulation of search engine indexes. See: spamdexing.

This list is just scraping the surface of the complexity of SEO. There are a lot of experts out there and tons of resources available to help you improve your SEO. Of course, the first step to improving your SEO is writing engaging content that serves your audience.

If you’re looking to post consistent content on your website and social media and drum up your SEO, let’s talk! Contact KMW.

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professional writer Karen Miller

I'm Karen Miller

A website copywriter for entrepreneurs and business owners serving Philadelphia and abroad. Let’s connect.