9 Easy Ways You Can Use SEO To Grow Your Business
Of all the tools of the trade of digital marketing, SEO (search engine optimisation) is probably the best known – but also, in many ways, the least understood. The goal of search engine optimisation is straightforward: you ‘optimise’ your visible web content and the underlying framework and coding of your site for better visibility in searches through Google (as well as Bing and other search engines).
Better visibility equates to a higher rank on the search engine results pages (SERP) when a customer types in a keyword, e.g. “marketing agencies Derby”. The more highly placed your page, so the logic goes, the more website visitors you’ll attract, as people rarely look below the first few results on page 1.
Although there are several distinct steps involved with SEO and a level of technical knowledge required, there are various easy ways for SME owners to use SEO know how to grow their business. Let’s take a look.
1) Choose the right keywords for your business
SEO is all about keywords. Your website doesn’t ‘rank on Google’ per se, rather it appears relatively higher or lower than other sites in search results for specific keywords. Fortunately, there are several good tools available to help you narrow down your keywords to the ones that best suit your market. You can start with a list of 20 to 40 search terms you think your personas use, then go to the Google Ads Keyword Planner to validate your choices by seeing how much traffic is generated for each term. You may be surprised at the results. You can also use the Keyword Planner to discover new keywords, check up on monthly searches, and determine the potential cost for a PPC campaign.
2) Use a mix of keywords
Don’t just focus on the obvious, high traffic keywords for your industry. These will be highly competitive and may also be more general - attracting prospects at an earlier stage of their buyer journey. You can use some of them, of course, but mix them up with less competitive and more niche keywords. You should also use a balance of ‘short tail’ keywords – marketing agencies Derby again – and ‘long tail’ keywords, e.g. best SEO plugins for WordPress. Short tail keywords have 1-3 words, while longtail keywords have four or more words. The advantage of longtail keywords is that they are more specific and have fewer searches, giving you a better chance of cornering this audience. Many longtail searches may also be strongly sales -related, potentially shortening your sales cycle for these prospects.
3) Don’t overuse keywords!
Keywords are extremely useful, but you can have too much of a good thing. Choose 1-3 buyer-specific keywords to use for each webpage or blog post you publish, and use each of these one or two times. This is usually all you need for good keyword saturation. If you read your content back and it sounds distorted or unnatural, you’ve probably overdone it. ‘Keyword stuffing’ makes a poor impression on readers and can get you penalised by Google. Google’s search algorithms are quite sophisticated. If a search term would look unnatural in organic writing, feel free to add connective words, or even to split the keyword up, as long as all constituent parts appear within the same sentence.
4) Encourage links to your site
One of the best ways to increase your search rankings is to demonstrate your authority to Google’s bots by having lots of external websites linking to your content. A quick and cheaty way to do this is to ask your email subscribers to link to one of your pages or blog posts on their social media account or their next blog. Send them the hyperlink you want them to use, and give them an incentive for doing so, such as a piece of downloadable gated content – they deserve it. Links will come on their own without asking, however, if your content is worth linking to.
5) Don’t link to your competitors
It’s good practice to hyperlink to your source for any facts, figures, and studies used in your content, but be careful about giving a free rep to your competitors. Remember that links increase relative standing and authority in search results. By linking to a competitor, you could be increasing their ranking over yours for the same keyword. When choosing your sources for content, therefore, favour those from non-commercial websites (e.g. professional organisations, governments, charities, forums etc), from non-competing businesses, or from similar businesses working in a different area, with little chance of overlapping customers.
6) Publish great content
The best sure-fire way of developing your online authority and building your search rankings is to publish great content – lots of it, on a regular basis. Start with a good quality website and move on to regular blog posts once or twice a week. ‘Great content’ is directly relevant to your buyers and their stage of the buyer journey, is original, and provides valuable information, for free. Be informative, be entertaining, be helpful, without continually making sales pitches. Building a strong digital asset base takes time, but the results in web traffic and lead generation will build cumulatively, delivering an excellent ROI.
7) Use social media
Set up a serious presence on one or two social media networks (don’t spread yourself too thinly) and commit to using them regularly. There are plenty of platforms to choose from, so focus on the one that is most relevant to the people you are trying to reach, and one that you enjoy using. Social media marketing shouldn’t be a chore – you need to be able to incorporate it into your daily activities for long-term success. For most B2B businesses, LinkedIn is the obvious choice, but you may want to explore Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter if it’s relevant to your target market. Use your social media platforms to share your own content, start conversations with prospects, like and share other people’s content, answer questions, and commission paid adverts.
8) Get your website in order
Google’s search algorithms are designed to clean up the web by ensuring that only quality, usable websites feature highly in search results. So, establish your efforts on strong foundations by getting your website in order, making sure your navigation menu is easy-to-use for visitors, that each page loads quickly, and that your site looks good on mobile devices. You can also upload an XML site map to make it easier for Google bots to scan and register your site.
9) Add your website to Google MyBusiness and Google Maps
Google MyBusiness is a free service that lets you choose what visitors first see when they search for your business on Google. Your entry can be customised to provide a business description, contact details, operating hours, and a link to your website, blog, social media platforms etc. If you combine this with a listing for your business on Google Maps, you will start ranking much more highly for local searches.
Ready for better visibility on Google? Speak to our SEO team today
SEO is one of the core strategies we used to help our customers first grow their online visibility, and then translate the resulting web traffic into sales. To find out more, please call one of our search marketing specialists today on 01332 343281.
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