When you’re the owner of a small business or startup, you’re juggling so many different responsibilities that staying on top of the latest digital marketing strategies is probably not high up on your list of priorities. And that’s a shame – because solid search engine optimization practices that boost your organic traffic can keep bringing in new customers for free indefinitely, unlike once-off marketing campaigns that may see your revenues spike only to fall back down once you stop pouring money into them.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a foundation that you can keep building on month after month, continuously growing your reach and making yourself known to more and more potential customers. Here we offer some advice on the basics, when to invest in outside help, and what you can do today to start taking advantage of this incredibly valuable resource.
Make sure your website meets technical search engine optimization requirements
If your website doesn’t meet certain technical requirements, Google, Bing, and Yahoo are going to have trouble indexing it – and that means all your other efforts are going to fall flat. Aspects such as internal linking structure, titles and descriptions, load times, image tags and many more can have a big impact on your ranking. If this all sounds a bit scary, get help:
- If you’re creating and managing your own website, make sure to choose a platform that has built-in SEO tools. WordPress, Wix, and Weebly are good examples. They will actively assist and guide you with SEO as you add new pages and content.
- If you already have an established website, get an established SEO company to give your site an SEO audit and help you fix major errors that could be severely hurting your rankings.
Take advantage of all the free tools available to you
Budget is always a concern for startups, but luckily
- Google Search Console
- Bing Webmaster Tools
- Google Analytics
- Google Keyword Planner
The above can give you oodles of free information that you can use to improve your website’s SEO, from identifying trends and keywords, identifying and fixing technical issues, learning about who’s currently visiting your website, where they’re from and what they’re looking at, how fast your site is loading, and much more.
There are also dozens and dozens of other free SEO tools available which can help you come up with ideas for new content, help you compress images to make your site load faster, get rid of redirects and more; but Google’s tools are all you need to get started.
Commit to creating great new content regularly
No matter how many algorithm updates and tweaks Google releases, one thing remains the same – they’re trying to deliver the best results to their users. If you want to be rewarded in the rankings, then your consistent aim must be to provide content that is relevant, factual, up-to-date, informative and engaging. Shortcuts and ‘black hat’ techniques just don’t pay off in the long run.
‘But how am I ever going to be able to compete with big businesses with massive marketing budgets and a whole team of content creators?’ I hear you cry. By using your resources strategically and making your expertise work for you, setting realistic goals, and committing to consistently adding fresh content. Partnering with a firm such as Ruby Digital which can assist you in creating a highly competitive strategy as well as assisting in the creation of great content on a regular basis is a good option if you just don’t have the time yourself.
Evergreen or cornerstone content is a particularly good way to get your slice of the search engine pie even when your competition is much, much bigger and more established than you. This generally consists of one exceptionally thorough page which links together a bit of everything you have to say on one aspect of your business. This lengthy, in-depth piece is able to answer multiple questions on a particular subject – branching out and linking to other pages on your site which discuss a particular aspect in more detail. Done right, this kind of content can draw in significant traffic, and hopefully get visitors clicking through to more of your content, and eventually result in a sale.
Understand that SEO for organic traffic takes time and effort but creating useful content that gives visitors what they want is simply one of the best ways out there to generate leads on an ongoing basis. It truly is the kind of investment that can help turn a small startup into a highly successful business.