How much do you know about search engine optimization? Most small to mid-size business entrepreneurs are at least tangentially aware of this highly necessary digital marketing method, but that doesn’t mean you’re by any means a pro. In fact, according to a Black Enterprise report from just this past April, up to 25 percent of small businesses apparently know absolutely nothing about SEO: one out of every four small businesses don’t even have websites.
It’s hard to blame them. The amount of work that goes into maintaining a website can be daunting, especially to someone who is already putting their all into keeping their business afloat in a changing economy. However, if you want to avoid becoming an SEO-illiterate statistic, you can follow these four steps to SEO success.
Step 1: Don’t Be Afraid to Be Social
This isn’t just about Facebook or Twitter; your business should have its own blog with a regular posting schedule. The minimum is once a week, but if you can keep up the momentum of daily posting then go for it! Also don’t be afraid to break the posting schedule now and then with special announcements. Business2Community reminds entrepreneurs and SEO specialists alike to make sure that content is interesting and relevant, so don’t get in the habit of keyword stuffing or your search ranking could suffer.
Step 2: Scope Out the Competition Often
This sounds like a no-brainer, but a great deal of small businesses do competitor research once, when launching their first digital marketing campaign, and then never again. It’s important to be aware of what your top competitors are doing with their own digital marketing strategy in order to keep yours one step ahead. This includes regular keyword research to blogging schedule and more—this can get a little hard to manage, so don’t be afraid to call on the assistance of a professional.
Step 3: Use Keywords Naturally
As mentioned above, it can be tempting to pack your blogs and website content with the keywords you want your business to rank for in the search engine results, but always make sure to use them naturally. Talk to a pro about keyword research and—just as importantly—keyword saturation. If you’re making 500 word blog posts with three long tail keywords repeated four times each, your site will rise in the ranks for about a week before being flagged for keyword stuffing and either falling back to page five or disappearing from the search results altogether. Use your keywords the same way they would be used in conversation to really make a difference in your SEO. It may take a bit longer to get the uptick in rank that you want, but it’s more likely to stick when you go for organic and natural usage.
Step 4: Build a Network
Link-building is especially important for small businesses that focus on their local community for customers. Constant Contact recommends building links by making your content shareable, from blogs to Facebook posts; this can entail anything from high-quality pictures to fresh and original copy, the key is to make sure that it’s something worth sharing.
There’s plenty more to SEO, but following these four steps can promise success to pretty much any small business; the key is to make sure that your content is saying the right thing to the right people in the right places, and these four steps will help you manage just that.