SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be very confusing to the small business owner. It isn't rocket science, but there are a lots of things to consider. I believe SEO needs to be done by people that well organized, systematic, and pay great attention to detail.
If you are a small business and have those work qualities, you might try doing SEO yourself. Though, for most small businesses, outsourcing offers attractive options. Here are 6 things to consider when developing your SEO plan.
SEO Need Not Be Massively Expensive
You do not need to hire an agency with super credentials. But you do need to hire a competent SEO. Many who claim to be SEO experts are simply not. Check your local area for "SEO Your Town". Review their web site, their credentials, and their testimonials. Find an experienced SEO, get the fundamentals for your pages established, and begin a content creation program where your business develops the content and then submits it to the SEO person for optimization. Doing the content creation in-house will keep your costs down.
SEO Is About Adding New Content
Quality content is the engine that will drive your rankings upward. Today's buzz is all about content marketing. Your content can be web pages, blog posts, whitepapers, or downloadable pdfs. Think through how you can relieve pain and provide benefits to your target audience. Offer quality content that truly helps people. There was time when link building by any means was the number one thing to do to get high rankings. As a result there are a lot of bad practices and SEO myths about link building. Today, the focus on link building has shifted to natural link building. Natural link building means that people who use and love your content will be inclined to link back to your site. Link building is still important and useful, but the focus has shifted to a natural approach where back links need to be related and relevant. Spam link building practices will get your site penalized.
Social Proof Is Important
Social signals are now part of search engine algorithms. Share your content in the social media platforms that are best aligned with your business. Find out what platform(s) your prospects and customers are on, and engage with them there. Content shared on a social media site tells a search engine that it is valuable content.
SEO is a Process, Not an Event
Whether you are outsourcing SEO, or doing the work in-house - it is a process. It just takes time to generate exposure with the search engines. It may take 90 days to see initial results, and 6 months to really measure your impact. Keep working on SEO; keep adding content. Don't be disappointed if you don't see results overnight. Make sure you are tracking and monitoring your efforts with Google Analytics or similar software.
Quality of Your Content Will Be More Important Than Quantity
Ideally you want both quality and quantity. But if you haven't got the staff to handle more quantity, then go for quality. If you are blogging, try to write 2-3 posts per week. The content should be relevant to your business, and useful to your target market.
Before Doing Anything, Know Your Target Audience
Did you know that the search engines simply can not help you with this. You are writing content and offering value to your target market. You are NOT writing content for the search engines. So the burden is upon you to determine whether you have clearly defined your target market (your persona). Do a search on "how to develop your persona". By the way, a persona is a fictitious person that represents your ideal client. It includes many characteristics like age, demographics, gender, income, etc. Having a clear definition of your persona will help you figure out where to find your prospects, and will help you in writing content for them.
I do hope you have enjoyed reading these tips, and have developed a plan to execute your SEO program that meets the 6 considerations!