SEO for Small Business: It’s as Easy as 1-2-3

Whoa… wait a minute. I make money selling writing and SEO services and here I am telling you that SEO is easy. What on earth am I thinking?

I’ll tell you what I’m thinking. I’m thinking you’re either too busy running your business to worry about trying to save a few bucks by doing the SEO for your small business website yourself or you’re too broke to pay me. Either way, I want to help you. So, to help break through your fear of trying to optimize your website yourself, I’m going to prove to you that it’s not as hard as you think. In fact, the basics of SEO are quite simple.

3 Steps to Getting the SEO Right on Your Small Business Website

Step 1: Pick a keyword. What’s a keyword? It’s the phrase people use to search for what you’re selling. Are you selling teacup puppies? Then your keyword is “teacup puppies” or something similar. Yes, some keywords are easier to rank for than others, but you don’t need to know how to figure that out to do a decent job of SEO. You just need to know this: The longer the keyword phrase is, the easier it will be to rank. So, “yorkie teacup puppies for sale” will be easier to rank than “yorkie teacup puppies,” which in turn will be easier to rank than “teacup puppies.”

Step 2: Write your content. This is the hard part. A lot of people don’t like to write. So, for many people, it’s not the SEO that gets them; it’s the writing. But search engines work with words, not sounds or videos (at least for now), so that’s what we have to work with. Here are the most important things to know about writing for search engines:

  • Use your keyword in the title. This is the #1 most important thing you can do for good SEO. Google assumes that the title tells readers what the content is about, and a good title should do just that. It should also entice the reader to click through and read the content. The title is the first thing your prospects see, and if it’s not a good one, it will be the only thing they see.
  • Include the keyword and variations of the keyword in your content. Don’t repeat the focus keyword over and over again. Change it up. Use synonyms and variations. Change the order of the words if it sounds good to do so. Think about different words and phrases people might use to refer to your product and work them into your product description.
  • Use a lot of words. The longer your content is, the more likely you are to throw in a keyword variation you never even thought of that might just send you some traffic. You might end up outranking your competitor for “purple cotton candy mix” just because you thought to list all of the colors you have available and he didn’t. Try to include every possible detail you can in your descriptions. Not only is it good for SEO, but potential customers will click away if they’re not absolutely certain that your product is exactly what they’re looking for. Give them all the details they need to decide that it is.
  • Write for your ideal customer. This is just as important as SEO, if not more so. If you are so focused on keywords that your content sounds like it was written by a robot, it might get some traffic, but your visitors will be turned off and they’ll leave without buying anything. Write content that sounds like it was written by a real person who understands your customers’ needs, or your conversion rate will be dreadful.

Step 3: Promote your website. Did you notice that I didn’t say, “Get links?” Here’s the difference: If you go out and try to get links anywhere you can, you are going to run into some shady practices that will get your site penalized. This is the area of SEO where many people are tempted to take shortcuts. Google hates shortcuts and keeps getting better at figuring out when you’re cheating. So don’t cheat.

Build a following on Facebook and Twitter and promote your business there. Write guest posts for blogs that your customers like and read. Find out what forums your ideal customers like to hang out at and go there. Put you website URL in your signature if it’s allowed, but don’t try to hawk your business constantly like a desperate Amway distributor. Just focus on helping people and making friends. Given a choice, people prefer to do business with people they like.

Still feel like you need help? That’s OK. Just give me a call at (231) 282-7059 or send an e-mail to beth.parker.writes@gmail.com and I’ll see what I can do for you.

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Fearless Forecast: 7 Best SEO Techniques for 2014

Predicting the future is never an exact science, but there are indications that we can use to try to figure out what techniques for SEO will be best in 2014. Having a website is easy; maintaining it is quite a challenge. Trying to stay ahead of your competitors is the key to a successful online site, so if can get the upper hand by staying abreast of the SEO strategies that are most likely to be beneficial in the future, you’ll increase your chances of outranking your competitors. To help you get some ideas of how SEO might change, take a look at these predictions for the seven best SEO techniques of 2014.

1. Publish Detailed Content with More Depth

SEOs used to recommend that each page of content should only be about 500-700 words long and to keep everything simple and short. Viewers are starting to take more notice of content that gives them more in-depth information, which requires a lot more words per page. Since longer articles are frequently broken up into smaller pages just for SEO purposes with little or no thought to how this inconveniences the reader, it makes sense that search engines will start giving higher placements to longer posts that are all on the same page. Search engines want to provide their searchers with the most relevant and quality content there is, so why would they continue to display top results that are only 400-500 words long? We should expect to see search engines give longer posts much higher rankings due to the value that those posts bring to viewers.

2. Use Different Content Types

Search engines have already started to index content containing videos and images higher than plain-text articles. Since adding multimedia content to your pages improves the user experience, we can expect that higher rankings will continue to be given to pages containing these elements. Use this knowledge to your advantage by adding video and images to your site wherever it makes sense to do so. In addition to boosting your search engine rankings, images and videos can help your conversion rates, keep people interested in your site, and much more. So while using multimedia to deliver content is beneficial for SEO, it will help your site in other ways as well.

3. Focus on High-Quality Links

Having a healthy link profile is essential to successful SEO, but search engines have made huge changes in the way they value links. When links were first recognized as a way to get ranked higher, people started to cut corners and post them anywhere they could. People spammed them everywhere, posted them in places where they wouldn’t be found or interacted with, and got links in other ways that didn’t benefit viewers. It was only a matter of time before search engines fought back against these tactics. Over the last few updates, there have been plenty of changes in the way search engines weigh links. They have decreased or completely wiped out the rankings of sites that use bad strategies such as spam, while rewarding sites that use proper link building methods with higher rankings. We can expect this trend to continue over the next year. Going forward, the most helpful type of links will be those that offer value to readers. If you can’t reasonably expect to get traffic from your links, you are putting them in the wrong place. Focus on getting links on the sites where your prospective customers hang out. Even if they don’t help with your rankings, you just might pick up a few extra sales.

4. Increase Your Presence on Social Media

Social media isn’t going anywhere. It continues to get stronger and stronger, so it’s an easy prediction that social media shares, links, and interactions will become a bigger part of how websites are ranked. While search engines already use social media stats in their algorithms, this data is not weighted as heavily as it should be. So if you haven’t started a social media campaign yet, you should get started as soon as possible. Not only does social media help your SEO, but it will increase your visibility, build your brand, boost your traffic, and help you engage with your audience.

5. Build Compatible Sites With Fast Load Times

One aspect of SEO that is growing in importance is how fast your site loads and whether it is accessible on phones and other devices. Since more and more people are using the Internet on their smart phones and tablets, search engines will likely give higher rankings to sites that can be accessed on these devices. Making your site viewable on mobile devices will also help reduce your bounce rates and improve the overall user experience.

6. Use Google Authorship

Google is still the largest search engine in the world, so ignoring their tools would be a very big mistake for anyone in SEO. Google Authorship allows you to confirm that you are the original creator of your content. Doing this is likely to give you better rankings. You will also have much better click-through rates since your profile picture will appear in the search results next to every article you write.

7. Put Some Thought into Your SEO Strategy

Over the years, there have always been SEO specialists who try to cut corners or game the system. The system is getting smarter, so you need to be more careful. What you do today can negatively impact your site for years if you are doing something that the search engines later decide they don’t like. Before you implement a strategy, think about how it would look to your target customers. If they could see exactly what you’re doing to get traffic to your site, would they think that it’s a clever marketing strategy? A great way to build a community? Informative and helpful? Or would they just think it’s shady? If your answer is “shady,” please re-think your strategy.

About the author: The article above is a guest post by Ness Garcia, who writes on behalf of Make-a-Web-Site.com.

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6 Ways to Get Your Employees to Blog for You

“Content is king,” they say. No doubt you’ve heard it so much that it has become cliché. However, that doesn’t make it any less true. If you want search engine traffic, you need content. SEO-optimized content is best, but even content written without keyword phrases and meta tags in mind can bring in visitors, and who knows more about your products and services than your own employees?

Publish ButtonUnfortunately, getting employees to contribute posts for your company blog can be difficult. Chances are, they already have plenty of work to do. In addition, any mention of writing brings back flashbacks of tortuous essay writing in high school or college English classes. However, it is possible to overcome these objections. Here are a few ideas to get your employees to blog for you. Continue reading

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Link Building Following the Penguin Update

Toy PenguinThere is always a lot of guessing going on after a big Google update, and of course, the current situation is no different. I like to watch out for posts such as this Penguin analysis post, that are more scientific in nature rather than hypothetical.

If you take a look at the post linked to above, you’ll see that they analyzed two specific ranking factors to see what impact they might have on ranking and found that sites that use their exact keywords as anchor text for backlinks and get links from unrelated sites are definitely at a higher risk of being penalized by Penguin. Continue reading

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How to Write an Article for SEO

Most small businesses have a limited budget for advertising, and that includes website design and search engine optimization. If you can’t afford to hire a professional, your only option is to learn to do it yourself. That’s why so many business owners are the CEO, accountant, service provider, cashier, and delivery driver all rolled into one. If you decide to do your own search engine optimization, you’ll need to learn how to write an article for SEO. That’s what this article is all about.

Pick the Right Keyword Phrase First

Did I pick a good keyword phrase for this article? Maybe, maybe not. It should be really easy to rank for, but there aren’t many people searching for it—less than 10 per month. While I don’t recommend that you go out of your way to pick keywords with no traffic, one of my best keywords ever had almost no traffic, so I don’t completely discount these keywords. It turns out that you’ll often get traffic from similar keywords too, so it all works out. Continue reading

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Is SEO Writing Enough?

So, you’ve hired an SEO writer to produce quality content that targets the keywords you want to rank for. But is SEO writing enough by itself? Nope. It’s just part of your total SEO strategy, albeit a very important part. Good SEO consists of three components: great SEO copy, good on-site optimization, and a solid off-site SEO strategy.

Great SEO Copy

SEO writing is all about writing great copy that is targeted to rank for specific keyword phrases. Good SEO copy uses the keyword phrase in such a way that search engines will deem it relevant and hopefully rank it highly without too much additional work. It also appeals to the people who read it and is crafted in such a way that readers do not notice it targets a keyword phrase. Continue reading

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SEO Writing Services

SEO writing services range from basic article writing for websites, blogs, and article directories to copywriting, newsletter and e-book writing, and even press releases. Although you may not think of some of these services as SEO writing, they can be part of a comprehensive SEO strategy.

Here are some of the SEO writing services I offer:

Blogging Service

What is the difference between an article and a blog post? In some cases, nothing. However, most blog posts are shorter and more informal than regular articles. My blog posting service provides shorter articles that don’t require a lot of research. This is a good option if you want good content but can’t afford more in-depth articles. Continue reading

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Top 10 SEO Writing Tips

If you’re writing your own SEO articles, it might seem confusing at first, but it’s really not that difficult. If you can write for your customers or readers, you can write for SEO. It helps to have a cheat sheet to look over when you are getting started, so here is a list of 10 top SEO writing tips to keep in mind while you’re writing.

Top 10 SEO Writing Tips

  1. Use the keyword in the title. The title is probably the most important factor in on-page SEO, so be sure to get it right. The title must include the keyword you are targeting, yet still be appealing to real people. Try to make the title enticing so people will click on it.
  2. Continue reading

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What Is SEO Writing?

Have you read somewhere that you need SEO writing for your website, but you’re not quite sure what it is? That’s OK, we’re going to cover that. By the time you’re done reading here, you’ll have a basic understanding of what SEO writing is.

What Is SEO Writing?

KeyboardSEO writing is writing that targets keywords. But if you don’t know what keywords are, that definition isn’t likely to help you much. So let’s start with that. Continue reading

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