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.