A lot of small businesses understand that they have to do SEO if they want to see more customers coming through the door.
The problem is that SEO is sold and the “experts” have convinced us that we have to pay a good amount of money if you want quality SEO that will improve customer numbers.
That is true, but what they are not telling you is that there is plenty of SEO that you can do yourself that will have a considerable impact in increasing traffic.
This article will tell you exactly what you should be doing if you cannot pay for SEO.
1. If you are already paying for SEO, read on
You may already be paying a small business SEO consultant, but what are you paying them to do?
A lot of small businesses, when they wise up, find that they have been paying a consultant to run a poor AdWords campaign that is not really effective in building the kind of traffic that you need.
Considering that you could be paying upwards of $100 a month, this is real fleecing. True, they may be getting you lots of links and keyword stuffing, but there is really nothing to tell you how effective their technique is.
This means that you must be skeptical if anyone tells you that they will get you to the top of Google rankings. Google changes how they rank so often that it is almost impossible to know what you should be doing on a day to day basis.
They may tell you that they are using techniques that Google hasn’t caught up with yet. Be careful now; they could be talking about black hat techniques, and even if they are not.
Google is constantly catching loopholes and sealing them so nothing can go undetected for very long.
If you really must get a consultant in, ask them the following questions before you sign a contract:
- What exactly can you do to get me to the number one position?
- Are you able to explain the methods and even show them to me?
- How long will we stay at number one if we make it there at all?
- Can you guarantee me a page or position in Google?
- What kind of keyword expertise do you have?
- How well do you understand keyword usage?
- What tools do you use to extract keywords and how effective, in terms of track record, are these tools?
- What kind of links are you looking at building?
- Where do they come from?
- How do you get them?
- How often do you do a performance review?
- How do you measure results and how can you be sure that you are making progress?
- Do you have markers that tell me that you have moved me from this point to that in terms of traffic?
If you put a consultant through all these questions and you get satisfactory answers, it may be worth it to hire them but avoid long contracts that lock you in.
2. Work on your on-site SEO
On-site SEO means the kind of SEO that is done directly on your site to improve your rankings. There are some basic things that wouldn’t take you too long to do but you must make sure that you are doing them regularly if you want to stay current.
Number one is to look at the keywords that you use on your site. Your keywords should always indicate your location and then your product. If you sell maternity clothes in Brisbane, good keywords would be something like maternity shops Brisbane, maternity prices Brisbane, buy maternity Brisbane and so on. Each instance tells people of your product and where they can find you.
The other thing you should address are your title tags. Your title tags are the ones that tell the search engines what your website is about.
This means that you have to describe your website in as many different words as possible while at the same time keeping it short. Give each page a different tag that as much as possible tells what you are all about.
Next is your meta tags, and this one is important because it is what tells the reader what your website is about. You have more room here, but you still have to keep it short enough that the reader is compelled to go into the site.
One technique is to use a keyword at the beginning of each tag and then follow that with a description. Google can only display up to 160 characters so don’t write too much.
Links are critical for small business SEO. The more links that go from your site to relevant, bigger sites, the better for you. If you can get these links to point at your site, you will also be increasing your rankings. Even links within your site help, but you must be careful so that everything that is linked is connected.
Content is the core ingredient when it comes to on-page or on-site SEO. Although not many things are known about how Google looks at content, one thing that we are certain of is that fresh content works. Too many websites that don’t have good traffic despite massive SEO effort fail because they don’t take the time to update their content.
True, not everyone who is a small business owner is a master at crafting content, but there are plenty of content creators out there who understand what is important when it comes to content.
They know that it has to be interesting, current and should flow well enough to guide a reader through to call to action. In the midst of all this, the content must be interspersed with keywords without being stuffy.
This means that you have to take the time to research different variations of keywords to avoid repeating one or two every time.
When you are crafting content, put yourself in the mind of the reader; what would they like to see? What if you came across that content on another website, would you enjoy it? Would it give you enough information to help you make a buy decision? These are the questions that you must answer when you talk about content.
Although many people, when they talk about content only discuss only written, there is video and audio content to consider. These are great at bringing in traffic so long as you do them well. Video content seems to be much more effective and You Tube gets millions upon millions of hits every day.
Don’t shy away from using it because creating it sounds complicated and it isn’t. All you need is a good camera and some good content and you can have a video done in no time. Just like written content, you need to keep you videos current so create many that you can upload over time.
So why is SEO such a big problem for small businesses?
Because they don’t do it consistently and thoroughly enough. As you can see, there is quite some work to be done. Now imagine having to do this several times a week and you can see how it can be seen as tedious. That’s where the trick lies: if you can manage to avoid thinking of it as tedious, you won’t have to hire a small business SEO consultant.
Set aside time every week to attend to your website. Make sure that the time is structured; have a timetable that says what you will work on and for how long.
Allocate a good chunk of time for each so that you don’t have to rush. There are definitely some tasks that take up more time than others so allocate accordingly.
In addition to that, you have to know whether your campaign is giving you the kind of results that you want; set up a system that measures how much improvement you have made, and what led to the improvement.
It may be as simple as setting up a Google Analytics account that tells you how many people came to your website, how long they stayed and so on, or you may have a different type of tracking method. The important thing is that you know whether or not you are making progress.
If you are, great and you can keep on the same track. Many small business will find that their SEO efforts are not reflected in the kind o0f results that they get.
That is perfectly okay and you don’t always get it right the first time, but here is where the problem comes in. Instead of reviewing to find out what they are not doing right, as many as 60% will tell you that it failed when they tried it the first time and they just left it alone. Some of these hire a consultant, but those that cannot afford it give it up completely.
That is admitting that SEO doesn’t work for your kind of business, but that’s not true. It works on almost all kinds of business because people buy everything online.
So long as you can set up a website and then get people to see it and enjoy interacting with it, they will keep coming and you will see profits start to rise.
The important thing is to acknowledge that SEO for small business is a great way to improve your business.