Only one-third of small businesses have an SEO strategy. Considering many internet shoppers head straight to Google when they want to make a purchase, that seems like a massive oversight!
And we totally get it. A lot of SEO advice is out of date and the sheer quantity of information out there can be overwhelming. But even SEO experts once knew nothing about search engine optimization.
We all start from somewhere. And it’s 100% possible for you to learn about the best SEO practices to grow your business too.
Here are nine SEO strategy tips that experts wish they’d known at the beginning that will help your business rank in Google search results pages.
1. Every SEO Strategy Needs Quality Content
There’s no getting around it: quality webpage content is essential for a small business’ SEO strategy.
Social media updates and a beautifully designed, user-friendly website are great. But, they aren’t going to help you find potential new customers via Google. If you don’t have any blog posts or content on your website, your business isn’t going to appear in any search results.
Content is the foundation on which a good SEO strategy is built.
Let’s say you sell hiking socks. You could write useful, long-form content on what to pack for hiking trips, the best material for sweat-wicking hiking socks, and so on.
This would cement you as an expert on hiking. Therefore, potential customers will find you in relevant search results and more people would learn about your socks. Also, Google ranks consistently updated websites higher than ones that remain static.
2. Research Keyword Competitors
Most businesses know that tracking their competitors is a good idea. You should know what their prices are and how they’re attracting new customers.
But what about content competitors?
When writing new content, there will be certain keywords you are aiming to rank for in Google search results pages. It’s not enough to be strategic about which keywords and how many. You need to look at how you can provide better content than the existing results on page one of Google for that keyword.
Use incognito mode on your browser and search for the keyword you want to rank for. Let’s say it’s “top pizzerias in Chicago.” If you’ve written a list with six and another business has written a list of nine, which is the user going to click on?
And the more clicks you get, the higher you rank.
This is a no-frills SEO strategy that a lot of experts wish they were doing to optimize content on their first marketing campaigns!
3. Keywords Aren’t Everything
As much as keywords are still very important for every SEO strategy, they aren’t everything. If your content isn’t ranking for a keyword that you’ve done everything you can to rank for, there could be several reasons why.
These are just some of the other ranking factors that search engines like Google take into account:
- Content length
- Domain age
- Image optimization
- Mobile-friendly website
- URL length
- Evidence of a privacy page
…And (possibly) hundreds more!
So, if you are troubleshooting why your content isn’t ranking as well as you’d hoped, think outside of the keyword box. There will be other aspects of SEO listed in this guide to help you round-out your SEO strategy.
4. Technical SEO Is Also Important
Technical SEO is another key part of any SEO strategy for small businesses. Whereas keywords and content creation are part of on-page SEO, technical SEO is its own beast. Too many marketing campaign managers forget about it.
Technical SEO includes site speed, the existence of a sitemap, how a website is developed, SSL certificates, and much more.
Google favors fast, secure, and easy-to-use (or crawl, in Google’s case) websites. It will rank websites that meet these requirements higher in SERPs. If your website is slow and is still using HTTP instead of HTTPS, those are things to fix ASAP.
5. Good Backlinks Are Essential
One thing that a lot of SEO small business owners and marketing managers neglect is creating a good backlink profile.
Backlinks are links to your website from an external website. The higher authoritative and relevant the backlink, the better. To search engines like Google, this is a recommendation that your website is trusted and offers value.
It’s a very important ranking factor and something that needs to be consistently worked on. There’s no such thing as “enough” authoritative backlinks.
6. SEO Can Be a Long Game
One of the only downsides of implementing SEO techniques is that they’re not a quick fix. Many website owners expect to see a return on their efforts within weeks, but the reality is more like months.
In fact, the average amount of time it takes for SEO techniques to “work” AKA see a return on your investment, is approximately four to six months later.
That doesn’t mean you won’t see results earlier. Just don’t give up your SEO strategy without giving it time.
7. Keep Updating Old Content
Refreshing and updating existing content is a huge ranking factor for Google that everyone wishes they knew earlier.
Many content creators spend days perfecting new blog posts. But in reality, updating old content would take less time and often give an increased return on investment.
Google loves content that is consistently updated and hates out-of-date information and broken links. So, keep refreshing those old posts, and don’t neglect your site!
8. Don’t Forget About User Experience
Good SEO isn’t just about Google ranking your content high in search results pages. If it were, Google would pay you.
Nope, it’s all about the customers. It may seem like Google’s ranking factors are for arbitrary reasons but they are prioritizing the user too.
If customers are finding the answers to their queries on your webpage and are spending a lot of time on it, Google will reward you with higher rankings. Keep the user happy and everything else will (mostly) fall into place.
9. SEO Requirements Are Constantly Changing
It seems unbelievable now, but years ago you could stuff blog posts with keywords and pay for backlinks and Google would not penalize you. In fact, your rankings would skyrocket!
Google is constantly updating its ranking algorithms so it’s important to keep on top of new updates. An SEO strategy is a spinning plate that you have to keep spinning or else it will fall to the ground.
Use an SEO Strategy Tailored to Your Business
These are just some of the SEO tips that experts wish they knew much earlier when implementing SEO strategies! Learning as much as possible about SEO is essential for any business. But if you’d rather outsource your SEO needs, we can help you with that.
We’re a team of experts based in Rockford, Illinois who can create and execute a custom SEO strategy for your unique business model. That includes a full SEO audit, content creation, and much more.
Are you ready to find out exactly what our SEO services can do for your small business? Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!