SEO can be a tough gig, to put it lightly. That’s why I like to joke that it stands for “So Exciting Obviously”.
For great search rankings, you need to remind people that you exist again and again and again. People’s attention spans are short. So today I’m sharing with you my top seven tips for starting out with SEO. Because getting started is half the battle, am I right?
Here are my top seven ways to crack the secret to great SEO for your small business:
1. Know who you’re speaking to with your small business
You need to work out exactly who you want to sell to. It may sound good to say “millennials who live in X state”, but you have to be much more specific. Ask yourself questions like:
- What do they do for a job?
- Which towns/cities do they live in?
- What do they do in their spare time?
- What do they enjoy in life?
- What do they struggle with when finding your product?
If you’re a wedding supplier, you could be more specific in this way:
- What kind of wedding will they have?
- Which kind of venues do they love?
- What’s their style?
Give your target clients a personality. Think about all the clients you have loved working with and create that personality based on them. By targeting very specifically, you’ll be able to create content that will speak to your dream clients—such as projects you’ve worked on that are similar to their ideal weddings, useful information about venues they love, or top tips on the type of wedding they want—and use language that they will relate to.
2. Feel the need—the need for web speed
Your website needs to load quickly. Think about when you’re browsing the web, whether it’s on your phone or on your laptop. You get impatient when waiting for websites to load, you’re already thinking about the next thing on your to-do list, and you click away to another tab and open another option. Now think about your potential clients doing this—isn’t it horrifying to think that your website might be the one they’re clicking away from? That’s why you need to have a fast-loading website.
To test your site, you can use Google’s free tool here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ and follow the guidelines they offer on to how to improve your site speed.
3. Words, words, words
In order for search engines to understand the purpose of your website and see you as someone to be trusted, you need to put certain words and phrases in certain places. But can you just use any old phrase? Certainly not.
Let’s take the example of a New York wedding photographer. Words like “New York”, “wedding”, and “photographer” are too broad on their own, which is why phrases are key. By bringing in your knowledge of your target audience, you will also be able to brainstorm keyword options by thinking about the venues, towns, or areas that they might be interested in.
4. What are you selling, and how are you selling it?
Using our example of a New York wedding photographer, you’re not competing against all other wedding photographers in the surrounding areas, because you don’t all have the same target client. When you understand exactly what you’re selling and how it differs from your competitors, this will inform the text you use on your website, the kind of images you use, and the useful content you create.
5. Are you a small business? You need to blog, for SEO sake.
You need to have a blog on your website. Lots of people get scared about putting themselves out there, but I promise you this is the easiest way to attract traffic to your site. It’s also cost-effective because you’re doing it yourself!
How will you know what to write about? Well, which questions do your clients ask you about? Which questions do you see cropping up time and time again in Facebook groups or from colleagues? How can you help?
Plus, you can use images from your own portfolio each time you post (and if you don’t have enough images, consider booking a photographer to create more images.)
6. Build links back to your website
You need to get links back to your site in order to attract traffic. Register with Google Maps to get yourself literally on the map. Look up business directories in your county and get yourself registered there. You should also look up directory sites in your niche and register on those.
7. Tell Google you exist
What’s the point of putting in all this effort if search engines don’t know you exist? You can’t just sit around hoping they’ll notice you—you need to march in and tell Google you’re here by submitting your site. Then, install Google Analytics on your site to track what’s working.
So there you have it! Phew! You made it. Now that you’ve read through my seven tips on cracking the secret to great SEO, you’re on your way to better Google rankings.