Everyone knows that good search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to an effective profile on the web. It must be – we read about it all the time.
Improvised SEO – It may not be perfect, but it can be better
SEO seems so complicated and beyond the control of small businesses. It can feel like it’s easier to throw up your hands in disgust or dismay, dismiss it as too difficult or expensive, and move on.
And every time I see another story about SEO, I find out that the rules have been updated. And everyone who practices or writes about SEO will tell you they only have a partial picture of the topic.
At first glance, that would suggest that SEO is either all-encompassing or beyond the abilities of a mere mortal like you or I.
But I don’t think improving your site’s SEO needs to be that complicated. There are things you can do to improve your website’s appeal and ways you can improve your local presence – increasing your local SEO.
This is a fine example of perfect being the enemy of good.
Just remember, you are trying to improve your SEO – not perfect it. Perfect SEO doesn’t exist. (Remember, you heard it here first)
In the end SEO I think of SEO as more of a mindset than a tool. Thinking about SEO lets you think about the things that draw search engines and real people to your website and keep them there.
The strategies (mindsets) I have listed here cover most of your SEO needs and can help you to up your game.
Try some of these simple actions to improve your success on the web and bring more traffic to your site.
Because that’s what you really want, right?
SEO comes in different flavours
When you begin to study SEO strategies, you will see that there are different ways to optimize your site and attract more attention.
SEO strategies include:
- Maximizing your local SEO – Letting people know you’re there in their community
- Using tightly targeted search terms – Helping prospects find the information they really want
- Providing good copy – Keeping visitors on your site by providing material they find engaging and want to read
Maximizing your local SEO to get noticed in your community
Just like the local pizza parlour, hair stylist, or dental office, your prospects are looking for businesses that live in their community. But to get identified in your community, you need to let the search engines (Okay, Google) know that you’re there.
There are some simple things you can do to get Google’s attention and increase the likelihood that you’ll be found. In your own neighbourhood. After all, the people out there that need your help are going to be drawn to people close by. I mean, come on, aren’t you?
How to get noticed locally
There are a lot of things you can do to improve your local SEO. And they’re not that hard to do.
- Register on Google My Business
- List yourself on local indexes like Yellow pages and the Better Business Bureau
- Post your name, address, and phone number on your website
- Ask for and respond to comments on your website
By doing these simple tasks, you will demonstrate that your business is real and show users (and Google) where you are. This allows Google to point to you in appropriate searches in your community.
Using tightly targeted search terms to find your ideal prospects
Prospects don’t only want to find businesses in their community. They want to find businesses providing the kind of services they’re looking for. Following up on our earlier analogy, they want:
- Pizza – thick crust or thin-crust
- Hairstylists – colouring or beard trim
- Dentists – cosmetic or orthodontic
You get the point.
And along those lines, maybe you are looking at my website because I have expressed a passion for socially responsible investing and environmental, social and governance investing. If that is one of your interests, then those are going to be the potential prospects that you want to appeal to – with the phrases that appeal to them specifically. And SRI and ESG are just two of them.
How to get noticed with targeted terms
You can adjust your SEO to attract site visitors through an investigation of effective search terms that target the very prospects that would be your ideal match.
One of the most interesting aspects of SEO strategy discussions is the idea of long-tail search terms. Long-tail search terms are words and phrases that don’t get as much traffic as busier, more general terms. But by building on these less busy search terms, you have a better chance of ranking highly. And finding your ideal prospect – prospects who are more likely to stick around because you are appealing to their interests more closely.
Think golden retriever instead of dog or gruyere instead of cheese. (Okay, at least the golden retriever has a long tail!)
There are plenty of tools out there to help you to determine your ideal long-tail search terms. Your goal then will be to use them effectively in the copy that you display on your website – to attract prospects and inform Google.
Elements of Technical SEO outside our reach
If you have tried looking into SEO on your own, you will know there are elements of technical SEO well outside the purview of mere mortals.
I recently watched an hour-long YouTube video sponsored by Yoast that detailed the various ways that you could shave milliseconds off the load time for a website. Even he even had to admit that he was flummoxed by how a mere mortal might implement many of these helpful changes.
But you can attract more site visitors by using the strategies I have listed here.
Providing good copy that gets their attention
It should come as no surprise that I would highlight this. But it’s true. Cite supporting data here.
It makes good sense. Let’s begin by defining what we mean by “good copy”.
Good copy serves two purposes. It provides the information readers want. And it provides that information in a way they enjoy.
If the information you provide does not achieve those two things, then the reader will leave and may never come back.
If you can do both these things, the reader will stay around, look for more things, and maybe even decide to do more with you.
This is where you can benefit from working with a copywriter. Building a good working relationship means that you can make sure that your knowledge is effectively shared – on your website, in ongoing blog posts, and in email newsletters.
All of this is ongoing
Every one of these goals needs work now and in the future. And their success may not display itself right away. But by every indication, it builds upon itself over time.
You can improve your local SEO by making sure you have provided the best information you can. Then, you can keep it going by making sure that you ask for and answer questions about your business from local customers and prospects.
Seek out your ideal prospects by looking for the long-tail search terms that those prospects are using.
Then keep on answering those questions and using those terms – and never stop refining them. This will help to keep Google’s attention and continue to attract your ideal prospects.