How to: Plan your small business SEO Strategy
Everyday I meet with businesses across South Florida (Miami, Ft Lauderdale, West Palm Beach) who know they need an SEO strategy, are sick of their competitors taking away all of their business using internet marketing and search engines, but most of the time they are confused or unsure about where to start or what to do.
This simple guide will walk business owners through the process they should go through when taking on the task of setting up an SEO strategy for their business. For most of these steps, I go in to greater detail in other articles, and where possible, I will provide a link so you can find more information about that topic. This should simplify the steps from planning, to execution and evaluation of your Search Engine Optimization.
1 ) Keyword Research – Before you put any Search Engine Optimization (SEO) processes in place, finding the right keywords to target is a must! If done correctly, SEO can be one of the top sources for incoming leads for your business, but make first you need to make sure you are targeting the right keywords!
Start by coming up with a list of phrases that you think would be a good fit for your industry and target area. You can then use several keyword generator tools like the Google Keyword Tool, Keyword Discovery, or Wordtracker to come up with other keyword ideas. Realize though, that many of your competition may be using these same tools.
Keep in mind that the more general and shorter industry keywords and phrases can be more competitive and can take a lot longer to start ranking for. Longer keywords and phrases (longtail) can be much easier to rank for, so you may also want to add some of them to your keyword mix as well. Try using Geo terms or call-to-action oriented words in your mix.
The best way to come up with a final list of keywords you want to choose for your SEO campaign is to first run a Pay Per Click campaign with all of your keyword ideas. SEO is a longer term strategy, so by implementing a shorter term PPC campaign, you can get fast data to apply towards your SEO.
By implementing a PPC campaign, you will instantly get data on which keywords are converting into sales, and which ones are not. You will then avoid starting a 6+ month SEO campaign, only to find out in the end that you just chose highest traffic keywords that are ending in a low amount of sales and quotes.
And unless you are just trying to brand your company, there’s nothing more frustrating than looking at your analytics and seeing a ton of visits from people who aren’t BUYERS!
So in short: Spend plenty of preparation time making sure that you are choosing the right keywords, and it will save you a lot of time and money moving forward.
2) Analyze and Optimize your Website- After coming up with a short list of keywords that are going to be the best for you to target, your are going to have to take a good look at your website. View your source code and set up your meta tags properly. For more information on meta tags view my blog article here.
Next up for your on-page SEO is to place keywords strategically across your website. Create a new page for each keyword that you would like to target, and litter the page with your keyword. Keep the language sounding normal though and not spammy, so you don’t get flagged for “keyword stuffing”
3) Start Blogging – A major key to Google’s rankings is to have unique relative content, so your blog is one of your best tools to your SEO ranking process. This will move you up the rankings, along with making you the expert in your industry. Keep your articles on topic, and keyword optimized. Not convinced? Read my article about 17 reasons why your business should be blogging.
4) Inbound Link Building – One of the most important factors in your organic SEO ranking are your inbound links. This is just as important, if not more important, than your on-page SEO. Write unique content will get you some referral links to your site. You can also exchange links with other sites. Getting inbound links from sites in your industry is also important for your PageRank. You will also want to claim your link on directories across the internet to generate inbound links.
Please contact me directly if you would like more information on inbound links, as this topic deserves a whole article on its own.
5) Local Presence – Claim all of your local listings!! This is especially important for all of you local business owners out there that have a brick and mortar location. All the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing) all have local listings that you can claim for your business. Take advantage of this, optimize the pages, and you will see benefit on your search results. For information on how to claim your local listings, watch my video here.
6) Get Social – A great way to help your rankings on search engines is to get active in social media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Google+ can all be used to get in front of more customers, engage with potential clients, and will also help your organic ranking. Search engines love content that bodes well on social sites. Stay active and have passionate followers and you will prosper with social media.
You should also be posting your articles on social bookmarking sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Delicious. If your content truly is great, it will generate traffic through all of these sources.
7) Check your rank – The final component for your SEO campaign is to check and evaluate your progress. Where did you start and where do you rank now? Keep in mind that SEO is a long term process. Changes you make will not take effect overnight. Change a few things, add some links, and keep monitoring your progress to see how it affects your PageRank for your different keywords.
Also, keep checking your analytics to track where your conversions are coming from, and if you need to tweak any of the keywords.
And the most important part… keep building links!
This should give you a starting point for your SEO campaign, and a framework of what needs to be done. Although I didn’t go into too much detail in this article, please check out the links I have provided which should explain everything more completely.
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me, and if you’d like a FREE evaluation let me know and I’ll be happy to take a look at your gameplan. Thanks!