When small business owners say to us, “We want better SEO,” what they’re really asking for is a magic bullet. In the old days, a black hat SEO company could promise big results by stuffing keywords into your site and creating disreputable backlinks to get your site a better page ranking. Google and other search engines have worked hard to make sure that you can’t trick the internet into thinking you’re a more interesting, a more helpful, or a more popular business than you really are. Turns out, good SEO nowadays means good business practices and good marketing.
Here’s what you REALLY need if you’re looking for better SEO:
- Branding and a Unique Message
- A Great Product/Service with Happy Customers
- Something to Say About What You Do
- A Social Media Presence
- A Reason for People to Visit Your Website Frequently and Share It
- A Great Website (duh!)
- Technical SEO to Remove Any Back-End Barriers (duh!)
Branding and a Unique Message
What makes your business different than the competition? You must have given this some thought when you started your business. Either there was a clear need for your product/services or you thought you could do it better or make it better. You need to create a professional business persona, capture that message and share it consistently across the internet, marketing materials and in-person. Your brand should inform all of the other marketing decisions in your business.
A Great Product/Service with Happy Customers
If you’ve helped three people or if you’ve helped 100 people, you need to capture their feedback and ask those happy customers to leave great reviews for you. If they really love you, you should be asking for their referrals and generate your own traffic to your site. As you cultivate positive reviews and get more in-person referrals that create traffic to your site, Google will take notice and start ranking it higher. As your real life audience grows, so will your online audience.
Say Something About What You Do
Once you’ve defined what you do and it’s clear your happy customers understand what your story is, tell your story – over and over again. Find new ways to demonstrate your brand and create online content to support it. Stumped?
Here’s an example: Realtors in Austin – there’s a million of them. How do you tell your story and then tell it over and over again? There are a lot of ways to approach it, but it’s best to pick the real story and cultivate it into something. If a client said to me, “I got into real estate because I’m a naturally helpful and social person. I like helping people find a home for their family.” I would immediately pick up on the: Helping Families piece. You’ve identified a story and now everything you create for the website, share online and the general approach for marketing could involve content specific to helping families in your target market.
This part of your SEO plan is usually the most difficult to cultivate. Working with a business coach or a marketing consultant can help you.
A Social Media Presence
Your happy customers need to be supporting you online by following your business. You don’t need to be on every social platform, but you do need to be consistent! Post interesting information that supports your brand. Tell your story through social media and have your happy customers share your story through their social media. All of this activity online will impact your SEO.
Consistency is often the most difficult piece. Outsourcing or hiring help with this can jump-start this part of your digital marketing strategy.
A Reason for People to Visit Your Website Frequently and Share It
Us marketers will run out of spit before we can convince all of our clients to have a blog. I’ll try to put it a different way – you need some reason for people to visit your site more than the one time they look you up. Having reoccurring traffic and generating new content for new visitors to find all contribute to your SEO. In fact, it’s probably the most important piece to your SEO. Once you understand your brand and you have new ways to tell your story, you’ll be able to easily generate new content to support it.
That realtor who loves to help families can regularly blog about family events, businesses and school information. He can put those articles in a newsletter to existing and potential clients. He can share that info to referral sources, and he can link to that content in his social media posts.
All of this done consistently will build your online reputation.
And Duh! A Great Website with Technical SEO
Your website can actually have good SEO if you’ve done all of the above without any technical SEO help, but why would you put all that effort into your online presence without making sure your website’s backend is enhanced to maximize traffic?
Web design can make sure your brand, your story and your content are represented clearly and that it is user friendly. All of that is hugely important to your SEO success. Using a popular CMS platform like WordPress and a mobile-friendly design can ensure you’re set-up for success. But adding technical SEO will make sure all of your efforts pay off.
Daunted? Don’t be. Hot Dog Marketing offers help in all of these areas and we can put a plan together to ensure successful execution of your online marketing strategy. We now offer comprehensive digital marketing packages that take care of everything. Contact us for more info!
I’m a mom, a small business owner, and I’m a marketing professional with over a decade helping businesses with their branding and online presence. When I’m not spending time with my family or on my business, I love cooking (and eating) and snuggling with my dogs while I binge on TV shows. My favorite authors are Malcolm Gladwell and Steve Martin. My favorite movies are L.A. Story, Little Mermaid, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Trainspotting.
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