Digital marketing has evolved significantly since the invention of the first search engine in 1990, and so many small business owners are struggling to find their footing in this ever-changing industry. If you’ve found yourself baffled by the complexities of SEO, you’re not alone. The internet is a virtually infinite space, and it requires some carefully crafted and synchronized strategies to ensure your small business website can be easily accessed by potential customers. As many as 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, and that’s why optimizing your site for search engines like Google is so essential. But by following the two basic tips below, you can start to build an SEO strategy with a strong foundation, helping you climb Google’s ranks to land that coveted top spot and increase your organic web traffic.
Create Long-Form Content That Answers Critical Questions
Let’s talk about searcher intent. This term refers to the specific motivations of a search engine user — what are your ideal customers typing into Google and what are they trying to find? They may be looking for answers to important questions or they may be looking to make a purchase. Make sure you are writing content that helps them achieve these objectives.
The first step to creating content that addresses searcher intent is figuring out which keywords they are using in their search engine inquiry. You can use a tool like this free web grader to learn which keywords people are typing in to get to your website. You can also input your competitors’ sites to find out what keywords people are using to find them. These keywords brought users to the pages that provided them with answers, so these are the keywords you should start with. Add more content to your site that includes these words and addresses the intent they imply.
For example, if a searcher typed into Google, “causes of AC leak,” they are clearly looking for information about why an air conditioning unit might be leaking, and perhaps they would like tips on what to do to remedy the situation. That is their searcher intent. If you own an HVAC company, you will want to write blog content that answers these questions in excruciating detail. You will need to provide the best guide to air conditioner leaks in your area if you want Google to rank your site on the first page for that keyword.
Over 2 million blog posts are published on the internet each day, so to write content that positions you as an industry expert, you’ll have to do more than just skim the surface. A 500-word article doesn’t cut it anymore. SEO experts recommend writing blog posts containing 1,500 to 2,000 words. Recent data reveals that the majority of page one listings on Google contain at least 1,000 words.
Longer content allows the writer to go more in-depth on a given subject, providing higher quality information that will benefit users. And if you think you can get away with fluffing up your content, you’ll be surprised. As technology has advanced, Google has gotten a whole lot smarter. The 2011 Panda algorithm update was designed to determine the quality of text by analyzing grammar and syntax. That means your content will need to be well-written and heavily researched to satisfy both Google and your readers.
Google also responds well to long-form content because a higher word count increases a visitor’s time on page, which SEO professionals believe to be one of Google’s major ranking factors. The longer a user stays on a webpage, the more confidence the search engine has that the content is valuable.
That is our first basic tip for SEO beginners: write long-form content that addresses specific questions your ideal customer might ask, and don’t skimp on the details.
Promote Your Content to Build Your Backlink Profile
Creating high-quality content is just the first step. To write the blog posts and then leave them there to collect dust won’t do you any good. You need to further prove to Google that your content is valuable, and you’ll do this by gaining relevant and authoritative backlinks to each blog post.
But links don’t build themselves. Think of an election; when a website links to yours, they are essentially casting a vote, saying your website is worthy. And like in an election, you have to campaign for your votes. You have to do a little bit of shameless self-promotion. But before we dive into link outreach strategies, let’s break down our voting metaphor a little more.
Unlike a political election, when it comes to SEO, some votes hold more weight than others. Not all links are created equal. The best links come from high authority websites that are relevant to your own site.
What makes a site “high authority?” Website strength is measured on a scale of zero to 100 with a metric called domain authority (DA) or domain rating (DR). The higher the DA or DR, the better the site. You see, Google trusts these high authority sites, so a link from one of them tells Google that your site is strong as well.
Of course, even a link from a DR 60 won’t mean much if the site isn’t related to yours in any way. A home improvement blog links to your HVAC company’s site? Perfect. A clothing store links to you? Google is suspicious.
Now that we’ve explored why backlinks are so important to SEO, let’s talk about how to get them.
Some SEO professionals recommend spending just 20% of your content marketing time on creating content and the other 80% on promotion. You’ll have to share your content with people you believe will link to it.
Our favorite method of link-building is email outreach. Don’t listen to the naysayers; email marketing is not dead. In fact, to this day, email is one of the top communication platforms. Everyone has an email address, and they’re checking their inboxes multiple times a day on their desktops and mobile devices.
Start your email outreach by curating a list of opted-in email addresses. These are people who have signed up for communication from you in one way or another, which means they value what you have to say and will welcome your blog content. Whenever you publish a new blog post, blast your email list. Their likes, comments, and shares will be social signals to Google that your content is strong.
Next, you’ll want to reach out to influencers in your industry — people with high DR websites that are related to yours. Links from them will certainly give you that boost you’re looking for. You can offer to write guest posts for their blogs; in exchange for your well-written contribution, they will likely allow you to place a backlink to your own site in the content.
We believe that if you start with these two basic approaches to SEO, your website will see an increase in rankings and a boost in traffic. Results won’t be immediate; they say SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Of course, there are more advanced techniques to improve your digital marketing and online presence, but you’ll need a strong foundation with solid content and a great backlink profile.
Your keywords are one of the most important SEO techniques that you need to apply and watch out. That sometimes can be very difficult for website owners who are not very familiar with the SEO process. Developing content and link building strategies that grow your audience, build your brand, and increase your SEO and revenue is crucial for your business. Check OutreachMama for latest info and strategies on how to do this.