— August 6, 2019
If you have a small business, you’re naturally looking for ideas to grow it. After all, your end goal is turn your small business into a big business, right?
While it isn’t exactly easy to do, it can be done. However, you do need a lot of planning, well-executed strategies, and tools and resources geared towards maximizing productivity and efficiency.
There are many tools to help your small business grow. These tools can include a wide range of focuses including productivity, web design, and marketing.
Here are some great ideas and resources to help grow your small business.
1. Google Trends For SEO
Looking for great content ideas? Look no further than Google Trends. With this free software, you’ll be able to uncover emerging, popular keywords to base your blog content around.
There are two primary ways to look at keyword data. You can look at keyword searches through a long-term and a short-term lens.
First, enter in the name of a popular search term for your business, we’ll use “website builder” for example, in the search bar and you’ll immediately be taken to the explore dashboard.
As you can see, the data shows you the search volume for the selected date range. There are multiple date range periods to choose from, but the four most useful are “Past 5 years, 12 months, 90 days, and 7 days.” These date ranges cover a spans of time that each tell give us a wider story about the popularity of a search term.
The past 5 years and 12 months date ranges are telling of major audience trends. In the above example, you can see the keyword is trending down slightly. If the trend is likely to continue, it’s a signal audience search needs are changing and we will need to come up with a new term our audience is searching for in the future. If the trend is going up, however, we can focus on creating more content around the keyword to capitalize on its search volume.
The past 90 days date range is also a great snapshot of seasonal search trends. It’s hard to illustrate with the term “website builder,” but if you’re a small business that sells seasonal items, you have opportunities to find trending searches based on the time of the year. This is a great way to mine data on which searches are gaining popularity and timing a sale to align accordingly.
Lastly, the past 7 days date range is an effective tool to understand which days of the week a search term is popular. If “website builder” is a popular search term on Monday, then publishing content on Mondays related to the keyword will surely attract more user searches. You can even coordinate your email newsletters to go out on the same day, as chances are you may see increased receptivity.
One more note: give the most weight or emphasis to long-term keywords trends, as they’ve accumulated the most data, meaning they’re the most accurate.
In addition to date ranges, you’ll be presented with the overall search trend volume of your keyword; however, the caveat is that Google Trends doesn’t show you the amount of actual searches. Therein lies a big problem. How do I know which keywords have the most volume? Luckily, there’s a solve.
In the top right corner, you’ll find an “add comparison” button. This lets you add another keyword to compare data against your previous keywords. Here you can find great information about which keywords bring in the most traffic relative to each other, which keywords are gaining popularity, and which are declining. We suggest comparing your pillar article keywords you learned how to do from our last article, SEO for Beginners: Search Engine Optimization Made Simple, and see which to prioritize.
If that wasn’t enough for you, there’s also “Related Topics and “Related Queries” sections where you can find adjacent ideas to explore and segment based on which are top searches or rising.
We know you’re a bit unsatisfied you don’t know total search volume for your keywords. That’s why we’re going to give you one last tip on how to uncover search keyword search volume. For this you’ll need a Google Keyword Planner account. We show you how to do this in our Simple SEO Checklist for Your New Website blog post under the Content Keyword Strategy section.
The next step is very simple. Take the keywords you used in your original search and put them in the Google Keyword Planner’s search volume and forecast tool. For this example, we’ve used the above keywords.
After you’ve entered your keywords, you should see this page. Here you can see the actual volume estimates.
2. Using Feedly To Identify Trends
The best way to discover content trends in your niche is through a tool we like to use called Feedly. It’s, basically, a content curation tool that allows you to follow blogs and websites and distill them down into manageable feeds and boards.
Feedly allows you to follow all types of blogs and categorize according to their niche. You can use this to your advantage by following others in your target niche and seeing what topics are trending and garnering the most engagement. This is a great tool to discover and steal content ideas from your competitors.
First, sign-up for an account and create your first feed by clicking “Create New Feed.”
Choose which content creators, blogs, and websites in your niche, you’re looking to follow and add them to their respective feeds.
In addition to receiving regularly updated content from your feeds, you can save individual articles as resources for your content creation. To do this, click “Create New Board,” enter the board name, and URL of the article you want to add.
As an example, I’ve elected to make an SEO resources board to demonstrate specific articles we can source for an SEO based blog post we want to create.
Check your Feedly account every week over your morning coffee and see if there are any interesting ideas you can use to better your content marketing. If you’re repeatedly encountering the same topic, enter it into Google Trends to see if its worthy to base content around.
3. Free Keyword Idea Generators
Every business today, no matter their size, should do thorough keyword research and be able to choose the right ones for their website. Using keyword finders and mapping out your keywords to help you in planning your keywords is essential.
Finding the keywords that relate to the right search queries for your business can greatly improve your website’s relevancy and profit. That’s why you need the correct tools. Being a small business, you don’t have the luxury of a large budget, and we know that. With that said, if you have the money to spend on ads, you have the money to spend on a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to hone your keyword research.
Assuming a zero budget, there are free workarounds.
If you’re looking to understand the most common searches related to your keyword on multiple search engines, Soovle will help. Soovle displays the most related searches to you in aggregate, so you can understand all the searches taking place on Wikipedia, Amazon, Google, Bing and other search engines.
Answer the Public is another free tool that gives you keyword ideas based on questions beginning with modifiers like “what, who, where, which,” and more. This tool really gives you a lot of insight into how people communicate with search engines.
Last but not least, we have Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest tool. With this free tool, you’ll be able to find great keyword ideas and roughly accurate data on search volume.
What’s great about this tool is you can select keywords you like and export them to a csv. file you can later insert into Excel or Google sheets and analyze your keyword data.
On the right side of the dashboard, you’ll also find competitive metrics like how many backlinks and visits a page would need to rank against top pages.
4. Productive Email Automation
Finding ways to be more productive as a small business owner is hard to accomplish. When you have so many competing tasks that demand your attention, it’s hard to make the time to research and learn new tools that advance your workflow. That’s why we’re here.
Since most of have Gmail accounts, we’re going to focus on how we can optimize our Gmail inbox. By using Gmail in conjunction with Zapier, you can automate simple commands between Gmail and other programs to reduce the time it would take to fulfill those processes manually.
In order to do any of these, you’ll need to create a Zapier account. Upon logging in, all you need to do is find the zap, connect your applications, and turn on the zap.
The first helpful zap, as Zapier calls them, is the Gmail attachment to Google Drive zap. This zap makes it possible to automatically save any attachment from email directly to your Google Drive. As someone who digs through their email chains to find attachments, you’ll be pleased to know those days are over.
If you use Trello, this zap will you save you time. This zap creates a Trello card from an email you star within 2 days of receiving it. Instead of having to manually create the card, the information automatically gets copied over. If you work with freelancers to run your business and communicate through email, this zap makes project management very easy.
The last zap we have for you is between Gmail and Google Sheets. By using this straight-forward zap, you’ll be creating a new row in a spreadsheet every time you receive a new email. This is helpful when you’re looking to store information from a certain email sender for future use or reference.
5. Google Analytics Insights
If you have been following our blog, you’ll know that we touch upon Google Analytics quite a bit. It’s an incredibly powerful tool and should be used by every small business.
Analytic tools are very important when you want to know who is visiting your websites, for how long, and what they are doing on it. All of these can be answered if you use Google Analytics. Here are some of the key findings you will learn from it
- The content that is performing the best – this content will attract the most sessions and have the longest session duration.
- The best-converting keywords – you can find your best performing organic search keywords by going to the “Acquisition” section, choosing “Channels,” and selecting “Organic Search.”
- The best converting landing pages – to check these, go to “Behaviour,” choose “Site Content,” and select “Landing Pages.”
Small businesses need every advantage they can get over their larger competitors and using online resources to get that advantage is becoming easier and easier. Don’t miss out, put in the work, use these tools, and you’ll find your business will grow its online presence.