To say that most small businesses aren’t using search marketing to their best advantage would be a major understatement.
It would also be untrue.
The real truth is that most small businesses aren’t using search marketing at all.
They fear it’s too complicated.
Can small businesses really influence search results?
No matter how small your business, you have the power to climb Google rankings — just by taking a few key steps.
You can make it easier for new customers to find you online and turn online search into one of your most profitable marketing channels.
Did someone say profitable?
But that changes right now.
I’ll show you how search engine optimization allows you take control of Google rankings and show up online.
Here’s how to get started:
1. Write quality content consistently.
There’s no way around this one. Getting search engine optimization right starts with writing content that directly addresses your customers’ problems, interests, and questions.
When someone searches for a solution to their problem, you want your business to show up with a helpful resource.
For example, at Constant Contact we know the holidays are a busy time for small business owners. They’re looking for an easy way to reach their customers and get the word out about their special holiday promotions.
So, we created a blog post to help small business owners plan for the holidays using our new holiday email templates:
What should you write about?
The best way to come up with content ideas is to keep an ongoing list of questions your customers or prospects ask you.
Make note of what your audience is interested in and consistently write blog posts to answer these questions. Once every two weeks is a good starting point — more frequently is even better.
In addition to talking to your customers directly, you can come up with content ideas though:
- Social media listening: Keep tabs on what people are talking about related to your business on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
- Competitive analysis: See what topics your competitors are covering on their sites. How can you put your own spin on these topics?
- Online surveys: Ask your audience what topics they’d like to learn more about from you.
- Keyword research: Look into popular search terms related to your business. (More on that in the next section.)
2. Optimize your content for search results.
Once you’ve written your post, look for opportunities to optimize your content for popular keywords. Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer to research which search terms are popular, related to your content topic.
These keyword tools might even help you identify new topics to write about. If you see a related search term you haven’t targeted yet, jot it down for a future post.
The perfect keyword has high popularity and low competition. But most importantly, the keyword has to be relevant to your audience and your content.
For our holiday email blog post, I decided to target the keyword phrase “holiday email templates.” Even though the popularity and competition numbers weren’t ideal, this term was the best descriptor.
I also used Google Trends to see if the search popularity picked up during the holiday season. As it turns out, there are big spikes in search popularity for this term every year from October-December.
Include your keyword in your content.
Once you choose the right keyword, add it to your content:
- Meta description
- Body copy, and
3. Drive traffic to your content.
Search engines prioritize quality content that has an active audience. Promote your new post to your email list and your social media following.
Then, look for opportunities to link to your post on other areas of your site. Internal linking will drive more traffic back to your post and help the post build authority. Blog posts that are linked to frequently have a better chance of ranking well on search engines.
We included our holiday email post in our Hints & Tips newsletter, shared it on our social media channels, and added it to our Holiday Headquarters page.
We also linked to the post in some of our other holiday-themed content:
4. Update your content.
Search engines like relevant, up-to-date information. If some of your older content is starting to get out of date, make updates to retain accuracy.
You might even want to occasionally republish content to benefit from a fresher timestamp. For example, if we release new holiday templates next year, we’d likely update and republish our existing post, rather than publish something brand new.
This will ensure that we still benefit from the optimization we’ve already established.
If you’re considering republishing an older piece of content, simply make your updates and add an editor’s note describing your changes.
Is all this really worth the effort?
So far, our holiday email template post has driven 20 trial sign ups. As we get closer to the holiday season, we expect those numbers to jump even higher.
Most businesses haven’t even scratched the surface of what search marketing can do for them — don’t let your business be one of them.
Have specific search questions we can help out with? Leave us your questions in the comments below.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community