5 SEO Strategies That Every Small Business Owner Should Know

June 08, 2016

SEO – you’ve probably heard of it, but what does it mean to you, especially as a small business owner? SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, is defined simply as getting your content on the search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo. It’s about making sure your content ranks high when someone searches for keyword relevant to your brand.

When SEO was still a new term for most people, many people tried to trick the search engines into getting their content to rank higher. Do you want to be the most popular fish market in Portland? Simply fill a whole page with text that constantly contains “fish market”, even when it doesn’t make sense. However, as the engines got smarter, the good old days of trying to fill single pages full of a single keyword and ranking to the first page of Google were gone. Have you ever been to the fish market near the fish market square in fish market city at the best time to visit the fish market? Neither have I, or Google for that matter. “Keyword stuffed” content like that is on its way out.

Today, SEO is all about quality content. It’s about creating information that will actually mean something and be useful to someone searching for it. That’s not to say there isn’t technical information involved – there is – but it’s not nearly as daunting as it sounds. It’s mostly a setting here, a choice here, or a few small one-time steps to be undertaken at the start to get up and running. Now that we’ve gotten out of the way, you can just start writing articles and they’ll just show up on Google, right? Almost – but you should absolutely have a strategy (or a few) in place so that you can make the most of your efforts. I’ve gone ahead and listed out five strategies below, which can help you get your bearings when you’re just starting to SEO.

  1. Get technical. Make sure you have a Google Webmaster tools account. From there, set your preferred domain, and make sure there are no other site health issues. Additionally, you should setup how your site links will work (such as site.com/blog/story-date or site.com/blog/story), it’s your choice, but it’s my recommendation to have the date and the post title in the URL. More information about the subject can be found here.
  2. Create a content strategy and calendar. Before you start writing, you should identify what you’re writing about. If you’re a travel company, you should be writing about good vacation spots, or how to pack efficiently – something that’s related. Secondly, create a calendar, so that you know when you should post, and whose creating that post. We’ve got a great explainer of that here.
  3. Create good content, and create community. You should always be creating content that provides value to someone reading it. If you’re writing about the best seafood in Portland, write about that. Don’t just use it solely to self-promote. When you do this and do it consistently, you’ll build a community, and this will help you, as your readers will share this with their friends, who will become your fans.
  4. Reach out to others. There’s a lot of controversy around this topic, but it doesn’t hurt to try and guest blog for another relevant site or invite others to blog at your site. As long as you’re not doing it in exchange for compensation, this can be a great way to build links and expose new audiences to you and your brand.
  5. Keep learning. SEO is ever changing, and you should always be reading about those changes so you can be compliant. A great resource is MOZ, and their Beginner’s Guide to SEO is definitely worth a read if you’re just starting out.

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of other strategies you can do, but this will get you a solid footing, which will pay off tenfold as your site expands. Additionally, SEO is an extremely friendly community, so if you ever have questions, don’t be afraid to ask or participate in forums. Now go out there and create some quality content!