Optimizing your content to rank on Google is a significant concern for any small business. Owning and operating a craft brewery is no exception. As you assuredly know, running a brewery requires juggling several full plates.
You may feel you do not have the time to learn how to optimize your content to rank competitively on Google but trust me – you’ll want to at least take the time to read this post.
Optimizing your content is not magic – there is a science to it and by reading this post, you’ll be able to make the small changes that will boost your Google rankings.
A Guide to Microbrew SEO & Digital Marketing
Before we jump into conducting keyword research and drafting excellent content, let’s get some basics out of the way.
The Importance of Maintaining a Well-Designed, Mobile-Friendly Website with an Active Blog
Having a strong web presence is the bare minimum. Less than half of all small businesses in the U.S. do not have a website (46%). Additionally, 23% of those businesses with websites have not optimized their site for mobile browsing. Considering that 58% of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices, you are doing your business a disservice by not having a strong web presence.
You Need More Than a Great Website
If roughly half of all small businesses have a website, then, in order to be competitive, you’ll need excellent content. This is usually published on a blog or news feed.
Let’s use a fishing analogy. The internet is the ocean, your website is a fishing boat and the fish are potential visitors to your site. Each blog post acts as an additional rod in the water. With each post you are increasing the chances of a visitor finding their way to your site. However, whether or not the fish bites depends entirely on the quality of the bait.
The Need For Non-Competitive Keywords
Also, keep in mind that you are a small business, which – for the sake of our analogy – is like a small independent fishing boat. You are up against giant commercial fishing vessels that seem to have infinite resources. So, you not only need high-quality bait (content), but you need to go after the fish the bigger companies don’t want (low competition keywords).
In other words, you need high-quality content filled with strategically-placed, well-researched keywords that have high search traffic and are not terribly competitive (which means that they must be the fish that the big commercial vessels don’t want).
How can you find them?
Finding Low Competion Keywords
There are a variety of keyword researching tools out there. The paid tools are going to provide more data, context, and depth of analysis. The industry standards are currently Moz and Ahrefs and these can get pricey.
However, the free options are not going to provide you with the competitiveness parameter of the keyword and this is the metric that you need to effectively target and plan excellent content. This is an investment you may want to take seriously, and the following tips may convince you of its importance to proper content planning.
Put Your Location in the Keyword Phrase
Compare the following Ahrefs keyword searches. Note the addition of a location for the second keyword phrase.
Keyword Phrase: “breweries in pa”
It is clear that your small brewery doesn’t stand a chance to rank in Google searches for the keyword “brewery.” Despite the temptation of a 61K search volume, it is unfeasible. You need to go after smaller fish.
By adding a location parameter, we stand a good chance of ranking in the top 10. Also, when searching for a location, people often have more intent to click through. The search volume was only 400, but 56% of the queries got clicks, compared to the 28% percent of querries that got clicks for “brewery.”
This is an example of a keyword phrase that needs to be in your title.
Check the Who’s Who in the First Search Result
Additionally, you want to keep the metrics of the #1 search result in mind when trying to rank. If the #1 spot has a high DA or DR (in the 50s or higher) you don’t really stand a chance of outranking it in a Google search.
For our keyword phrase “breweries in pa,” we need to check the metrics of the domain that is in the #1 spot.
We can enter their domain in Ahrefs’ site explorer and analyze the data:
Judging by their DR, it isn’t impossible to outrank them in a google search, and we can definitely hope to grab a spot in the top 10 if we were to produce excellent content.
Find Related Keywords/Keyword Phrases
Ahrefs has a navigation menu on the lift side of the Keywords Explorer tool that helps you generate more keywords and topic ideas:
By gleaning as much as you can from the search data you can populate the subsequent headers and paragraphs with keywords and keyword phrases that will help elevate your content.
Populate Your Headings With Related Keywords/Keyword Phrases
According to the image above, the keyword phrase “micro breweries in pa” has a difficulty of 2 and a search volume of 350. This is an ideal keyword phrase for a header.
Note that interestingly, people searched for “micro breweries” over the correct spelling “microbreweries.” The misspelled query had a search volume of 350, and the correct spelling only had a 30:
Keep this in mind when selecting keywords. Often the vernacular of the people proves to be much more useful than standardized English. Disclaimer – I am not encouraging you to misspell, but do consider tailoring your style to the trends of the search bar from time to time.
Hopefully, I have demonstrated the need for quality keywords explorer. This is going to help you determine the most realistic topics you can rank for. However, there is an additional tool that is both necessary and free –
Google Search is a “Free” Resource
They are in the business of data, so free might not be the best adjective. “Free” is a more appropriate descriptor. Regardless, by searching your keyword phrases, you can learn a great deal about how and what people are searching for.
People Also Ask…
One of the most helpful tools is the “people also ask” menu, which gives you a list of related queries:
By doing this, we have learned that we should probably embed a map of breweries in our content under a heading that contains the keyword phrase “Breweries in PA Map” or a more suitable, reader-friendly variant.
By containing all the search-related queries as keywords and keyword phrases in our content, we are telling Google that our content speaks with comprehensive authority. The idea here is thoroughness.
You want to repeat this process for a large number of keywords that you decide are related or relevant to your product, business goals, marketing plan, and buyer’s journey. After researching, you want to have a sizable list of strong, low-competition keywords and phrases. If done correctly and extensively, you can produce enough keyword research to last you through months of content.
Though these methods are extensive and require some time to properly execute, the investment is worth it. As I mentioned earlier, though SEO may seem like magic, in truth, it boils down to a learnable, logical science.
Tips For Drafting Excellent Content
Now that the hard part is out of the way, we can get into using the keywords and keyword phrases we generated during our research to draft up some amazing content.
1. Understand the Header System
Not only does a well-formatted page look good to the reader, but proper use of headers helps Google to determine the authority and relevance of the keywords in your content. Essentially, you want your content to be organized the way an outline would be organized.
The Title Tag
The title tag needs to contain your main keyword/keyword phrase. Your keyword should appear first, with the less relevant information coming after.
In order to capture a longtail keyword phrase it sometimes makes sense to phrase the title as a question (you can even pull this directly from the “people also ask” menu).
You want your title to be between 50 – 60 characters including spaces.
The H1 is the second most important tag and should basically summarize the content and restate the title in different words.
The following headers should logically organize your content by relevance. H2s need to support the H1. H3’s need to support the H2s, and so on.
2. Keep the Sentences and Paragraphs Short
When writing for the web, being concise is key. It is ok to have 3 sentence paragraphs. In fact, this is preferred both aesthetically and also to keep the reader moving through the content.
However, it is absolutely acceptable to have one-sentence paragraphs!
This is especially true for mobile visitors.
Yoast, an SEO WordPress plugin, suggests having only 25% of your sentences exceed 20 words. It’s best to break down a longer sentence into two or more smaller sentences. This may end up being your entire paragraph.
3. Keep the Tone Casual
Remember that blog writing is conversational. Contractions are ok, as well as exclamations and directly addressing the reader. You, yes you.
4. Describe the “Pre-state” and Promise to Deliver the “Post-State”
To keep the reader engaged, you need to promise that by the end of the post they will have gained something that they didn’t have before. Check the sample intro:
5. Strategically Place Links
Google has become pretty adept at recognizing and penalizing sketchy linking practices.
Quick Rules For Link Placement
- Links need to stay in the actual text of the content. Avoid placing links in headers (especially the title tag).
- The anchor text (which is the string of text selected as the hyperlink) should be surrounded by relevant words.
- In general, a link is prioritized as more important the higher it appears in a piece of content. This is because Google crawls the page from top to bottom and evaluates the chance a “reasonable surfer” might click on it. Where a link appears in the content effects this, as well as what information the link connects to.
Internal and External Links
You’ll need to have a basic understanding of internal and external linking. Internal links direct visitors to other relevant pages on your site. External links direct visitors to other sites.
Internal links keep the visitor on your site and will help them move along their buyer’s journey. Good internal links also tell Google that your site is well structured.
External links should be used to cite authoritative information that you have used to create your content. By linking to a site with a high DA (domain authority), Google views your content as more authoritative – but only of the link is relevant and if there aren’t too many other links in the content.
The high DA site will pass some of its “link juice,” to use an industry term, to your site. This search engine ranking factor is called link equity.
6. Shoot For 1,000 Words or Longer
Longer content that is well written and follows the other rules listed above will be seen as more authoritative. The longer your post, the better chances it has to rank (as long as the quality is there).
Begin Planning and Drafting!
You now possess the basic knowledge to plan and create content that will rank! Though it may take some time to conduct keyword research and draft a successful post, taking the time to do so will only help drive more customers to your site – and then to your barstool.
SEO is a big concept to tackle, but you can achieve a functional understanding that will lead to more conversions.