If you are a small business owner in 2019 and you happen to be unfamiliar with SEO, then you need to educate yourself on the basics – or else you are putting your business at risk. Without a well-maintained and properly-executed online marketing strategy, you will miss out on countless leads and – as a result – lose an incalculable amount of profit and growth potential.
It is this fact that has led the Forbes Agency Council to declare that SEO needs to be considered a crucial element of any small business’s marketing plan. By implementing SEO properly, you can expect to increase your business’s market competitiveness, your brand recognition, your consumer base, and all the while set fertile foundation for your business to grow.
You can unlock all of these advantages by taking the time to develop a comprehensive SEO marketing strategy. By the end of this post, you will have a basic understanding of the principles of SEO, as well as several invaluable reference sources to start yourself off on the right foot.
However, it is important to keep in mind that –
The Instruction Manual For SEO Is a Perpetual Work-in-Progress
By the time the textbook is published, the data is obsolete. Dynamic fields like SEO and other data-based industries are always having to react and adapt to a rapid and volatile environment.
The internet is projected to officiate $3.45 trillion in sales in 2019, and generated $2.84 trillion in 2018. Trillions of dollars hinge on how google decides to rank sites and they update their algorithms all the time – to the degree of 9 times a day on average for 2018.
Ignoring SEO, which depends entirely on Google’s algorithm, leaves your business ill-equipped to survive the wave of progress sweeping through all aspects of modern society. You can choose to ride the wave, or sink.
Should you choose to ride that wave, here are essential terms and tips you need to internalize, incorporate and utilize in your digital marketing strategy. Make the following text your digital marketing mantra:
High-Quality Content vs. Good Content
As we’ve stated before, many businesses do not understand exactly what high-quality content is and what, specifically, it is supposed to achieve for your business. Good content needs to provide actionable information that visitors will find valuable, unique and enjoyable to read. This is a minimum.
High Quality Content
High-quality content needs to go several steps further – it needs to contain strategically-placed head terms and long tail keywords/keyword phrases that have been selected based on their search frequency and competitiveness.
Long Tail Keyword Phrase:
why is my aquarium foggy / my aquarium’s filter is broken / is hard water safe for most aquarium filters?
Keywords, in essence, are the terms, phrases and queries people search for in search engines. By strategically populating your content with these words, you are letting Google know that your content is relevant to the topic the searcher is researching
This is the optimization part of SEO. You must optimize your content so that a search engine determines it to be (ideally) the most relevant piece of content according to the keywords or phrases that were entered into the search bar.
Check On Your Post After Publishing
Additionally, the process does not end with the publishing of the content. You need to track your content’s rankings and make adjustments accordingly. Check out our post on how to track google rankings for free.
What You Didn’t Know About Internal Linking
Just like the nature of high-quality content, there are several layered benefits of strategically linking the pages within your site.
Aiding the Buyer’s Journey
You need to create all the necessary pathways between relevant and related information. The easier it is for a visitor to navigate the buyer’s journey within your domain, the more useful your site is to prospective clients.
If you can clearly and conveniently lead a client on their journey towards their goal, you are all the more likely to have won a customer.
This is the obvious benefit. Here is what you may not have known:
Improving Your Site’s Architecture
If Google can’t effectively crawl your site, then you won’t rank high in their indices. According to a post from Moz, “Hundreds of thousands of sites make the critical mistake of hiding or burying their main link navigation in ways that search engines cannot access.”
Assume that if Google’s algorithm cannot successfully navigate your site, a potential lead won’t be able to either. You could run your domain through a free version Ahrefs’ backlink checker to determine how navigable your site is.
Spread Link Equity Throughout Your Site
If your homepage is ranking well, you can spread some of your site’s authority to lower-ranked pages under your domain.
This also helps improve your domain rating, which is an ahrefs metric designed to assess a domain’s ability to rank.
What You Need to Know About External Linking
External links help to improve your domain rating (DR), which is an ahrefs metric designed to rank the quality and quantity of external links.
Quality Links > Quantity
You may be tempted to purchase links, or participate in free link exchanges with the logic that the more links going to and coming from your site, the more authority your site will have in the eyes of search engines.
That was the case.
Google is well beyond this in 2019. Your site can incur penalties if there are links to spam-heavy, penalized sites, or if you have an abundance of links all going to the same place. It isn’t worth the drop in metrics. Namely, if you think you can load up a page with a ridiculous amount of links and hide them from Google’s site crawlers – think again.
You want to have well placed external links that lead to high authority sources.
For example, I have linked to both Ahrefs and Moz in this article because they set the industry standards by which we measure a website’s ability to rank. Take note, however, that I did not go overboard by linking to those sites an unnecessary amount of times.
The takeaway here is to strategically link upwards!
SEO Education and Upkeep
Due to the nature of the industry, what you learned last year will be obsolete this year. If you want to take your business’ SEO into your own hands, you must also do yourself the service of staying updated on the artform of SEO.
Dedicate some time to reading, listening and/or watching all you can find on the topic. Ahrefs and Moz both have invaluable content discussing the process and its nuances.
The SEO changes you make today will have noticeable effects on your rankings down the line. SEO, when done well, is a self correcting system. By that I mean you make informed changes to your site’s structure and content, and then analyze what changes worked and what changes didn’t. In true researcher fashion, you use what you have learned to inform the next set of changes.
With the right approach and patience you will improve your site’s rankings.