Keyword research is the first step of any SEO strategy. Keywords are the words or phrases related to your business that people use when searching online. Your goal is to rank for these keywords by including them in your website content.
Keep in mind that not all keywords are created equal, so it’s important to organize your keywords by factors such as:
- Search volume: how many times a specific search query is made every single month across the country. It’s important to find (and then use) phrases that people use for searching for solutions like yours.
- Ranking difficulty: how much competition there is to rank for the keyword (a generic keyword like “coffee” would be much harder to rank for than something more specific, like “organic coffee shop in Nashville”, for example
- Intent to purchase: whether the keyword is more likely to be searched for by someone looking to make a purchase versus looking for general information (for example, someone searching for “inexpensive running shoes” is showing more intent to purchase than someone searching for ‘the history of shoes’)
Content creation is the creation of online content such as blog or social media posts, podcasts, or infographics to entertain, educate, or inform your audience while often working towards improving your SEO. SEO for small business and content creation are very much entwined. Adding high-quality content to your website can increase your brand’s domain authority, win backlinks (see next section for more on why backlinks are critical to your success), and improve clickthrough rates, not to mention helping you rank for industry keywords.
Onsite SEO optimization includes keyword optimization for all the copy and content that site visitors will see, plus behind-the-scenes aspects such as alt tags, URL slugs, and metadata. But it also takes into account a visitor’s overall experience on the website and how easy it is for a search engine to understand what the site is about. To optimize on-site SEO, you’ll need to focus on elements like site speed, mobile optimization, and site map layout.
Digital marketing and SEO campaigns aim to position your business as an industry expert. Backlinks, or links from other reputable websites to yours, are crucial in building domain authority because they show search engines that other businesses see you as a reliable resource. They also increase the chances of leads discovering your website while visiting another site, driving traffic from multiple sources. Backlink development is vital for brand awareness and domain authority.
Well-rounded SEO packages include reputation management services that present your online business in the best possible light. This includes highlighting positive reviews and minimizing negative ones, as well as responding to customer comments on social media and review sites. Reputation management may also include setting up a Google My Business account, as well as sending out occasional press releases to ensure that you’re turning up in searches for all the right reasons. Good reputation management isn’t about tricking people into leaving reviews or respecting your business, but actually emphasizing that you practice what you preach and care about what your audience has to say, good or bad.
Social signals affect your website in much the same way that backlinks do. When you hear an SEO company talk about social signals, what they mean is a business’s overall social media visibility and engagement, based on factors like likes, shares, and comments. Strong social signals tell search engines that a lot of people trust your business, leading to more domain authority and higher rankings.