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Published On: Fri, Jun 28th, 2019

How to Turn Your Small Business SEO Around

Many small business owners dream of high rankings in Google. They know that 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine encounter and that many of these users can be converted into valuable customers that will help their business grow.

However, they have also been frustrated by search engine optimization due to poor advice or outdated tactics. In addition, many SEO vendors do more harm than good leaving small business owners left with damage to poorly ranking websites.

The prominence of Google as the primary search engine of choice does not seem to be losing steam. Digital ad revenues remain astronomically high and Google is one of the most recognized brands in the world. 

To participate in the digital revolution, small business owners realize they need to take their failing search engine optimization strategy and transform it into a marketing engine that reliably produces leads for their business.

This article will cover basic strategies all small business owners can use to adapt a disappointing strategy into an SEO lead generation campaign.

photo/ William Iven

Write Longer Content

The first change this: content being posted to a small business website needs to be longer. Recent data has revealed that Google has a strong preference for pages that have at least 1,500 unique words on them.

Many small business owners do not appreciate how efficient Google is at understanding if text is unique or has been recycled. This leads them to reuse content that has been posted previously,  which Google seriously dislikes.

If the blog is updated, chances are that the content is far too short based on recent updates at Google. And the search engines are getting more efficient at identifying thin content as well. This means that writing longer blog posts just for the sake of length is probably not a good strategy.

The buzzword of late is “searcher intent.” What this means is that the search engines are looking for content that clearly satisfies the needs of the searcher and answers their questions thoroughly. A great strategy for ensuring that users find the content they’re looking for is to be generous with the visual representations of the concepts being discussed in the text.

Again, consult the high-ranking content you encounter. You are likely to see a very high ratio of images to text. Sometimes called visual assets, these graphical representations of data and concepts are very helpful for keeping users on page for long periods of time long after they’ve become bored with reading.

Backlinks For All Pages 

Backlinks have long been known to be an important component of the Google algorithm, and this has not changed. While there has been a recent emphasis on content marketing with long-form blog posts, even the best content will not occupy a high-ranking position if it does not have backlinks to that specific page.

Over 2 million blog posts are published to the internet each day. With this tremendous amount of content, it’s clear to see that Google needs a way to sort out what is really helpful for users from spam. Backlinks are often the differentiator that help the search engines know what content is really worth reviewing.

Many small business owners understand the importance of backlinks but don’t understand the subtleties that distinguish a good link from a bad link. A common mistake is pursuing quantity of links over quality. While this strategy was successful in the early days of search engine marketing, Google has become quite adept at identifying spammy links that are manipulative and discounts them so that they are not helpful for your rankings. In extreme cases, these links can actually cause damage to a website’s profile in the search engine.

There are several factors to investigate when deciding whether a backlink will help your rankings with Google. The first factor is to look at the overall domain authority, sometimes called domain rating. This is a single number that signifies the overall strength of a specific domain on a 100-point scale. Websites with a domain rating of 30 and above are generally considered strong. Over 60 is extremely strong and more unlikely to find.

A more specific measure of whether a backlink will help can be derived from page authority.  Unlike domain authority, page authority is specific to the location of the link on a website. Many years ago it was discovered that Google assigned specific strength to each and every page on each and every website. Yes, the amount of data that they’re storing is staggering and very specific. While it is generally best to get links from high authority websites, it is also helpful if those links are on authoritative pages of that website.

The last factor to consider in backlink analysis is the specific anchor text. Anchor text is a fancy word for the English that is visible in a hyperlink. Google learned early on that these English words are very helpful for telling the search engine about the type of content that lives at the other end of the link. SEO professionals learned that they can manipulate these words and see movements in the rankings.

Be very careful with anchor text manipulation as Google has become quite sensitive to repeated anchors and uses this as a sign of manipulation and malicious intent. It is best not to have these anchor text be repetitive or too concentrated around a few words as this may trigger alarms at Google.

photo/ Simplu pixabay user

Use Social and Email to Boost Content

Another strategy for turning a failing SEO blog into a lucrative search engine marketing campaign is to focus on social media and email as part of your content distribution strategy.

Seventy-seven percent of consumers actually prefer email-based communications as their primary method. What email is often seen as an outdated technology, it is perhaps the most used application by most professionals. Additionally, you will find email on almost every smartphone in the pockets of these professionals as they walk around.

Small business websites should be building their email list continually via the use of popups with free giveaways. As this list grows, it becomes a tremendous asset for content distribution and reining interested users back to the website.

Social media profiles can work much the same way. A popular social media profile generates followers who can be counted on to visit your site. Some of these numbers will also share your content through their profiles, extending the reach of a new blog post.

All of these behaviors leave some sort of digital footprint, and then we believe that Google uses those as evidence of social trust in determining what content to rank.

Retargeting PPC

The final SEO strategy involves pay-per-click retargeting. Search engine optimization is ultimately a lead-generation strategy, though many don’t label it as such. Similar to any other lead-generating channel, conversion optimization is a critical component of efficiency. When a lead is generated via organic sources, retargeting is an excellent strategy for bringing the user back to the website. While some will consider this outside the scope of SEO, those using first touch attribution know that regardless of how the lead is converted, it will be considered an SEO lead.

Retargeting is a dramatically modern approach to selective advertising albeit a little bit creepy.  The core of the technology rests on Google’s ability to leave cookies in the browsers of users as they pass from website to website on the internet. Because Google’s reach is so large in their display advertising network, they are able to observe the same user as they move between seemingly unrelated websites.

Based on all this fabulous network data, Google can decide to show your ad only to users who have previously visited your website on unrelated third-party sites, such as the New York Times. But for users who see the ads, the experience is quite impressive because it appears that the small business has a huge advertising budget. 

Conclusions

Small business owners understand the value of a page one ranking in Google as they know how many transactions begin in the search engines. Due to past frustrations, the same business owners are often reluctant to invest in search engine optimization. They must have been given bad advice from vendors that did not produce results.

By reconsidering how blogs are produced to make them longer, more detailed, and helpful to the end user, small business owners can revitalize their content marketing. Backlinks will be necessary to every piece of content that is produced, which can be amplified with social media and email marketing. Finally, a PPC retargeting campaign can help boost conversions, making the whole campaign much more profitable.

Author: Jeffrey Shipman

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