Most businesses have heard the term “SEO” and have a basic understanding of why it’s important. However, when it comes to truly understanding, planning and implementing a sound SEO strategy of their own—they don’t always follow through. Too often small business owners get wrapped up in the day-to-day operational needs, and see a list of marketing to dos as daunting tasks. The truth is, search engine optimization is part of the long game, but is integral in determining digital visibility and success. In simpler terms, it’s Google’s world, and we’re just living in it.

In order to achieve brand awareness, organic traffic growth, and ultimately, product purchases—you need to cultivate an SEO strategy.

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Here are five basic steps to help you get started:

Define Your Goals

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Before mapping anything out, define goals for your website and determine how you envision it as a tool for success. Is the main purpose to promote services and establish credibility or drive product sales?

Once you have a clear vision, you can begin aligning your web pages with your goals. If the focus is more on services, make sure you have high-quality content that describes your offerings. If you’re looking to drive product sales through eCommerce, it’s important to have informative and attractive product pages.

Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly

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Beyond basic structure and design, your website needs to be mobile-friendly. This year alone, 52.4 percent of global web traffic originated from mobile devices. After knowing this, it makes sense that Google prioritizes responsive websites, generally ranking those with mobile versions higher.

When applied to eCommerce, the mobile statistics are even more astounding. Half of all eCommerce revenue is generated through mobile, and in 2019 mobile retail in the U.S. is estimated to reach 267.47 billion. So, whether you’re creating a new website or optimizing an old one—think mobile first.

Brainstorm Topics and Narrow Down Keywords

To improve your website’s placement on a search engine results page (SERP) and begin garnering organic traffic, you’ll want to start brainstorming topics to cover from month-to-month.

Start by writing down 15-20 words and short phrases associated with your products, services or industry. From here, you can use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to search the terms and identify popular keywords.

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It’s important to note the short-tail keyword results are likely too competitive for your small business to rank on, as larger companies tend to have more trusted content in those areas. So, you’ll want to narrow down those keywords to the top 10 most important to your brand, and use them as the pillar in longer, more niche keywords. By strategizing the copy on your page to align with popular search terms, you’re telling search engines what your website is about and allowing consumers to find your brand.

Set up a Blog

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The best-ranked websites are continually updated with fresh, new and relevant content. Think of it this way—each new blog post is another web page that can rank in the SERP’s. In fact, websites with blogs generally have 434 percent more indexed pages. And, 68 percent of entrepreneurs who blog for their brand attract new clients through blogging!

Creating and offering your unique perspective on industry topics can help your website build page authority, and present your company as a thought-leader. Use the keywords you found and crafted above to draw inspiration for blog topics, just keep in mind to always write for the reader (don’t stuff your content with keywords).

Tweak SEO Page Titles

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SEO page titles (or tags) are an element of HTML that specify the title of a web page to the search engine, and show up in the SERP’s as the clickable phrase. They are not only the first impression people see of your brand, but a huge factor in helping search engines understand what your web pages are about.

Effective SEO page titles include the keywords associated with the web page (near the beginning of the title), are concise, and keep customer readability in mind.

To get a better idea, search your website and take note of what is displayed, then tweak the HTML as necessary.

These are just a few of many effective tactics you can (and definitely should) include in your small business’s SEO strategy. For a more in-depth look at SEO strategy and basic SEO terminology, we recommend looking at Moz or HubSpot.

Are you an SEO novice or experienced pro? What keywords is your small business targeting? Let us know in the comments!

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