May 13, 2015
SEO management is often viewed as a confusing, difficult, and sometimes tedious undertaking by many small business owners. The very essence of SEO is constantly morphing and evolving, which leads some to believe that the application of appropriate SEO efforts will consume far more time and resources than it actually does.
Sure, SEO can be a bit intimidating and complicated at first, but once the white-hat tactics and current best practices are learned through research, it’s really a matter of keeping a finger on the pulse after that. There is simply no need to pour hours upon hours each week into SEO efforts as long as you remain up on current trends and updates. Additionally, with a surplus of information readily available online, any business owner should truly feel well equipped to master this art form.
To help out small business owners everywhere and cut down on the footwork, here are the most crucial SEO tactics to implement so far this year:
Content: It Still Rules the Internet
Don’t expect this fact to change anytime soon for it was nearly a decade ago that Bill Gates coined the phrase, “Content is King”. For a myriad of obvious reasons, this steadfast reality won’t be shifting anytime soon.
The goal here is not to produce keyword-riddled pieces of content that cater to Google-bots as opposed to the audience. Instead seek to produce content that is unique, relevant to the niche, and that provides truly useful information. With that in mind, keywords do still play an important role in content optimization. Google Adwords is a fantastic tool to assist in identifying keywords in any given niche.
Spread content around through various channels for maximum exposure. Start a blog and be active across several social media platforms like Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. Any research information, how-to articles, or anything else that could provide knowledge is your best golden ticket to generating excellent engagement and the clicks needed to increase SEO rankings.
Having trouble generating click-worthy content? Here are some excellent content creation tools to utilize.
Images and Visuals are Key
As of last year, image accompanied content accounted for two thirds of all posts shared on Facebook. These days the digital world is so utterly overflowing with content that without an image, gif, or video, the content is far less likely to be seen or remembered. There needs to be some element of color and allure for a post to draw people’s attention. Additionally, the average attention span for adults is constantly on the decline, so without an exciting visual element the content is highly unlikely to gain the attention of the desired audience.
Incorporate images, videos, slideshows, or whatever else that could potentially draw in clicks and views to the piece. If you are unsure of how to accomplish this feat successfully, here are several design tools to add that creative splash to your creations. But of course, don’t get so obsessed with the look of the content that the actual substance of it suffers.
Responsive Mobile Design is a Must
In 2014, mobile device usage toppled desktop for the first time ever. Nearly half of all searches conducted now go through a mobile device; 48% to be exact. This really gets put into perspective knowing that Google alone processes roughly 1 trillion search queries per year. Furthermore, in an event dubbed “Mobilegeddon” Google just recently altered their algorithms to give responsive, mobile-friendly websites a boost in mobile searches.
It is now extremely imperative that websites employ a mobile counterpart, otherwise, the risk of not showing up in the mobile SERP’s and missing out on half of the potential customers that could be drawn in is a very harsh reality. The reality is that as the years drag on, mobile is increasingly becoming the preferred format for all things digital. Set up a responsive mobile website to remain in the game, and potentially ahead of the curve.
Test, Measure, Modify
This is unequivocally the most important process for business owners to conduct on a regular basis. By monitoring the outcome of SEO efforts, an individual gains a more in-depth look and understanding into which aspects worked well, why they worked well, and which areas are in need of significant improvement. This imperative process will allow for small businesses to refine SEO tactics and to develop the most efficient and effective ways of targeting a specific audience. Google Analytics is an extremely useful and free service that helps maintain a website’s SEO presence and helps business owners to gain a firm grasp on how to optimize a site for increased visibility and overall traffic.
SEO is not your enemy, it is a friend, and a necessary one at that. Once the basic tenets are understood, the rest is fairly smooth sailing. You’ve got all the tools you need to excel at the game of rankings. Just take some time to thoughtfully integrate the key elements, and your business has a chance to truly thrive.
What are other useful SEO tactic for local businesses that were not mentioned here? What changes do you see occurring in the SEO universe in 2015?
Digital producer, online marketer, community manager, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney-Brown has been managing cross-functional teams for online businesses since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, community management, social networks, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and spiritual counselor. Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Google+.