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From contextual backlinks, to domain authority and from on-page optimization to organic traffic acquisition; SEO is one of the most complicated services that can be executed internally, or externally by a partner (such as a digital marketing agency). The reality is that, unless you are a global online content creator or an e-commerce website, the SEO work you need to be focusing on is actually a lot less complicated than you think. And holistically speaking, it’s much more specific to localization and ensuring you are getting the right traffic, at the right time.
What does the right traffic at the right time mean? It means that the visitors you are acquiring for “free” (more on that later) are people who are in need of your services and products, or they could potentially be in need of your services and products.  You need your website to surface as much as possible when the customer is in this stage of their purchase journey.
Organic means “free” as in you did not specifically pay for the click.  The objective of an SEO strategy is to obtain as much high-quality organic traffic as possible. There won’t be a specific investment in terms of paying for click like an ad campaign, but there is an investment of resources and properly executing a strategy.
Here are some key areas that your SMB should focus on when it comes to SEO.

  1. Make sure your business is correctly listed in the right directories and those directory listings include links back to your website. (This includes Google Maps, Apple Maps, and any local business listings you can find). These need to be optimized, updated and your hours of operation need to be correct.
  2. Your website needs to be technically optimized for SEO. This means that it needs to perform decently (not have extremely slow page times, you need to be running a SSL certificate, and your hosting should be that of quality).
  3. Your website’s pages need to be optimized for search rankings. You need to have the correct page titles, enough content on each page that correctly speaks to that page title as your focus keyword and your images\videos need to be tagged appropriately.
  4. You should be using available data to see what and how people are visiting your website now organically, and utilize keyword research to identify additional topics you can write about on your website to get more of the right people visiting it. (Tools will allow you to see how many people are searching for specific things in specific geographic areas!).
  5. You do need backlinks but think about it in a less technical fashion. Where are your potential customers visiting on the web? How can you partner with those sites to link back to yours.
  6. Your website needs to be mobile friendly. Increasingly, more and more websites are getting a 50/50 split between mobile and desktop visitors. It’s important that your website functions properly on a mobile device such as a phone or tablet.
  7. Social Media matters! It might not have a direct signal back to Google, but over time I have found that having active social media profiles will attribute to additional traffic and assist in ranking.
  8. Youtube matters! If you have video content, optimize it and post it on youtube. Make sure your headlines, keywords and tags all speak directly to your focus keyword, and that you also post your website’s link in the description.
  9. Write blog posts and articles that are outside of the box. If you partnered with a local charity on an initiative, write a blog post that focuses on that partnership so when people are searching for initiatives related to the partnership you will surface.
  10.  An SEO strategy will not work without a content strategy. Create a plan, and stick to it. SEO is a long game and the upfront investment will start paying off.
  11. Monitor your analytics on a monthly basis. Look at what content is ranking organically and how it is attracting visitors. Use that data to drive your strategy and assist in determining which content should be added to your site.

You want a healthy balance of organic vs paid vs social web traffic.

Google is intelligent. Google’s algorithm has been collecting, mining, and optimizing data for years. Trust that the most important aspect of your website is that you are providing your visitors with a quality user experience.

This means that they are being provided with valuable content, the right content, and not immediately clicking back to google and clicking on one of your competitor’s websites in the search engine result page (SERP).
SEO for small business