Marketing can be tricky for small businesses these days. There are so many elements that need to be implemented or at very least considered as a piece of any marketing plan. The landscape has changed radically over the last 10 years and it continues to change rapidly.
Many small businesses feel that if they can't get it right, there's no point. But the reality is, there are a few things you can do yourself to ensure you aren't completely ignoring this vital piece of a marketing strategy.
Search Engine Optimization is what makes your digital presence visible to search engines. Try these easy tricks in order to not get buried under those who ARE executing all the working parts of a well-rounded marketing plan. While it can be a very complicated thing to get right, using these strategies will at least help you get in the game.
First off, how is your website? How new the content is on a website is relevant to search engines. New material is more likely to be seen and delivered to searchers. That means if you haven’t had an update in a long time, you’re not helping your cause when it comes to showing up in searches. Besides being current, it’s important that you include ‘keywords’ – words that people are searching for when they look for your product or services. The easiest way to decipher what keywords are important is to use Google’s KeyWord Planner. You have to have a Google Ads account but you can have one just to make use of this awesome tool. Make sure that words that are being searched are actually ON your website. Note: since this was written, I was introduced to answerthepublic.com which takes advantage of the latest technology in keyword research: keyword data visualization. My only hesitation with this amazing tool is that currently you can’t examine Canadian search results. However, if it’s relevant to your niche, go ahead and use the US function.
Another simple, often overlooked trick you can use both on your website and in your blog is to name your photos prior to posting them. Using keywords in the naming of your photos can be helpful as those words are search engine visible. Who knew, right? You do not need to use a visible caption to make this true. I just wanted to give you an example.
You may not like the next suggestion but the reality is you need a blog. Before you react, let me clarify that you don’t need to become a ‘blogger’, per se. But a blog helps you in a few different ways that you just can’t afford to miss out on. For one, it ensures content is current. For two, it clarifies your expertise. Who doesn’t turn to a Google search when looking for some specific information? Why not be that resource for people who could be future clients or at very least recommend you to friends and increase your digital reach? If you want a bit more information on the reasons you need a blog and how to make use of one (without hiring new staff!) check out my post from a few months ago: 5 Reasons You Need A Blog. Take a look at this blog from Stella Bayles. It’s a great example of how simple you can make a blog while getting the results you want.
Once you’ve researched your keywords and have a sense of what people search when they search your industry, it’s time to update all your social media profiles. You are on social media, right? Turns out the pages of social media sites are very visible to search engines. One of the most consistent mistakes I see, is people make is not taking time to fill in every line on their Facebook page. And don’t kid yourself, you need a Facebook page. Facebook is the Google of social media so not being there is missing an amazing opportunity. Yes, it’s tricky to grow & utilize a Facebook page – you may need to hire a pro to get it really working for you – no shame in that – in fact it can save a lot of time, energy and money while delivering results. The point is, you are missing massive opportunities if you aren’t using these simple tools. Plus the last 5 years have proven that digital media is becoming THE place to connect with clients. Putting it off, or being lazy about it, only means you’re being pushed further down the rabbit hole when it comes to digital visibility and digging out will be tougher and tougher as technology and related marketing tools keep getting more complex.
While this is an oversimplified version of how SEO can help you compete in the digital landscape, it is a starting spot. As with all marketing strategies, there is often no better choice than outsourcing. But whatever you chose, make sure you take advantage of the simple things that can truly make your marketing goals easier to achieve.
If you’re a small, local-based business and you’re struggling with SEO, reach out - I may be able to help with a new, powerful small business tool for ranking on search engines. Or feel free to ask any questions. I’m always happy to help.
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Catherine Mellon is a Social Media Director with 5 years experience helping entrepreneurs & small businesses use the internet to grow their business.