The world of marketing is vastly different than it was even twenty years ago, back when the internet felt like a neat novelty, but not that big of a deal. But it’s now something most of us use every day. That means that marketing agencies have all had to shift to focus on the digital side of things. This also means that smally businesses have to learn a whole new set of rules, tricks, and techniques to get their name out there. This can be frustrating and intimidating. Luckily, we at Avant8 have worked with plenty of small businesses and know just what you need to know about modern marketing.
The biggest thing that you need to address when handling your own digital marketing (other than making sure you have an attractive and functioning website) is making sure you have good search engine optimization (SEO). There are many different methods of boosting your SEO and also many ways you can accidentally hurt it. So, we’re going to go over with you what you definitely should and definitely should not do with search engine optimization.
But first, let’s define it, shall we?
Search engine optimization sounds complicated when you’re first faced with it. But it’s surprisingly simple. It has everything to do with how search engine work and the best way to set up your site so that they notice it before any others.
Let’s just start by making sure we’re all on the same page about what a search engine is. A search engine is anything you use to look things up on the internet. Google is the most famous one, but there are many others out there two. Search engines work through keywords. These are what ever word or phrase that you type into the search bar. The search engine takes that keyword and looks all over the internet for sites that have that keyword mentioned. The organize the results by how many words are used in the context that the keyword is in, how many times the keyword is used, and how useful the information seems, along with a few other criteria.
So, search engine optimization is essentially making sure that you have certain keywords used in the best way possible to make your site stand out against all the others. Good SEO means that you are on the first page of a search. Because, if we’re being real, no one goes beyond the first page. It seems like most people are more willing to reword their search or give up entirely rather than go to the second page.
Now that we have a definition laid out, let’s talk about how you can make SEO work for you.
Let’s start with the stuff that you should do that could make all the difference with your SEO.
- Pick some keywords. This is always the first thing that you should do. Think about what your company is. What words would best describe it? Choose some keywords doing that. Another helpful thing to do is to use an SEO ranking program to find out what you and your competitors rank highly for. Are there keywords that you should be doing better on, but your competitors are beating you on? Focus on those.
- Double check your website. This is something that surprisingly often gets overlooked. It is always a good idea to make sure that your site has your keywords scattered throughout it. It can be in the body text, meta text, alt text, or basically anywhere that you can put text. This will help search engines single you out.
- Start a blog. Most website builders allow you to add on a blog to your site. This is a great way to give your SEO a little boost. Write informative blogs using your keywords as a focus and a jumping off point. Make the blogs at least 1000 words long, but the longer the better.
- Keep up your social media. When making new posts for your company’s social media accounts (which definitely exist, right?), be sure to include keywords in the posts. This can be as the caption, the hashtags, or both. While this won’t boost your site’s search engine optimization directly, it will help increase traffic because your social media accounts should absolutely have a link to your site.
- Watch your rankings. Once you’ve started to try and boost your SEO, you need to make sure that you’re paying attention to how your site is ranking. That way you can know what stuff is working and what isn’t. Most search engines and website builders offer some sort of analytics that you can use to watch this stuff.
Now that you know what to do, let’s talk about what not to do.
- Don’t choose super broad keywords. Unless you are a big company that can afford to have a full-time SEO team dedicated to focusing entirely on your site’s rankings, it’s best to avoid really general keywords. For example, if you are a coffee shop, you are going to want to focus on the keyword “coffee.” Then you’ll be competing with Starbucks. Instead, go for things like “Coffeeshops in [the town you are based in].”
- Don’t go overboard. Don’t just fill up your site with a million mentions of a particular keyword or write a blog that is your keyword over and over again. If you use a keyword too much, it will be marked as spam by search engines, and they won’t want to put you high on the list. So, be sure to find a good balance.
- Don’t let it go stagnant. If you decide that blogs and social media are the best way to get your search engine optimization moving, then you’re going to want to make sure that you keep that updated. Search engines like newer information more than they like older posts. So, be sure to keep your feed nice and fresh. Try posting on social media at least every other day and posting blogs a couple of times a month.
These are just a few examples what the things that you should and shouldn’t do to have good SEO. It does take a lot of time and effort to keep your SEO up. So, if you’re feeling like you don’t have time to take care of it yourself, why not give us a try?