Three SEO Marketing Strategies for Your Business
Summary: Search engine optimization or “SEO” is often mysterious. I think that’s due to its broad definition. SEO is an umbrella term for everything we do to maximize your company’s real estate on search engines. The practice of SEO marketing strategies is diverse and includes your website’s activity, networking, directories, social media, or any other web tools.
You’re wrong if you think it’s a single tool that you can buy off the shelf and install, then POOF you’re done. Great SEO is an ongoing and evolving practice that involves several tools and methodologies. I discuss three of them here.
Search engines are far more likely to show businesses that display credibility, authority, expertise, networking, and ongoing activity.
- Your Website’s Role in SEO
- Page Speed & Mobile Friendly
- Domain and Page Age
- Content is King, Linking
- User vs. Crawler Experience
- Guest Content, Backlinking
- Security, Accessibility, Bloat
- Google Optimization
Your Website’s Role in SEO
Let me start by offering an opinion. SEO is NOT a guerrilla tactic. It takes time and energy; it’s an ongoing practice. Other companies may rebrand the service as such, but you can’t cheat the system. If you could, how would you ever compete against companies with larger wallets? Those companies are simply showing up and doing reps for long-term gains like a bodybuilder at the gym.
In my opinion, your website is the single most critical component in your SEO marketing strategies because it affects all search engines and most other activities that come later. With so many companies (perhaps your competitors) failing in their due diligence and proactivity, this leaves you with so much opportunity.
- Takeaway: SEO is an ongoing practice! People will continue using the internet to find solutions to their niche problems. Your business is the solution to their problem.
Page Speed & Mobile Friendly Websites
It’s no secret that people are increasingly choosing their phones over their desktops. Consequently, your website must be mobile-friendly for search engines (or voice engines) to offer your website. This isn’t a new practice. Most web designers use mobile-friendly tools and practices these days.
- Takeaway Action: Spend some time browsing your website on a mobile phone or tablet so you can experience what your customers will experience.
Domain Age, Page Age
There’s an adage in the environmental green industry that asks, “when is the best time to plant a tree?” The answer is either 10-years ago, or right now. The same theory applies to websites (domains and new pages). Among the hundreds of signals in search engine ranking is Age, a controllable variable by simply producing new (quality) content on a regular schedule.
- Takeaway Action: Beware of quantity over quality. You’re shooting yourself in the foot by publishing new pages that couldn’t possibly rank because you’re shoving them out the door without due diligence in on-page SEO.
They have another adage too that says, “if it’s not growing, it’s dead.” But we’ll leave that for another time.
Refresh Aging Content
Content deteriorates over time. Be sure existing content reflects any updates in your practices, beliefs, methods, or business detail. Or, perhaps, you might simply re-word things differently when you read it later.
- Takeaway Action: Don’t set it and forget it. Refresh old content. Both you and your competitors are publishing new content regularly. Ranking rarely lasts forever. Make a conscious effort to refresh and republish.
Content is King & Internal Linking
Build for the future. Build ahead of the immediate needs of your sales. Avoid throwing overtly “sales” heavy content at people; offer site guests a great experience by showing them you’re an expert in your field.
Google and SEO practitioners often promote ‘EAT’ – Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. While your staff can’t be available 24/7, your website will act as a digital salesperson for your business around the clock.
Content comes in multiple forms. Working with many local service and trades companies – not surprisingly – one of the most popular SEO marketing strategies that I’m building for clients lately involves “hiring” and the search for workers. Yes, it makes sense to create an internal hiring section on your website with a separate page for each job description. Search engines can digest that content equally as any other page.
If your website is only 4 pages now and you produce once monthly for a year (with best-practice SEO in mind), you’re effectively quadrupling the size of your website. This is a much larger presence for which people can find your business online. Companies have been doing this for years as part of their SEO marketing strategies, and it’s built on a simple theory of “what’s larger is more likely to be seen.”
- Takeaway Action: Make the habit easy. Find a rhythm that’s suitable for your ability to participate. I typically run a once-monthly cycle with clients for content and search engine marketing because that’s manageable alongside their numerous other responsibilities.
Find Balance in User & Crawler Experience
Crawlers are the bots that major search engines deploy across the web to pick up and categorize the information from websites.
For whom do we write content? Humans (audiences) or crawlers? The answer is both. When I design a new website, I often use visual site maps and topic clusters to help us understand the relationship between pages and topics. This allows crawlers to understand the same network of information.
Due diligence with on-page SEO encourages search engines to show your web pages.
- Takeaway Action: Use internal links intelligently. Create an individual page for specific topics. Then, when we create a page that mentions several topics broadly, you can link those specific pages so readers can dive deeper into a subject. Allow people (and crawlers) to navigate between topics with clarity.
Guest Content & Backlinking
You’re an authority in-person, so lend your expertise to online publishers in your industry. They have audiences that you can tap into! You could simply offer them a piece of content to publish on their website. They should be open to the idea because you’re doing them a favor. Consequently, they’re doing you a favor by promoting your content to their audiences. And, usually, that content will link back to your website or social media.
We’re looking to do everything possible to optimize the visibility of our businesses, and directories play a role. Many small businesses commonly overlook the use of directories in their SEO marketing strategies. Search engines will respect businesses that engage in online networking.
- Major Directories – the directories you might think about first, like Google and Facebook
- Aggregator Farms (NAP) – niche (often free) directories used for publishing business detail
- Industry Directories – associations specific to your business category
NAP stands for “Name, Address, Phone,” a common abbreviation for those mass publishing directories. Remembering every directory website, account, log in, and password is a laborious task. Many businesses, and likely your competitors, let it slide because it’s a daunting thought. This means an opportunity for your business. I leverage tools like Yext for my full-service clients to help with much of that heavy lifting.
- Takeaway Action: make sure to list associations on your website (usually in the form of the association’s logo) with a link to your directory listing on their website.
- Takeaway Action: check into your distributor resources. You never know where’s there’s an opportunity to get your name out there. Distributors often promote their customers (your business). For example, they may feature an interactive map or directory of where their products can be found, thus leading end users to your business.
Google’s tools are among the most used tools on the planet, so it makes sense to have an updated profile on their business platform. Consequently, this will allow your business to integrate into their wide suite of tools that includes Google Search, Maps, Ads, Gmail, YouTube, and Images.
Most of Google’s tools are free, and along with it, the visibility your business receives. As of this writing, Google occupies ~90% of the worldwide search engine market share. Like the earlier topic on Directories, having a Google business profile is an entry-level SEO marketing strategy. As a web marketing professional, I spend a lot of time with these tools across several clients, along with many of their web developer tools.
- Takeaway Action: Don’t set it and forget it. Your business phone number may never change, but perhaps your business hours fluctuate with the seasons or holidays. Always ensure your profile is up to date and actively changing with your business.
Social proof helps persuade people into trying a product or service simply because they see a review about it. Reviews, no matter where they come from, add weight and verification to the work you’ve done. Reviews (good or bad) live online 24/7 for people to read.
Getting real-world testimonials from customers who actively engage with your services is one of the most widely promoted SEO tactics. It’s also free marketing! Customers who’ve had an awesome experience are usually happy to speak on behalf of your business. A review is free content that you’ve earned, written by your customers. In addition, later on, you can promote your reviews on other channels like social or email.
Read my article about Google Reviews Impact on SEO.
Many of your competitors are probably avoiding this simple, free activity. Asking for reviews requires relatively little work. Google makes it extremely simple to text contacts on your phone with a link to leave a review.
- Takeaway Action: Respond to reviews. When you reply to reviews, you show that you value your customers and their feedback. Here it is, straight from the horse’s mouth.
A person-to-person request for a review will always yield the best result. I’ve seen several automated tools over the years, and a text message from a person has always proven better by a wide margin.
Like most search engines, Google values activity and prominence. Among the most simple tasks are entering complete data, verifying locations, keeping hours accurate, reviews, and photos. However, “local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence.” The keyword there is “prominence.” They also base prominence on information they have about your business, from across the web, like links, articles, and directories. You can read this directly from How Google determines local ranking.