How To Create A Solid SEO Foundation For Your Small Business

Tune out the noise and stick to the basics

Image: Flickr

There is a lot of search engine optimization (SEO) information out there, however, much of the information you read is misinformation.

For small businesses there is no time to deal with misinformation. One wrong move in SEO can really set your business back.

What usually happens is you partner with an SEO expert that promises quick results. They deliver on those results, but the tactics are usually questionable at best.

In the long run, Google and other search engines wise up to any tactic that manipulates the organic search rankings. Once the search engines figure out what is going on their make a correction and things go back to normal.

If you experience high rankings for a short period of time only to see them gone in an instant you’re in for a harsh reality.

It can be too easy to get used to the traffic and sales that come from high rankings. But if you achieve those rankings in any way that is not kosher with what the search engines approve you’ll lose those rankings, traffic and sales.

The better strategy for small businesses looking to grow through SEO traffic is to focus on what the target customer wants to see in the search results.

Useful, Fresh and Fast Content

Humans are hungry for information. We want to be educated, entertained and enlightened.

Some say there is too much information as a result of the Internet, but people now have freedom to choose what they want to consume. It’s a big shift in power and for those willing to work there is a big opportunity.

Useful content is the kind of content that doesn’t have a lifespan. Small businesses can do well with useful content.

An example of useful content would be a guide on how to home school your children. The details may change each year, but the process would remain similar for a long time.

Fresh content is the type of content people want that is relevant for what is happening right now.

Twitter is built around fresh content. If you’re a fan of football you probably follow the NFL writers on Twitter. As they watch the games they provide up-to-the-second information that adds to the value of simply watching the games on TV.

Fast content means having a channel to provide the content in a fast and efficient way.

For small businesses, a simple website that loads quickly and provides both timely and useful information will position the company for strong SEO success.

Again, you’re focusing on what people want and in turn the search engines will reward you.

A Variety of Content Types

Text — blog posts, guides, e-books, etc. — are one form of content and people still demand them, but demand is increasing for a variety of content types today.

People want to watch videos. They want to have slideshows to scan through to learn information. People want podcasts, webinars and a few other forms of content.

For small businesses, this doesn’t mean you have to create something new for each content type. You can create a blog post on a great topic and repurpose the same content for other channels.

Over time you will want to pay attention to the differences in the people that prefer certain channels.

When the people that prefer video want something different than the people that want to read text you’ll have to change content accordingly.

Understandable, Efficient Purchasing Process

Fast is the name of the game on the Internet. Google and other Internet giants are pushing for a fast Web. They want fast websites, fast apps and fast everything.

The reason the giants are demanding a fast experience is because people are demanding a fast experience.

This means you’ll always have to make your purchasing experienced fast while still providing all the information your customer needs to feel comfortable with the purchase.

Speed is good, but find the proper balance with a quick exchange while still having a satisfied customer.

Optimization

Finally, you do want to optimize your online content and website for search engines in terms of making it easier for search engines to understand what your content is trying to communicate to your target customer.

Remember, Google and other engines want to know what your website is trying to communicate because that will make it easier to determine how to present your content in the results.

The two best sources of on-site optimization are:

1. Google SEO Guide

2. Beginner’s SEO Guide by Moz

Small Business SEO Homework

Avoid anything that promises quick SEO results. Chances are you won’t see results in the best case scenario and in the worst case scenario you will see results leading to false expectations at which point you’ll lose the rankings and things will turn upside down.

Instead focus on these things for your SEO foundation:
+Useful Content
+Variety of Content Types
+Speed and Efficiency
+Optimization

Focus on what your target customers needs and you’ll end up with strong SEO in the long run.