SEO For Small Businesses: SEO isn’t as complicated as you thought!

* SEO: Search Engine Optimization

Meta Description: SEO Simple Guide For Small Businesses with No Marketing Budget: SEO isn’t as complicated and costly as you thought!

I have to admit that when I first heard the term SEO, I was a bit lost on how to start. SEO sounds like a big word that requires a lot of expertise and techniques that no one can do but a seasoned marketer. During my 10+ year career in marketing, SEO was one of my scariest tasks. It involves writing content that could catch the internet user’s search and language. In other words, doing SEO helps maximize a brand’s outreach to the target audience. Also, people have overused jargon, myth, and big words to describe SEO or how to perform ‘content optimization’. That confused me even further and made me want to stay away from SEO.

In this short article, I’m going to walk you through four simple tips to apply SEO for a small business with very limited or no marketing budget. No marketing background is needed. All you need to do is consistently spend 30 minutes a day on this task. And I promise, I will not use any jargon or technical terms to describe SEO or confuse you. All I want is for you to grasp the idea that doing SEO is simple, but the reward would be satisfying and worth your time investing in.

Okay, let’s get started learning the SEO journey. Just keep in mind that SEO is all about how you word your content strategically. 

1. How do you want your clients to perceive your product/ service?

Thinking about this question helps you focus on how you want to establish a conversation with your target audience. Let them know that you’re offering what they need to help them solve their problems or meet their expectations. This first step is of utmost importance in deciding your entire SEO content direction. Make a list of bullet points of the main message points, and then move on to the next step.

2. Search each item of your bullet list on Google and see what results come up

Don’t worry about how short/ long the items are on your bullet list. Just copy and paste each item from that list to Google and see what the results pull up. Once you see the results and pages suggested from Google, take a closer look at some of the top results to see what exact words or phrases are mentioned. Then compare them with your own message point. Fine-tune your list using as many matching words/ phrases as possible. This step helps you tailor your key messages to the most searchable and popular keywords related to your product/ service/ industry on Google.

3. Write content blog/ article including words/ phrases from your bullet list

Now it’s time for you to start working on crafting your entire dialogue with your clients. By that, I mean writing an article or a blog post to include search terms so your clients can easily find it on Google. Imagine that you are establishing a conversation with your clients. To make your client interested in your story, you need to engage with them and use a tone and language that match their preferences.  

4. Simple rules about SEO that you should be aware of

First of all, SEO is not a trick. A quality piece of content following some general rules from Google will help every business with a presence on Google be indexed. Google crawls data and ranks millions and millions of websites based on how relevant actionable their content is. 

SEO also has some rules to follow:

  • Content length: Any piece of content more than 1,000 words would be optimal for SEO. Remember, don’t write any article with less than 300 words as Google is less likely to recommend it to the Internet user. The more you write, the better Google gleans data and ranks your website/ content. That does not mean you should weigh length over quality. Content quality indicates how useful your information is to the internet user.
  •  Title tags: Title tags are the big highlight headline that appears on Google to introduce your clients to what your business or content is about. It’s critical to keep the title short and concise to somewhere between 50 and 60 characters maximum (including space) so that it can be fully displayed on Google and does not get cut off.
  • Meta description: Meta description is the longer text displayed below your website link and the title tag. It tells your readers more information about the business or the content article is covering. There is no rule on how long you should write the meta Title Tag description for your content. However, Google typically features a maximum of 155 to 160 characters (including space). So, make sure your meta description is succinct yet descriptive enough to motivate readers to click on.
  • Photo tags: If your content includes any images, make sure to describe it too, as Google indexes everything. Recommended maximum 125 characters (including space) for photo description.

  • Don’t intentionally repeat keywords in one single article if you don’t have to. Google counts this as keyword stuffing, and I strongly recommend you not try to fool Google. Google will alert an article as fraud if it finds the percentage of keyword density is from 2 digits. There is no specific rule for how much % keyword density should be, but generally it should be at 2% per one article. If you happen to have to repeat these keywords but don’t want to violate keyword density, try to use synonyms instead.
    Keyword Density = (Number of words in copy) / (Number of times keyword appears in copy)

This is a quick, simple SEO guide for small business owners who don’t have any background or prior marketing knowledge about SEO. I’ve tried to keep my explanation as simple as I could. I hope you find it helpful and valuable.

Posted by An Dinh (CPS’21)

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