Pueblo SEO Workshop: Beginning SEO as a Small Business Owner
The internet changes often and it’s hard to keep up with these changes. Especially as a small business owner, keeping up with the latest technologies and search engine algorithms is the least of your worries. However, the digital age is here, and people are utilizing the internet now more than ever before to find businesses, buy services, and research products. That’s why we make it our mission here at Classy Brain to help you learn about search engine optimization and how to succeed digitally as a business owner.
We teamed up with the Small Business Development Center and the Better Business Bureau to put on a Digital Marketing Workshop for Pueblo West business owners to start bridging the gap between business and internet. This workshop was held at the Pueblo City-County Library in Pueblo West, and was designed to help local business owners identify what marketing channels could be beneficial for their businesses. Special thanks to Caroline Trans with the SBDC and to Gina Sacripanti with the BBB for putting on the event. We’ve been working with these organizations for the past couple years to inform local business owners what strategies they can use to future proof their business.
The most common question we get is “How do I get my business to rank on Google?”
Well, this is no simple answer, and as a company that constantly researches how search engines operate, there are many contributing factors. Google has over 200 ranking signals that they calculate in seconds, which determines if your website is qualified enough to appear on the first page.
However, there are 4 major ranking signals to get your business started on the path of SEO. As a business owner, you can start doing all four of these a little at a time, or you can pick two to really focus on, then introduce the others at a later point in time. Do what is best for you and your business, or even think about hiring a digital marketing company.
Ranking signal #1 – Long Form Content
Google only cares about the user, the people who perform searches on the internet. Knowing this, Google prioritizes websites that have authentic, authoritative content, so that all of the searchers will be satisfied. Building out quality content for all the pages on your website is the first step to making your website credible. Google wants to make sure you know what you’re talking about, so it uses filters and links to make sure the content is original—meaning not copied and pasted. A lot of business owners have duplicate content on their website and they don’t even know it. Start writing pages about what it is that you do, write about all of your services, your products, and even yourselves. The more quality content, the better your chances are to rank.
Ranking signal #2 – Backlinks
What are links, and why do they matter for small businesses? Say you’re looking for a new job. You’ve submitted your resume to a few different places and maybe you’ve had a few interviews. The hiring manager often calls your references to make sure that you are who you say you are, and that your resume is truthful.
This is exactly the equivalent of what Google does with your website through links. Google is the employer and they’re checking your backlinks to make sure people vouch for your business. Backlinks are a great way to let Google know that you know what you’re talking about because these other websites let you link to them. You can start getting links through places like the BBB—getting an accreditation that links your website to a credible source—by writing guest posts for other business’s blogs, or even by getting on the news. Links are difficult to come by, but they truly make a difference when it comes to ranking on Google.
Ranking signal #3 – Citations
It’s important to Google that your name, address, and phone number are the same across all data bases. These citations can appear anywhere that your business information is listed—places like Yellowpages, Home Advisor, or even your Google My Business page. Since Google is a machine, we do not want to confuse it by having three different addresses floating around the internet. In fact, we have helped clients in the past that only needed to optimize their citations in order to rank on the first page. If your business has ever changed locations or suite numbers it’s important to make those changes across all of your digital properties, data aggregators, and review platforms.
Ranking signal #3 – Reviews
90% of consumers read reviews before making a business decision. So don’t be afraid to get involved in your online community. In fact, the probability that someone will leave you a positive review is growing more than ever before. Even if the review is negative be sure that future customers see how you responded to the negative review. Start asking your customers if they could take 5 minutes of their time and leave a review on Google, Facebook, or Yelp.
Take a Look at Your Business’s Digital Profile
Try and do a Google search for your business. This branded search will tell you so much about your business, and what comes up is what your customers see. Think of this search as the new “Home Page” of your business. We’ve found that the general public doesn’t visit websites nearly as much as they use to. Google gives all the information you need to make an informed decision and it takes seconds. That’s why it is so important to pay attention to how customers view your site, your Google My Business page, your social media accounts, and so much more. They are all interconnected, and SEO is all about optimizing each of those platforms to ensure that your business is credible, authoritative, and useful.
Like we said before, this is a lot to take in. Start with two of these four steps and really try to make an effort to improve your digital presence. Even just doing a few of these things can make a huge difference You can also think about other channels like Google Adwords, social media marketing, re-marketing, and re-targeting—things that we talked more in depth about at the event.
Entering into the digital world can be incredibly daunting, but it will be well worth your time. If you have questions or want to learn more about what digital marketing can do for your business, contact us at Classy Brain. We are here as your SEO resource and want to help you succeed.