Should SEO be a concern for small businesses in 2019?
Do you really need to worry about SEO for your businesses’ blog now? Bags under your eyes and an inbox of 200, you are determined to do things RIGHT. Maybe you will wade through info about long tailed keywords, duplicate content and schema mark-up but your kids would love to be rescued from their zillionth episode of Wild Kratts and spend a little time with you.
SEO is incredibly important but in 2019, a small business that knows how to put their clients first may be able to incorporate just few key practices and skip out on lots of the technical stuff.
If you have a customer first approach to your blog writing, you need not worry too much about SEO. We’ll answer why being user friendly will naturally get you pretty far in optimizing your blog for search engines. Plus, you’ll get the “Cliff Notes” of the most helpful SEO tools so you can quickly be on your way.
What is the SEO uproar about?
First of all, let’s get clear on what SEO is and why people talk about it. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It refers to the formatting done to a piece of content that you put on the web which makes it easier for the search engines to properly find your article when a user is searching for it. Google, Bing and other search engines use bots to crawl the web and index sites. These indexes are then used to give a list of “results” when someone does a search.
For example, let’s say that you wrote a great article about your grandma’s apple pie. You included a recipe, tips on how to get the crust perfect and which apples to choose. At Thanksgiving, I go to Google and search for “apple pie recipe.” If your recipe comes up on the first page search results, it means that your website is well optimized for search engines!
Gaming doesn’t work
Web developers spend tons of time learning the factors that Google uses to search the web and how they classify content. SEO experts want to make sure that they have the html written properly, the page speed, keywords in the right spot, a url that is attractive, etc. Years ago (and still today, somewhat) people learned how to game the system (trick the search bots) so that Sally’s apple pie recipe out ranks yours. Savvy techies did this by embedding certain html, including links and loading the page with keywords. This resulted in spammy content getting much hire rankings than the content itself merited. After all, your grandma’s recipe is better than Sally’s isn’t it?
Google wised up.
Today, Google is continuing the trend to favor user experience
They moved toward favoring the user’s experience of your website. Obviously, if you click on an article and that is full of ridiculous keywords and has been gamed to get to the top of the rankings without offering much useful information to you, you will not stay on that site for long. If, however, a site has nice graphics, is broken into readable chunks and offers answers to your questions, you will be more likely to stay on that page. To a great extent, it is the user’s experience which helps to determine the value of a page and thus its ranking.
So, if you are thinking primarily of your customer or client and building a great blog around thoroughly answering their most pertinent questions in a user-friendly manner, you will naturally be creating pages that people will stay on for a while. These user-friendly websites have clear descriptive titles. They use short sentences. They use words that people know. The have descriptive sub headings. Graphics pepper the page in a useful manner. The content is highly informative. The page loads quickly. People can easily view the content on their phone because it is formatted to be mobile friendly or mobile first.
Quick Tip on Long Tailed Keywords
When determining what to write about, think in terms of answering a question. Use the phrase of 2-5 words in your title and in your first paragraph. This is called a long-tailed keyword. It will help to focus your article on what people actually search for. Search engines will more frequently be led to your site by the searches of your customers.
Jim (of Income School) purchased a pontoon boat for his family. Leading up to that purchase, he did a ton of research since he was not very familiar with boating. He decided to put his research to work and make a website about pontoon boats. He looked up all the searches he made while determining what Pontoon boat he should buy and he wrote about those answers in series of 30-35 articles. He set up a site and left it alone for almost a year. He did no social media promotions, no SEO work. He just wrote great articles. When he checked back in, it had received 27 thousand views!
He did a few things right:
- focused the articles around questions people ask
- answered questions very thoroughly
- created enough articles to cover a topic thoroughly
So you can see that when focusing on the perspective of the customer, you naturally will be creating content that Google ranks well.
The author’s reputation is important
Another basic thing to consider is your own authenticity. According to the Income School, Google considers the reputation of the author as is very important. People who read your content want to trust you and know that you are an authority on the matter. (Especially if it is in a weighty field.) Google has teams of people (not robots) who pour over the web verifying the reputation of the writers. If, for example, you have a blog about foot problems and you are the manager of a pediatrist’s office, Google teams will research what others have said in Yelp about your business, in order to determine your reputation. However, you do not need to be certified in whatever you are writing about, or need to have a degree in that subject. You just have to be authentic. If you are writing about gardening peas in Connecticut, you should have actually done it! If you are writing about pet parakeets, it helps to have one of the cute little guys. So, write about what you know and if you don’t know it, jump in and get the answers first hand.
Techy ways to put your customer first
The content is not the only concern for a reader of your website. She also wants the experience to be smooth. That means that she doesn’t want to wait forever for your page to load. She wants to be able to scan easily and find text grouped naturally. Photos and graphics will help her to quickly get the gist. And most likely, she’s reading your blog on her phone. So, make sure your page speed is quick. Use headings and break up your text. Include graphics and optimize your website for mobile phones.
What should you do for your small business website?
Putting the customer first will help you to naturally make good SEO sense. In sum, you should make sure your article has:
- a clear descriptive title
- readable content
- short sentences
- words that people know
- uses H2 and H3 descriptive headings
- good graphics
- quick loading
- format for the mobile phone
- reliable authority
Using these basics, your article will be formatted well and likely you will get the results you desire since Google values the experience of the reader.
Your Business and Your Life
Now, hopefully, you can check this off your list: the task of dealing with SEO for your articles – done! You can focus back on creating a great experience for your clients and customers. Or spend a little more time with those kids of yours whom you love. Or get some sleep.