Figuring out what exactly Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is and how to do it may take an interpreter from MIT these days. And you may not even read this because of the title; however, some attention is required for everyone.
Since I am not an expert, and don’t have a degree from MIT, I wanted to at least explain why we need to care about SEO and at least provide some basic areas to start.
When I started my first blog 8-10 years ago, it was my counseling blog. I don’t think I had even heard the term SEO, however, I did have a new website and a new practice and I wanted local people to be able to find me.
I searched around the Internet and started adding my business and website to various directories. Honestly, I am not even sure if there was a Google place page way back then. But, there were directories.
I know my efforts worked because we would get calls from people who found us on the Internet. I was also blogging about counseling topics. I blogged about marriage, depression, and other counseling matters. Additionally, I spent time on others’ blogs and sites and would comment, leaving my web address when it asked.
Soon you could find some of my articles online and I would find that traffic was coming from some of the blogs I visited, read, and commented on regularly.
I was doing SEO the organic way.
I didn’t really realize it at the time, however, I did know that I was getting calls from people I didn’t know.
Fast forward through the last ten years. I have since really focused on my coaching website and blog. I put in keywords and meta tags into my posts. I had found directories and signed up just like I did for the counseling site. Google became huge and I set up all of the Google pieces for my business.
I focused on my Linked In profile, too. As a matter of fact, eventually my LinkedIn profile came up higher than my own website when my name or Christian Business Coach was searched.
Why SEO is Vital for Small Businesses
Two things happened over the past 24 months that gave me an even greater appreciation of even minimal SEO attention.
- I got a new website for my coaching business. It was such a difficult and hectic process, that when we were able to complete it, we pushed to just get it up, and we lost a ton of the history, data, and back links of the site. It also took me 2 months to realize that we didn’t get hooked back up to Google Analytics. I was too busy working in my business to realize that we cut an SEO artery that couldn’t be regained.
- We moved to a new location. Even though we changed addresses on all of our websites and contact pages, people are still Googling us and finding us in directories with the old address. Links are still out there. Since I didn’t realize at the time I was doing SEO, I didn’t keep all of the places I had signed up so that I could go back and change the address on everything.
As a business that now creates websites and provides marketing resources for our clients, we continue to see how important SEO is for any business. When we look at the traffic of well-known, local companies and see that they have less than 10 hits a day on their website, we know people are not finding them online.
Even SEO Basics Can Make a Difference
If you want people to be able to find you online, you can’t ignore this important factor. Here are a few basics you need to consider:
- Add yourself to all of the online directories. There are many, but make sure you hit the basics like Google, Yahoo!, Yelp, Bing, White Pages, City Search, local.com, Foursquare, MapQuest, and more. There are services that can do this for you, but make sure you are only paying for this once and having it reviewed periodically. There is nothing to do monthly with this.
- Make sure your site pages have appropriate keywords, meta tags, and meta descriptions. Most WordPress sites have this built into the back end of the pages you create. If not, you can add a WordPress plugin. The more pages you have on your site with relevant focused content, the more authority you are building with Google.
- Share your content. Sharing relevant content consistently will enhance your chances of other people linking back to your site, sharing your information more widely, and finding you online.
This short little list may seem simple, but it is time consuming, tedious work. Believe me, I know. It actually takes me longer to come up with titles, meta descriptions, and share everything than it does to write my blog posts. Figuring out the SEO and the social media aspect of getting your content and website out is much more difficult to me than creating content. But, again it may be the lack of the MIT degree.
But that is okay, I have found a great resource to add to our team to handle SEO for us and our clients. If you do need help with SEO, give us a call. We may be able to get you up and going with the basics.
SEO is an investment, but in today’s online economy, it is an investment that everyone needs to make.