What is SEO?
SEO or search engine optimisation is a term used to describe people who help rank websites higher in the search engines to drive more traffic and more sales. That’s as simple as it gets for what SEO is and what it’s done for. As a small business owner it’s vital you understand the basics of SEO and how it can help you.
The reality of it, is this:
If you cannot be found in Google, you’re done for.
You wouldn’t build a brick and mortar business in the middle of nowhere with no footfall would you? So why build a website that nobody can see? No traffic = no sales. Unfortunately that means you’re out of business
This guide aims to help you understand how to leverage SEO to your advantage so you can go face to face with huge companies like Amazon and build a profitable company on the internet.
Even if you’re a local business, Google search is vital.
88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Still not convinced?
Local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit stores within one day.
Local SEO is a different topic entirely, that will be covered in the next article.
This article aims to educate you on SEO and give you an easy step by step blueprint to follow for quick results.
Quick History on SEO
SEO is always changing. 6 years ago search marketers would use all kinds of techniques to exploit search engines and earn quick rankings. Links are king when it comes to SEO and this was exploited. People would be writing 100s of short content on target keywords which was of poor quality. They would then build 100s of links to this page using link farms, blog comments, guest blogging submission sites and more. Over time this became a problem for Google so they took action.
Without getting into too much detail, two updates Called Panda and Penguin launched in 2011 and 2012. Panda focused on content, it wiped out websites filled with “thin” non relevant content to try and game the system. Penguin wiped out 1000s of websites with poor link profiles. Sites that used spammy link directories, guest blog submission sites, link farms and such were penalised and wiped off Google search. In some cases, wiped off for months. Business gone.
With these changes made, it was clear what Google was looking for. Google’s aim is to return the most relevant and high quality content for the search query inputted. Hopefully that brief history gives you a better idea of the SEO landscape today.
Google top 2 ranking factors are:
Instead of building spammy links you now need to build high quality relevant links. Instead of building 100s of low quality keyword stuffed pieces of content. You now need to build high quality content that satisfies the search query. So on that note, let’s jump into my 3-step process to online success.
Step 1. Target Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are simply search queries that are 3-4 + words in length. If you were a small business selling shoes then a keyword would be “shoes” and a long tail keyword would be “luxury brown leather shoes”. Targeting long tail keywords will give you the chance to go head to head vs big companies.
Let’s be honest:
You do not have the budget to compete for the short tail keywords like “shoes”, “insurance”, “supplements”, “loans” and so forth.
Don’t waste your time.
While Amazon may rank for “shoes” and other kind of keywords, they don’t have the interest to target low traffic long tail keywords. Why would they?
For you, targeting a range of long tail keywords won’t only drive traffic to your site but it will drive high buying intent traffic or bottom of the funnel traffic.
Long tail traffic converts better.
Forget about traffic volume and focus on quality traffic. How frustrating would it be as a shop owner to see 100s of people enter with no intent on buying? You would prefer to see only 5 people per day but 5 people who are interested in buying and what will convert them is your sales pitch or for online, your content.
Top tip: Use Uber Suggest to find long tail keywords people actually search for. It’s Google suggest on steroids. Take these long tail keywords and build content around them.
Step 2. Build Quality Content
Look, don’t get me wrong. It would be great if you could rank your category page for your long tail keywords and all the traffic converts. Unfortunately it doesn’t really work like that. You need to be a little smarter.
Keeping to the shoes category. We know that we should build content around long tail keywords, for this example we are going to focus on “luxury brown shoes for men”.
Now, this search term has little search volume, but the margin of the product is great and you have a large range available.
The problem is:
Like I mentioned above, content AND links are used as ranking factors for Google. Without links, you won’t rank and you won’t get the traffic needed.
It gets worse:
Getting links to product and/or category pages is VERY hard. People don’t tend to link directly to these pages. Luckily for you I have a technique I’ve used countless times that helps rank your category pages and it works in the most competitive niches.
Links pass on authority. This is why they are valuable. In SEO we call this “link juice”. The more link juice you can get to the page, the better. The link juice becomes even more valuable if it’s relevant and from a quality resource. The beauty of link juice is that you can funnel it through your website strategically.
If Page A had 10 litres of link juice and it linked to page B then page B would receive a few litres of link juice (not all 10) which would help it rank. The anchor text (the text that is clickable as a link) you use to link to Page B would be the focus keyword you want page B to rank for.
- For our shoe example, we would funnel link juice through to the luxury brown shoes category page using the text “luxury brown shoes for men”.
- So, from this you need to build a new page that would attract links that is related to shoes in general.
An example would be to build a post with an infographic showing the most expensive luxury shoes in the world and where they are made. This infographic would likely attract social shares and links from websites related to shoes. The page would build up link juice and you then funnel this through to your category page about luxury shoes.
Hopefully, this will then boost your rankings for your category page and also your infographic.
You will now have two sets of traffic one driving to the category page for your long tail keyword and the other set of traffic coming from the keyword your infographic post will rank for. You rinse and repeat this technique until you reach the top. Content marketing is key for any small business. Use it wisely to rank for buying intent keywords so see a positive return on investment.
Step 3. Outreach
Unfortunately it isn’t really that easy.I mentioned in step 2 that your infographic will attract links. This will only be the case if you promote the hell out of it! You should spend 80% of your time on promotion.
Your first steps are as follows:
- Post on social media
- Post on relevant forums
- Go to Quora to see if there are any questions it may answer
- Submit to infographic websites
Once you’ve done the above then the real outreach begins. Most people think the above is enough, that’s why most fail. With over 2 million blog posts published A DAY you need to be promoting more than ever.
Use this easy process to find websites that will likely link to your resource.
- Google search similar content
- Build a spreadsheet with the article title, author name and email
- Do this for the Google top 40
- Put the top 40 results into Ahrefs (a link analysis tool) to find out what sites link to these resources. These sites are ALREADY linking to similar pieces of content, the chances are they will link to yours too.
- Build a spreadsheet for these websites
- Start Outreach
I usually start by simply asking the Google top 40 websites if they wouldn’t mind checking out my new infographic. I try and get as many eyeballs as possible on the content. I also mention if they want to use it they can and I’ll be more than willing to write a unique introduction to go along with it for them.
Once that’s done I then email the websites that have already linked to the similar content to mine with the following email:
I was doing research on luxury shoes today and stumbled across your article (article title). Great work I really enjoyed it.
I noticed you linked out to one of my favourite resources on the topic (Site they linked to).
I’ve actually just finished an infographic on the topic. Naturally I want to get the word out there!
(SENTENCE ABOUT THE INFOGRAPHIC)
I think it would make a great addition to your page. I’d love your opinion on it. Let me know what you think.
I’ll happily promote it on my social media and newsletter too :)
In most cases if your content is great they will be more than happy to include it. You’ll gain relevant contextual links and be promoting your brand to relevant websites that will likely have the traffic you require.
This is a simple guide to SEO. Hopefully you’ve got enough here to start growing your small business online today.
Comment below with any questions and I’ll be more than happy to help.
The next few articles will cover more advanced techniques which will skyrocket your traffic and boost your sales.
If there is anything you would like to know about your website optimization. Dont hestiate to contact us:
Written By Scott Flear Founder of RugbyClothing.