For a small business that has just started in the field of online marketing, you’d be sure to come across something called SEO. In the back of your head SEO might be more of an afterthought than a priority. After all, there are so many complicated internet marketing terminologies like focus keywords, inbound and outbound links, social media marketing, just to name a few. To help you understand the importance of SEO, we will discuss the basics of the process that you as a small business owner should be aware of.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization or in short, SEO is a process of setting strategies to lift your site to high search engine ranks so it gains more visibility and number of visitors. There is no fixed set of techniques for SEO since not all businesses are the same, but there are some best practices that you should follow.
In total there are about 3.5 billion searches made per day using Google, and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. These stats are too hard to ignore and by using SEO, you are putting your business in the eyes of countless viewers, who could potentially become your customers. It's a big opportunity you simply cannot miss.
Black Hat SEO Vs White Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO is composed of manipulation tactics that go against best practices in search engine optimization like keyword stuffing, doorway pages, link farms, and more. It’s focus is more on tricking search engines instead of providing value to humans. This produces fast results but there's a high risk of getting banned from search engines.
White Hat SEO, on the other hand, employs techniques that are in line with best practices in search engine optimization and focuses more on human audiences. Yielding positive results from White Hat SEO takes longer but the benefits come later in the form of organic traffic, increased genuine leads and customers. There’s less chances of getting penalized by search engines, too.
When hiring the services of an SEO company or a consultant, the first thing they will tackle is your website or what we would call on-page SEO. Some of the things they do could include:
- Analyze your site's keywords
- Perform keyword research to see which ones fit your niche best
- Fix your site's coding (this might require a web developer)
- Add keywords to meta tags
- Make your site mobile friendly
- Optimize your content for the right keywords
The goal of on-page SEO is to fix your site so that it meets search engine requirements and is easier for search engines to crawl when users type a keyword that's relevant to your business.
Once your SEO company/consultant is done fixing the important components of your site, the next step is to do off-page SEO. This is the most challenging of all processes and requires continuous work if you want to ensure continued growth for your business. Some of the steps include:
- Research relevant, high authority blogs in your niche
- Submit quality, informative, and engaging content to these blogs and in exchange, receive a link back to your website
- Submit your business information to relevant directories
- Create social media pages that fit your business' niche
- Post updates regularly on your social media pages with the goal of increasing engagement among your followers
The goal of off-page SEO is to increase your online authority and visibility in your industry. The more known you are to your industry and your potential customers online, the more likely it is for your site to appear in search engines for the keywords you are ranking for.
Many things have been said about the importance of SEO but not much so about choosing the right person to do it for you. The truth is sufficient knowledge in this field will allow you to qualify the right person or company to do SEO for your business. Now that you know the basics of SEO, we urge you to learn more about it. Only then will you be able to choose the right person to employ SEO for you and help your business grow without wasting your time or money.
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