Do the three letters S E O bring you out in an allergic reaction and cause you to bury your head in the sand? A lot of small business owners feel completely overwhelmed by SEO because they focus on the technicalities.
Words and phrases like “latent semantic indexing” “crawling” and “disavow” put them off and make them think it’s too complicated. And it is if you look at it like that.
I have no idea what those words mean, and to be honest, I don’t want to. I don’t need to know what they mean to get my websites seen by the people I want to work with. And if you’re a small business owner, neither do you.
As humans, we tend to put things off that we don’t understand, or think are going to be too time-consuming or complicated. That’s part of human nature. So it’s natural to ignore something that you perceive to be too complicated for you to be able to do anything with.
Reframe how you think about SEO
Rather than thinking about SEO in terms of those three letters, think about it as what it actually is. It’s getting your website seen by the people you want to do business with. And to do that, there need to be certain things added to certain places.
Your website is the shopfront for your business. It shows anyone who sees it, what you and your business are about and how you can help to solve a problem they have. Think about a real shop. Let’s use Lloyds Pharmacy as an example. You know from the signs and the products you can see through the shop window that it’s going to sell something that will help if you’ve got a headache. The shop sign is in bright lights and attracts your attention.
It’s exactly the same for an online shop or service. It needs to attract the attention of the search engines that will show it to the people looking for the solution to a problem they have. To do that, you need to tell search engines what your business does.
The site name for my website doesn’t tell search engines what I do. But the line underneath it (which doesn’t show on my website) does. If you want to know its name, it’s a tagline. But you don’t need to know or remember it. You just need to know that the line underneath your site name needs to shine bright so that it gets picked up by search engines.
My tagline is “freelance copywriter Gateshead” and connected me to one of my biggest clients. They were looking for a local copywriter and when they typed into a search engine “copywriter Gateshead”, my website popped up at the top of the search results. And the rest is history.
What words do potential clients use?
You don’t need to have a detailed knowledge of SEO to be able to find out the most popular words and phrases are for the products or services you sell. You can type in what you do into a search engine and see what the results are.
Or, a simpler and easier way is to ask the people who found you. Ask your followers on social media, or send an email to your list and ask what words they used when they were looking for someone who offered your products or services. A lot probably won’t remember. But some will. And others may give you some really good pointers as to the words they would type into a search engine to find businesses like yours.
Once you’ve got the right words, make sure you put them in places that are picked up easily by search engines. Headings are a good place to start to add them as well as the body of your text. But make sure you don’t “stuff” your text with them as search engines won’t like that.
Keywords in blog posts
Writing and publishing regular blog posts is still one of the best ways to get your website seen by search engines. It’s a key marketing tool and used well, can get your business seen by the right people.
You can use your main keywords in blog posts, or ones around the specific topic you’re writing about. Make sure they are in your headline, at least one heading, and five or six times throughout your post, depending on the length. Make sure you also add them to your photos in the description box.
If you’d like to learn more about blogging for your business and how to write engaging, easy-to-read posts that contain the right words, have a look at my course and masterclass. They explain in more detail how to find the right keywords and exactly where to use them, structuring your post starting with a headline that grabs attention, and also covers editing before you hit publish.
We’re moving into the last quarter of the year which can be a busy time for a lot of small business owners. I’m always full of good intentions about keeping on top of things and recording my progress. And then I don’t do it.
So, I’ve developed a workbook that was originally to help me keep track of what tweaks I’d made to my website each month. It’s now available for everyone as I think it’s an easy-to-use tool. It helps to make sure we’re keeping on top of the small steps we take to get seen by the people we want to do business with.
It’s a digital download that can be printed if you want to use it that way. Or it works just as well on your screen with you making notes in a notebook or planner. If you decide this is something you need in your life, I’d love to know what you think of my SEO Workbook. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see added.