I'm Christina Lyon, a coffee sipping, piano playing, beach loving, word-obsessed freelance writer and musician. I'm on fire for helping freelance writers get paid and small biz owners succeed online. When I'm not reading or writing, I play music and explore the beaches and wild trails along the California coast.

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What is SEO And Does It Work For Small Business? Yes, Yes + Yes!

Christina Lyon

Search engine optimization is a powerful tool to improve your website’s ranking and attract more visitors to your site.

Have you ever written a stellar piece of content, hit publish, fired away on your social channels to promote it, and then… literally. nothing. happens? Been there, friend! If this sounds familiar to you, it’s time to get serious about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). But wait… what is SEO?

If ranking high on search engines has you scratching your head in utter bewilderment — this post is for you!

Even if you are brand new to the vast world of digital marketing, you may have heard of this elusive yet ubiquitous term. 

The internet is chock full of articles written about which SEO strategy is best or what online keyword planning tool you should be using. Wondering why SEO matters?

SEO is vital if you want people to find your website on the internet. Best part? It’s super easy to learn! So before we put on our thinking caps and sharpen our virtual pencils, let’s answer the question that brought you here.

Exactly what is SEO? 

It may sound intimidating and confusing, but I am here to assure you that it’s neither! In fact, by the time you get to the end of this article, you will not only know what is SEO — but how you can use it to grow your business! 

Ready for your website and business blog content to stand out? Then it’s time to learn the basics of SEO. Let’s dive into how to do SEO to build your online presence.

What Is SEO And How Does It Work?

SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization.”

In short, it helps you attract the right visitors to your website from search engines like Google. While paid advertising, social media, and other platforms are really helpful for sending visitors to your website, the majority of online traffic comes from organic searches.

There are three ways to optimize your content:

  1. On-page SEO is how you optimize your web content in your website copy and blog content via keywords, meta tags, and headings.
  2. Off-page SEO is links pointing to your website from other websites online.
  3. Technical SEO relates to details like page load speed, crawlability, site structure, security, and mobile responsiveness.

Let’s look at SEO in action.

Let’s say Jane is looking up how to do an at-home manicure. She goes to Google, and types in a search term called a query.

Jane googles “how to do a home manicure.”

Google dispatches its “crawlers” to scour website pages for information that will help Jane learn how to do her manicure at home.

Crawlers convert that info into a bunch of 1’s and 0’s, then bring it all back to Google and report what they found. Google then uses that data to match people’s search terms to relevant websites correctly. 

Are you with me?

In other words, SEO is the process of creating content that’s discoverable to search engines. What does this all have to do with your business?

Does SEO Work For Small Business?

That’s the best part! SEO is the best tool for small businesses to attract visitors — and potential customers — to your website.

Optimizing your website helps ensure that your website is visible when someone types in a search query related to your small business. The goal isn’t just to be visible, but to rank as highly as possible! The better the SEO, the closer you get to that coveted spot as the number one search result. 

But how do you do SEO?

It may seem like the goal of SEO optimization is just to improve your site’s rankings in search results. The real purpose is much more complex. The reason you want your site to rank high is to attract more traffic to your site in hopes of converting them to customers.

Organic traffic on search engines is the best traffic. Why? Because unlike other forms of advertising, with SEO, you’re getting your business in front of people who are actively looking for information and services related to your business. 

62% of consumers use search engines when browsing online for a new company, product, or service. 

The higher your website is in search results, the more traffic you’ll get.

And what do we know about web traffic?

The more traffic you get, the more your biz grows. And that’s the importance of SEO in digital marketing!

Your Competitors Are Using SEO

It’s a dog eat dog world out there.

If learning the basics of SEO isn’t your primary focus, you can bet your competitors are using it to grow their business. And, just like you, they are vying for those top spots in organic search results!

With SEO, there are only ten available spots on the first page of Google or any other search engine. Do some quick keyword research, and you’ll likely find that millions of other websites are competing for those coveted ten spots.

And every day, new sites are launched, and old websites are improved, so it’s never been more important to proactively ramp up your SEO initiatives.

Build Awareness And Trust

For better or for worse, people trust Google. We google things we want to buy, the information we don’t know, and stalk brands before we hit that “buy” button.

Many of us assume that high search rankings are an endorsement of a particular brand. But don’t just believe me, take an audit of your own consumer patterns. 

When you Google something, do you click on one of the first few websites that pop up? Or do you go page per page looking at the results?

Chances are, you click on one of the links at the top of the page.

In one study that analyzed over 5 million search queries, ClickFlow found that over 30% of clicks go to the #1 result.

And this figure continues to rise every day! You can track real-time data with this handy tool from Advanced Web Ranking, which pulls fresh CTR stats monthly from millions of keywords.

If Google (with all its algorithms and rules) places you at the top, then you must be the best, right? It’s proof that you provide quality content that is worth their time and money.

And that, my friend, deserves clicks!

Bottom line: people trust page 1, position 1, so that’s where you want to be.

There Are Abundant Benefits Of SEO, But How Do You Use It?

If you’re working with a small marketing budget, SEO is one of the most affordable ways to increase your brand visibility online. Solid SEO requires a decent time commitment and good writing skills, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do any of it yourself. 

Of course, learning a new marketing tool takes time, patience, and resources. What if your writing isn’t up to the level you want to share?

If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to consider a hybrid approach. For example, you could write one blog post a week and outsource SEO to a freelancer.

There are also dozens of SEO software you can purchase. Depending on the service you choose, their pricing can range anywhere from $100 – $600 per month.

If you don’t want to outsource SEO, let’s talk about SEO basics you can incorporate to shine a little light on your corner of the digital universe.

SEO 101: Start With These Basics

  1. Conduct research into topics within your niche. If you own a hair care product line, start by writing blog posts about hair care, how to style hair, and insider tips.
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to the “Searches related to…” section. This is the smallest yet most important section of the page because it tells you what people are searching for. Write valuable, relevant content centered around these related searches.
  3. Write compelling, informative, digestible content in a conversational style that’s easy to read, and above all, helpful.
  4. Have a fast page load speed: Optimize all of your images via an image compressor like tinypng.com and delete unnecessary plugins.
  5. Include keywords in the body and headings of your content.
  6. Use the Yoast WordPress Plugin to ensure every page of your website and blog is fully optimized for SEO.
  7. Share recent studies, statistics, facts, and quotes from industry experts to support your writing with reputable sources and build credibility.
  8. Don’t skimp on the title. Ask questions, shoot for 8-12 words, and include your keyword in the title.
  9. Flesh out your rich snippets and schema markups. Always include a meta title, description, and keywords in your content. Learn more about these SEO nuggets here.

Nail SEO, And Enjoy Longterm Results

If good things come to those who wait, goodness will pour over you if you’re patient with SEO. Sure, if you follow a strict plan and stick to it, you’ll see results quickly. I recommend focusing on the long-game. It can sometimes take 6-12 months to see an improvement in your site’s rankings.

Still, it’s vital that you remain consistent in creating quality content.

An SEO strategy is absolutely vital for long-term success. When you nail SEO, you’ll bring in organic traffic, improve online visibility, and grow your business. Over time your site’s domain authority (DA) will improve, and quality websites will backlink to your site as a source of relevant and informative information.

The climb may be tough, but the view from the top is priceless.

Key Takeaways

SEO helps connect the right consumers or readers with the right brands or websites. Moving forward, if you want to succeed online, you have to implement SEO. These tips will get you started in the right direction of becoming an SEO guru! 

Incorporating SEO into your marketing strategy gives you the power to:

  • Learn about your prospective customers
  • Serve up informative, helpful content
  • Build trust, reputation, and authority in your niche
  • Enhance online visibility
  • Attract more traffic
  • Increase conversion rates

That’s when the magic happens!

Stuck on SEO? Fill out the form below to reach out, or drop your Q’s in the comments for me. Learn more about blogging for business here!

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I’ve got you covered! Download my free guide to business blogging for beginners. I walk you through seven steps to starting a successful blog that’ll grow your business, increase visibility, and increase sales conversions.

Grab the guide here >>> How To Start A Business Blog in 7 Steps!

a free guide to how to start a business blog in 2020
A cover image of a woman working at a desk on website analytics, finding out what is SEO, and how it helps small business.

June 3, 2020

Business Blogging, Freelancing Tips, Writing Tips

*This post may contain affiliate links, and I may receive a commission on purchases made through provided links (at no extra cost to you).

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