If you’re not a digital marketing expert but rather a small business owner looking to generate more leads, you may not be aware of the incredible impact search engine optimization (SEO) can have on a site’s traffic, and therefore, conversion of website visitors to bonafide paying customers. The reality is that 93% of all online experiences begin when a user types a query into a search engine like Google. This is how so many potential customers learn about your business and decide if they want to make a purchase with you or your competitor. By improving your SEO, you can boost your inbound lead generation and create a revolving door of customers.
But where do you start? This article will discuss the two basic building blocks of a strong SEO campaign, outlining what you can do today to turbo-charge your online presence, helping you climb Google’s ranks to land that coveted first-page spot that will bring new visitors to your website.
Step One: Create Content That Positions You as an Industry Expert
If your site doesn’t already have a blog, now is the time to start one. Regardless of your industry or niche, you have important information that your customer base is itching to learn. Position your site as the go-to spot for insightful answers by aligning your blog content with your audience’s needs. The first thing you’ll need to do is talk to your customers and your sales team to find out what your audience’s pain points are — what do they need help with? What information will improve their lives? Then write about those things.
The trick here is to make sure that your blog posts are the biggest and best out there. Over 2 million blog posts are published online every day. How can you make sure yours get clicks? The answer is simple: make them longer and more in-depth than your competitors’ blog posts. In the past, small business owners could get away with writing 300- to 500-word articles, but these only scratched the surface of a given topic. When you write carefully-crafted, heavily-researched content that addresses your customers’ needs and gives them useful, step-by-step instructions, Google will reward you. Research indicates that the majority of page one search results are at least 1,000 words long. SEO experts recommend writing 1,500 to 2,000 words. And these words can’t be mere fluff, either. Your blog posts need to be grammatically correct, simply phrased, and highly informational. Believe it or not, Google can tell when you’re rambling, due to the 2011 Panda algorithm update, which was designed to analyze syntax and grammar to determine content quality.
Long-form content also increases visitors’ time on page as they take longer to read or skim. It’s believed that time on page is a ranking factor Google takes into consideration as it implies value to the reader.
Finally, longer content provides the author with more room to insert relevant keywords. These keywords should align with the specific search terms your ideal client would type into Google to find your business. For instance, if you want someone searching for organic soap to come across your e-commerce skincare website, you’ll want to use keywords like, “where to buy organic soap” and “organic soap for sale.” These search terms indicate a strong searcher intent, so they are ideal keywords for your site to rank on. And in order to rank, they will need to appear several times in a piece of content that specifically addresses this topic in depth.
So there you have it: the first step to starting a successful SEO strategy is to create high-quality, heavily-researched, long-form blog content that addresses specific questions or issues your ideal customer might have.
Step Two: Promote Your Content to Build Backlinks
You’ve got a blog with excellent content; now what? With the right keywords sprinkled in among helpful information that will answer users’ questions, your content is already satisfying some of Google’s requirements, but that’s not enough to show up on page one of the search results. Google will gain confidence in the value of your site if other highly authoritative websites are vouching for you. This happens through linking.
Your website needs a strong backlink profile to show Google that others find value in your content. Links act as votes cast by other websites for yours. But not all links are created equal; some links hold more weight depending on the authority and relevance of the linking domain.
For instance, if a health and beauty blog links to your blog post about organic soap, that’s great! Google understands that link. It’s relevent. If a DUI law blog links to your e-commerce skincare site, that’s a little suspicious.
Relevance is key, but so is authority. A website’s strength is measured by its domain authority (DA) or domain rating (DR). This is a number between zero and 100; the higher the number, the stronger the website. Since Google trusts these high DA sites, a link from them tells the search engine that your website is also trustworthy and valuable.
So, how do you get these backlinks? Like getting votes in an election, it’s all about campaigning. Links don’t build themselves; you need to do some shameless self-promotion.
We recommend email outreach. Email sound passe, but we’ve found that this method of outreach is one of the most efficient. After all, email is one of the most pervasive communication platforms in existence, even after all these years.
To begin an email outreach campaign, curate a list of opted-in email addresses — people who have signed up to receive communication from you. They value your content and will welcome new blog posts when they’re posted. As soon as you publish a new article, blast this email list; their comments, likes, shares, etc, will act as social signals to search engines, telling Google that your content is valuable.
The next people to reach out to are influencers in your industry. These are website owners in your niche with high domain authority. As we discussed earlier, getting links from them will give you that SEO boost your site needs. To get a link from these influencers, offer to write a guest post for their site. In exchange for your high-quality content, they will allow you to post a link to your site in your guest post.
We know what you’re thinking: who has the time to write blog posts, guest posts, and promote content? That is exactly why so many small businesses are turning to digital marketing agencies to outsource their SEO practices. And digital marketing companies often hire white label SEO services to outsource link-building as many white label agencies have wide-reaching connections to influencers in a number of industries.
We believe that if you begin with these two basic steps — write great content and promote it heavily –, you will be well on your way to boosting your online presence, which will, in turn, increase your inbound lead generation. Since these two steps are just the beginning, and more advanced SEO requires more of a time commitment, we recommend talking to a digital marketing company about your options for expanding your SEO strategies in the future.