Here are 10 SEO tips for business owners or marketing managers before hiring an SEO Agency or consultant.
1. Study Your Target Audience
Having a real-world understanding of your target audience certainly helps, but it's only half the battle. Habits and behaviour often differ online.
For example, a leading real-world store is not guaranteed that it will be the leader online. It all depends on what need the online store is fulfilling for people, is it informational, educational or convenience? Study the market leaders and their customers reviews, social media and online activity. Learn from what is working and improve it, to provide increased value for your target customers.
2. Master Keyword Research
Every industry has its own unique specific phrases or jargon. Your real world business experience is a great asset here, as chances are you know how your customers think and what they would be looking for.
Keywords are simply what your customers are typing into the Google search bar when they are looking for a specific product or service.
All business owners intending on growing their business online would be wise to know how to do keyword research.
There are some great keyword research tools to help you. Google's Keyword Planner is free and requires you have a Google Account (sign up for free here). UberSuggest is another great free research tool worth trying.
Wordtracker is a great paid keyword research tool.
Understand your industry's category key phrases (general and high volume) and long-tail phrases (unique and low volume) that account for over 70% of traffic.
The most local search traffic actually comes from what’s called the long tail keyword phrases.
Image showing the volume of search traffic found in long tail keyword phrases from HitTail.
Consider printing out your business's top keywords and sticking it on a wall as a constant reminder of your content-focus.
3. Plan your Site
Now that you know what your audience is searching for, plan your site accordingly. For example, if you are a restaurant and you know that people often type "Best restaurants in Cape Town" when searching for a restaurant on Google, then make sure one of the pages on your website is titled "Best Restaurants In Cape Town" and write at least a page on that topic. Ensure you have a unique page for minimum 3 of the most important search terms your audience is typing into Google.
4. Build your Site
Now that you know the pages to have on your site, the next step is to build it. Here would suggest a professional web designer or agency as there are certain tweaks made when building your website which can help improve your rankings on Google. Google's Matt Cutts advises building a website that people love, want to tell their friends about and visit multiple times. Ask your web designer to ensure you site looks good, is easy to navigate and is mobile-friendly. Building your site with WordPress is great for most small and mid-sized businesses, as it's simple, free, easy to upgrade functionality and has great support.
5. Produce Regular Content
Usually people start by writing blog posts (like this one), however the content can also be images, infographics or videos. Choose content that matches the consumption habits of your audience, for example a jewellery brand might find best results posting photos on instagram or pinterest. The key here is consistency - for example schedule that you post new content every Friday and stick to that. Over time, the the build-up of valuable content establishes your website's authority on Google, improving your ranking and generating more traffic and sales in the process.
6. Produce Shareworthy Content
Also known as viral content, the more people your content reaches and helps, the more traffic, sales and ROI it can generate for your business. One way to ensure your content has every chance of being shared with a large audience is to write content that people are interested in and may be trending at the moment. To see what content is trending, go to Google Trends to see what's trending in your area. Observe what people are talking about and write an article that also talks about that topic. Another tip is to go to Buzzsumo and type in your product or service to see what the top social articles are. For example if you're an online marketer and the top article is "10 Tips to Have More Traffic", write an article called "20 Tips To Have More Traffic" and provide increased value for people.
7. Build a Social Media Network
Join Google+ (for improved Google ranking) and then choose one or two other social media platforms to focus on. Importantly, you don't need to be on every social media platform, rather choose 1 or 2 to focus on and build them consistently in a way that helps your target audience.
There are lots of options - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more.
Social media enables you connect with your existing customers and reach new ones with the content that you produce. Growing and nurturing these relationships helps to increase brand affinity and helps your business grow.
8. Public Relations
Public relations plays a key role in off-page SEO and growing your business.
Make sure you have a compelling story about your brand, that people will find interesting, memorable and shareworthy.
Pitch not just to journalists, but also bloggers and social media influencers; they are more accessible and can sometimes provide better ROI.
Use social media to establish relationships and promote your brand, as if you were talking to these people in real-life. Ask how you can add value to their world, before requesting anything in return.
Remember to help up and coming businesses when you can, keep the goodwill flowing and it will come back to you when their business goes global :)
9. Understand Google Analytics
Have a basic understanding of Google Analytics.
Google analytics is to online marketing what financial reports are to accounting. They provide a health check of your business's marketing efforts and more importantly, ROI.
It's important to understand the terms each Google Analytics tab covers — Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, Conversions and Real-Time. For a great video on this check out this Analytics Tutorial Video.
This will help you appreciate and understand where your traffic is coming from, as well as let you read weekly or monthly reports provided by your SEO or web design agency.
10. Read at Least One SEO Blog
Familiarize yourself with SEO by reading a SEO beginners guide and then subscribing to one top SEO blog —
Bottomline - Ask Questions
Anytime you are stuck or need answers, jump into SEO communities and ask questions. Google’s Webmaster Forum offers the largest SEO support community on the web. Others worth checking out are Moz’s Q&A Forum and SEOChat. These communities are also good places for hiring SEO consultants or agencies.
These 10 steps can help you save money, get better rankings and grow your traffic and sales. They could also help you improve as an SEO Client by asking the right questions of the consultant or agency you hire.
To grow your website traffic and sales, feel free to contact us: Contact Organic Media Here.