A Simple Three-Step SEO Strategy for Small Business

seoAny small business that turned oodles of web traffic into paying customers will tell you: there is no shortcut to building a powerful online presence. It takes time, effort and patience to connect with the right customers and convince them why your brand is the best. If you’re ready to take your online presence to the next level, one of the single most effective ways of making your brand more visible is through search engine optimization (SEO), which helps your website rank higher than competitors when someone searches for your service or product on Google.

As a small business owner, you’ve probably heard of SEO, but maybe you never really knew what it meant. At Picobarn, we know that developing a successful SEO strategy demands an in-depth knowledge. WIth Google rolling out new search engine algorithms regularly, it can be a challenge to stay on top of it all. Don’t worry, Picobarn has you covered.

Here’s our three-step SEO strategy for small business clients. It’s deceptively simple, yet very effective.

Step 1. Research, Test and Constantly Refine Keywords

When Google released its search engine algorithm, code-named Panda, in 2011, many websites suffered a significant drop in rankings. Initially, Panda changed how keywords, the phrases and terms used in search queries, affected SEO techniques. At the time, those webmasters who knew little about SEO didn’t consider keywords when creating new content. The Panda update prompted webmasters and marketers to carefully consider keywords as an SEO strategy. Subsequent updates to the Google algorithm continue to push web designers like Picobarn to create high quality sites and web content.

Keywords, for SEO purposes, have real value. Finding the best keywords for your website is a lot like comparison shopping – which one will give you the most bang for your buck? Picobarn’s keyword research begins with the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, where we find the best terms and phrases to target for a specific business. Not all keywords have high value, so we assess them based on multiple factors: relevance to the business and low or high competition with other bidders. Once we’ve selected the best keywords for the budget, we prune the list even further, continually testing terms and phrases to deliver the desired results.

Step 2. Create Content Around High-Value Keywords

The bulk of our SEO strategy consists of creating content for a business’s landing pages, on-site web pages, blog, social media accounts and other off-site web pages. The Picobarn writing team regularly produces great content that reinforces the value of a targeted keyword.

As important as keywords are, however, what’s more important is the message of your brand. Once targeted keywords drive traffic to your site, it’s the compelling and original content that converts those visitors into regular customers. The Picobarn writing and editorial approach is process-driven: we prioritize the business’s message, nestling targeted keywords naturally within the copy.

Step 3. Track and Monitor Your SEO Strategy

It’s true: you can’t improve what you can’t measure. We continually strive to improve our SEO strategy for small businesses. That means we take great care measuring SEO performance and long-term progress. As we monitor, we analyze data for specific areas of improvement. Here are the metrics we consider when reviewing SEO performance:

    • SEO Ranking.

      Search engine rankings in Google, Bing and Yahoo Search.

    • Backlinks.

      The number of websites link back to your page. The more high-quality websites link to your content, the stronger your web presence becomes.

    • Unique keywords.

      Unique keywords are way to zero in on the target market, like a flower shop targeting the phrase “yellow tulips” rather than the more generic “spring flowers.”

    • Indexed pages.

      Google and other search engines index pages similarly to how an accountant keeps a leger. For the search engine algorithm, the more pages you have, the better your opportunity of being discovered online. Some best practices we follow to boost indexed pages include: sitemaps, regular blog posts, press releases and on-page content.

    • Social signals.

      As the field of SEO matures, we carefully track social signals such as Facebook likes, Google +1’s and shares, tweets and retweets, and LinkedIn shares in addition to more traditional website analytics.