Search marketing has become a standard feature in our everyday lives. From large corporations to small businesses, every company has incorporated search marketing into their digital marketing strategy, competing for a handful of positions at the top of SERPs. Mega-corporations like Walmart have been around for many years, so it’s no doubt that they have millions of inbound links, hundreds of pages of content, and a growing base of online visitors. Whenever you search for commercial products, they’re likely to show up at the top of the page, getting the most exposure and driving massive traffic.
No matter what industry you’re in, one thing is for sure: there will always be at least one company that has been around longer than you and has been doing SEO for a while. They have probably allocated more money to building a strong online presence and have succeeded.
How can you, a small business with limited resources, be in the same league as the bigger players in your industry? Hopefully, implementing these SEO steps will help you rank higher in search engines and outshine your competition.
1. Forget Keyword Stuffing – Switch to Long-Tail Keywords Instead Ranking for short keywords has never been easy, especially with thousands of companies competing for a better position. No matter how perfectly optimised your content is, you’ll still end up ranking much lower than companies that have been doing SEO for awhile. That’s why long-tail keywords should be your primary focus instead.
Long-tail keywords are extended phrases that Google loves. An example of a long-tail keyword is “tips for writing better headlines” – it’s more relevant and specific than just “writing tips,” and clearly communicates what the user is searching for. Long-tail keywords are usually easier to rank for since they’re less competitive. You stand a better chance at ranking high in search engines for long-tail keywords, not to mention that these phrases are more valuable.
You can start researching for long-tail keywords in a few ways. First, you can use Google Webmasters Tools, which provide a great amount of insight on most-searched long-tail keywords. Second, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner, which offers accurate data of a certain keyword’s popularity. Third, you can publish great content on your website, and long-tail keywords will slip in naturally.
2. Be Niche-Oriented Many companies try to cover as many areas of expertise as possible on the same website. Instinctively, you may think that this could help you rank higher for more keywords and queries, but that’s rarely the case. If you want to outrank your competitors, focusing on a single niche at a time is crucial. If you focus on several niches at the same time, your site’s relevance will suffer. As such, you’ll end up ranking low for the keywords you’ve used.
If you’re an expert in baby strollers, don’t talk about other accessories that may confuse your readers. Focus on baby strollers alone to make your site as relevant and valuable as possible, and capture as much traffic.
3. Optimise Your Website for Local Search Google is giving more weight in search results to local businesses, so why not take advantage of the opportunity to rank higher and leverage locality? Even if your company operates in several areas of a city or country, you can still beat your competition in at least one area by making sure that you optimise your website for that particular area.
There are a few easy ways to achieve this: • Have a strong presence in local search – optimise your site for location-based keywords (e.g. “digital search agency in Sydney”), map your primary business location, have your business listed on Yelp, Google My Business, and other local directories. • Gather local reviews – the more positive reviews you have on sites like Google My Business, Yelp, and Trip Advisor, the higher you will rank in search engines. • Create hyper-local content – use neighbourhood-specific keywords to increase the relevance of your content and rank higher in search results.
Don’t forget about content marketing, which shouldn’t be only about publishing great articles. Distribution goes a long way towards your success, especially if you want to rank higher in SERPs. Focus on community-building, and have your readership increase exposure and drive more traffic via social media and word of mouth.
By doing these steps consistently, it’s only a matter of time before your business starts gaining more conversions. It helps you become more effective to your potential customers and gains profit for your business instead of deterring it. In today’s digital age, online visibility is more important than ever. Take advantage of the value that SEO provides and your business will greatly benefit from it.
Joe Ryan is the Founder & CEO of UK online marketing agency, Digital Search Group, which specialises in smart internet marketing. He is a specialist in online marketing strategy and brand building. When he’s not considering the next best online marketing strategy with his team, he enjoys travel and spending time with his family.