Stop Overthinking SEO for Small Business – Start Creating An Experience

SEO has become an entangled and bloated mess of do’s and don’ts for websites and is often times seen as being highly technical by small business owners. Search engines do encourage you to focus on making content that is worth while for an audience, and they will worry about the technical bits.

Seriously, SEO works well when you remove the idea of SEO being technical and focus on what really matters, the content of the page. After being in the SEO world for more than a decade, I have learned what works well and what is a waste of time for small business websites. Here are some simple points to follow to give your web content an edge over the rest.

Make it unique

Duplicated, unoriginal content copied from a white paper or replicated by a marketing service. I have seen it thousands of times. Not only does it get lost in the noise of everyone else doing the same thing, it is what I call “Content for Content’s Sake” – stop it! Search engines are smart, very smart. Duplicate content is the #1 cardinal sin for online content. At the same time, simply rewording text content or ripping off the content of others sticks out like a sore thumb to search engines, in a negative way. Don’t waste your time rehashing the same worn topics either.

Instead, do something new and unique that can only be created by you and your business. Yes, that does mean that you have to create it. Before you get discouraged, it really is not as hard as you might think. If you truly enjoy what you do and have a great passion for sharing it with others, you will have no lack of ideas for creating new, unique content that is completely your own. Don’t let the idea of “I can’t do that”, when it comes to writing or recording stop you.

Make it quality

Don’t do the minimum. Show up, be present, and hit it out of the park. Quality takes time – that means do not rush your content. If you make the decision to create content for your website, the search engines recognize the quality of the content. So, for the sake of your passion and effort, take the time to make content worth consuming.

This doesn’t mean fill a web page with tons of paragraphs and text. It means you should create something that you could put a price on a charge for. Yes, make it that awesome. The point is to give value, consumable value, to your audience. This not only makes your content look great to the search engines, but it also encourages organic growth for your content, where it is shared again and again – which also looks great to search engines.

Make it local

If you own or operate a local small business, this is an absolute must. Do NOT discount the importance of including local information in your web content. Part of giving great, semantic search results to searchers, is giving results that are locally relevant to the searcher. When you include this kind of information in your content, you have innately optimized it for local results.

Using your name, phone, and address in your content is known as a citation. It is a good idea to put it on your local business website, but also make sure it appears within the text of the site and beyond. By beyond, I mean to include it on any online profiles your business may have. This is a third-party reference to your geographic location that adds confirmation of your local area. Don’t forget to use specific geographic locations, such as landmarks, city, state, and service area as a region.

Make it dynamic

Don’t limit your content to just text. Text is very important, but searchers are often looking for more substance to their browsing experience. You can make your content standout to search engines by including multiple content media types.

The first media type, beyond text, that I recommend is photos or graphics. Whether it is photos you have taken, professional product shots, or something you got off of a stock photo site – using images in your content makes it appealing to consume. If you want to get a bit more advanced, try including audio or video in your content. This doesn’t mean you need a recording studio or high-end video equipment. Most smart phones are capable of recording good quality audio and video that search engines and searchers will love.

Make it social

My comment here is to tell you that creating content worth sharing will be shared. However, that does not mean it will be found immediately without your help. Share and reshare the content you have created and encourage others to share it as well. You don’t need to do this everywhere, on all of the social networks.

Get your content some exposure by making it available where your audience is. If you have not explored the social networks for your audience or joined a community where your content will be valued, you should take the time to do so. Don’t expect people to go looking for it if they have no idea it exists. The activity you receive from social networks can influence where your content appears in search.

But wait! What about keywords?

Traditionally, the idea of having a keyword to optimize a web page for search rankings comes down to where the keyword is placed, how many times, and the overall density of the keyword occurrence compared to the rest of the content of the web page. Now, I won’t tell you that it is not a good idea to use a keyword, but I will tell you that search engines have become extremely sophisticated about keywords.

Moving forward, the point of a keyword is not the words used, but the ideas that are implied by the word and any associated terms. This is known as semantic search and is a major improvement over the previous keyword focused optimization. It means search results are not based upon the intent of the search to give best results, instead of keywords to determine best results. The best suggestion I can make, is to make the message in your content focused and straight forward. Let the search engines do what they do best.

Create an experience

When you can easily say you have made your content unique, quality, local, dynamic, and social, you will be rewarded with an organic reach that would not be possible for anything less.

The optimization that needs to take place on your web page, website, and entire web presence should be geared towards creating an experience worth experiencing for your audience.

How are you optimizing your content for a better experience?

Share your work and ideas with the community to get input and feedback by commenting below.

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