small business seoYou have probably heard from friends, advisors, colleagues and many others – that the name of the game for succeeding online is having great search engine visibility.  They are correct!  But how do you make sure your website shows up in search engines for certain keywords?  The solution you will hear from most is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as it is commonly called.  Many firms have built their entire business around providing SEO for small business, charging hundreds, or sometimes thousands of dollars a month to deliver their clients top search results.  But what it is, exactly, these SEO firms do to your site?  Is it some kind of top-secret magic?  We will give you a glimpse into what these firms do, and also what YOU can do for even better search engine performance.

SEO for Small Business is a Temporary Solution

In a nutshell, SEO is fairly simple.  You target a keyword (or more commonly a key phrase) that your prospective clients are likely to type in a search engine, and you use a series of rules and best practices, to make sure that a particular page is “optimized” around this phrase.  When a page is properly optimized, Google, Bing and other search engines will recognize what that content is about, and index it accordingly.  We have a post about this optimizing process called “A Simple 5-Minute SEO Checklist for your Blog”  Check it out for more information on the actual process.  Having a good SEO strategy is crucial to your content being found in searches.

So all I need to do is hire a good SEO firm, right?

The biggest thing we want to point out here is that SEO is not the only thing you need to worry about for success.  A good SEO firm can make your page show up in the top three google rankings, but what happens next has much more to do with your success.  When a user actually CLICKS on your link, what do they find?  If they find well organized content that directly relates to their search query, then you are off to a good start.  If they just land on your home page and have to continue searching and scanning to find what they want, they will likely click the “back” button and move on down the list.

Home page traffic is not the ultimate goal.

We have found that numerous, well optimized internal pages are MUCH more effective in generating traffic than one well-optimized home page.  In fact, you could have a very successful website where very few people even SEE your home page.  How is this?  If the visitors search engine queries land them on very specific product or service pages that directly answer their questions, they are likely to stick around and continue to check your site out.  If all of their queries simply link them to your home page, then you are requiring additional work, and you haven’t answered their questions.  This leads to friction, which leads to the visitor bouncing out of your site and onto the next one.

Hone your SEO strategy for success!

Instead of paying an SEO firm lots of money to make sure your home page performs well in search engine results, consider hiring a content marketing, or inbound marketing agency to help you create a collection of high-value content that is also well optimized, that will attract TARGETED traffic to your website in a way that leads to increased leads and sales.  Once content is created, it is there to stay, and as you keep adding to it, your search engine presence will continue to expand and grow.  With an SEO firm, once you stop paying them, your search engine presence will immediately begin to decline.  With inbound marketing, as your content grows – so does your search presence!  If you would like to learn more about content marketing and how it has a big advantage over SEO only, check out this video we put together, called “The Gravity Strategy”.

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