The higher you appear on a SERP the more traffic, and business, you'll receive.
You Know What SEO Stands For, but How is it Done?
You now know what SEO stands for, but here is a very brief overview of the techniques and strategies used to improve a website's rankings. If you want a more comprehensive overview I would actually recommend Moz's beginner SEO guide.
Your Website - Speed and Mobile
This may shock you, but over 50% of all searches are now done on mobile. So, if your site isn't optimized for mobile then you're definitely behind!
It's not enough to have a site that's mobile-friendly. If your site is taking too long to load then you're losing valuable visitors. It is estimated that for every second, over 3 seconds, that it takes for your site to load, you lose 10% of your visitors.
You can find out if your site is mobile optimized and loading quickly by using the free tool Google PageSpeed Insights.
Unfortunately, optimizing your site's speed and mobile view is not something you'll be able to do without some programming knowledge.
Here are some images from one of my client's speed scores. The top image is the desktop speed and the second image is for mobile:
Keyword Research - The Tools You'll Need
The first thing you'll want to do is find a topic within your niche to write about. More commonly asked questions are likely to have more competition and thus be harder to rank for. So, think back to actual customers you've had. What questions did they have? Was there anything you had to research because you didn't immediately know the answer?
There are several free tools you can use that will provide you with the following:
- keyword recommendations
- monthly search volume (how often they get searched)
- difficulty score (how easy/hard it is to rank for that keyword based on how many people are also writing about this topic)
You'll want to find keywords that have the highest amount of monthly volume (searches) but the lowest level of difficulty (difficulty score).
My top recommendation for a free tool is Google's Keyword Planner. You'll need a Gmail account and credit card, but don't worry, they won't charge you unless you try to start a Google Ads campaign. Here's a video tutorial from Ahrefs on how to use the Keyword Planner to do keyword research.
If your business tends to be more seasonal in nature, then Google Trends will provide you additional information. You can see a breakdown of the search volume for keywords over different months of the year.
Creating Quality Content - Putting Your Keywords to Use
Creating quality content is arguably the backbone of SEO. If your site is easy to find but the content is mediocre then few people will stick around.
Once you have a list of topics and keywords prepared you can start creating content. Try to incorporate not just the keywords you've researched but synonyms for those as well. Repeating the same exact keyword over and over can make Google think you're "keyword stuffing" and this could get your content penalized.
Let's take a look at one of my clients, Ajax Refrigeration, as an example of what blogging can do. If you check out the image below you'll see that I ran an incognito search (so my previous visits to Ajax would not influence Google's results) for "ice machine ventura". If you look past the map pack, in which they're also at the top of (pat myself on the back for that one), you'll see that the first search result is a link to an Ajax blog post. The home page is actually the 2nd search item!
You can see the blog post here: Looking for a commercial ice machine in Ventura County?
This blog post contains 455 words, "ice machine" is used 9 times and "Ventura" is used 13 times; I bring this up to highlight the fact that you don't need to go overboard with using your exact keyword repeatedly.
Social Media - Get Your Content Out There!
You should always be posting your content to social media, and this is especially important early on when you're probably not receiving any search engine traffic (i.e., organic traffic). If you're wondering which social media platforms you should use then I'll refer you to my blog: Which Social Media Platform Should You Use for Your Business?
Getting your blog post out through social media will also increase the likelihood that someone will find it and link to it on their website; this is called a backlink. The more backlinks you have from other sites that are high authority, the better your site will perform.
How Often Should I Post to Social Media?
You should post as often as you're able to create original content. If you can only write two blog posts a month then that's okay. Just don't sacrifice quality for quantity.
How Long Will it Take Before My Content Ranks?
There are a lot of factors at play, such as competition and number of backlinks your content has received. Generally speaking, it can take Google up to 4 - 6 months to register new changes to a site. SEO is an investment, and while quick wins are possible, and it's nice when they happen, you shouldn't consider them the norm.
If the competition is especially low, and your content is good, then it is possible you'll see it rank highly much sooner.
Is There More to SEO?
Yes, there is much more to cover, but if your site loads quickly, is mobile optimized, and if you're regularly producing content and sharing it on social media, then you're head and shoulders above most small businesses.
I'd recommend you check out Moz's guide (linked above) for a more thorough overview of SEO.
I'll be sure to provide links to future blog posts I write about the many other aspects of SEO. Until then, if you have any questions feel free to contact me. I offer a free 30-min consultation!