Small Business Owners Need to Be Involved
While you don’t have to become a full-on SEO expert, you should do your homework and try to understand the basics of what’s happening to your website. Never hire an SEO consultant and let them make changes to your website. You should maintain control of your site, in conjunction with your webmaster because too many SEOs have hurt their clients by using black hat SEO tactics. You need to be part of the process — the more involved you are the easier the process will be and the better results you’re likely to get.
Here are six ways small business owners can get more value from their SEO efforts.
- You don’t need to become a full-fledged SEO expert, but you should develop an overall understanding of the process. Too many small business owners know just enough to be dangerous, and focus on the meta keywords tag or look for ways to “game” the search engines. Some of those things (the keywords meta tag) are useless and others (like trying to trick the search engines) will bite you in the tail sooner or later. You need to listen to your SEO consultant and, above all, ask questions.
- You need to remain in control. Never hire an SEO company that’s going to go and make changes to your website. Not all of us in this business are competent, and not all of us follow the guidelines of the search engines in terms of ethical SEO. You and your webmaster need to retain control of your website. That way, any SEO recommendations have to pass two sets of critical eyes: yours and your webmaster’s. If anything looks suspicious or if there’s anything you don’t really understand, you can ask about it before it’s applied to your website.
- You need to be involved. You can’t just hire an SEO consultant and think that paying them is all you have to do. For example, you need to be the one to decide what keywords you need to be optimized for. Selecting the keywords that will give you the bets ROI requires more than number crunching — it requires an understanding of your business and your customers. You also need to be involved in any changes to the copy on your website. SEO consultants and webmasters don’t understand your business well enough to rewrite your website copy. You need to be in charge of what it says on your site. SEO consultants are not, by and large, effective marketing copywriters, and neither are webmasters. You may chose to hire a copywriter to hone the marketing message while ensuring the proper keyword placement on your pages, but you need to work with them so your site says what you need it to say in an engaging way that projects your personality. You can’t just turn copywriting over to anyone and expect not to be involved.
- You have to participate in the boring stuff up front. Make sure all the contact information on your site is correct and up to date. Participate in keyword selection. Start or maintain your blog and listings in social media like Facebook and LinkedIn. Work on honing the copy on your site in accordance with SEO recommendations. Your level of participation in all this translates directly into the level of success you achieve with your SEO.
- You need to understand SEO success comes from the sum of all the parts and there’s no single magic bullet. Google has more than 200 factors that govern where you rank when someone searches for what you do. Here are just a few:
- You need to have a clean website that search engines can understand .
- You need to have “authority” gained by having other good websites link to yours.
- You need to have appropriate keyword placement on your site, both visibly an din the code.
- You need keywords in the links that point to your site.
- You need exposure from directories.
- You need social media exposure to help establish your brand.
- You need effective and engaging copy on your site to convert visitors into paying customers.
- You should have an active blog with helpful information for your customer base.
- If you’re a face-to-face business, you need local search optimization.
- You need positive customer reviews and testimonials.
- Don’t try to rush it. Don’t expect results overnight. Depending on where you start, expect it to take three or four months before you start seeing results. Trying to rush doesn’t help. SEO is not a sprint but a marathon. I’ve seen many people start a blog to improve their online visibility (a very good idea!) and write six or seven posts the first month, three the next, and then nothing ever after. A blog needs regular feedings. It would have been better to spread those same posts out, even only once a month, than be a flash in the pan blog. Ongoing link building at a steady rate is far more effective than getting a blitz of new links all at once and the no new links for a long time.