First of all, the phrase Search Engine Optimization is simply really hard to pronounce.
And besides that, big words scare me.
The Internet gods decided to make this term sound as scary and complicated as possible to keep you holed away in fear and throwing money at marketing agencies because, you know, it’s purely rocket science.
Ok ok, don’t get me wrong — digital marketing agencies are uber important for thorough and major success online. There are some rockin’ SEO companies out there who will help you win with the Internet gods.
However, there’s a minor trade-off: just cut off your arm and your leg, give it to them (preferably monthly), and you’ll be good to go.
Slight exaggeration, but sometimes when we don’t know anything we’ll believe anyone. Not that all SEO firms are a rip-off, but I am a believer that you need to know what you really need before you ask someone to put their hands into your business. I’ve seen way too small business owners get caught up with the pitch of a digital marketing firm and began paying them large amounts of money, but the owner couldn’t really describe what this firm was actually doing. If you don’t get it, at least at a big-picture level, don’t do it! Hide yo kids, hide yo wives…and just ask and learn before saying “yes.”
Off my soap-box.
My suggestion for start-ups and small local businesses? Take care of it yourself (or have an employee do it) at the beginning.
Basic Steps of SEO
- GET A DECENT WEBSITE (we already talked about this)
- Make of list of keywords that are related to your business (think location, your product or service, your target market, questions people ask that your business solutions would answer, etc…). Got that list? Now use those words and phrases in the following steps.
- Start a blog. And write a new post for it about once a month. This doesn’t have to be fancy. Just choose a topic that is related to your business and write a few paragraphs. It may take some still moments to get there (it’s so hard to sit still, right??), but the more you do it the easier it will become.
- Update the content on your website pages about once a month. Do you have a new promotion? Take some good photos? Add them to your site periodically.
- Get on social media sites (remember, focus on a few at the beginning). Post to them about once a week.
- Write on another blog. This might be getting too deep (read optional), but if you have some business connections in town and they have similar customers to yours, ask if you can write on their blog. From that, you can link back to your website from there. Called back-links. This is MUCHO BUENO! But probably Phase 2 of SEO. If you’re ready, though, go for it.
Ok, that’s all I got, I promise.
Yes, there are very important things to highlight in the SEO discussion, things like h1 and meta tags (this comes from having a good website built at the beginning), and things like online advertising and landing pages and PR and, and, AND…
Exactly, I lost you.
Once you are able to do the above 5-6 steps and understand the basic concept, and once you have a decent-sized budget to handle an SEO firm, and once you have worked at local, grassroots-style marketing for yourself, THEN you are allowed to hire an agency.
But don’t skip. I beg of you.
Good luck, fellow business heroes!