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  • Dr. Ipshita Basu Guha

4 Tips that makes SEO Amazingly Easy to Adopt in 2020 for small business owners


INTRODUCTION


Have you heard this quote by Bill Gates, “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.

If not, now you have.

Today, every business however small or big, is expected to have some kind of digital presence. A website at the least.


Wait before you get excited that your site is up and running. Because that was the easy part. It takes a few dollars to make a website operational. But that’s not the objective. It is just a means to an end.


The challenge is whether your prospects are finding you on this vast internet.

Yes, you are thinking right. I am hinting at the all-important SEO – search engine optimization of your content so that you connect with your relevant audience.


You probably know about SEO and its importance for your business. However, you might be concerned about time, effort and money to optimize your content. You are probably muttering, “I don’t have time for this! As it is running my small business is a 24X7 thing. I cannot invest time to master this techy stuff.”


I hear you. I have been through this and understand your pain.

Adopting and implementing SEO strategies whether on page or off is not everyone’s cup of tea. There are specialists and agencies handling the entire range of SEO functions to top the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

As Google makes multiple changes to their search algorithm every single day, it is virtually impossible for small business owners to keep up. But there are things that we CAN do,

YOU can do. Stuff that are not so technical or mind-boggling.


In this post, I am going to share with you 4 Amazingly Easy and “Doable” SEO tactics which will increase your (and your business’) chances of getting found on this vast digital arena and help your business grow FASTER and THRIVE.

Even if you do not have the time to do it on your own, don’t sweat. You can hire freelancers to implement them for you through your content creation and content marketing initiatives.

Either way, by the end of this post, you will feel energized to ACT and Act you WILL.


Are you ready?



SEO TACTIC #1. MAKE YOUR WEBSITE MOBILE FRIENDLY


Take a pause, and ponder. When was the last time you checked for some information online using your desktop or laptop? The better question is – do you even have a desktop anymore?What do you most commonly use to access the internet? Your mobile phone of course.


1.1. SERVE YOUR CUSTOMERS WHERE THEY GATHER & ENGAGE


The entry & growth of 3G, 4G and now 5G services in most countries coupled with massive improvements in technology infrastructure and public Wi-Fi has created a deluge of mobile services.

The handset companies have evolved swiftly and there is an Android/ Microsoft or Apple handset available for every segment of the mobile user-base with specific price point and features. Therefore, accessibility is not an issue. The audience is equipped and ready to consume. Question is – are we serving them adequately and on the platform where they are congregating?


1.2. FOCUS ON THE UX OF THE WEBSITE


Google’s PageRank algorithm is rapidly shifting towards rating, ranking and indexing those sites and pages that are mobile-friendly. We must consider the various screen sizes and design our pages to adjust as per device. This will enhance the reader’s experience which is what will act as the glue to attract eyeballs.


The SEO focus is on the User Experience (UX) of a site. It means your page should look good on a mobile device. It should be easy to read on a 5.5 to 6 inches screen.


Imagine searching for an information on your phone and having to scroll down to read the info after the page loads. It is a huge turn-off!The content must show up directly on the screen otherwise you risk losing on traffic. Eventually, your audience does not respond to your Call to Action. You must dish the site in a way that the page is easy to read yet informative.


Does it mean you have to build 2 different websites for your small business?

Absolutely not.



Luckily, now it does not take a ton of technology or skills to do that. Website builder’s like WIX have the in-built features to show the output of your website both on a desktop and a mobile screen. You have the freedom to tweak your site and optimize it for both devices.

I have done the same for my website Datainvestigata.com. You might want to check it out and see the results for yourself. And yes, I designed my own website without having knowledge of designing. How? We will talk about that some other time.


1.3 IMPROVING PAGE SPEED


User experience is not only about the looks of the website but how fast does it show up on the screen.The percentage of traffic through mobile phones are steadily increasing. Remember, your prospects’ mobile device is already loaded with apps and every notification continuously dings trying to grab their attention. If your page takes too long to load and a notification pops up, there is 100% chance that the prospect will move away from your site. That is a lost lead and you do not want that to happen.


How do you improve page speed?

I am not going to go “techy” on you. Try and optimize usage of images, dump heavy graphics and keep your page simple. People can see through the frills. If the information is good, the content is actionable; it does not matter how plainly it is presented. Have a look at the pages of Copyblogger or Kaitlin Maud’s agency website Current Forward. You will know what I mean.


By simple, I do not mean you should not use any graphics at all! Add and delete graphical elements and keep testing the page load speed on multiple devices as you do so. You will get the hang of size and number of images and its relation to page speed. Or tell your website developer to include that as a continuous key performance indicator.


There is one other easy way. Measure your website speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.


Google PageSpeed Insights Easy Way to Measure Page Speed
Analyzing webpage speed using Google PageSpeed Insights


Google PageSpeed Insights Easy Way to Measure Page Speed on Mobile Devices
Analyzing webpage speed on mobile devices using Google PageSpeed Insights

If want to know more, I suggest you read - How to Score a Perfect 100% on Google PageSpeed Insights.



SEO TACTIC #2. MASTER LONGTAILKEYWORDS


Today, the mobile world is enriched with smart companions and associated devices like wearable, speakers and of course the digital assistants like Alexa, Siri and Cortana! Users are unmindful while shifting to these devices for seeking information or fulfilling a need online. And this is creating another change.


The voice search options on smartphones and the ability to search on the move are contributing to the use of long tail keywords. Or let us call them sentences. Since there has been steady increase in use of smartphones for surfing the net and searching for information; the way people search for information is changing too.


Here is what I mean. Normally, while searching for information on say detergents that can be used to remove oil stains from white clothes, one would typically type “detergents stains” or “detergents+stains” or more specifically “detergents+stains+white clothes”. But while speaking to your mobile device, the search term is more likely to be “which detergent removes oil stains from white clothes”. Do you agree?



2.1 LONG TAIL KEYWORDS ENHANCE SEO


If people are searching in sentence form, which they are doing; it entirely changes your keyword and content strategy. And directly affects your page content structure and layout. The queries are more human and it is time to adopt natural language processing. NLP is about understanding what is the customer’s wish or intention in a search.


How do you include this feature in your website and content?

This again is quite simple but might require a little patience. But it will be worth it when you start attracting a ton of good leads to your site.


You think about your product or service. Now imagine how a normal human being would ask questions about that product or service in a regular conversation. Start creating content using those combination of words.



Long tail keywords are search queries using natural language questions
Long Tail Keywords asking questions

If you feel you cannot imagine, then check out AnswerThePublic. It is a beautiful tool which will suggest longtailkeywords in different question forms. You can pick up each one to create content around it and attract potential leads.


2.2 WIDER RANGE OF KEYWORDS, RICHER SOURCE OF INFORMATION


Prospects feel comfortable motivated and empowered when they have access to good quality in-depth information. They want to know how your product or service will solve their problems or ease their lives. It means they are expecting you to spot their challenges and address those concerns.


The prospects are interested in additional gains by putting their trust in you or buying from you. So, it is not just one question but a series of (related or unrelated) prospect concerns laid out for you to address.


Adopting keywords in question form for your content strategy, gives you a wider range of subjects to address. You can make the content conversational and present the same information in different formats like a blog post, podcast or a video or in all three formats.


Now think of this from a SEO perspective. The possibility of range of connections and engagement is enormous. And you have the added benefit of engaging with different segment of prospects through this diverse format of content.


Search engines are accessing your varied content forms and serving them up to the suitable audience. And that is how you gain traffic.


2.3 LONG TAIL KEYWORD CONTENT IS MORE AUTHORITATIVE


When prospects search for long tail keywords or ask “sentence form” questions, Google sifts and serves the pages which are closest match. Pages having good quality, actionable content are ranked higher and attract more visitors.


This type of content strategy is organic and evolving. Earlier, our SEO focus was incorporate keywords and crank the rank. But search engines are becoming smarter by the day. Now, the search algorithm is like a living organism in a perpetual state of change. They are monitoring and recording the sites which have relevant information and frequently accessed. The traffic gives indication to the search engine that the content is valuable and must be ranked higher.


Google sees such in-depth content as meaningful and authoritative. When the search engines love your content, you can feature higher up in SERPs. (SERPs are nothing but Search Engine Result Pages.)



SEO TACTIC #3. KEEP YOUR SITE SIMPLE


You will agree that nobody likes complexity in life.

Research shows that human attention span is shrinking due to torrent of information surrounding us. Simplify your website, the message to your prospects and customers, the decision – making and buying process. Use simple words, smaller sentences with fewer conjunctions. Let your prospects feel the ease of dealing with you at every stage.


3.1 MAINTAIN A FLAT WEBSITE STRUCTURE


How many clicks does it take your prospect to seek the desired information on your website? Ideally, you should follow the 3-click rule.Any user/ prospect should be able the find the information within 3 clicks.



All information in your website should be accessible in 3 clicks
"3 Clicks" Website Structure


Maintain a flat website structure. It amplifies user experience, reduces resistance and encourages the visitor to browse for more information. And search engines find it easier to index your flatter website which moves you ahead in the SEO game.


Stay with me and understand a larger benefit of a flatter structure. As your website content grows, and it eventually will; you will often remove pages with outdated information and add newer ones instead. But there could be some current pages which are linking to this obsolete page.


How will you keep track of these links? What do you think will happen when your user clicks on such a link? Dead end? That my friend is a huge turnoff. You don’t want that to happen. Having a simpler structure will enable you to develop good website hygiene.

However, there is no research which conclusively says that you will lose traffic if you fail to adopt this rule or you will be at the top of your game if you adopt it. I follow this rule.


3.2 SIMPLICITY OF DESIGN ELEMENTS


SEO tactics do not directly dictate the design elements of your website. But if you have resource hungry graphics and design elements,they will slow down your page loading speed.Leads will get frustrated and put off. Result? They will click some other link and bounce off your site. Google monitors site bounce rate. Now this will negatively affect your SEO efforts.


The internet is flooded with information and companies clamoring for prospects’ attention. Your site must rise above this noise. Less is always more. How? By cutting all the frills and trimmings. And drawing your lead’s undivided attention to your well-crafted message. Your proposition, offer. Period.


3.3 THINK OF YOUR BUYER PERSONA AND HOW TO CONNECT


Albert Einstein had said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”


Your business may have a local reach or global. You probably have multiple buyer persona with distinct demographics and education levels. Each set has different levels of awareness, engagement, goals and decision – making processes. Your target is to engage with each segment and connect effectively.


As a company or brand, you must craft content that breaks down your entire offering into tiny edible pieces. This simplicity will attract more eyeballs and give you the opportunity to tap the leads and convert to customers.


Spending your budget on ornamentation of your site will be time – consuming and expensive. You cannot change the layout and structure at short intervals.


What you CAN do is keep publishing a regular stream of simple, meaningful and educative content which increases the knowledge-base of your audience. The content empowers the target audience and eases through the decision to buy which is what we set out to achieve in the first place. As you gain more audience, SEO ups your authority index and pushes your site right to the top.


SEO TACTIC #4. YOUTUBE, AMAZON, LINKEDIN ARE ALSO SEARCH ENGINES


The phrase “Google it” is often used to mean search it using the Google search engine. 92.46% people use Google to search for information with few others using Bing or Yahoo. Your SEO strategy must appeal to Google and keep up with their page ranking algorithm, whims and fancies.


But we need to revisit the fundamentals of a user’s search and look at this Google dominance from an alternate perspective.


What do people search for on the internet? Basically, information related to their work or studies (including projects, tutorials, assignments etc.) or products for usage or consumption, entertainment etc.


The search dimensions have changed and we must think beyond Google as a search engine. Mobile devices are used extensively for accessing the Internet and there is an app for everything under the sun. People no longer use only Google to search for whatever they want.


4.1 WORK – RELATED SEARCH IS NARROW AND FOCUSED


The work-related search could be to solve some specific problems or evaluate product options like machinery, technology or services to use in the business. Though the transactions are often high value the options (brands/ companies) are limited based on cost, infrastructure, geographies, and support.


Focused search using Search Engines no scope for SEO
Using Search Engine as Yellow Pages

People are aware of their industry and know fairly well about what exactly they need to search. The search engine is merely used to search for the exact company and go to the company’s site. This kind of search is precise and the right website pops on top of the SERP.


There is nothing much that SEO can do in this situation as long as your website is in place and contains the required information. Your audience finds you through alternate means like exhibitions, trade fairs, guest articles in industry magazines etc.


4.2 E-COMMERCE TRANSACTIONS ARE DIRECTLY CONDUCTED ON THE PORTAL BYPASSING CONVENTIONAL SEARCH ENGINES


If you observe, the bulk of e-commerce transactions are pertaining to retail consumers buying similar stuff on a regular basis or looking to change to something new within the same product category.


With growth of eCommerce, Amazon has emerged as the world leader and has gained a market share of 49.1%. Internationally, Amazon is well recognized and sought after. A substantial part of the growth is again due to the increased use of mobiles to surf and shop. Amazon has reached out to their audience using their app which is highly efficient.

People are now directly visiting Amazon’s site to search for the stuff that they need.


Why? Because the site not only gives them options, they have genuine customer reviews both good and bad to aid the buyer to make an informed choice, suggest bundled alternatives which are value-added money-saving solutions.


Instead of hopping onto 4 different sites to check for the product, compare with others, read reviews in forums and then perform a personal analysis; the buyer has all necessary content, images and actionable information on the same site, same page.


If you are selling products through such e-commerce portals; customize your content to standout. Make the product page detailed and substantiate every point with an image. If you can attach a video of your product in use, it will convert faster. CISCO estimates that by 2022, more than 82% consumer internet traffic will be of online videos.


You will not make a sale simply by ranking at the top of a SERP if customers are not buying. What you need is to be featured as a top-ranking product company on these e-commerce portals.


How will you rank? You are noticed when satisfied and delighted customers write glowing remarks about your product and its benefits. Nothing works like a conversion magnet as a bunch of customer testimonials.




To optimize your brand for these portals, you must seek and encourage your buyers to share their entire purchase experience from packaging, price to delivery and utility. Reward them for their efforts like a written endorsement, bunch of pictures using your product or even a video because the testimonials drive sales. Your leads and prospects will have more faith in their claims compared to your well-crafted content.

4.3 THINK BEYOND WEBSITE TO ALIGN YOUR SEO STRATEGY


If you are a small business entity and want to increase your audience, forego the conventional SEO tactics of ranking on Google search engine. In the beginning, SEO tactics to rank higher on a SERP takes time, money and creativity.


What you probably need is immediate traction and sales to generate revenue.


Adopt some simpler and alternate means to increase your brand visibility.


For example: If you have an innovative product, post small videos on YouTube to show how it works. Use the same videos on Instagram to reach a different audience.


Think from a lead or prospects’ perspective.


If I am looking to buy a new gadget or tool, I will search for a video on YouTube to check how it works.


People directly search on YouTube for Video Guides
YouTube as a search engine for Videos like "How to"

If I need some financial or investment advice, or health advice I will check for podcasts on Spotify or ask questions on Quora or Reddit.


You can spend a portion of your day viewing these sites and responding to questions related to your industry or product. Participate in forum conversations. It is a cheaper form of promotion and an effective one because you are engaging people directly. There are potential leads in the user base.


You will get immediate feedback and the opportunity to fine-tune your responses as you move forward. If viewers find your replies useful or meaningful, you will start getting more traffic and soon effortlessly herd them to your site.This form of engagement is organic SEO which is more definitive and effective. No amount of keyword research or paid ads will get you this genuine pool of leads.


CONCLUSION


SEO is no doubt time consuming and some part of it IS technical. But that should not hold you back. Stop being overwhelmed by on-the-page, off-the-page and technical SEO or Google Ranking.


Do the things which are in your immediate control and get your business on the Internet in the best possible way to start with. Make a beginning. Don’t aim for perfection.

Simplify your website.


Think of human sentences instead of keywords when creating content.

Solidify your message. Make it simple to understand and actionable.


Understand your target segment and buyer persona.


Engage with people on different sites like YouTube, Reddit, Quora and watch them get converted into leads.


If you adopt these simple tactics that we have discussed in this post, you will observe the SEO difference soon.


I hope you liked this post and found it useful. I will love to hear from you. Do leave a comment, ask a question, make a suggestion. Or better subscribe to my blog and let us remain connected.


If consider yourself a newbie (like me) and have the will to learn more about SEO; go and read this rich content titled The Beginner’s Guide to SEO.


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