Wednesday March 28th may have been our biggest day of CAKE yet. OK we’re only in our 13th week, but still this week’s speaker is considered as one of the top SEO experts around. Heather Lloyd-Martin of SuccessWorks presented some quick and easy strategies on how a small business owners can perform SEO surgery on their websites.
WAIT! What the hell is SEO? SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. It’s essentially a list of actions that Google (and other search engines) use to consider when ranking your website when paired with certain keywords. Truthfully there is no magic to SEO. No one can promise you that you’ll rank #1 in a Google search. If someone offers this wizardry, RUN! However, with the right strategy you can gain a competitive advantage online against most of your competitors.
If you’re not practicing proper SEO strategies, all of your online efforts can be totally lost. Don’t be discouraged if this seems like an intimidating undertaking. Heather broke down her strategy into three main elements that if acted upon can dramatically affect your search engine ranking.
1. Site Design & Structure
A lot of small business owners for the sake of time and money build their own websites. There is truly nothing wrong with that as long as it appealing to the consumer and layed out for efficiency. Stay away from flashy bells and whistles. They may look pretty, but in reality they’ll piss off your customers and they don’t help with search engines being able to crawl them easily. We recommend working within a WordPress site and choosing a premium theme as your base design instead of sticking with a free theme. Premium themes can cost as little as $40 and will lend a great deal of functionality to your site that you otherwise would have to code by hand. Also services like WordPress have excellent plug-ins to help with your SEO, like the All-in-One SEO Pack.
In a prior session of CAKE we covered the essentials to killer copywriting. Heather reaffirmed those tips while also keeping in mind the proper use of keyphrases. First you have to research which keyphrases you want to compete with. You can use tools like Google Adwords‘ keyword tool to help you come up with words to compete for. Be realistic! If you serve hamburgers in Portland, don’t try to rank as #1 in “restaurants.” Try to find key words and phrases that your customer may search for that wouldn’t be on the top of your competitors list. Don’t over optimize your website with a keyword stuffed page of copy. Think of keywords like “Baby Bear’s Porridge,” write copy that sounds just right. This will again not only please your readers’, but search engines too.
Starting building a network of relevant links leading to your website and also focus on the structure of links within your website too. Look for pages to link to your website that can offer it value. Don’t just look for someone willing to link to your page in a “Links” section of their blog. Seek out other blogs to review your company and link to it is just one idea of how to build links. When it comes to structuring your internal referring links. Make it sound like a natural part of your conversation. Much like we did with our own blog in section #2 of this post (e.g. essentials to killer copywriting).
Heather covers all of this and more in the two videos below:
3.28.2012 SEO Strategies for Small Business – Presentation
3.28.2012 SEO Q&A with Heather Lloyd-Martin
We encourage questions and feedback in the comments section below. Also don’t be a stranger, join the conversation over on Facebook and Twitter. We’ve been toying around with the idea of adding a forum to the site, what do you think?
We’re steps closer on our plan for an iTunes podcast account. Soon you can just listen to use while you work, jog around the neighborhood or just stare at the wall. We don’t judge.
For now, you can download an .mp3 of this lecture:
(Right-Click as Select “Save Link As”)
Recap provided by Derek Wyatt.