Brace yourself, here comes the obvious:
“SEO is important,” he said to the surprise of no one.
Yeah, I know you know, but do you know how important?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
As I mentioned before in my last blog about why you need a website 73% of customers choose to go directly to a company’s website to learn important information about that company’s brand.
Obvious statement number two: your website needs to be found.
Now, you could spend money on paid ads, BUT did you know an eye-tracking study conducted by Search Engine Land revealed that between 70-80% of online users ignore paid ads completely — don’t even look at them at all!
So, that whole FREE thing I put in the title, not just click bait my friend.
Well, now that we’ve got the obvious out of the way, here’s a list of super simple, free techniques and resources you may not know about.
Not a verified business listing on Google AND Bing? You need to be.
Yes, you read that right, I did include Bing.
And if your goal is to create more visibility for your brand and help more people find your business then this is crucial.
Even if you don’t have a physical location it is important to remember that your website is your digital brick and mortar and people need to find you.
Remember, your website is your digital real estate.
If your business operates from a home office, you might feel hesitant because the last thing you want is to have your home address online for the world to see.
Worry not, my friend. There is an option not to display your address on your listing if you choose not to.
Now, you might be among the crowd that thinks Bing isn’t relevant.
Well, many people, especially those among the older generation or non-techie crowd, don’t change the default search engine in their browser.
Do you know what the default is browser is in a Windows Operating System is? Microsoft Edge.
And the default search engine Edge comes with is…
(drum roll please)
With Microsoft boasting it’s more than 400 million active users even a small percentage is a big customer base you could be missing.
So, you know, take the time to register with Bing as well.
Seriously, it takes like ten minutes.
Now that you’ve registered your business with Google My Business you can use Google Post, which is one of their best features.
Google Posts are basically free ads.
You can customize them however you want.
You can a create call-to-action to your website, special deals and announcements, and more.
Posts show up for 7 days in searches and under your listings so this creates more visibility and more chances to drive traffic.
Also consider linking them to one of your blogs.
Did you see that flawless segue, just now. Oh Yeah!
You might have heard SEO experts say Content is King.
If you haven’t before, you have now.
Want more lead generated traffic? Blogging is the way to go.
In fact, according to HubSpot not only do business with blogs obtain 97% more links to their sites than those that don’t blog, but those with a blog get 434% more pages indexed on search engines!
Essentially the best way to increase your online reach is to have content that gives people a reason to come to your site.
Write content that adds value to your readers so they have a reason to read it.
The more useful content you have, the more people are going to read and share it. You see where I’m going with this….
More shares, more eyes, better rankings.
It’s just that simple.
Except it’s not, is it?
I can feel you glaring at me through the screen.
I get it, blogging isn’t simple is it?
And there is nothing more difficult than picking an engaging topic.
If you follow this blog, you should know by now I wouldn’t leave you without some tools in your tool belt.
Like I said, I came prepared — so open up that tool belt because Buzzsumo is the perfect tool for finding that great topic you’re looking for.
Simply type in a topic that you are interested in writing about and it will show you all the best and most shared posts within that topic.
Voila! You have a database of resources to draw from for your content.
Now get to blogging! …Well, finishing reading first of course.
Here’s a tool that is actually great for accomplishing a few things.
The first is finding keywords and topics — from there you can find out how relevant they are, how many people are searching them, and when people are searching the most.
Knowing when topics perform best can help you decide the best time to release your content for maximizing your reach.
Google Trends can also help to compare similar keywords to find out which actually performs best between them.
For example, let’s say you are trying to rank for a housecleaning service.
Should you use the term “housecleaning service” or “housecleaners”?
Google Trends can compare both terms and show you which is being searched more than the other.
I know what you’re thinking, I’m telling you to use search engines, but just hear me out.
Consider this: If you type something relevant to your content in Quora you will actually get results on what burning questions users are asking about within that topic.
Quora shows the most relevant and most highly asked questions in your niche.
This is a great way to know what people are most interested in about your niche market.
I can imagine your reaction.
Seriously though, when you search for a keyword check to see what suggestions show up automatically as you type.
Also, once you’ve completed your search scroll to the bottom of the page and look at the related search terms.
These suggestions are based on user activity and what most people are searching for.
Search for something within your niche and then look at the ads of your competitors.
The top three search results are often ads.
Look to see what words and phrases they use and try similar words and phrases in your meta descriptions.
Remember, only 30% of people click the ads, so why not use this to your advantage and climb to the top of the search results where the other 70% are waiting for you?
In my opinion, Google Alerts is Google’s best kept secret.
Want to do market research for content creation or find great keywords, but don’t want to spend hours googling everything under the sun?
Then this is a perfect tool to put in your arsenal.
Type topics into the search and you will get the option to receive “alerts” about all the relevant info to that topic you can imagine.
It’s like receiving a “newspaper” with only the content you’re looking for.
This is great for blog content or even keeping up with current research within your field.
Do you ever wish you knew what keywords your competitors were ranking for, what keywords they spend money on, and even how they are performing?
Well, SpyFu allows you to type in your competitors’ URL and see just that.
Spyfu does have a limit to its free service, but I generally find it to be enough to get a general idea.
If you are using WordPress then you it’s very likely you’ve used an SEO plugin.
SEO plugins are great to help you create a better, more visible online presence.
You can update your meta titles, descriptions, and see how your content is performing.
You will even receive suggestions on what to change to increase your rankings.
Google Search Console is a fantastic tool Google provides which actually helps you rank within their search engine.
Very few businesses use it, which is crazy because Google Search Console is basically the equivalent to Google handing your users a map and homing beacon to the exact coordinates of your website in a game of hide-and-seek.
If you do nothing else sitemap your site.
It takes minutes and makes a huge difference.
Helpareporter.com is a great resource to get your business’s unique story featured in your community.
If people talk about you then their audience is likely to be curious and scope you out.
So why not leverage news sites to talk about you and get people to come to your site?
Are you a non-profit helping homeless teens get off the streets?
Are you a local business giving a portion of your profits to a charity?
Do you have an unique product or story?
Are you holding a community event to showcase a solution to a growing problem?
If you have a unique story to tell you can reach out to your local paper and they might do a feature story on you.
Reporters often have space they have to fill when deadlines roll around and they will actually find you a godsend if you bring them a story they can use.
Word of mouth is still the single most effective way to market.
While you might imagine word of mouth to be a mere offline activity, there actually is very little distinction in our cultural approach to its online counterpart.
According to Bright Local 88% of online shoppers claim to trust peer reviews as much as they would if it were a recommendation from a friend.
Think about it, how often have you trusted a peer review of a complete stranger online before making a purchase or trying that new downtown restaurant?
Reviews are a very powerful form of word of mouth marketing.
In fact, Vendasta found that if you have reviews on your site 63% of your visitors are more likely to buy from you.
So, bottom line, Ask!