The pandemic gave a lot of businesses a harsh choice: go online or go out of business. Many businesses opted to take their businesses online. This move kept many businesses alive but also left them in unfamiliar terrain.

After all, small local retailers probably know a fair amount about local advertising in terms of radio spots, print ads, and even TV ads. Odds are poor that they ever gave much thought to a digital marketing strategy.

If you're still finding your way with marketing businesses online, you need an SEO for beginners guide. SEO is generally the foundation from which almost all other digital marketing efforts flow. Keep reading for the SEO essentials you need to know.

What Is SEO?

For most businesses, your website is the beating heart of all of your online marketing efforts. It's where you post content, describe services, and even sell products. It's the place where your social media profiles direct people for more content or information.

Yet, at the end of the day, search engines serve as the gatekeepers when it comes to getting traffic to your website. The search engines run complicated algorithms to decide which websites they should list in what order when someone does an online search.

The websites that tick the most boxes for the algorithms in the best ways get the best page ranks in those results. While that probably sounds a little daunting, search engines don't leave you entirely in the cold. They provide guidance or best practices that help you improve your ranking performance.

Search engine optimization is implementing that advice in terms of your website.

How SEO Works?

SEO impacts almost every element of your online presence to some extent, but particularly on your website. You can divide SEO up in a lot of ways, but it usually breaks down into technical SEO and non-technical SEO.

Technical SEO deals almost entirely with your website and the behind-the-scenes things that happen on it. Some common elements of SEO include:

  • Page Load Speeds
  • Image optimization
  • Link health
  • Sitemap
  • Schema markup
  • URL structures
  • Mobile-readiness

Non-technical SEO deals largely with content. That can include things like:

  • Keyword selection
  • Content calendars
  • Topic selection
  • Content formats
  • Product or service descriptions

Using SEO effectively means getting all of these technical and non-technical issues into order on your website.

Managing Technical SEO

Managing the technical side of SEO is often the most challenging part of the process for business owners. You can probably handle some of the tasks, such as image optimization, on your own.

Boosting page load speeds or making your website mobile-ready often means digging down into the actual programming code on your website to affect changes. Unless you do web programming as a sideline, odds are good this isn't in your wheelhouse. It's likely not in the wheelhouse of most or all of your employees, either.

Most businesses look to third-party SEO services to handle that part of the optimization process.

Managing Non-Technical SEO

Managing non-technical SEO is more of a grab-bag of options for many business owners. For example, you might feel comfortable writing a weekly blog for your business. Handled properly, that kind of content marketing can prove effective.

On the other hand, doing keyword research may leave you shaking your head. Sure, you know your industry, but may not know how best to refine that keyword research into something actionable.

Without that research in place, it's often difficult to generate a solid content calendar that reliably brings visitors to your website.

If you elect to handle this part yourself, remember the hallmarks of good content marketing. You need content that provides value and relevance to your audience. That can take the form of how-to post or videos, industry insights, or even product demonstrations.

SEO and Social Media

Next to your website, your social media presence is probably your most important online asset in terms of marketing. Social media gives you a direct line to both existing and potential future customers. You can even use it to develop a community around your brand and encourage user-generated content.

You can't ignore SEO on your social media pages and profiles. You must work in relevant keywords and secondary keywords in your posts. You need good links back to your website or product pages.

If you link back to blog posts or videos, the titles of those posts or videos should demonstrate value and relevance for the audience.

Avoid the pitfall of starting pages or profiles on every social media site you can find. You must maintain a fairly reliable schedule of content posting on every social media profile, just as you must with a blog on your website.

Benefits of SEO

The key benefit of SEO for most small businesses is that it raises your profile in organic search results. You can boost that even more with some local SEO tactics, such as getting listed in local directors and on Google maps. Showing up in those local results can drive business your way.

Showing up high in search engine results also gives your business a bit of a credibility and trust boost. People tend to assume that businesses that rank well are reliable or at least not verging on closure.

Good SEO efforts can also serve as a kind of support for other online marketing efforts, such as paid search marketing campaigns like PPC.

SEO for Beginners and You

The above SEO for beginners guide gives you a picture of the kinds of things you must address as part of your digital marketing efforts.

You can typically divide SEO into technical and non-technical areas. Technical SEO deals mostly with your website and its programming. Non-technical SEO primarily deals with the content you generate for your site and social media profiles.

If dealing with some or all of that is beyond your technical skills or available time, you aren't completely in the cold.

Obizmax provides SEO and digital marketing services to businesses. For a quote on services, contact Obizmax today.

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