These 8 Steps Will Help You Design A SEO STRATEGY That'll Propel Your SMALL BUSINESS To New Heights

Updated: Sep 10, 2021


Everything small business owners should know about SEO- including step by step instructions on how to perform a technical audit of your site and content- using 100% free tools-.


Thanks for joining us for a bit- we hope you enjoy the free content.

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√ Increase the amount and consistency of organic traffic

√ Launch more effective PPC Campaigns with better ROI

√ Improve brand credibility, trust, authority and rankings

√ Create high-value content and intent-driven strategies

√ Create a better user-experience and close more leads!








SEO Is the foundation of organic growth in the digital world-

SEO- or Search Engine Optimization is the technical process of increasing organic (found naturally through Search Engine Results Pages), high-value traffic to your website or landing page.


Through a series of technical refinements, user-testing and content creation, even the smallest business can enhance their presence on search sites like Google, and increase the amount of traffic to their website- without spending money on PPC (pay-per-click) marketing campaigns.


The following pages contain free resources, knowledge, and strategies that you can implement to drive results for your brand, quickly and effectively. Just remember- research, planning and long-term consistency are key!



COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SEO

X-- SEO is a one time thing


X-- SEO just means writing the keyword in my title and text


X-- The more times my keyword appears the higher I’ll rank


X-- Once my site is SEO’d I don’t need to market


X-- I can just enhance my SEO with Ads and PPC


X-- I’ll always keep the top spot because my website’s older


X-- I can buy backlinks and content to fill my site quickly



HERE’S THE TRUTH ABOUT SEO

√-- SEO requires planning, research, and consistent effort


√-- SEO is a blend of on-page, off-page and technical work


√-- Keyword stuffing will do you more harm than good


√-- You still need to promote new content


√-- Ads & PPC are completely seperate results than organic SEO


√-- Relevancy, quality and connection matter more than site age


√-- Low-value content and dead backlinks will hurt your rankings




 


READY TO DESIGN AN SEO STRATEGY THAT’LL PROPEL YOUR BUSINESS TO NEW HEIGHTS?

SEO takes a considerable and consistent investment of time, energy, and resources. So how do we build a winning strategy?


Read ahead- this blog post will guide you through performing a comprehensive analysis/audit of your current SEO, and will assist you in developing an organized strategy to enhance your online presence.


Remember that SEO is a long-term game, and that quality matters much more than quantity. Winning SEO strategies are built upon a solid foundation of research, user testing, and data analysis- continuously adjusted and refined.


(Want a portable copy of this post- complete with checklists and more detailed step-by step instructions- download the SEO Strategy Guide Here)



TECHNICAL AUDIT

Let’s audit your website/landing pages and note any problems or weaknesses we encounter-


A technical audit will allow us to identify issues that are inhibiting SEO results and possibly harming your rankings. It will also assist you in creating an effective digital and real-world marketing campaign for the content your brand produces.


We'll go through these 8 steps to perform our comprehensive site audit and design a stronger SEO strategy.


1. Generate site report

2. Run Responsive/Mobile Test

3. Run Site Speed Test

4. Check All Links

5. Verify Correct Header Use

6. Validate Content & Keywords

7. Site Security (SSL) Check

8. Review/Prep Off Page SEO Campaigns



 

1- Lets start by GENERATING A SITE REPORT

A site report will provide a comprehensive overview of site performance factors such as speed, keyword density, backlinks and current website authority-


These sites will analyze your SEO and generate a site report for Free!

Simply enter your site and analyze | Screenshot or download the results!-


UBER SUGGEST - https://neilpatel.com/ubersuggest/


MOZ SEO ANALYSIS TOOL - https://moz.com/free-seo-tools


SEOptimer - https://www.seoptimer.com/


Once you've run your report- keep it accessible - we will continuously reference the data compiled in it as we work through the remaining steps of your website’s technical audit.



 


2. Responsive + Mobile Testing

Is your site designed to look and function flawlessly across all operating systems and screen sizes?


The importance of a responsive/mobile friendly website-

85% of adults think that a company’s website when viewed on a mobile device should be as good or better than its desktop website.


Globally, 68.1% of all website visits in 2020 came from mobile device


Visitors may abandon your website if it takes more than 3 SECONDS to load--- this is straight from the development team at Google!


Let's check your website for responsive/mobile friendly functionality-

Simply enter your site and analyze | Screenshot the results!-


Since Google is the #1 online search engine, let’s use the Google mobile-friendly analyzer to test your sites responsiveness-


https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly


(Pro-tip | to quickly check for responsiveness and mobile-friendly adaptability, visit your website or landing page, and resize your browser screen. You’ll be able to see a responsive website change to fit certain screens)


IS YOUR WEBSITE OR LANDING PAGE MOBILE-FRIENDLY? Y/N

If your website isn’t optimized for mobile- it’s costing you traffic and conversions.

This comprehensive article by Marketpath explains the benefits of a mobile-friendly site. Need help updating your site? Our team is happy to help!


"You can reach out to me personally- instantly." Davron Bowman | Leader of The Developing Team






 


3. Let's run a site speed test-

First, let’s check the current speed of your website and landing pages-


We’ll use Google’s free Page Speed Analysis tool to examine all of the pages that make up your website-


Take a moment to document your Page Speed Test results including

  • Home page speed

  • Landing page speed

  • Galleries and Portfolio Page speed

  • Checkout Page speed

After analyzing your site- enter sites or landing pages from your top competitors - How does your Site Page Speed compare? What adjustments can you make to speed your site pages up and possibly overtake your competition?



 


4. Check all of your internal and external site links-

Are all of your site links functional, relevant to your industry, and valuable to your users?


Low-value, spammy, broken and unrelated links can cost you tons of site traffic-

Link building is a continuous SEO component that helps search engines determines how well a page should rank in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).


Internal site links, external links as well as links back to your site from other domains- all play a vital role in increasing the authority and trustworthiness of your site-


Low value, spammy, broken or irrelevant links are all harmful to SEO- and in extreme cases could even lead to your contents removal from SERPS


When it comes to analyzing your site- SEMRush, ahrefs, Google and sites like SEOReviewTools all offer an incredible selection of free link checkers-


You’re probably familiar with most of Google’s analytic functions- so let’s analyze your inbound and outbound site links using the free link checking tool from ahrefs.


Use this tool to identify

  • Broken Links

  • Expired Links

  • Low Value Links

  • Irrelevant Links


After removing irrelevant and low value links from your site- you’ll need to decide whether it’s better to replace and reconnect broken links- or build new, internal, high-value content for your audience to link to!










5. Verify correct use of header tags

While header tags won’t make or break your site’s ranking results- they’re still extremely important.


Header tags allow Google to quickly scan and index information on your site.

Not only Google- your users will reap the benefits of being able to quickly do a visual scan of your content and move forward with their own unique journey.


Google might not penalize or reward you based on your use of header tags- but the results of proper header use - H1-H6 is critical to overall site strength.


Correct utilization of header tags will result in better site organization, fast and accurate content indexing, and much stronger UX journeys through your site. How? By making it easy for people, and crawlers (Google SERP bots) to understand the content and kind of the context (images, quotes) displayed on each of your pages.


Understanding header tags

When it comes to creating content and subject headlines- one of the most commonly used methods is to bump up the font size and apply a BOLD effect. If you’re guilty of this- don’t worry. 1.) You’re not alone, and 2.) You’re only a few adjustments away from resolving these errors and improving your website!


The quick guide below has been designed to provide you with a basic understanding of how H1-H6 headers should be used to organize information on your website.


  • H1- TITLE HEADER one per page- identifies main topic

  • H2 - MAIN POINTS most used header. Topics, steps or points

  • H3 - SUB TOPICS used to break down topics under main points

  • H4 - VERY SPECIFIC TOPIC (most sites don’t go beyond h4)

  • H5/H6- EXAMPLES, VISUALS, SPECIFIC SUMMARY (these tags are rarely used in common sites, and would be mainly used for large statistic or highly technical content posts.

(Our friends over at ElegantTheme also have an amazing Youtube video that covers using header tags correctly- Check it out HERE)




 


6. Validate your site content and keywords

Are you providing high-value, up-to-date content and utilizing relevant, powerful keywords for your brand?


Irrelevant keywords and low-value content will damage SERP results-

The purpose of the content and keywords used throughout your website should be focused on providing transactional, educational or navigational assistance to your visitors.


Tailoring your content and keywords to user intent is one of the most effective ways to increase the amount of organic traffic to your site. It’s also much easier to convert users if you supply the direct information, guidance and resources they’ve been searching for.


These days- it takes more than basic keywords and easy content to drive results!


Select stronger keywords and create better content!


KEYWORD RESEARCH AND VALIDATION-

-Study your users. Put yourself in their shoes. What question-s are they asking? What content do they prefer? What platforms do they use?


-Compile a list of popular/important or niche industry topics- what intent-filled questions would lead you to this content? What keywords and content is your competition developing?


-Define your goals, and align your short and longtail keywords to align with the desired final result.


-Take advantage of emerging or low-competition keywords


-Use websites like AnswerThePublic, Google Trends, and Moz, to analyze keyword density and popularity.


-Create audience personas to define different sets of keywords to test in marketing campaigns.


-Keep content updated, on schedule, and relevant.


-TEST, TEST, TEST- use split tests and unique campaigns to determine the content and keywords that perform the best. Build off of those!




 


7. Verify your site security (SSL)

Is your site designed to look and function flawlessly across all operating systems and screen sizes?


Weak, expired, outdated security certificates will kill your site traffic!

Many business owners are surprised to find out that one of the main reasons for low or no traffic- is an expired Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).


An SSL certificate is in essence, the internet approving your site for use- communicating to visitors that your site is safe is secured!


You’ve probably noticed that most modern websites begin with https://www. The S in https provides a visual verification that a site is SECURE.


If you don’t have an SSL certificate, your website will still look and function the same- but visitors will receive a notification that your site is not secure.


How to tell if your site has an SSL certificate-

These are 3 of the easiest and most reliable ways to verify the security status of your website/landing pages.


----1.) If your site begins with “https” instead of “http, it means that it is secured via a Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure connection.


----2.) You can use free tools such as Google’s safe browsing transparency analyzer and VirusTotal to check the security of your site. (VirusTotal will also allow you to analyze files such as photos and documents)


----3.) Check for proof of an SSL certificate- When using open-source platforms like WordPress- it’s important to ensure your theme is modern and current. Verify SSL certificates, and security protocols on any plug-ins to ensure they are safe.


PRO NOTE-- Personally- Wix is our platform of choice. Wix is not open source, meaning that all of the platforms features are monitored internally for security issues. They have a simple SSL certification process that takes less than 30 seconds, and are known for security measures taken against hackers and identity thieves.


IS YOUR SITE SECURE?-

Hopefully it is! If not- it’s costing you traffic and inhibiting progress. Contact a webmaster, developer or agency to resolve this issue quickly!




 



8. Strong off-page SEO strategies

The content you create and deploy off-site is just as valuable as the content displayed on your site.


Off-page SEO is essential to the growth of your small business or start-up!

Off-page SEO is incredibly important, especially during the early stages of building your brand.


Off-page SEO tells search engines that your website is respected and recognized by others on the web- with every backlink, mention, comment and share of your site serving as a mini endorsement or testimonial.


While off-page SEO might sound like a very technical process- it breaks down to actions you’re probably already taking in business. Running ads, social media campaigns, and deploying high-value content about your service, product and industry through blogs, guest posts and educational campaigns.


Creating a strong off-page SEO strategy

Below are 20 powerful Off-Page SEO building actions that you can begin to integrate into your complete small business marketing strategy.


  1. Guest Post Blog Articles

  2. Fixing Broken & Damaged Links

  3. Profile Linking

  4. White Papers & Documents

  5. Designing Infographics

  6. Podcasting

  7. Social Media (IG, FB, LN)

  8. PR Outreach/Collaborations

  9. Update Directory Listings

  10. Create Email Campaigns

  11. Launch Video Content

  12. Conduct Interviews

  13. Request Attribution

  14. Trade Images For Links

  15. Host Expert Roundups

  16. Live Sessions On Twitch

  17. Participate In + Host Events

  18. Display Customer Reviews

  19. Provide Reviews

  20. Be Active On Q&A Platforms


Remember that off-page SEO is a long-term game - Don’t rush to create crappy content! Instead, focus on value, quality, and nurturing organic connection.



CONGRATULATIONS!
You just completed a comprehensive SEO audit!
YOU SHOULD FEEL PROUD OF YOURSELF!






Time to design a SEO strategy unique to your brand and audience- and set it in motion!

Conducting an SEO audit of your content has hopefully left you with a better understanding of your sites current status, and a few ideas of how to improve.


While the world of SEO can seem quite intimidating at first- creating an organized, intent-driven, user-first strategy- will allow you to move forward confidently, and consistently.


Take some time to refine your site and content using the suggestions found throughout this guide. Once your updates are complete- run a few new marketing campaigns, and then audit your site again.


Continually refining your site, content and keywords to align with the needs of your audience guarantees results!



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