There’s no doubt about it: Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has changed. To be honest, sometimes I wish it hadn’t. It’d make my job so much easier if I could just stuff a few keywords here, write a few blogposts there and buy a few links from overseas and instantly start making millions of dollars for our clients. Wouldn’t that be nice?
But the reality is this: everything great in life comes with a lot of hard work. Nowadays, SEO is about looking at a website from a holistic point of view. It’s not just about ‘optimising’ keywords and spamming everyone with blog posts – it’s about optimising everything in your entire business: the marketing, the products, the brand, the content, the copy, the hosting, the social media, the conversion funnel and a whole lot more (if you want to see a fantastic video on the new definition of search engine optimisation, check out this post by Rand Fishkin from Moz).
For smaller-sized businesses and startups, however, going this deep into SEO may seem like a daunting and highly unaffordable task. If you’re currently running a one-person operation with a small budget and don’t even know where to begin when it comes to SEO, here are four things that can help you with the marketability of your products and services online:
Find out if there’s actually a market for what you’re selling
Do the research. You may think it’s cool to sell golden yo-yos, but is there a market for them? Are you offering something that people actually aren’t searching for? You can easily check out how many people search for a term each month (like ‘buy yo-yos online’) through Google’s Keyword Planner Tool.
Be careful. It’s a little bit fiddly at first and it will ask you to sign up to Google AdWords, so please make sure to find a good tutorial online on the right places to go to. But once you skim past all of that mumbo jumbo, you’ll find some excellent data on how many people actually search for your desired product or service every month.
You can also use Google Trends to see the kinds of trends for your desired product and also see how they have been performing seasonally.
Remember to also do your competitor research. Find your point of difference: how are you doing better than they are?
Add a Facebook like button to your blog posts
A lot of businesses miss out on this. Adding a simple like button at the end of your blog posts can help countless other people discover your website, essentially for free.
If you’re the only person who knows about your website and you have a whole lot of friends on Facebook, simply hit ‘like’ on your blog post and it can be shared to your friend’s list – it’s free and easy marketing.
Make the website easy for everyone
Is it easy to sign up, make a purchase or navigate your way around your website? One reason why Google became successful is because of its simplicity. Your goal is to make the customer experience as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible.
Think about your own purchase habits. Are you sick of constantly having to sign up and create passwords for accounts? Do you quit sites that don’t offer free shipping? Do you only trust sites that have PayPal or some kind of logo that guarantees secure purchases? Do you have patience with slow loading websites? Do you like videos that immediately begin playing when you visit a website?
There’s so much clutter in this world, and it’s your job to make your customer’s experience enjoyable and memorable. Once people love your site, they can return with more friends.
If you just read the 4-Hour Workweek and felt inspired to create a quick money-making online machine that will instantly make you passive income with little to no effort, then you’re in for some harsh realities.
There are countless other websites out there that are all competing to sell similar products and services online as you. To beat them, you actually have to work hard. If you’d like to truly maximise your SEO, you can contact Studio Culture to leave the hard work to a team of experts, or you can try optimising your website for yourself in the meantime (if you are, then we hope this blog post helped).
David is Studio Culture’s Head of Digital Marketing.