Generating new business can be super difficult, especially when you’re a start-up. SEO is a proven processed and should be used by any business that’s serious about company growth.
If your anything like me, it means having so many hats you forget which one your wearing. It’s not just managing your sales, but also your marketing, accounting and even customer service, and unfortunately, this is something the majority of new businesses go through.
However, this doesn’t mean generating new clients is something you can neglect, we know it’s a necessity for your businesses economic well-being.
If you’ve found yourself in this position the likelihood is that you’ve spent some time scaling the web for how-to’s and free guides on growing your business, but at the end of the day these are just basic tips that every successful business owner has, or should have, already mastered. And generally, these are not helpful enough for you to generate any new sales.
Regardless of how many creative techniques you come up with to increase said sales and brand awareness, it’s not always enough to thrive, even survive, in such a technical world.
More and more businesses are taking advantage of how technologically advanced the planet has become, and this means more competition for us.
With so many businesses online, how can we prove we have greater services than the next guy when we’re buried deep in the web?
Well, one of the most powerful options would be to take on the mammoth of SEO. It’s a long-winded, difficult to master process, I’m not going to pretend it isn’t. But that’s a good thing right?
It means it’s a process we can utilize to separate our business from the rest, and those who put in the most effort to make use of this often reap the rewards.
Now, if you’ve already got a grasp of what SEO is, you can carry on reading, but for those of you that haven’t, you can take a quick look at what SEO actually is before we continue.
And if you think like many other business owners have said to me before; “no one is really going to be looking for us”, that’s not entirely true.
No matter what intent behind the search, there’s always someone looking for your services. So much so in fact, that according to SEO tribunal around 63,000 searches per second are made on Google. This is only increasing as the digital life becomes the norm for more and more people around the world.
Is it really as powerful as we make it out to be?
A lot of people are sceptical towards SEO, and in all honestly, this is fair; given the bad reputation our industry has. This is often due to poor performance businesses have received in the past, or just the general bad vibe around it meaning people won’t even give it the time of day.
It can also be a little off putting when it’s something you haven’t heard of before and don’t quite understand, and if history has taught us anything, not everybody likes to embrace change.
Unfortunately for those individuals, it’s either ‘adapt or die’
People are also sceptical when something seems too good to be true, which is often the case with the enormous promises SEO delivers. But no, it really is as powerful as you read.
Don’t however, get confused thinking it’s something that can be implemented overnight, and that’s exactly why the process is so mighty.
SEO is a hard and painfully long journey, a process that needs continuous attention to to perform as you would expect.
Over a number of years websites and businesses that have implemented SEO strategies to the point of nothing more than a daily routine have taken the lead with their products and services and grown their business to a substantial level.
Fortunately, even though there are many businesses that implement such strategies, there are also a huge number who have not.
Every one of those sceptical business owners that stays clear of SEO is another opportunity to leave them behind. It provides a massive gap in the market for anyone that decides to take on any SEO to its true potential.
Using SEO to Generate New Leads
New leads are closely followed by new clients, and that’s something every business needs in order to grow. SEO gives us the opportunity to generate these new leads every day without having to write a single outreach email.
Implementing a combination of SEO practices will allow your site to appear in front of its potential customers for a number of relevant queries.
The way digital marketing works is no different from how regular marketing does, yes it’s a lot more technical and boils down to a completely different process, but the principal is the same.
SEO and Social Media Management is simply the modern age of advertisement.
There are millions of websites out there and billions of people on social media; this is a goldmine for anyone wanting to scale their business digitally.
Scaling this process will help increase your search engine rankings for targeted keywords, thus increasing your traffic, and with the correct sales funnel, these can repeatedly be turned in to warm leads.
However, as I’ve already mentioned, this isn’t as easy as clicking a button. SEO requires of well thought-out marketing strategy to ensure your efforts aren’t wasted.
It continually surprises me that the industry is on a constant rise, and still unknown to so, so many business owners.
1. Get a Google Business Listing
Having a GMB (Google my business) listing is a great way for you to get noticed online. Its a rare opportunity to get a quick win and grow your business with SEO from such little much work.
This is a place where you can provide Google with a summary of your business. This includes aspects such as general information, services you provide, service areas, and content you publish.
Completing and optimizing your Google business listing to its full potential provides incredible value for the work required. Google then compiles this information into search snippets, such as directions, company address, telephone and opening hours, along with various other important information.
A great way for potential customers to get to know you in a quick snapshot.
Once you have a GMB setup, your business will also start to appear on Google maps, and this is more useful than you think.
In combination with a process known as Local SEO, you can put your business in front of local queries. These are search queries with a specific location tied to them. They rank differently to normal search terms and have different aspects associated with their ranking performance. Google My Business being one of them.
Local SEO is a longer process to optimize than simply filling out a business listing. That being said, it is incredibly powerful for growing your business, specifically ones that sell their services or products locally, or even to a specific service area.
I’ve included a couple examples of local search queries to give you an idea of what I’m talking about;
– “estate agents near me”
– “estate agents in [your local area]”
– “estate agents in [your local city]”
And if this is a little confusing in any way, just think about it logically, Google can’t provide your services to “local” customers, if it doesn’t know where you are.
Google my business listing can also be used to show all of your company reviews. As best practice stands, you will want to make sure these are unique, and not repeated across your site and various social platforms.
Aside from the obvious of increasing your brands trust, reviews are also used as a ranking factor and have an impact on the local pack; as you can see above, and example of a google local pack.
These appear at ‘position zero’, meaning they are displayed above any search results, including those at the top spot.
2. Improve your website speed
It’s no secret that visitors are off put by slow websites, and I say that because I know anyone reading this at some point has left a website due to its slow nature.
Unfortunately, visitors clicking off your site before getting what they need, can often leave them with a bad experience, and not to mention, you might of just missed out on a sale.
Simply put, it’s bad for both SEO and user experience (which is also a ranking factor).
According to Kissmetrics, 47% of visitors expect a website to load in under 2 seconds, and a huge 40% of visitors will leave if it takes longer than 3!
Unfortunately for us, we are all just too impatient, myself included! and so a slow website could cost you. We fix this by optimising your websites’ speed to reduce the chance of these visitors leaving to find an answer elsewhere.
You can improve your website speed through a number of aspects including compression of videos, images, and removing unnecessary plugins.
It’s not difficult to resolve slow speed and get your website back on average load time, but I’m afraid when your in the end game, you’re going to need a lot of technical knowledge, and often access to the bank end of your website. Which let me tell you, is a daunting experience the first time around!
So unless you’re confident, tweaking its performance can get a little complicated.
Although a slow website can be detrimental to your bottom line, it’s important not to obsess over the metrics. I’ve seen many cases where people spend enormous amounts of time trying to improve their site speed from 95 to 100.
And unless you’re in an extremely competitive zone competing with the ‘big guns’ the difference will go unnoticed.
Yes, Google hates slow sites, but that doesn’t mean they need to be perfect either. Your time can be better spent elsewhere.
Just don’t give it a complete miss if your trying to utilize SEO to grow your business.
In my experience, the best way to judge a site is by trying it out yourself. Load it up on various devices and ask your friends and family too. Make sure they give you their honest opinion and if it loads quick enough for the average person, your honestly good to go.
3. Produce consistent and high quality content
Producing high-quality content on a consistent basis is a great way for you to not only increase your SEO but also provide valuable information to your visitors.
The majority of site users visit your website up to 4 times before making a purchase, this can be even more if you provide a service rather than a product.
These four visits are crucial to your business. So make sure you keep that in mind when writing your next article.
Many people including myself will come back to a brand and purchase an item or service after reading some high-quality content on their site in the past.
For example, if I’m looking for a contractor to fit a new kitchen, I might want to do a little research beforehand, just so I know what I’m looking for.
If I then stumble upon a great article telling me exactly what to look out for and what to be wary of, that company has instantly left me with a good experience. I know they’re knowledgeable and honest about their work, and if they provide the services I’m looking for, they’re now at the top of my list.
Visitors are always at different stages in the buyers journey, so it’s key to accommodate for them at every step.
If a visitor enjoys your posts and takes away valuable information and knowledge, you’ll then become a trustworthy, reputable company to that visitor.
If this visitor in the future has any more queries or questions of the same nature, believe it or not, they will often revisit your site based on that last positive experience they had.
And this process works in reverse too, if a visitor has read one of your poorly optimized, low quality articles, that user is unlikely to return in the future.
Writing content for your site is a relatively simple process but a harder one to master. The easiest way to add more content to a website is through the means of a blog.
A lot of business owners tend to reject the idea of having a blog because they cannot see the value or how it would benefit their business.
A blog can provide you with the opportunity to rank for many search queries and keywords, giving you the opportunity to increase the traffic to your site.
To create content that is deemed as “high quality”, you should make sure it is written in a way that is easy to understand and read, free of mistakes, and provides incredible value to its reader.
The more unique content you have the better.
4. Make sure your Website is Mobile-Friendly
We now live in a world where more people use a mobile device for search engine queries rather than a desktop or laptop.
Unfortunately this makes our life a little harder as our websites are usually built and optimised for a full-size computer screen.
Ensuring your website is mobile-friendly and responsive will inevitably decrease your bounce rate and provide an overall better experience for its users.
People can be discouraged from viewing websites that don’t fit the screen properly and are clunky. I’ve seen first hand, a lot of sites even have elements that don’t load at all.
Unhappy users aren’t the only problem, Google doesn’t like websites that are poorly optimised for mobile devices either, and this can have a huge impact on your SEO.
No one wants to navigate through a messy, unreadable site and neither does Google and why should they bother when they can just find another?
Chances are they won’t anyway, if your performance isn’t up to scratch, it’s unlikely that you’ll be ranking highly.
All in all, keep your content responsive and make sure your website on a mobile device is just as good as that on a desktop.
5. Utilize social media platforms
The majority of businesses have a social media account these days, not many don’t. But the problem is, it’s never used to its full potential.
If you hop onto Google right now, search for a query, and view the top 10 results. You’ll find that the bulk of these businesses don’t regularly post on their social media.
This will get worse as you progress down the results page as social signals are a great backlink, meaning they usually have direct correlation with high ranking websites.
Most businesses set up their social accounts as part of the process of registering a business, It’s just something your told to do, or think will be a great idea to share your new venture!
As time goes by and these business have run out of ideas bar their welcome posts and new product lines, they get neglected.
They are filled out with just enough basic information for the platform to allow you to publish, and left to die.
When in fact, social media can play a huge part in your business growth.
If you have ever used social media yourself, you will know how large these markets are, and the incredible potential it has. Billions of people are using social media every day and this is only growing.
It’s virtually impossible to find a website that ranks for a difficult and competitive keyword without having a large social media presence behind it.
A “large” social media presence however, doesn’t always mean millions of followers. An engaging community is far better than a dormant page with a million and one likes.
Having a community that is constantly interacting with your content, whether that’s liking, sharing, or dropping a comment, will result in a much better yield.
Google and social platforms alike, love engagement, and if you can show that on your social media, it sends strong signals your way.
Social media is also the best place for people to get to know you and your business, you can provide a personal front to your brand, add a touch of personality to your work, and show people that you care about what you do.
Unfortunately, as always, growing your presence isn’t as easy as it sounds.
This requires a lot of money and/or time.
See, a while back, social media was much easier to scale on, but it seems the more we progress the more greedy these platforms get, and reach/growth can be limited if your not spending money on ads.
Ads are a little difficult to get right, they require a heck of a lot of testing and even more money.
Trust me, I’ve been there…
But once you’ve found your audience, the potential can be enormous, just look at a project we’ve recently taken on for a client. Once we found their audience after a couple months of testing various products and demographics, we scaled their ads, generating over £1,500 per day in revenue, and incase your wondering, this resulted in a 45% profit margin.
Extra tip: make sure you’re also posting your blog over on your social platforms, it’s a great way to convert your audience and send traffic over to your website.
6. Keyword research
Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of search engine optimisation and is fundamental to the success of your digital marketing efforts.
Business producing content tend to just write what they think is best, or even worse, piggy-back their content from a 4rd party. This is a colossal waste of time. So if your reading this and think, “hey, that’s me!” I’d strongly advise you to take note of the following.
Those of us that do conduct our research before producing content tend to choose a keyword or phrase with the highest search volume available to attempt to rank for, this is a huge mistake and is repeated too often.
As common sense should tell you, the more people who search for a keyword the more competitive the rankings will be, but even if your having a bad day and your brain fails you, just spend those few seconds popping it into your favourite tool and check out the competition.
The best way to approach this process is to pick long-tail keywords and specific phrases that have a relatively high value, but also a low competition. This can require a tremendous amount of research we know, and hard work to be done correctly.
But it’s worth it, trust me.
Think of keyword research as simply as a brainstorm activity to find the backbone of your articles content.
There are many tools you can use to find such data, we personally use Ahrefs to help with the process. If your on a limited budget, you can even use Google themselves and check out their Keyword Planner.
You can see a brief look below.
Having a high search volume isn’t necessarily always a bad thing, you just have to look out for other metrics too.
Let’s try an example; if you own a cake store, the word cake itself will inevitably have a high competition.
However you can’t avoid the word all together as that would be virtually impossible, and if your running a cake store for example, it’s going to be your main focus.
So how do you solve this?
Your website needs a mixture of high and relatively low competition keywords which can result in ranking leaps. You should start small and work your way up as your sites authority and trust increases.
So start off with a low volume keyword, don’t worry about getting too many leads at this point, just focus on ranking your content.
Once you’ve established you can do it, move on to something a little more difficult. Over a number of years you can rinse and repeat until your competing for some seriously juicy phrases.
Picking the wrong group of keywords however, could be detrimental to your sites performance and search engine rankings.
If you target low volume generally all-round bad terms, your content isn’t going to be found by anyone.
When conducting your research, you must also take into consideration what position a visitor is at in their buyers journey by identifying the intent behind those keywords.
For example, “cake” is a very broad term, and a searchers intentions could be anywhere, however, a term such as narrow as “how to make a birthday cake” is very clear. That visitor is looking for a guide or instructions, so that’s what you will want to write for when targeting that phrase.
It’s important to keep this in the back of your mind when performing your keyword analysis. A simple way you can check the intent of a keyword is by looking at the SERPs.
You can see a screenshot above of the top 10 results the term “cake” has generated, just give each one a quick look over and you should easily be able to see the topics they are covering and the intent behind them.
I hope you have began to grasp how important SEO can be and the massive potential it can have. The 6 steps we have outlined above are some of the easiest and most crucial, but we’re only scratching the surface.
There is plenty more to learn, and always will be.
It’s not doubt a time consuming process, so if your on a tight budget or have limited time available, it’s a good idea to have a SEO checklist at hand. This way you can focus on the things that will have the biggest impact on your rankings without allocating too much of your time.