On-site SEO discussions are typically dominated by technical debates about how search engines analyze and store HTML. For small business owners, the discussion is much more practical and alarming. Specifically, small business websites do on-site SEO poorly or not at all, leaving large amounts of search traffic and potential customers on the table.
The lack of small business on-site SEO is more about discipline, time management, repetition, and know-how. Here is a simple four-step approach to building high-value traffic through on-site SEO that should be repeated twice per month (minimum) on every small business website.
1. Identify Demand
Every website page should be positioned to catch existing demand as SEO (generally) doesn't create demand. This means using keyword research to see how end users search in various categories.
When a small business is just starting, it's important to pick keywords that are easy to rank on until you see some results. Google AdWords will show the competition level in their free keyword tool, as will many other tools.
The beginner should pick a keyword with no more than 300 searches per month (critical: Use Exact match) and is marked as “Low” competition by Google. Also pick keywords on which the business has something valuable to share because it is important that these visitors stay onsite once they land.
2. Create Great Content
While small business owners are often the most knowledgeable in their fields due immense practical experience, the lack of strong on-site SEO means their websites often under-perform.
Great content comes in the form of videos, blogs, podcasts, discussions, infographics, white papers, webinars and articles – all targeted toward what the end user is searching for. This is an information exchange.
Regardless of the medium, the content needs to be compelling. Use any of the following tactics to create audience engagement:
- Current events/news
- Technical explanation
- Scare tactics
3. Tune Content
The majority of on-site SEO articles focus heavily on this topic, and it is important:
- Review your keyword density (yes, this still matters greatly), title tag, URL, image alt attributes, and meta tags.
- Make the page attractive with images that complement the content.
- Add appropriate and informative links to other great on-site content as well as links to highly-authoritative websites. This will achieve SEO co-citation, but in a very natural and end-user-friendly fashion.
- Apply authorship code and schema.org attributes for any special features on the page such as video.
4. Track & Promote
All projects need to be measurable, and on-site SEO is no exception. Track new page performance in the SERPs.
If the domain authority is already high and a low-competition keyword was selected, the new content may jump to page 1. If so, wait 2 weeks and repeat.
If a page 1 ranking isn't achieved (which is more likely), apply off-site SEO promotion in the form of link building, content marketing, social media, syndication, RSS, guest blogging, infographics, and participation in appropriate discussions such as forums and blog comments.
Tracking and promotion on the newly launched page should continue indefinitely until page 1 is achieved, but shouldn't impede the next onsite SEO project.
Tuning on-site content receives the lion's share of attention from most SEO blogs because it is important. But small business owners have a bigger problem: A total lack of consistent onsite SEO content creation process.
The four steps above offer a simple path toward regular, high-quality, content creation and promotion that will improve rankings and prospective customers from the Internet. It should be repeated twice per month at a minimum to keep any small business website fresh.