If you’re a small business owner, SEO (search engine optimization) might seem like an unnecessary expense. It might even appear, with constantly changing search engine algorithms, that it’s not worth your effort and time — but the truth is, SEO is more important than ever. It’s continuously evolving and expanding into additional areas. While previously it was primarily associated with larger businesses, now it’s just as critical for smaller businesses. Here are a few things to consider when thinking about your SEO plan

SEO Defined

SEO is much more involved and complex than you might think. Although content and keywords are a crucial aspect of SEO, there are other elements involved that are just as important. You can take action to improve your SEO both on and off your website. Improving individual pages to enhance search engine ranking falls under on-page SEO. Keywords, load speed, navigation, formatting, URLs, responsive design, and on-site blogging all benefit this type of SEO. Off-page SEO includes link building, social media, articles, and off-site business profiles.

Getting Started With SEO

Getting started with SEO requires blocking out periods of time and being intentional about your goals. It’s a challenging task, but rewarding — and more effective than many traditional marketing strategies. SEO is an example of an inbound lead and costs less to implement than an outbound lead (cold calling, for example). Some areas to focus on are local SEO (including long-tail keywords), link building, high-quality keyword research, and keyword optimization.

Do some brainstorming for keywords — more than you’ll ultimately need. Find out the top-performing terms that pertain to your niche. Weave these keywords through your entire website — in blogs, copy, tags, and guest posts. Then, do some promotion of your website by using Google My Business, social media, and reciprocal linking. Check analytics frequently to determine keyword performance and change your approach as necessary.

Evaluating SEO Strategy

One of the most satisfying aspects of SEO is that it’s quantifiable. Your analytics tool(s) will let you know who’s coming to your website, what they’re doing once they arrive, and how they got there. That information can lead to an actionable strategy. For example, if a particular search term is bringing a high number of visitors to your site, you can use the keyword even more — because you know it’s effective.

Start with the basics as you enhance your SEO. Try this straightforward approach to make a real difference in your search engine visibility.