4 Top strategies

You cannot have success without a winning strategy. Good tactics might win a few scuffles — and random, uncontrollable variables might determine a battle’s outcome — but ultimate victory requires an overarching vision and persistence to see it through.

Think of it like a basketball game. No coach’s game plan is to “do all the things.” Instead, a winning strategy might be using a power forward post game to control the clock and slow the pace; or spread the court and beat the opposition with advantageous one-on-one match-ups; or to lean on your defense, generating points off turnovers.

SEO is a contest, just like war and sports. Search engines are the game boards, websites are the game pieces, and marketers compete for the most rewarding spaces. A winning strategy is required if you want to find success. This is especially true for small business owners with limited resources. Below are more top strategies for building your SEO.

1. Embrace Technology

The way people interact with the Internet is changing, and marketers who’ve been slow to react are getting left behind. If you’re in this camp, there’s no better time to make embracing technology the cornerstone of your SEO strategy.

Embracing technology goes further than having a mobile-responsive website. This may also mean streamlining your site to appeal to smartphone users, or optimizing your landing pages so that visitors from Google click through to your shopping cart. It means evaluating your hosting provider and optimizing images to quicken your page speeds. A smartphone app may be a complement your website. It may also mean investing in tutorial videos, interactive graphics and other website content designed for people who swipe, not type.

Keeping up with technology should be in the background of everything you do, even if you eventually shift to a completely different strategy. But if you’ve neglected your website and the shift toward mobile Internet usage, then nothing will give you larger gains from less work than a technology-based SEO strategy.

2. Get Hyper-Local

Marketing toward your local audience might not have the same reach as pushing your brand regionally, nationally or globally. However, there’s tremendous value in a localized marketing strategy, especially for small business owners who have traditional brick-and-mortar storefronts.

Recent studies show that 88 percent of smartphone owners search locally for goods and services. Of those, 78 percent have followed their searches with purchases from local stores.  It was also, noted in the study that 56 percent of all on-the-go searches had “local intent.”

Adopting a localized SEO strategy isn’t just good for your search rankings, but also for getting more customers into your business. This translates to real, face-to-face relationships with customers that are more likely to last than impersonal online relationships. And as more people visit your business, they’ll also write online reviews and talk to friends and family about their experiences — all of which cements the merits of a hyper-local SEO strategy.

If you want to make this your game plan, start by evaluating your website and think of ways to highlight its local appeal. List your full physical address, mention your region (not just your city) on your about page, and commence blogging about local issues.

Interact with customers on social media, and share your involvement in community events. Meanwhile, start a Google My Business page and also get listed on other directory sites that might attract visitors from highly ranked search results.

3. Grow via Social Media

Social media marketing is a different ballgame than SEO. That said, the two forms of marketing can complement each other. Social media is unique in its ability to form more personal online relationships with customers both local and away. Furthermore, the various popular social media platforms give marketers different ways to connect with potential customers.

If this is your strategy, though, then always be mindful of the relationship between your website and your social media feeds. What kind of content can you create for your website that would be irresistible to your Facebook fans? How can you build your brand and relationships through your comments and interactions? Most businesses are active on Facebook, but might Twitter or Instagram be better for your audiences?

Cultivating a strong, positive social media presence will raise awareness of your business, resulting in more back links, organic searches and engagement for your website — all of which is great for SEO.

4. Show Your Expertise

Do you have years or decades of experience in your area of expertise? If so, you might have insights that most people haven’t considered — and that includes your competition. Finding ways to share your intrinsic knowledge could be the backbone of a winning SEO strategy.

The goal here is connecting with customers by offering them something that’s of immediate value. This could be a guide on how to paint a bedroom or change a tire. It could be an infographic or video that shows why people need to be mindful of what your business has to offer. You could write blog entries or social media posts about how to solve common problems or prepare for seasonal hardships.

In addition, think outside the confines of your website and social media platforms. Propose story ideas that are relevant to your business to local journalists, or offer to be quoted in stories about relevant local issues. Engage local movers and shakers in discussion on Facebook and Twitter. Contact well-known bloggers and websites about contributing as a guest columnist with a link back to your website.

Google’s algorithm is designed to reward authoritative websites. Flexing your expertise is a great way to build domain authority over time.

Conclusion

Cultivating a clear SEO strategy is important, especially for small business owners and marketers who deal with limited time and money. However, adopting an SEO strategy is about making sure you’re taking purposeful actions toward a defined goal.

Your strategy might change over time, and that’s okay. You might eventually find a strategy that works better with your talents or your business. Finding and following a winning SEO strategy is crucial to winning the battle over high-ranking results.

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