3 Powerful SEO Tips for Small Business Owners
by Rachel Meyer
Whether you have a good start on search engine optimization (SEO) for your website or you’re just getting started, these resources can help you figure out some of the nuances of organic search.
Formerly known as Webmaster Tools, Search Console is truly one of the unsung heroes of digital marketing. Everyone generally knows about Google Analytics, but GA can only tell you what happens once users enter your website. Search Console offers data on how your site performs in Google, giving you the opportunity to improve your off-page SEO and hopefully drive more traffic.
Search Console has several powerful features, but one of the most valuable is the Search Analytics report. In this report, you can see queries that searchers have used to find your site. That data by itself is certainly helpful, but you can take this one step further. By analyzing queries with high impressions and low click-through rate (CTR), you can capitalize on keywords that are already being seen in Google, but are not being clicked on as frequently.
To break this down even further, a few definitions for Search Console: clicks: the number of clicks that came from a Google search page into your website queries: the words that users have searched for and Google has associated with your site impressions: the number of times your site has been shown for that given query CTR: the amount of clicks divided by the number of impressions
Now you just have to apply these filters to your data for the dates you would like to see. The easiest way to do this is choose Impressions and CTR. Then, as you look through your data, you can click on a query that has a low CTR but high impressions, because this tells us that users are probably seeing our result, but they’re not clicking on it. Once you’ve clicked on a query, then you just choose to sort by Page on the next screen, and you’ll see what page or pages are being served by Google for that query. Now you can try switching up your meta description or title tag to see if you can improve your CTR, which ultimately means more traffic.
Google also announced on January 8, 2018 that they are rolling out a new beta version of Search Console to all users, which features even more traffic insights and fun ways to slice data.
Get Creative With Keyword Research
While there are some excellent paid keywords tools available (I’d highly recommend SEMRush for keywords, competitive intelligence, and dozens of awesome features if you can work it into your budget) there are a few ways to get solid keyword data without spending any money.
The SERPs.com keyword tool is one of the better free keyword tools available. Unlike freemium tools, there’s no limit on how many keywords you can export, and SERPs provides estimated monthly search volume & average CPC cost as well, providing some context on how your chosen keywords may perform.
Though lacking search and CPC data, the free keyword tool from SEOChat.com is a good place to start your keyword research journey, as it gathers data from Google, Bing, YouTube and Amazon’s “suggest” databases, which helps build a strong semantic keyword list, and can help you come up with ideas for posts.
While not completely accurate, switching to Incognito Mode in Chrome and searching for your keywords will give you an idea of what your competitors are doing and where you rank. Since Google personalizes your search results, if you look for your keywords, you won’t see the same kind of results that a potential customer may see. Use this information to piece together some competitive analysis - try to find informational holes you can fill. For example, if your competitor has a page with a lot of outdated information, create your own with all updated, new information. Just make sure that you don’t copy any of their content, and put your own personal spin on it.
Become a Student of SEO Buying a subscription to an SEO tool will only take you so far if you don’t understand the key principles behind the basics of SEO. There are many awesome resources available, and most of them are completely free. A good place to get started is Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO. Moz also provides an entire SEO Learning Center with a link to the full guide in addition to modules on topics like Ranking & Visibility and On-Site SEO. Commit to just 15-30 minutes a day to start reading through the guides, and you’ll find that the concepts will start to piece together and make sense. Once you have a solid understanding of the basic concepts, the purchase of an SEO tool is a much more valuable investment.
Even if you choose not to spend the money, basic understanding of how search engines process and rank your website can be helpful in the management of your website.