Grow Your Local Business With Some Simple SEO

Hey, thanks for stopping by. If you’re reading this, you’re probably looking for some quick tips to get your business off the ground. You’re in the right place. In this article, I’ll teach you some stupid-simple tricks you can utilize right now to start getting your business noticed online.

After following these steps, you’ll be positioned to start receiving organic leads from all over the web (mostly Google Maps). Before we begin, have a look at the list below to see all the topics that will be covered in this guide.

  1. What is SEO?
  2. How do I get my own website?
  3. How do I get my business to show up on Google Maps?
  4. What are keywords?
  5. What are SERPs?
  6. What does ranking mean?
  7. How do I rank better?
  8. How long does it take to see results?

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. A search engine is any website like Google, Yahoo, Bing, YouTube, etc. Anybody with a website, YouTube channel, or social media account is a person who has an online presence. If you’re online, and you want to be discovered by search engines, you need to optimize that presence in order to be picked up by said search engines.

How do I get my own website?

A website has two components. You have a domain name which is the website address, and the web hosting service which is like a data plan for keeping your website online. Getting your own website comes down to paying for these services. Most web hosting services will offer domain names so you can get everything under one plan.

Both of these services are purchased annually. Domain names typically cost $10-$20 each. Web hosting typically costs $200-$300. Again, this is to be paid once per year.

I recommend using SiteGround. This is a referral link that extends my subscription by 2 months for everyone who signs up using it. I would also recommend looking at other web hosts to see what your options are. When buying hosting, you don’t need all the bells and whistles they try to sell you last minute.

Once you have a domain name and hosting, you can install a simple website CMS like WordPress. SiteGround makes it easy to install all the necessary files with a WordPress installer.

How do I get my business to show up on Google Maps?

Google Maps is what everyday people like you and me will use to find businesses and other locations. To add your business to Google Maps, you’ll need to sign up for an account on Google My Business. This is a very straightforward service that offers a signup process very similar to how you set up an Instagram or Facebook page.

Simply enter all of your business information and verify your account. With Google My Business (or GMB), you will be sent a postcard verification by mail. It takes a couple of weeks to arrive, and you’re a sitting duck until you receive it. In the meantime, you can fill out your business listing as best as you could.

What are Keywords?

Keywords are search terms used by your customers. These are the words they use when looking for your product or service. If your business listing and website have any mention of these words, Google will do its best to connect that customer to your business.

Keywords are the lifeblood of any organic traffic. The only way Google will know if you’re relevant for that keyword is to make sure you’re mentioning it on your business listing and website.

What are SERPs?

SERPs stand for Search Engine Results Pages. These are the results for when you Google something. We talk about SERPs because we want to be prominently featured on them for our target keywords. If you’re a plumber in Toronto, you will definitely want to be one of the first businesses displayed if someone searches for a plumber in Toronto.

In order to be prominently displayed in search results, you will need to have a higher “rank” than other businesses. This is where search engine optimization comes in. By optimizing your business listing and website, you will rank higher.

What does ranking mean?

Ranking is a scoring system that Google applies to every website and business listing. By scoring higher, your business will be featured above all else. There are hundreds of signals that Google is looking for, and each one counts towards your total score. Some signals weigh more, some signals can actually hurt you. Knowing which signals to chase after is the golden ticket for winning a better position in the search results pages.

How do I rank better?

Oh Boy, is this a loaded question or what? If it were that easy, everyone would do it. Ranking better is a delicate art, especially if you’re in a competitive industry. Most companies with a high budget are already paying SEO companies to improve their rankings. When it comes to ranking better, you have two options:

Option #1: Hire an SEO

SEO experts spend their days digging through data. They examine spreadsheets, traffic analytics, and stay up to date on what is working today. They are also very careful about avoiding methods that may hurt your business in the long run. There are cheap SEO agencies that offer a $100/mo service and they should be avoided. A good price to pay for SEO is anywhere between $700-$5,000+ per month.

It might seem like a lot of money upfront, but the results greatly outweigh the cost. It really depends on your existing business model. For example, if you have a tree trimming service that earns $400 for every job completed, and you get 2-4 phone call leads every day, are you really going to complain about spending $700/mo to keep those 2-4 daily call leads?

Looking for some direction? Feel free to contact me.

Option #2: Do your own SEO

It is entirely possible for you to learn to do your own SEO. The only thing you’ll need is a few good resources and lots of time and patience. Learning SEO is a discipline. Today, there are many SEO consultants (myself included) who can teach you the basics so you don’t have to spend years fumbling to get it right.

You’ll need to learn about:

  • Permalink structure
  • HTTP status codes
  • Search engine modifiers
  • Using paid tools such as Ahrefs of SEMRush
  • Using Google apps such as Search Console and Analytics
  • On-page SEO optimization
  • Off-page SEO optimization
  • Social signals
  • Online presence
  • Business directory creation (citations)
  • Content writing
  • Link building
  • Link schemes
  • Indexation
  • Ranking signals

How long does it take to see results?

This is my favourite question in SEO. I love to reply with “How long is a piece of string?”. The answer actually depends on how quickly you can propagate data towards your online properties. Sounds complicated? Because it is.

Every single Google search, ask for directions, review, page view, and every second a user spends viewing your website is all counted towards building data. This data is collected by Google and is used to help them formulate what your score will be for all future searches.

So how long does it take to build this data? If you did absolutely nothing to help your business to grow online, then it could take 2-3 years for Google to get enough data to make up its mind about you. If you’re very active online, publishing fresh content and getting traffic from all over the web, you can start to see results in as little a 2-4 weeks.

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