SEO and Content Marketing for Small Businesses
Today’s business environment can be extremely difficult for a business owner who wants to build a brand to enjoy the loyal following that usually comes with dedicated customers. I should know! I’ve been self-employed for more than ten years and I enjoy a core client base that keeps me busy but allows me to pursue other interests such as SEO and building web properties that rank well in the search engines.
Today, search engine optimization isn’t as easy as it was ten years ago, but it is still something that’s attainable to anyone who puts in the required effort to rank a site. It can also be difficult for small and local businesses to stand out against larger nationwide brands that have several people creating content while others focus on the SEO side of the content.
Both SEO and content marketing must be considered in the planning stages. You cannot separate the disciplines if you want your content to show up when a potential customer performs a search on Google or Bing. It’s not difficult to ensure your site is search engine friendly, but it is time consuming because a few of the requirements are to insert your business’ keywords in the following locations:
- In the title of a document
- Inside the first paragraph
- Inside anchor-text
- Inside image alt tags
- In the name of the image
- In subheadings
- In or near the last paragraph
- In URLs
If you can, at the minimum, insert your keywords in the above locations your site will perform begin to perform well in Google in a few months. And you’ll be able to enjoy the five content marketing benefits listed below which were first published in the Small Business PR blog.
Content Marketing Benefits You Can Enjoy Today
Content marketing is a marketing approach that involves creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to your prospective audience in the hopes of driving a consumer action, and it has numerous benefits for small businesses. It can give you the opportunity to not only expand your company, but also to build your reputation and establish a place as a trusted leader in the industry.
It Generates Traffic to Your Site
Content marketing drives inbound traffic to your site. When potential customers have a problem or a particular need, they’ll search for a solution. Having that solution, whether it be information, a helpful guide, or even entertainment, means customers are going to visit your site and possibly turn to it in the future for additional solutions.
Audiences love when content feels tailored to their interests or particular needs. In fact, that’s why custom content is favored by up to 68% of consumers. By creating custom content for your site that tailors to your target audience’s needs and interests, you’ll be building their trust and solving their problems.
It Builds Brand Awareness
If you’re consistently publishing fresh and unique content on your website and promoting it on social media, you’re creating more opportunities for your target audience to see your name and content. Plus, if you’re pleasing your audience, they’ll be more likely to spread the word about your small business to their followers and friends, which helps you reach even more people.
But, content marketing can also help build your link popularity. If what you’re producing is quality content, people will link back to you. It can be difficult to rank against bigger companies as a small business, but building link popularity can help your online visibility, so your website and content will rank higher on a search results page.
It Can Increase Leads and Sales
This partially goes without saying, but the more people you have visiting your site and viewing your content, the more likely they are to convert into leads and eventually customers.
Even for small businesses, customers rely on blogs and website content when they’re making purchasing decisions; people like to know as much as they can before they buy. Plus, creating content relevant to your company’s product or services helps your audience truly understand what they will gain by doing business with you.
It’ll also help you become a trusted leader in your industry, and consumers buy from people and businesses they trust. With content marketing, you’re quite literally showing your audience and customers that you know what you’re talking about, which makes you seem like a safe bet to buy from.
It Establishes You as a Thought-Leader
The more you establish yourself as well-educated in the industry, the more they’ll look to you as an expert or authority, especially if you provide your audience with high-quality content that genuinely helps them.
Earning the title of thought-leader is always a good thing, because then you’re in a position where people not only listen to what you say, but they turn to you first for the answers they need.
For small businesses, this is especially important. It shows your audience that you’re just as knowledgeable as the bigger brands, but you can also provide customers with the more personal, small business experience.
It Encourages Engagement
If you create interesting content, your audience is more likely to respond to it, which opens the door for you to engage with them directly. This gives you the opportunity to further delight your readers by either continuing to entertain them or answering a specific question they may have.
Beyond customers, though, it also gives you the opportunity to engage with other industry leaders to discuss topics you’ve also written about. This can broaden your network and help you build stronger connections with other leaders, which allows you to establish yourself as an authority in the industry as well.
Plus, inbound content marketing means the customers are coming to you, so it’s more efficient than traditional outbound forms because the consumers are already aware and interested.
Rich Kahn is the CEO of eZanga.com and has been recognized as a leader in the online advertising industry since 1993. Rich started eZanga.com, a digital marketing firm specializing in pay per click and pay per call advertising, in 2003 with his wife, Beth. Follow him on Twitter at @richkahn.