Have you upcycled furniture or designed an Insta-worthy closet? Bravo! What about DIY search engine optimization for your small business? Not so much? Doing your own SEO improvements can be daunting—even for the savviest do-it-yourselfers and business owners. That’s why we wrote this blog: to demystify DIY SEO optimization and empower you to improve your website’s rankings all on your own—or make the decision to bring in the experts like Charm School.
How to do DIY SEO Optimization for Your Small Business
1. When it Comes to SEO, You Are What You E-A-T
The acronym E-A-T is the first thing you need to understand about SEO. It’s the algorithm qualifications Google uses to rank content.
E-A-T stands for:
- Expertise. Is it apparent that the creator is a content expert? Does the post show his or her expertise? Ensuring your blog posts are at least 800 words long will go a long way in checking off this box with Google.
- Authoritativeness. Is the content creator, the content itself, and the website an authority in this industry? This has to do with domain authority—a 0–100 scale Google uses to rank websites on credibility. For instance, a seedy spam website may have a DA of 1, while the Huffington post is more likely to be in the 80–100 range. You will improve your website’s DA over time by publishing content regularly, link building, and lowering bounce rates and increasing time on page. That data will tell Google and search engines that users are finding your content useful. Thus, ranking your content higher in results!
- Trustworthiness. Can this creator, content, and site be trusted? It it protected by https? (Your website always should be!)
2. Perform Basic SEO Keyword Research
If you can’t afford to hire an SEO agency to do in-depth keyword research and increase search traffic to your website, you’re not out of options. You can use a number of free or inexpensive SEO tools to do your own DIY keyword research and SEO strategy work. We love Moz, Google analytics, and Screaming Frog.
To perform keyword research for free…
- Generate a list of topics or questions someone would likely search for when looking for your business.
- Use Google to search each item on your list via the search bar. The auto-complete feature will add words and help you create a more complete list.
- Take the full list and use one of the free tools listed above to determine which keywords get the most search traffic and which will be easiest for your site to rank with.
- Write content using those keywords in your focus key phrase, headers, URL, and throughout your body copy.
3. Get Keywords from Your Competitors
Understanding which keywords will work best for your business is not enough. You also want to understand which keywords competitors use and how you might be able to outrank them for those terms.
You can use tools like SEMrush to gain greater insights into your competitors’ sites and keyword rankings. Small businesses can also hire an agency like Charm School to do an annual SEO audit that will give you all of this information and more.
4. Optimize Your Meta Data and Front End Keywords
Once you know which keywords you want to use, write content on your site focusing on those words or phrases. But don’t stop there. Use an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO to help you know whether you’re using your keyword enough and correctly optimizing each post for search. There’s something special about getting that green light from Yoast to know your post is SEO ready!
5. Tune Up Your Website’s Functionality
How your site functions impacts SEO a ton. For instance, search engines won’t send traffic to sites that load slowly, aren’t mobile responsive, or have other technical issues—like 404 errors, or broken links. Make sure your site runs optimally by using an online tool like Page Speed Insights to test it. If issues crop up, you can most often find a plugin to help!
Improve your page load speed by compressing images and videos. Also, always use alt and title tags in your images and videos so search engine algorithms have keywords to crawl. Otherwise, your assets will be invisible and unable to be ranked.
6. Create a Backlink Strategy
Google wants to see that others in your expertise also think your site is an authority. That means you need a strong backlink strategy. Backlinks are just what they sound like: links to your site from other reputable sites. So, how do you get them?
Ways to get backlinks include:
- Create high-quality, authoritative regular content that showcases your expertise. When other people find your content, they may link to it as a resource.
- Release original research or compile graphics of data to post on your site. Share those on social and, encourage people to use them and link back to your site. This works well with viral link building.
- Ask people writing about your niche to consider linking to your posts. This is manual outreach and takes considerable time and PR/journalism expertise.
- Sign up for HARO—Help a Reporter Out, a site that pairs journalists and sources to use for quotes. Ask reporters who interview you for backlinks.
7. Publish Blog Content
It’s super important to publish content regularly to your website’s blog—and update old content annually! We recommend you publish at least one blog per week, or one per month. At Charm School, we truly practice what we preach and DIY SEO is probably how you found us and this article in the first place!
You can and should use your keyword research to come up with SEO content ideas. That way, you will publish content people actively search for. Also, write blogs that are 800–1,200 words so you have enough characters to fully answer a question for readers and improve your time on page stats.
8. Improve URL Structure
This is nitty gritty, but the links on your website help search engines catalog your content in search rankings. You want everything to be simple. For instance,
Good URL Structure: charmschoolmarketing.com/blog/ppc-advertising-small-business
Bad URL Structure: charmschoolmarketing.com//blog/why-every-small-business-should-do-ppc-advertising-this-year
Do you see how the second is excessively long? All you need to do is keep it simple and work in your keywords. Easy peasy.
9. List Your Business on Google
A Google Business Profile will improve your small business’s local search—and national too! Your customers will see your business if they search for a relevant keyword near them. Even if you’re 100% online, a Google Business Profile will be beneficial in driving traffic to your website. You can post specials, discounts, photos, and gather reviews there for customers to see.
10. Start Social Media Marketing
Your small business social media profiles often outrank your website. So, if a user searches for your business by name, your social handles will pop up first. Start social media marketing as a tool to improve your SEO and overall visibility.