The moment you decide that you need to hire someone to help you with your search engine optimization? Yeah, it can be a little scary. Small business owners are often more than wary about the idea of getting involved with a search engine optimization practitioner. They know that appearing in local search results is important, but they’ve also heard the horror stories about their peers being burned. Or they think it costs too much money. Or, maybe they’ve seen the Dilbert cartoons essentially calling the whole industry corrupt. I get that it can be scary. But as a small business owner, it’s important to remember that YOU are in control of your site’s SEO, even if you’re hiring some additional help. You just need to be better about asserting that control.
Below are a few things SMBs can do to help relieve the fear associated with SEO and help them get more bang from their SEO dollar.
Learn to speak the language
Just because you’ve hired someone to help you with your SEO efforts doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from having to know what they’re doing to your site. Remember, this is your business they’re touching. While you don’t have to become a full-on SEO expert, you should do your homework and try to understand the basics of what’s happening to your Web site. Having that shared knowledge and language will not only help you to ask better questions, but it will help relieve fear since you’ll now be able to communicate with your SEO and understand the process. Resources like The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from SEOmoz or Search Engine Land’s What Is SEO can help you learn to speak the SEO language.
Be part of the process
Again, this is your Web site and your business. Don’t be afraid to be active in the process and in helping your SEO to craft a strategy that works for you. The truth is your SEO needs you to be involved in the strategy. For the SEO to be successful, they may need to help make sense of the keyword research they’re doing for your site, you’ll have to write content for them to build links to, you’ll have to let them pick your brain about your customers and who they are, etc. The more involved you are the better results you’re going to see. It’s also going to do a lot to help you feel more in control since you’re part of what’s happening.
Agree to tackle the boring stuff first
When it comes to small business SEO there’s nothing more important than the little things. And it’s in completing those little things that will have the biggest return for your Web site. The trouble is, sometimes the little things are often the boring things that we don’t want to do.
Do yourself a favor and do them.
For most SMBs, that means:
- Claiming all of your online search listings.
- Making sure that your NAP (name, address, and phone number) is accurate everywhere on the Web.
- Creating hyper local content for your business
- Working on building a social media presence
Some of that isn’t particularly flashy, but it is important and it needs to be done. Make sure you get all your low-level ducks in a row before you start chasing bigger rainbows.
Don’t try to rush it
It may not always be fun to hear, but search engine optimization is an investment into your Web site. Like other investments, that means some of the results you’ll be able to see now, but you may have to wait for larger impact items. Understand that if you want to build your presence, your brand, and your business for the long-term, you’re going to have to keep reinvesting in SEO over and over again. Hopefully by being part of your SEO process and creating a strategy that works for you, you’ll be more comfortable waiting for links and content to mature.
Above are only a few ways that small business owners can get more from their SEO investment. Putting resources toward search engine optimization doesn’t have to be scary, but it does require that you get involved, know what’s happening, and learn to speak the language.
How have you taken a pro-active approach to your site’s SEO efforts?