Being an solopreneur isn’t easy, is it?
It’s a lot of responsibility and sometimes even struggle. You’re dealing with all sorts of risks that you would be shielded from if you were working a “normal” job. You’re facing greater obstacles and dealing with many different types of stress.
One of the biggest challenges solopreneurs face is marketing their businesses effectively. This is especially true of online marketing. If you’re not familiar with how it works, it can be incredibly frustrating.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the areas that vexes many solopreneurs. As you already know, it’s important to make it easy for your prospective clients to discover you online.
Good SEO is what will get your business in front of the most eyeballs, so it must be done right. As you read through to the end of this post, you will get 7 proven tips that will help you improve your search rankings.
When you start putting these tips into action, you will watch your search rankings grow over time. One thing that is important to remember is that SEO isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. Don’t expect instant results. If they happen, you’re lucky. If not, it’s okay. Just keep trucking and you’ll see the reward.
Solopreneur Marketing Using SEO
1. Content First
If you’re a small enterprise — and you probably are if you’re running it solo — most of your business is probably going to come through word of mouth, human-to-human organic “marketing.” Because of this, you’re going to need high-quality content on your website. It’s a well known fact that content marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand.
Here are some points to remember when creating content:
- Is it relevant to my prospects? Does it relate to what my business does?
- How is this piece of content helpful to the reader? Does it inform, educate, or inspire?
- Is the content easy to read? Or will my readers have to work hard to understand it?
Moe Kermani, the founder of Natural Area Rugs is well aware of the importance of high-quality content:
“We sell decorative area rugs, so the content on our blog focuses on giving practical tips on decorating and interior design. Not only does this help our readers design their rooms, it also positions us as an authority in our space.”
I agree. Creating this type of content also makes it more likely that a prospective customer will find their website. If they happen to search for tips on how to decorate with area rugs, it’s likely that they will find Kermani’s company.
That’s how it works.
High-quality content is important because search engine bots are getting better and better at being able to tell what is readable and what is not. Also, genuinely useful content is more likely to be shared on social media. Social signals will give you a huge boost in search engine optimization. It’s the “social proof” that spiders like the Googlebot are looking for.
Another thing to consider when it comes to content is to make sure that your material is fresh and that it’s published consistently. Not only will this entice visitors to come back more often, it will also induce search engine spiders to visit your site more often in order to update their search content in a timely manner. So update your content often to keep both the humans and the bots interested.
2. Do Keyword Research
Keyword research isn’t too hard if you use the right tools. Google has a keyword research tool, though you do have to sign up with their Adwords program to access it. There are also other free and premium tools that will help you hone in on related keywords that your audience may be searching for that you may have not thought of yourself. The sweet spot finding keywords with a decent amount of monthly searches and not too much competition.
3. Watch the Keyword Density
In the early days of the Internet, when the basics of SEO were first being discovered, it was basically the norm for people to keyword-stuff their web pages, making the text look oddly redundant to human eyes.
Don’t do this. It’s a bad idea.
Not only will that not help you rank on sophisticated search engines such as Google, it can actually get you penalized. This type of practice is known as “black hat SEO” and you want to avoid it at all costs. By all means, make sure to include keywords, but try to go for a natural flow. Keep the keyword density at less than three percent, or it will start to look unnatural to the bots and the humans.
4. Display Your Keywords Prominently
Now that we know that we shouldn’t go overboard, it’s important to note that keywords should be placed in certain key places in your page’s content. In particular, put your keywords in the title of your page, the header of your page, and in the body of your content, especially as close to the first and last sentences of content as possible.
5. Make Keywords Part of Your URL
Make sure that relevant keywords are included in the web address of the page that you are optimizing. Google uses the text in your URL to help it determine the topic of your content, and it’s also more human-readable to edit your URL and add keywords than many of the random default URL’s that some content-management software can spit out.
6. Don’t Neglect Local Searches
Be sure to focus some of your SEO efforts on local search if you are a local business. Target keywords that are particular to your area, and you may be able to rank quite a bit higher than your competitors.
If your business is located in an area where your competitors are not taking advantage of local search, you will have a tremendous advantage over them because your company will rank higher. When your prospective customers use Google, they will see your listing first!
7. Take Social Media Seriously
As mentioned, social signals are important in modern SEO, and having your web page go viral on Facebook can do wonders for your ranking, not to mention all the free traffic that you may be able to snag from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sources in the first place. Most people expect to be able to contact and interact with the companies that they buy from, so you should be on social media anyway.
These tips are simple tidbits that you can easily implement on your own, even if you’re living the solopreneur life. Those who implement “black hat” tactics always have to live in fear of the next Google update. But if you stay honest and relevant, you’ll never have to worry about that, and you’ll have the kind of timeless SEO that will never result in any penalties.
Be sure to be consistent when you’re implementing these tips. SEO is an ongoing process that will require maintenance. If you do this right, your company will reap the benefits for years to come.
SEO Photo via Shutterstock
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I would add that you should be actively making connections and building relationships with real people. Then, as you interact with these new connections, deliver value to their audiences and get links back to your site.
Sean Alden Fitzgerald
A valid point, Robert. It can create some tangible, mutually-beneficial connections with others when your Twitter followers, FB biz page likers, et. al. learn that there’s a real human being at the other end of that social media account.
Excellent post Jeff. You’re exactly right about black hat SEO. I read all the time about people complaining about the latest update to Google’s search algorithm. They’ve never been a problem for me. Excellent content targeted to your readers first is the most important piece. The rest is just about making it easy for the search engines (computer programs) to figure out what your content is about so that they know where to file it.
You can easily create a business from thin air as long as you know how to create valuable content.
I think that blogging is perfect for solopreneurs. It allows them to demonstrate their expertise and qualify leads.