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A How-To Guide For Small Businesses

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A How-To Guide For Small Businesses

In the U.S., only 49% of small businesses invest in search engine optimization (SEO). That means more than half of them are leaving traffic, customers, and revenue on the table by not improving their organic position on Google.

When you run a small business, especially one that’s brick and mortar, it can be hard to conceptualize the buyer’s journey to your business. Although word-of-mouth is still a popular form of marketing, it’s not the only way customers will find you. More often than not, they’re using Google searches to research the businesses they plan to buy from long before they make it into a store or the checkout page on a website.

This is why it’s important to improve your organic position on Google with SEO. The concept of SEO can sound scary, and there are a lot of opinions out there about whether it’s worth the effort. However, when you think about SEO as a way to help your customers before they make a purchase, you’ll see that the value pays dividends in the long run.

How to Improve Google Positioning

1. Update your Google Business Profile.

Google Business Profile is a free tool that helps customers find businesses online. This tool works for normal Google searches but it also integrates with Google Maps so customers can find businesses while they’re en route to a destination.

By verifying and updating your Google Business Profile, you can help your business stand out on the search engine results page (SERP) and garner more traffic to your website or your physical store. Here are the most important updates to make on your profile:

  • Add the correct address, phone number, and store hours
  • Add your website URL
  • Include your social media profiles
  • Update images with new offerings, promotions, and products
  • Add a photo of your physical business location and building

Each of these points helps a potential customer make a decision about your business. They’ll know how far they need to travel (if at all), where they can find more information about your business, what your products and services look like, and they’ll have information about your latest promotions and sales.

Here’s an example of a Google Business Profile:Googly Business Profile of Chef Oya's The Trap in Indianapolis, IN

2. Get acquainted with ranking factors.

Google has identified four factors that its search algorithm takes into consideration when ranking content. These include:

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  • The words in the query
  • The relevance and usability of the pages
  • The expertise of the source
  • The location and settings of a searcher’s Google account

Although some of these factors are out of your control as a business owner, you can create content with most of them in mind.

3. Optimize your existing content.

Optimizing existing content is typically a faster, more efficient way to target new customers without investing in brand new content. If your business’s website includes a blog or even a simple landing page, you can update these pages to appeal to people who are looking for the products and services you sell.

Well, how do you find those people? And how do you know what they’re searching for?

While it’s impossible to control the exact search terms a potential customer will type into the Google search bar, you can get an understanding of what users have searched for in the past and see predictions of what they’ll search for in the future.

To target specific words in a searcher’s query, you’ll first want to do keyword research on your business, industry, products, and services. You can use HubSpot’s Content Strategy Tool or paid tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or Semrush for detailed, granular keyword data. There are also free tools like Google Keyword Planner. To predict future search demand, you can use the free tool Google Trends.

Featured Resource: SEO Marketing Software

SEO and Content Strategy

4. Identify content gaps.

A content gap is twofold. It may appear as a topic that is under explored or unexplored in your industry or niche, or it may be a stage in your customer’s journey that isn’t yet covered by content in your existing library.

Both types of content gaps are exciting opportunities to create new content that resonates with your audience and has the potential to generate revenue.

By using some of the same tools in the tip above, you can run a content audit to identify keywords that correspond to content gaps. This makes it simple to see them at a glance and incorporate them into your next blog post, product page, or even on your home page.

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5. Include image alt text.

Whether they’re on your website, social media profiles, or Google Business Profile, images are a critical part of improving your organic position on Google. Why? Because of a simple (and often overlooked) field called alt text.

To understand why alt text is so important, we have to think like a search engine. Search engines can’t “see” images the way humans do, so they need another way to process them. Alt-text is a text-based description of an image that lets the search engine know what the image is about and how closely related it is to the topic or keyword it’s associated with on the page.

Example of alt text on IKEA image pack for pillow covers

Without alt text, it’s almost impossible for search engines like Google to effectively recognize and rank your images. As a result, you could miss out on additional traffic and customers who may have found your website through an image pack or an image search.

6. Answer frequently asked questions.

If you have an FAQ section on your website, you’re already making strides to improve your Google ranking. To make it even better, take a look at your FAQ page and search for the same questions on Google. What do you see?

If you own a local hair salon and one of your FAQs is “What’s the difference between balayage and ombre?” you may see this box appear in the SERP:

Example of a people also ask box

The “People Also Ask” box is a great way to see additional questions your customers may be curious about. You can add similar questions to your FAQs page which gives you even more opportunities to increase your Google ranking.

7. Take a peek at your competitors.

The final tip we have for improving your organic position on Google is to take a peek at your competitors. We don’t recommend you copy your competitors, though. The point of looking at their keyword strategy with tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or Semrush is to understand their content gaps (remember those from earlier?)

By understanding the topics your customers are looking for that your competitors aren’t covering, you can fill the void with your own content that takes ranking factors and keyword research into account.

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Rank Higher in the Google SERP

As a small business, you’ve got to wear many hats, and Google guru is one of them if you want to drive more traffic to your website and more business to your stores. Luckily, you don’t have to know everything about how search engines work to see your business higher page 1 of Google. These tips are tried and true SEO basics that can help your business get more visibility from customers who are looking specifically for you.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in December 2006 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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MARKETING

20 Best Tools To Help You Scale

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To grow and succeed in the digital marketplace and increase your team’s content marketing effectiveness, you must build a dependable tech stack that will allow you to grow without placing too much pressure on you or your team.

In this article, we’ll provide ways to boost the efficiency of content marketing strategies and a list of tools to aid you in achieving your objectives together with higher performance.

Strategies for scaling your content marketing efforts

Before we get into the technology you can use to improve your content marketing, let’s look at how you can get better results from developing a successful content team to help improve your performance.

Every team member will have a different job. They will use their respective skills to help the team reach its goals:

Managing editor

This is the person in charge of your content team. They ensure that all the material published is high quality and consistent with the brand’s messaging. Often, their responsibilities include hiring content writers and then collaborating with them to ensure everything is correct and on track.

SEO analyst

This team member is in charge of ensuring that your website meets SEO standards. They also select the best keywords for each article. SEO analysts help ensure that your material is indexed properly and written with search intent in mind.

Content writer

Most content marketing teams employ in-house writers, outsource the work to independent contractors, or a mixture of both. Because “content” is at the center of all content marketing operations, these individuals are essential for generating high-quality and research-driven material for your blog and other content assets.

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Outreach manager

This individual is in charge of sending your material to the appropriate forums on sites where your leads and influencers congregate and creating backlinks so that you receive the most value from each piece of content.

Top tools to grow content marketing and automate workflow

Inefficient workflows can result in delays in the creation of content as well as low-quality content because team members may struggle to work together and communicate effectively. Here are five tools that allow you to take control over the content creation process.

1. Google Docs

Google Docs is a free writing program that permits you to create, edit, and share documents online wherever you are. It is an excellent tool for collaboration and helps your team work together by giving them editing access. Features like “comments,” “suggestions,” and “mentions” let you add relevant information and people to your Docs.

2. GatherContent

GatherContent can be described as a central platform for content creation and collaboration that allows rapid and effective content production.

The tool offers a medium that lets your team edit and create content, monitor its progress, and publish it when it’s ready. Your team can also create structured content on a large scale in a split second.

3. Narrato

Narrato is a team management system that lets you streamline and control your content creation process, aiding cooperation. The tool has many useful features, including AI assistance, image search, content idea generators, and employee management options. You can organize content using boards, folders, and calendars.

4. Monday.com

It is an “everything you need” platform with collaboration campaign planning and content management tools. The fully customizable templates help your team collaborate, plan, and manage content production more efficiently.

5. Wordable

Wordable allows you to upload Google Docs drafts into WordPress in just minutes and in a designated format. The tool helps keep your documents clean, removing unnecessary spaces and line breaks as well as removing font and span tags.

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It also performs other functions such as generating tables automatically, simulating featured images, helping to choose alt text for images, etc.

The best tools for scaling the writing process and optimizing content

Your efforts to market your content depend on your writing skills or search engine optimization strategies. Here are tools that help you improve the writing process and SEO.

1. WriterAccess

WriterAccess is a platform that connects you with freelancers to create content and streamline your workflow. The Partner AI tools let you research trending topics, find new keywords, optimize content, and track SERPs.

2. Frase

Frase is a tool powered by AI that detects your audience’s questions and assists you in responding to them. It helps your team identify the questions your site visitors would like answered using Google Search. It also creates detailed briefs that allow you to modify your content to meet users’ preferences.

3. MarketMuse

This artificial intelligence-based keyword and content planner allows you to speed up the research process and identify what’s missing from your content compared to your competitors. The tool also helps with content optimization for Google search.

4. Clearscope.io

Clearscope.io makes it possible to discover potential keywords and determine terms you can integrate into your content to optimize it for search engines. The tool is also great for researching content and developing freelancer content briefs.

5. Writesonic

Through Writesonic’s artificial intelligence-powered Writer and Editor, you can write blog posts, articles, essays, e-books, and other types of content at the touch of an icon. Furthermore, you can use our editing tools powered by AI, such as paraphrasers, expanders, and shorteners, to enhance your content.

The most effective methods to increase the reach of content and establish collaborations

Content promotion is an excellent way to connect with the people you want to reach. The following tools will help you connect with your audience and establish collaborations.

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1. Evaboot.com

The most trusted place to find colleagues is LinkedIn. You can pull and search for emails in LinkedIn Sales Navigator with one click using Evaboot.

Evaboot can help you find suitable contacts by scouring the most extensive business network. It achieves this through an extremely effective filter that provides accurate and high-quality results that enable you to connect to skilled people who could help you reach your goals.

2. Respona.com

Respona.com is a link-building software that automates outreach, designs personalized email campaigns, locates emails of individuals you want to contact, and then sends customized pitches to these contacts. Using this tool, it is also possible to build automated sequences of emails you can use to mail personalized proposals to your email list.

3. Mailshake.com

Make your cold outreach fully automated with Mailshake to reach more potential customers and set up more meetings. Mailshake’s email tool utilizes AI and information from thousands of cold email campaigns to create constant, high-quality emails you can send to your leads.

Furthermore, you can use an integrated screen to contact prospects via phone or social media.

4. Hyperise

Hyperise lets you personalize images in your emails, Facebook messaging, chatbots, and LinkedIn. You can customize layers on existing images using Hyperise’s online editor and adjust them instantly on your website.

5. Icereach

Icereach can reach potential clients through LinkedIn by using intelligent automated sequences. The tool makes it easy to import leads and customize the outreach to a grander scale by adding distinct elements to create an original and customized message. The program will then create an automated drip program with automatic follow-ups.

The most practical tools to improve content distribution

Without an appropriate distribution system that allows you to reach your target audience and display your content quickly, all your efforts will go to the trash even after you’ve created some amazing content. Here are five tools that let you easily publish, share and promote your content.

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1. IFTTT

IFTTT is a program that lets you connect to, incorporate, and automate the use of your favorite applications. In integrating with more than 250 personal and business applications, IFTTT is one of the most effective ways to automate your content promotion efforts.

2. Moosend

With its easy-to-use interface, this newsletter tool not just assists you with the design of email drives but also helps you target your list of contacts with specialized content.

3. Planable

You can easily organize your social media posts, collaborate with other users, and plan it from anywhere with Planable. The tool also helps you streamline your social media publishing process by letting you schedule your posts.

4. Quuu

Quuu is software that can help you get top-quality suggestions according to your target audience’s interests. Quuu’s proprietary artificial intelligence algorithm will identify high-quality content and send it to your third-party scheduling tool. It is one of the best tools to automate your social media marketing!

5. Outbrain.com

Outbrain provides marketers with customized recommendations for the top magazines in the world to reach their targeted audience. Its proprietary algorithms help capture your audience’s attention and guide them into taking action.

Wrapping up

Content marketing is the best way to establish the credibility of your brand and expand your enterprise. The tools listed in this guide can be utilized to create a distribution plan, measure your marketing effectiveness, and even make your customers feel more involved, assisting you in improving your company’s performance.

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