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What is SEO and how it works for small businesses? Well, SEO is one of the most organic ways to get traffic, lead, and sales and set you up for long-term authority on Google.
Interestingly there is a survey that showed the reality of the expectations of small businesses with SEO services. Out of 500 respondents, here is what the majority answered:
The survey showed that most small businesses are not allocating budgets for SEO –– but also expect that they would see major SEO ranking results even without spending for it!
Hard truth is, yes that is possible if you have the time to understand the whole thing about SEO that involves website optimizations that would need to coincide with your keyword targeting and content plan. Realistically, you can try to learn these three, and take you 2-3 years to understand them –– but not fully since SEO continuously evolves and you have to keep up with the changes that Google implements.
Does SEO work for Small Businesses?
The answer is yes! Small businesses can benefit from SEO, especially if their niche is very saturated and already has a number of big company players. Imagine ranking on the first page of Google when they search for a term and you’re head-to-head with big businesses in your field…
Small companies can benefit from SEO by:
- producing informative material for website visitors,
- SEO-optimizing their photos
- Creating linkable and or downloadable assets
But it’s not just content but also the technical aspects of your website like having targeted keywords on your pages, a content plan, resolving technical errors of your pages, and having a list of keywords for expansion (if you have reached a stable, plateau of traffic but want to increase it.)
An SEO specialist, writer, and/or copywriter can give you the best help for your website or blog, especially if you’re looking to increase traffic, sales, and leads. Your content marketing strategy can benefit a lot from the help of a specialist.
The following is how to get the most working with them.
Communication Is Key
In every relationship – personal and professional – getting what you want begins with effective communication. Working with an SEO content specialist is no different.
“But,” you may be thinking, “I don’t know anything about this type of content. How can I effectively communicate what I need?”
The answer is simple. You don’t have to know anything about how to “write for SEO,” so to speak. You know your business, right? That’s what you need to relay to the writer – specifically, what you’re trying to achieve with the content.
For example, you may say something like, “I want to start an article marketing campaign. I’ve heard that it’s one of the best ways to get backlinks so I need some search engine optimized content to distribute to free article directories.”
Once you’ve clearly communicated what you need, then it’s time to sit back and do some listening.
While communicating what you want is critical, listening to how a prospective content writer responds is just as important. Why/how? Let’s clarify by way of an example.
Let’s say you told a writer you’re thinking about hiring the above — ie, you need content for an article marketing campaign. An experienced SEO writer would make sure that it is at least 400 words. Why? Because many articles have minimum word counts that must be adhered to. Most won’t accept articles shorter than 400 words.
If you didn’t know this, it’s okay. What you’re really listening for is if “they” know their industry. Asking a few questions will give you a good feel for if they do or not.
About Qualifications: Many freelance writers are entering the SEO niche. But, this type of writing is about so much more than knowing how to write copy with keywords. Experienced search engine copywriters should know about internet marketing in general, eg:
What organic search is: Most search engine optimized content is produced to rank a site well in organic search results. If the writer doesn’t understand the principles behind this, they won’t be able to produce content that ranks well in SERPs; and
On- and off-paging ranking factors: You don’t want to break any search engine rules when writing SEO content – knowingly or unknowingly. Hence, knowing things about and the difference of whitehat and blackhat tactics.
These are just a few things any experienced SEO writer will know. There are many more, for good ones are a veritable wealth of information – which makes them a valuable asset to your firm.
Basics to Look for in an SEO Specialist
1. You need to know about their recommendations for website optimization. Most specialists may ask you to pay for an audit of your website and for initial recommendations. This is a great factor to look for since it means that they have the tools to use and thy know how to use it, now need for you to have a subscription for web auditing tools.
2. If you’re looking for an SEO focus, you can ask them about their experiences. For example, you’re looking into creating more backlinks for your website. Listen to their recommendations of how to go about, it because an experienced specialist can recommend different ways for you whether it’s a paid or free/organic way.
3. If you’re a new website, best to ask them for help on your keyword research. An SEO specialist is best consulted when you’re looking into setting up your website for future-proofing. Comprehensive keyword research is the best foundation that your website could ever have since it can plot out the future roadmap of your pages and content.
Basics to Look for in an SEO Copywriter
If you’re a company looking to hire an SEO copywriter, following are a few guidelines:
1. Do They Understand Search Engine Optimization (SEO): When you mention things like keyword phrases, inbound links, article marketing, and long-tail keywords, are they able to speak the language? If the SEO copywriter you’re thinking of hiring doesn’t grasp the basics, continue your search. The best question to ask them is to differentiate a copywriter from a content writer.
2. Services Offered: An SEO copywriter’s service list will clue you in as to how knowledgeable they are about the industry. If they offer meta tag writing, for example, then you know they have some behind-the-scenes knowledge, over and above good writing skills.
3. SEO Writing Samples: Every freelance writer should have writing samples they can show you. Professional ones will have them on their website. These could be email campaigns, landing pages, product pages, website copies etc.
4. Do they know how to understand your customer? The best thing you could look for is if they know how to understand a buyer’s persona and how can they know the pain points and needs of your target customers. Do they know how to find them? You can start by asking them by their process of researching a niche and the target customer.
These are the beginning basics you should look for when hiring an SEO copywriter.
Basics to Look for in an SEO Content Writer
1. Do they know On-Page SEO elements? On-Page optimizations for articles need to factor in the title, headings, keyword density, related keywords meta tags, alt text, image size, keyword placements, and paragraph chunking.
2. They are likely to ask for keywords. Content writers most of the time would need keywords by which they could write a topic. If you already have your seed, related keywords, then you’re good to go.
3. They may need to ask about the pages that they are linking back to. A primary goal of content writing is building up topic authority for a website. This means that the content they are writing is focused on linking to the important pages of a website. Are they writing merely for the blog, service pages, or your product pages?
If they are writing only for blog content then they need the keywords that are important for your business so that they can write related topics for your business and niche. They would also need to create internal linking for the blog pages.
If they are writing to improve the topic authority of your product and service pages, then they need to write about topics related to those pages and then link back to them using the seed keyword targeted for each.
4. Another good thing to look for (but is not really required) is whether they know about content silos, and hubs. An experienced content writer know how these work and they may recommend a strategy for you.
Average cost of SEO for small business
The average cost of SEO for a small business depends on the goal of seeking an SEO service. But most agencies and consultants may charge $80-$200 hourly. But those that offer retainer services may cost about $500- $1000 monthly.
The following are some of the different services that are included in a full SEO package.
- Keyword Research
- Keyword Strategy
- Content Planning and Strategy
- Blog Content Writing
- Social Media Snippets
- On Page SEO Optimization
- Off-Page SEO
- Technical SEO Audit
If you’re still hesitant about hiring someone for SEO, you can try to avail one-time services first or have them in a set number of months first. But you have to understand that SEO takes 6 months at least before you get any results.
And having results doesn’t always mean ranking for the major and competitive keywords in your niche.
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