The internet has leveled the playing field quite a bit between big business and small business. Social media, SEO, websites, blogging, and online advertising are either free or very affordable, making all of the above online marketing tools very doable for all sizes of budgets.

Search engine optimization is the process of making your website, blog posts, and social media accounts easily understood and discoverable by Google, Yahoo, and Bing. By using relevant keyword phrases both on-page and off, you “tell” search engines what that page or profile is all about, and greatly increase the chance that your website page or social media profile will rank high for search engine searches for those relevant keyword phrases.

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A Universal Google search for “small business social media consulting” places us in Spot #1 on Page 1.

(As you can see from the example above, we are BIG fans of SEO!)

So, if you’re new to SEO or a typical small business owner who has waaaaaay too many other things on your plate that also need daily attention, how and where do you start with learning about SEO?

What you Need to Know About SEO Before Launching your Business

First, begin by doing some Google searches on your own. Google your business name, business category, and several keyword phrases that relate to your products or services. See what other businesses turn up in those Google results.

One important note here…Google’s default search will show you your personal search bias vs. universal search results. To get a true view of your online competition, make sure to click on the earth icon when using Google Chrome.

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Google’s default search view incorporates your personal search history. Click on the Earth for universal search results.

This initial Google research will shed light on your internet competitors along with what keyword phrases they are using. Also, I suggest scrolling to the bottom of your Page 1 search results as Google will provide a handful of related keyword phrases that you may find helpful.

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There are keywords tools that you can also use in your research, but for the purposes of this post and its intended audience, we’ll stick with utilizing Google itself for your SEO research.

Once you have a better idea of where you stand, who your internet competitors are, and some important relevant keyword phrases for your business, the next step is to implement this keyword research to optimize your website, blog posts, and social media profiles for search.

This is where things can get tricky.

Not because SEO needs to be tricky, but because there are a lot of places that will need your attention with regards to SEO.

If we were helping you SEO your internet presence, we’d tell you to choose a few key website pages plus your social media profiles to optimize first. Your social media profiles rank high in search, plus they are typically limited in character counts, so it doesn’t take nearly as long to optimize them. If you’ve been blogging for some time, or have dozens of website pages or products, we know that it’s impossible to optimize all of those pages, products, and posts; there simply is not enough time! So your best (and most realistic) plan is to choose your most important pages, products, or posts to optimize immediately. And then slowly work through the rest as time allows, in order of importance. Plus, plan to implement good SEO strategies with all new pages, products, and blog posts going forward.

After steps 1 and 2, it varies a bit depending on whether or not you are blogging for your business. If you are blogging for your business, then think through a blog post topic strategy that will have you publishing content that your customers are searching for.

Lastly, remember that SEO is a long term marketing strategy. It also takes some time for your site to be indexed by search engines. The effort you are putting into your SEO today, will not be seen tomorrow or even a week from now. Utilizing a sitemap, and regularly publishing blog posts can encourage more frequent crawls from search engines.

SEO is a learned skill. The more you practice it, the better you’ll become at it.

Understanding the basics of SEO, and where and how to get started can make this super important step in growing your business online seem much more manageable. Especially as a new business just getting started.

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