The Best Expert Advice on SEO (for Any Entrepreneur!)

One of my forever-goals is to always support females in business, especially when they’re entrepreneurs and doing something amazing (if you haven’t checked out my RWDRT series, it’s a must-read)!  That said, in this digital age we live in, I’ve recently taken some time to think about the “little” things that go into every business, and by “little” I actually mean something SUPER important that you might not be thinking about: SEO (i.e. search engine optimization).  So what is it?  Well, it’s the process of getting internet traffic on the internet, and in the form of free/organic or “natural” search results from a search engine.  Essentially, think about it like this: when you Google something, Google shows you web pages and other content based on rank/what the search engine considers most relevant to users and, hint, you want to be at the top of this list!

It sounds a little complicated, I know, which is why I reached out to one of the best SEO experts that I know, Devon Heck, to find out her best SEO tips and tricks for any entrepreneur or startup company!  And don’t worry, if a lot of this seems like a foreign language to you, there are tons of online resources where you can learn more; this online course from Yoast (an SEO plug-in, btw) is great and I also really like this course from MOZ.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post (and if you’d like to see more in the future), so make sure to comment below and let me know :)

What are your top three tips to increase SEO for a small company or startup?

1-) Create an Achievable Keyword Strategy 

When you are looking to optimize the SEO elements on your website, you first need to strategize a target keyword list. Use a tool such as the MOZ Keyword Planner or SEMRush to understand the balance between monthly search volume and competition.

When you are a smaller site, a better strategy is to aim for lower competition words as opposed to very high volume. High volume keywords are going to be dominated on page one by websites with established authority, and you honestly won’t be able to break into a high enough ranking to matter. Look for keywords where you have the potential to rank on page one and understand what people currently ranked (your competition) are doing. Take note of what they are using for title tags and go to their site to see what other elements they are using.

2-) If You Build It, They Won’t Just Come

You can create the most optimized site to have ever lived but if you aren’t sending traffic to the site it won’t matter. Links to your site from authoritative domains (not spammy ones) help boost your own site’s authority which helps with rankings. So how can you boost your own authority?

First, you can boost trust factors by optimizing your internal linking. Send traffic from one article to another using organic words and not just a hyperlinked “here.”  Second, the better the content you create the more people will want to share it. Send traffic to your articles via your own social media profiles and encourage other people to share. Even better if a larger site uses your content! Lastly, you can guest post on larger websites or answer questions on sites such as Quora, always sending traffic back to your website.

3-) Use Target Keywords in Title Tags and H1’s

Title tags and H1 tags are pretty big in ranking factors, so if you are just going with the default then you are really losing out. Title tags are not only a large factor in ranking but they also are the headlines that appear in search results. You want to give enough information to a searcher so they know your page is relevant to what they are looking for.

Once you have created your strategy, start to implement those keywords into your title tags and H1 tags but make sure that these two are not the exact same. For instance, if you are targeting purple matte lipstick you would potentially use “Purple Matte Lipsticks, Lip Glosses & Lip Liners” as your title tag and would use “Matte Lipsticks in Purple” as your H1 tag.

What’s the number one thing people do wrong?

I would say that duplicate content is a big issue that I see, especially on e-commerce sites. I’ve worked with clients that didn’t realize they basically had two sites live, one on http and one on https. Since Google sees these as two separate websites, it basically causes confusion and can be seen as spammy. You always want to ensure that you are 301 redirecting your http to your https site!

Another example of duplicate content is product variations. Let’s say a company has a shoe with three different colors. Their platform creates three URLs, one for each color but they keep all information the same on the page as well as the title tags. When the search engine crawls the site, they see three pages with the same content so they get confused and then split up the link juice amongst the three. There are a few solutions to this depending on what you want for your site. You can create one URL for all the variations to live on and just change the product information when a different variation is clicked, keeping the URL consistent. Another option is to pick the best selling variation and add a canonical tag to the others. What this does is tell the search engine to send any SEO juice the lower variation receives to the best selling. Last option is to keep all variation URLs and have unique content, but this is by far the most time consuming.

A Few Other Tips From Devon:

Track your website

Use a tool like Google Search Console to track your SEO efforts. Not only is it free, but it can help you see what words you are ranking on and give you additional tips to improve your site. It will let you know if you have duplicate title tags, 404 errors, or many other issues. Make sure that when you create an account you also upload your sitemap. Although Google can figure out the structure of your site, this makes it may easier for them.

Enable AMP

Google has definitely become mobile first in all it’s efforts and page load time is going to be a huge turn-off going forward. This is where using AMP comes in. AMP, which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, is a copy of a web page that is totally stripped down and thus loads pages way faster. You will see these indicated in search results with a little lightning bolt. Some platforms such as WordPress and Squarespace have plugins available so if you are on one of these I would look at testing this out for better performing (or all) articles.

Utilize Structured Data

This is a bit more technical, but if you are on a platform like WordPress you may be able to find a plugin. Structured data is additional code added to a site that helps decipher what a page is about to the search engine. The key for the site owner is that this information is used to display in search results in various ways like with recipes, answers to questions, product price and more.  Do research on what makes sense for your website and implement if you can. More information can be found on the Google Developer Website.

For more SEO tips, make sure to follow Devon on LinkedIn.

One Comment

  1. Lynn Kraft says:

    This is great advice and educational, I would be open to read more of you writing. I did not know anything about SEO’s. I may try to implement these on a very small level. Very interesting kinda lucky find Today! Thanks, Lynn