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How to do SEO For Small Businesses

It was about high noon. I triggered my shot with my camera. It came out amazingly well at least to me. Then I realized, why don’t I just take all my photos looking at my phone. It is truly my most natural state of mind.

In the 39th episode of The Work From Home Podcast, I talked about how to do SEO for Small Businesses since there are a couple of things that anyone can do today to get them ranking in search. Please read the transcript below or listen to the episode.

Welcome to the Work from Home Podcast. Once again with Mr Tolu Balogun, I’m so excited to welcome you to the month of February. Today is the very first Monday, and the very first day in the month of February, the month of love. Thank you very much. I am so excited to have you here and today I will be talking about a very interesting topic I called this “How to perform SEO for Your Online Business.” This is how to ensure that you place your business the right way on Google and so that you can rank for the right keywords in your locality, or globally, because everybody can run business from any part of the world, and you want to be represented from wherever you are to your client, no matter where they are, in any part of the world. So now let us get started real quick.

What is search engine optimization in the very first place? Search engine optimization is not a new concept. It has been there for a very long time. It’s just the idea of ensuring that whatever content you have can be properly interpreted by the search engine, and you can then decide to go a step further to make sure that you are well represented and the search engines can always record your data the right way and present your data the right way to people who are about to find information online. So now let me just try to break this down real easy for you. Do you have to do SEO? No. Do you need to do SEO when you’re in a very competitive or fairly competitive industry? Absolutely. Now, why did I say you might go ahead and run your business without SEO. I’ll give you the simple reason this is how Google works. Google has what they call spiders. The spiders crawl on the Internet, which is like a web. So the spiders crawl different pages, different directories, different assets that are on the Internet and try to make sense of it, whether or not we have optimized your page for SEO, the Google Spiders are still going to do their job.

Now, optimizing your website for SEO means you are, I mean, creating the right data-sets. For the crawlers to properly read and not just getting there and be confused like what is happening here, I don’t understand. OK, I think this is what is happening here, so you are not having the crawlers try to make meaning of the content on your page, but you are actually having them understand, that welcome to my page. This is what it is about. So in the real world, this is what you’re doing. You have a club, for example, a nightclub and then you have just a banner outside that says Tolu’s nightclub and then when you come in you have no idea what you’re doing. You have no idea what is going on, you just, you know, get into the place, Tolu’s nightclub. You don’t know where to go to. Everything just looks scattered. And then that is scenario one, that is for someone who feels he does not need he or she does not need SEO. Fine, if you want, If you’re looking for a nightclub, you have already seen outside that you want to go to a nightclub, and you see that this is Tolu’s nightclub and then get inside there, and then as a customer that wants to buy stuff, or as someone that wants to patronize the nightclub, you would have to start asking. I need this. Where do I go? I need this. Where should I sit? I need VIP treatments. Where do I head to? You understand all of that. Now, that’s scenario one

Scenario 2 is this; There’s someone else that wants to get to the nightclub quite alright, but as it’s clearly written there Tolu’s nightclub. We specialize in, and then you write what you specialize in right there outside before they come in, music playing tonight is by so so and so whether DJ, whether live band, you have it right there outside for them to see, before they even step inside your nightclub. Now, they get to your nightclub, as they enter, there are directions on the floor like; this is where you should follow to walk in, or to park your car, or to park your bike, or to park your bicycle, or whatever you came in with, and the dress code. If there’s a dress code for the Night Club, it’s already written there, and everybody knows what the dress code for the Night Club should be.

Now, as you are entering the club, you have someone that tells you VIP or regular? Regular, it points you to the right direction. VIP, point you to the right direction. When you get to your table as a VIP guest, you get attended to by someone who asks you what you need, what you don’t need, what is and whatnot. So you get the two scenarios we’ve painted now.

As I have tried to paint it out, now imagine the clients or the customer that’s actually walked-in is someone that can actually make recommendations for you. If they want to make recommendations for you, who do you think they would easily always recommend any day, anytime? And don’t forget, most likely the first night club they went to will probably give them some kind of like, or try to collect their contacts or try to give them a business card that anytime you have any questions to ask about our night club or to know about what we’re doing, this is the number to call. Can you see the two scenarios? Now, take what I have explained and try to internalize it. Try to understand that. OK, this is what I want to implement for my business. I don’t want to be the kind of business that Google, who’s going to recommend me to other people that are going to be searching on Google on the web, is going to be like; I’m not sure what you’re doing here. I think you do this. I think you do this. I think you do that, and then Google try to try to figure out what you do and then just push it out in case people are searching, or the other person that Google doesn’t even need to ask, and then they just you know, every once in a while just pick up the phone and call Google. Sorry, we’ve not seen you in a while, but this and this and this and that are the things we’re going to have available in the next few days.

So the very first step for you to do as a “work from home ” business or as a small business owner to ensure that you are ranking for Google Search is this. Whether you’re working from home or you’re working from an office, it’s easier when you’re working for an office because, you know, you can always put your office address right there on Google my business, so I would usually advise that the very first thing you should do, even before you start looking into doing your SEO, as it were, is to make sure that you list your business on Google. So you do that by either visiting the Google My Business app on your phone or visiting the Google My Business website. Once you have done that, the next best thing for you to do is to ensure that you have all the details about your business listed, your opening hours you address. Make sure that you have the right place on the map. If you have pictures about your business address, you can always add pictures and put it online. But if you’re a work-from-home business, the next best thing for you to do is to sign up to any business hub that is around you and use that as your business address. So when you want to list that business on Google My Business, all you have to do at this level is to write that your business is inside of a business. You understand? so that they will not be looking for like a really big signboard. You know they’re looking for, for example, Mr. Tolu Balogun brand that is inside this particular business. And always make sure that your business hub. Allows you to use the address on Google as the right location, you understand?

So once you do that, Google already has some information about your business and the chances that you will appear in search have already increased even without you having to do any SEO, and the more important parts for this is this. When people pick their phone and search for, for example, Search Engine Optimization experts near me, because you have already listed your business on Google my business, you will appear in search in that particular locality, and people would see how far you are from them and what you do. What you don’t do and, you know, you understand what I mean. So I mean search engine optimization, in essence, is just you giving Google the right information it needs to showcase what you do to the general public. So why do we use the word optimization for it in the first place? Because a lot of things that Google takes into consideration when, I mean, trying to find information on your page and then decide to show it to the world I mean. 1,000,000 people might be writing for the keyword shoes. So how does Google decide who should be placed number one on the list? That is where the optimization techniques do come in.

So but the minimal the most important things you need to know about Google search optimization or the bearest minimum things you need to understand about Google search optimization. I mean, all search engine optimization as it were, I mean, I’m first to call it Google search optimization because Google owns the biggest part of the search engine market capital so you actually want to rank for Google. You don’t have to think about the others at the end of the day, once you rank on Google, you rank on every other search engine provider.

So in essence, you have to try to rank for the right keywords and make sure that you bid for all the things that the Google algorithm needs to ensure that you are on page one or number one position for Search, depending on how competitive you are. I mean, for a small business you just want to be on the very first page for a business that is a multi-billion dollar industry or like a business that is competing to be the number one you always want to be #1. In every single page for the important keywords that would drive the right traffic to your site, but for a small business being on page one is good enough for you. You don’t have to always, I mean, because the resources you will need to get on page one is not as much as the resources or the steps you need to take to ensure that you will remain number one, especially for ad ranking keywords on Google.

So I already explained what search engine is. I’ve tried to explain in layman’s term how search engine optimization works. I’ve tried to explain to you how to ensure that you get on Google even without having to bother yourself so much on search engine optimization. So now, what do you have to do to ensure that you start your journey of search engine optimization?

Number one is to bid for the right keywords, bidding for the right keywords is this. If I’m a search engine optimization experts in Ibadan, I can bid for search engine optimization experts. Now, search engine optimization expert is a keyword, but no matter how hard I want to try to look at it, I realize that it is a very difficult keyword to rank for because there are people from many other countries of the world who are also ranking for it, and most likely there are maybe like hundred other businesses that are way bigger than me, have the funds are trying to compete for really big projects that I don’t even need or would like to bid for in the 1st place and because most likely I’m not big enough to handle it, so I will not be big enough to, you know, Win those projects, so why compete with them when I know I cannot match what they will be doing or providing? So instead of bidding for search engine optimization experts. I’ll rather set, I mean, bid for search engine optimization experts in Nigeria, for example. If I believe I am going to be able to make the top 10 list of people that do that, or businesses that performed that in Nigeria. So what I have to do at that point is just to make sure that I bid for the keyword search engine optimization experts in Nigeria. Now, there are two types of keywords mainly. There are the long-tail keywords like the example I just gave right now and there are the short tail keywords, SEO search engine optimization is a word. So if you are trying to rank for search engine optimization, for example, you set your ranking for a long tail, I mean, a short still keyword, but if you are ranking for search engine optimization experts in Nigeria for example, you are ranking for a long-tail keyword.

Now, when you are ranking for a word like shoes, we know that an insane amount of people search for the word shoes every month, so it’s going to be a very, very difficult keyword to rank for. But if you are selling for example leather shoes, that is what you are good at doing or hand made leather shoes for example. You can also decide to rank for hand made leather shoes if they, if by the time you’ve done your research is that there’s not a lot of people searching for it or there are not big enough businesses that are trying to rank for a keyword. You can go ahead and rank for it, but when you notice that there are a lot of big businesses that are ranking for that type of a word, the next best thing for you to do is to then say “Hand made leather shoes from, and then add your location to it. At that point you have, I mean, distinguished yourself from the pack, or you just add enough words to make sure that you would still be competitive. But just like competitive enough for the kind of business you are trying to bring in, there’s no point ranking. I’m not discouraging you from ranking with the big boys. Well, I’m saying as a small business you should learn to take things a step at a time, and as you grow you also increase your endeavour in the search engine optimization field.

So don’t forget that it’s better for a small business to rank for long-tail keywords that most specifically interprets or tells the story of what they do than for them to start ranking for keywords where it will be rather very difficult, but also very rewarding if at the end of the day you’re able to get to the very first page for that keyword, it’s going to be very rewarding for you. You’ll be seen, you’ll be noticed and you might get the type of business that would turn your life around, but at the other end also, you don’t want to spend an insane amount of money, energy and time into doing something that might frustrate you at the end of the day.

So as I was saying, just make sure that you are always ranking for the right keywords for your business. Check the keyword difficulty. Check the amount of people that are also ranking for that same keywords that you’re trying to rank through. You already need to understand that. OK, I can rank better than these people. Now, one of the most important questions that a lot of people used to ask me when I tell or try to teach them about search engine optimization is this. How many words should I write? The truth is, as at last year you need to write, I mean the more words you write, the better. So if you’re writing 2500 words on an article, Google will think or believe you’re an expert and as such you will rank higher than the higher chance for you to rank for that keyword, but, In the year 2021, Google has realized that a lot of people because of that particular, I mean, rule in the algorithm, will tend to just take something, a topic and a topic that should not necessarily be more than 300 words. We end up turn into 2500 words, just because people want to rank high for that particular keyword. So Google was like you know, what? We don’t care if you’re writing 2500 words we don’t care any longer if you’re writing 300 words. We care do people find value in what you read? So the focus is now shifting from the user, I mean, you put in effort into what you’re doing to the user. Do they actually enjoy what you’re doing so?

Now, Google now has these things in place. As a small business owner, these are some of the things you must do even before it starts ranking for keywords. Asides starting your Google My Business account.

Number one, make sure that you are using SSL on your website. There are free SSL services you can start with. There is, I think, easy SSL or so, and there are paid SSL services you can also use so just make sure you pick an SSL service on your website. You know that you are using an SSL service when your website is HTTPS dot, I mean, then the colon, and then your websites, but when your website is HTTP then the colon and then your website. You know that you are not on SSL service, so make sure that you are the SSL service. It helps to ensure that your data is encrypted between the server and the receiver so that it is more difficult for the information between your website and the user to be intercepted while transmission, so Google place high Priority for SSL based sites than non-SSL sites. So, if your website is not an SSL, trust me almost every effort you try to make to rank on Google will almost be futile. So just try to make sure that you have SSL loaded onto your website and the next thing, make sure that you are running on this first server.

If you are running your website on, I mean, a shared website, chances are your sites will not rank very high.

So now that you understand this, it means that you should make sure that your website has SSL. Your website is on a good and fast server and right after you have ensured those two things. The next best thing for you to do is to make sure that your site is mobile responsive. A lot of people are there using 2 mobile phones, 3 phones, mobile phones and Google wants to cater to these people because people that are on their phones spent hours a day on their phone. I mean it’s not likely you would have your laptop on your leg all day, but you can have your mobile phone on your hand even while you’re working on the switch, you are still using your mobile phone.

While you’re at the cinema watching a movie using your mobile phone while you’re doing things that should take 100% of your attention, we are still there using your mobile phone. And Google wants to give priority to these users. That is why it is very key for you while trying to rank for SEO to ensure that you think mobile-first. Mobile-first means people who are going to view a website on their mobile phone, are they going to enjoy the view? Is it going to be easy for them to navigate your website? If the answer is yes, then you are on the right track to becoming number one or to becoming page one of the Google search ranking and as soon as you have that sorted out you are on your track to becoming a, I mean a big deal on the internet.

Now that you have gotten all these things right and I’ve tried to explain to you what the long tail and the short tail keywords are, what are the next things you need to do? You need to make sure that whatever keyword or keywords you choose appear, especially your main keyword, appears in the very first paragraph and the title of your text.

Once you’ve ensured that your main keyword appears in the title and the first paragraph of your text, Make sure it also appears a couple of times, maybe two to three more times in your whole text, and then make sure that there is a picture on that page that carries the title of your text as it’s, as its name, the file name of the picture should be the title of, I mean should be the keyword ranking for. The Keyword also ranking for should be in the Meta description of that picture.

So as I said, the key things you need to take care of, ensure that your keyword is present in the title in the page URL, in the very first paragraph of your text, and like two to three more times in your text if you have other Keywords, minus domain keyword, if they can appear as subtopics, make them appear as subtopics in your post and then also make sure that you have your keyword in the name file of the picture. At least one picture on the page as well as in the meta description of that page.

Then the next thing you need to do is you also need to provide links both to other pages, outside of your site and to also pages inside of your site. You can easily achieve this by using, If you’re using WordPress for example, just make sure that you have suggested or related articles at the bottom of your blog posts. It’s going to take care of outboard outbound links for you. I mean inbound links for you, like links to other pages on your website, and then just try to refer to. For example, if you were talking about shoes and you talk about the fact that you make shoes. You can just link to Wikipedia article that talks about the making of shoes, for example, so that would kind of take care of an outbound link for you without necessarily having to refer to another competitor.

Now that you’ve understood that, you always have to make sure and also remember the analogies that I painted right at the beginning of this episode and make sure that you use this. Information to make yourself valuable as a business. Be seen. Become more valuable. I mean, whoever is not seen in this time and age is probably just wasting their time. And if you need help with finding out about your search engine optimization, you need help to understand how your website is performing and you want to know if you are doing the right things, you can always contact me. There is going to be a link in the description of this particular episode where you can request a free search engine optimization audit for your website.

Request a free search engine optimization audit for your websites to understand if you are doing things the right way or to understand where I as a person can take your business to in the next couple of months or years.

You know search engine optimization is also important because it will help you to increase free traffic to your website on the long term. So just make sure that you keep ranking in Page one and you don’t jump from page one. And if you are insanely competitive, go for the very number one spot of the page and make sure you never leave there. So you understand.

So thank you very much for being here with me on the work from Home podcast. I remain your humble host. Mr Tolu Balogun. I really appreciate that you have been here with me. Don’t forget to share with your family and friends, especially if you find this episode very, very helpful.

I’m so excited that you’re still with me and we are still going to continue this journey.

Next week, I’m going to be having a really interesting guest with me on this show and I’m sure, 100% sure that you’re going to. Enjoy every single episode that we’ll be releasing for the rest of the month of February. Don’t forget to start buying gifts for your loved ones and getting in the mood for Valentine’s Day. That’s going to be coming up two weeks from now. See you guys later. And as always, have a great week.

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