It’s important to remember that at its core, search engine optimization is marketing. SEO marketing is a little different than other forms of marketing because you must strategically create content to help search engines provide its users with the best results possible.
To perform affordable SEO effectively, you must thoroughly understand your audience and answer the following questions on your website:
- Who are your target audiences and their influencers?
- What information do they find most valuable?
- What questions and objections do they present to you or your sales staff before buying?
- What can your customer expect after they decide to do business with you?
- How do you solve your customer’s issues better than your competitors?
The questions above are basic in terms of marketing, but detailed information about your business is the key to winning searches.
The secret to affordable SEO is to break down each of your service offerings into detailed pages and sections. Utilize blog articles to expand on related trending topics and try to mix in upcoming seasonal/holiday-related content. I will write in more depth about strengthening your site using blog content in a later article.
Affordable SEO Tip: Focus detailed content around your bread and butter service
It takes time to win searches in competitive industries. For this reason, I like to initially focus all my SEO efforts around the products and service offerings that are most vital to the small business.
For example, If you are trying to optimize a residential exterior remodeling website for search, you will want to feature your bread and butter service(s) first.
Many home exterior remodeling companies make more money per project from roofing projects, yet they have more volume and get better margins from vinyl window installations. In this case, the owner or marketing staff must make a business decision for which area to focus initially – large products or many smaller high-profit projects.
Of the many affordable SEO strategies, one that I find works well is to focus on one specific area at a time. You don’t have to abandon your other service offerings, but the point is to gain rank for the type of services that keep you in business first, then build out the other, less vital services later.
If a home exterior remodeling company wants to achieve better results for their money, I find it’s a better SEO strategy to focus on whichever service keeps them in business. Trying to win searches for many different services at the same time can be difficult and will most likely take much longer to see a return and is more expensive in both the short and long-term.
Many big businesses spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in digital marketing including SEO, so instead of re-inventing the wheel, let’s save time and money on SEO and examine a site that implements a solid SEO strategy.
Affordable SEO Tip: Learn from other websites
Being an experienced SEO consultant, I’ve examined dozens of different industries from car dealerships in Milwaukie to personal injury law firms in Texas. With the experience, I’ve examined many different sites who consistently lead the pack in terms of winning searches for their products and services. One of my favorite search optimized websites is LegalZoom.
LegalZoom.com breaks down its website into deep user-friendly sections that contain pages with detailed content about their products. Should your company be a law firm interested in SEO, LegalZoom is a great place to start.
Here’s a quick SEO audit of LegalZoom’s homepage:
Since the page title is one of the most important on-page SEO elements, we’ll start there.
SEO Page Title: LegalZoom: Start a Business, Protect Your Family: LLC, Incorporate, Wills, Trademarks, Legal Advice
Navigate to LegalZoom.com, hover your cursor over the tab at the top (circled in red) and notice that LegalZoom starts its SEO page title with the brand name (the most valuable keyword to most businesses) followed their target keywords. I do not know this to be true without speaking to LegalZoom’s marketing staff, but I believe that their bread and butter service is business formation. My hypothesis is based on the placement of the keyword, “start a business.”
Placing keywords at the beginning of page titles are considered to be one of the best SEO practices.
Branding Statement: Where life meets legal.
The branding statement is a great way to provide a foundation of who you are and what you do. Every page of your website should contain content yo support your brand identity. While the branding statement isn’t exactly necessary to achieve high search rankings, it provides a solid blueprint to maintain consistency and helps guide future content creation.
Service offerings: Business Formation, Wills and Trusts, Intellectual Property, Speak with an Attorney
Each service offering is simple and provides a list of keywords for which they want to compete.
Business formation offers a direct link to information about forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC), Corporation, Doing Business As (DBA.)
Adding keywords that are subcategories to service offerings help strengthen their interior pages while adding quick easy-to-find access to their target audience.
Because LegalZoom begins their service offerings section with business formations, it reinforces to me that my hypothesis of their bread and butter service (Business Formation) is accurate.
LegalZoom understands that one of their audience’s biggest concerns about starting a business is that legal stuff is just too complicated. So, LegalZoom’s mission is to simplify the process and eliminate the barrier of entry for people wanting to own their own business. I won’t go into detail about their complete business model, but it becomes apparent with the upsells during the buying process.
Let’s scroll down.
LegalZoom presents short readable statements to help users understand the simple process of owning a business. Basically, LegalZoom reveals its simple business model while adding target keywords to its content.
Affordable SEO 101: If you want to rank for a specific keyword, you must include it in your content!
Keep scrolling, notice that they re-wrote their branding statement and speak directly to the customer.
“Where does your life meet legal?”
They relate to and identify the most common issues of their target audience.
To top it off, they end the homepage with testimonials of current customers. Testimonials on the homepage are a great way to help win the user’s business (through trust and proof) thus converts its targeted traffic into paying customers.
Another great strategy for testimonials is (if you want to win local searches) cherry pick testimonials of your customers that mention the name of a city or area that you’re trying to target.
For example, Sarah from Annapolis, Maryland says, “Jason Moore is one of the best SEO specialists in Maryland.”
LegalZoom’s homepage is a great example. However, your website does not stop with the homepage. Granted, your homepage is usually the strongest page on your website, but they know it’s not enough to win searches on its own.
Scroll back up and click on Business Formation.
Notice how unlike the homepage title, the Business Formation page title starts with the target keywords and ends with the brand. This is a great page title strategy for pages other than the homepage. Remember, the homepage should start with your brand and end with target keywords. Internal pages, should start with target keywords and end with the brand.
The internal pages and sections of the LegalZoom website use breadcrumbs to help the user know where exactly they are on the website.
Next, notice they use Business Formation as a heading (a keyword implementation strategy), they have an intro statement to the section that is consistent with their brand statement and show a company differentiator, “Over 1 million business have trusted us to help them get started.”
Most importantly, notice the subsections. LegalZoom breaks down their business formation page into different categories. Instead of only listing the different categories, they link to a page with more detailed information about the specific category, thus increasing the page count, keyword density, and shows that they are experts in the categories.
Take a quick look at their sub-categories (listed by priority of the business. They have a sentence describing the sub-category and link to a detailed page that describes the particular service.
These in-depth pages contain a lot of information that cover answers to searches and therefore, search engines are most likely to trust the information on LegalZoom’s website.
For affordable SEO, it’s cheaper to learn from websites like LegalZoom.
Prioritize your service offerings, and focus your attention on one service offering at a time. List the product or service first, link to a landing page and list deeper sub-categories. Each sub-category should have its own page with detailed content. Again, prioritize each sub-category as you did with your service offerings.
As a reminder, all of your content should reflect your brand statement. After you build out your highest priority section, move on to your next service offering. All of your content doesn’t’ have to be ready in a day, but the sooner you can include detailed searchable content, the sooner you will start to gain rank better rank from search engines.
If you have any questions or need help making sure that your content contains searchable content, feel free to leave a comment, signup for a free SEO consultation, or reach out to your favorite SEO consultant, me!
A quick note: Please use a true company differentiator and stay away from fluff. For example, “We are dedicated to customer satisfaction”, “We don’t haggle price”, or “We have a knowledgeable and friendly sales staff.”
Any company can make claims and throw fluff for the sake of having something written on their site. The companies that perform well in search, show their users how. How are you able to prove that your business is better than your competitors? Case in point, do not use fluff as your company differentiator without showing how.