DIY SEO for Time-Poor Business Owners

No business owner has the time to do a lot of SEO, but you can delegate the SEO basics to an employee or freelancer. Even doing basic SEO tasks can make a difference to what page of Google’s results you appear on.  Take control and prioritize.

Your Top Priorities

  • SEO Basics
  • Content
  • UX
  • Links
  • Promotion

DIY SEO comes down to proper site management, fresh content and making your site attractive to users.

SEO Basics

SEO is too important to leave to chance. Neil Patel puts it very clearly in his SEO guide,

“If you ever need to hide a dead body, you should place it on the second page of Google search results.”

You MUST do everything in your power to improve your search engine results pages (SERPS) ranking, or no-one is going to find you.

Good site management is a part of SEO that can be outsourced, or delegated to a trusted employee. This SEO Chat article runs you through the basics of SEO and can form the basis of your employees’ training.

The most time-consuming aspect is keyword research using the free Google Adwords tool, but even this is not a task you need to do yourself. With basic training and the right tools, your content team can identify keyword phrases to target.

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Installing the free Yoast SEO plugin on your blog will ensure writers’ awareness of the importance of correct keyword density.

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Yoast also checks for paragraph length, sentence length and other readability factors that will affect your user time-on-page and bounce rate statistics.

Content

Yeah, yeah. We all know content is king, but it takes time!

There is no way to avoid it. Regular fresh and insightful content is part of what will rank your site higher in search engine results pages (SERPS). There will be nobody else who understands your business as well as you, but you need to change that. If you don’t educate writers into how your business works, you will be stuck writing everything yourself, other important tasks will crop up, and the writing won’t happen.

Even the best writer works better with input from you regarding your services and clients.

Take the time to explain your business and how it works to your content production team. Educate your writers about your customer persona, his needs and how your company solves them. Make your business values clear, have a content production plan and feed your writers plenty of ideas for articles.

User Experience (UX)

The most important person in your organization is imaginary. Your customer persona should be writ large in every office, and room in your premises. Use an image of this imaginary persona as a screensaver on all your computers, put posters featuring his image on the backs of all the doors ion the washrooms and in the staff canteen.

If your users dislike your website, you are doomed.

Your site has to look good, use colors users like and that will elicit the emotions related to your business objectives. Minimize clutter, maximize contrast and ensure everything shown on a page is the optimum size, color, and shape. Negative space is every bit as valuable as page components, so avoid trying to do too much on any one web page.

Each page should have one purpose and one purpose only. The rationale behind a web page’s existence should be obvious. Navigation through your site should be simple and easy to use, regardless of the screen size someone is using.

Links

Building links to your website is essential, but if you build them in the wrong way, Google will bury you on page 200 of its SERPS.

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Safe link-building activities:

  • Learn what links point to you by installing the free Incoming Links plugin
  • Provide high-quality and insightful resources people in your niche value and will link to without any prompting
  • Build your reputation by sharing everything you know without asking for payment
  • Design infographics that link back to you when others install them on their sites

Promotion

It is well-nigh impossible to do even basic promotion without a large team.

Be selective.

If you only focus on one promotion channel, let it be YouTube.

Forget videos about your business; they won’t show in Google and no-one is interested. But, videos that show how to solve problems are another matter.

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Ryan Stuart from Webris says Youtube video promotion is vital as part of your top-of-funnel marketing and engaging customers.

Your Takeaways

Much SEO can be done in-house using basic training and free WordPress plugins to help inform decisions. You must delegate content production, but feed writers with ideas and company information frequently. Concentrate your social media presence on producing How-To videos on YouTube.

How to Keep Your Content Team on the Same Page

Content marketing is a cornerstone of modern brand promotion. In fact, a 2016 study found that it costs 62 percent less than traditional forms and generates about three times as many leads. With numbers like this, it seems like every business is working tirelessly to create captivating messaging that will springboard into the mainstream.

As great as the concept sounds, getting into a rhythm of producing high-engagement brand messaging is not as easy as it looks. Even further, once you reach a certain level of quality, the last thing you want to do is backslide.

Once a company begins to gain more traction in the marketplace, a team will be needed to meet demand. This is a time when it’s VERY easy for a strategy to crumble. The more minds you have working, the harder it is to keep everyone’s visions in line.

Keeping this in mind, the entire entity of content marketing requires a superb level of coordination to remain competitive. Let’s discuss some foundational practices for keeping your team working towards the same goals as a single, efficient unit.

Involve everyone in the planning stage

As a manager, your job is to take ownership of projects. However, in order for a team to work as a fine-tuned machine, everyone needs to be present during the planning process and contributing to the big picture.

The truth is that the workplace is a much different environment than it was 30-40 years ago. The top-down dictatorship style of planning projects isn’t nearly as effective as it once was. Employees today need to feel valued in order to stick around. Remember, people leave bosses, not companies.

A good manager is one that works to bring out the very best in each and every member of the team. This process all starts in the planning stage. Be sure everyone has a voice, and ideas are shared freely.

Now, as great as this concept is, it can sometimes turn out to be a difficult task being that many companies these days allow employees to work remote. When this is the case, it’s wise to invest in interactive platforms like GoToMeeting:

Tools like this help ensure everyone is on the same page – whether they are physically present for the planning stage or not.

Promote transparency in task delegation

Once a solid plan is nailed down and the overarching goals are understood, the time will come when tasks need to delegated appropriately.

For example, let’s say one of your goals is to increase revenue by improving your customer service process. In this case, you will need information and data on some of the common issues and roadblocks of that department.

This would likely require someone to scour the web and pinpoint trending concerns most people are having when interacting with brands. With this knowledge, you would then need your creators to craft appealing content addressing these issues in accordance with brand messaging.

In order to get tasks done well, you and your team must embrace transparency in the workplace. If not, certain details can easily slip through the cracks.

For this purpose, it’s strongly recommended to implement a campaign management system. Tools like Workzone are built with a task-driven mindset with transparency being foundational aspect:

For instance, everyone involved in a project or campaign is able to look at the main dashboard and see exactly which projects are on the table, who is working on them, and where they stand in terms of progress.

This dashboard is ideal for small marketing or creative teams, and remains so all the way up to enterprise departments. With clear statuses on campaign goals, Workzone goes beyond simplistic to-do lists like Trello while steering clear of complex ICT project management tools like JIRA.

Transparency in delegation is much easier said than done. Do yourself a favor and look into a software that tackles this challenge for you.

Find a communication alternative to email

As great as email is for external communication, the same cannot be said for in-house interactions.

For one, people tend to get bogged down with more emails than they know what to do with. Therefore, it is all too easy for correspondence between coworkers to get lost in the shuffle.

Content marketing is very much a group effort. As all good leaders will tell you, communication is the key to a high-performing team. To make sure crucial messages don’t get overlooked, companies are wise to look into a form of communication exclusively for employees.

Consider introducing an instant messaging app; the wildly popular Slack:

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This tool is well-known for being easy to use in businesses of all sizes. It’s designed for quick group messaging, cross-department communications, file sharing, and integrates with a lot of other popular apps like Google Drive, HubSpot and even Giphy.

Prioritizing emails and organizing an inbox is a task in itself. Keeping in-house correspondence separate is crucial for getting your team to accomplish goals without unnecessary delays.

Encourage teamwork and collaboration

One of the most important ingredients to successful content is consistency. For this concept to become a reality, you must create a strong culture of teamwork and collaboration.

Your content team should share the same vision and be walking on the same path to get there. If you are producing material in vastly different tones with divergent messaging, this is a big red flag your squad is not working as a unit, but a group of individuals.

The best way to create a motivating environment is to keep members in the loop while openly discussing certain issues or concerns related to goals. Programs like Yammer are great for team building and learning more about the visions of everyone involved:

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Yammer is essentially a private social networking site you can set up for your company. This interface currently has over 7 million users from more than 200,000 different companies. It’s designed for people to stay updated on all aspects of the company and collaborate on projects across the board.

An open platform like this is perfect for content teams to continuously develop their unified approach. Good, consistent work is a direct product of sharing a collective pool of knowledge.

Parting words

Managing a content team can be one of the most complicated tasks in the business world. You are dealing with a plethora of different creative and analytical personalities needing to work towards one collective vision.

Success in content marketing depends heavily on the systems and tools you employ. The common successful theme is based around a culture of open sharing and tight-knit communication. Producing compelling brand material is all about finding the perfect balance of these concepts.

The Visual Business: Instagram Insights and Curation Tools

According to RuthAnn Wiesner, "if content is king, then Instagram is its own castle". As to why Instagram matters that much for business, here is a list of reasons compiled by Socialbakers:

  • 300million monthly active users (MAU)
  • 75million daily active users (DAU)
  • Top 25 Instagram brand profiles receive 110 times more engagement than on Twitter
  • Over 1Billion Likes Daily
  • 3,600 new photos shared every minute everyday

Instagram Insights for Business

The visual platform itself is proving to be a good marketing tool for marketers and brands alike. As of August 2016, Instagram announced its release of Stories, aiming to take a swipe at Snapchat´s successful video messaging tool. In short, a platform that features plenty of opportunities for small and medium-sized business and just about any brand looking for a return on investment for their efforts.

Getting Your "Insta" Stories for Your Business

To get it up and running you need an "insta" business account. You can create one from scratch or upgrade your personal one. To upgrade, click the turn wheel icon in the upper right section of your profile and hit "switch". Warning: personal accounts can’t benefit from Stories at the moment.

Benefits of Insta Stories

Is there anything else besides the fresh social marketing perspective? You bet!

Stories allows your business account to be easily discovered by followers and non-followers. You also get access to Analytics, which gives a better insight to what works and what converts across your visual strategy.

Insta Tips and Tricks

It’s all about creating engagement and a sense of community with your followers. To do that, you need to transform your Instagram business channel into a visual storyteller. Here is what you can consider:

  • Show personality
  • Less is more: keep it 80% non-business and just 20% products/services
  • Have call to action elements
  • Follow back and engage
  • Comment on other users’ photos
  • Tag customers for contests and celebrations
  • Use hashtags
  • Say thank you
  • Don’t over-abuse the Direct Messaging options J

The Greatness of Community

Additionally, photograph events and capture video with customers interacting with your products and services. Do not forget call to action elements such as life hacks, product reviews or suggestions for upcoming product launches, promotions and giveaways. Implicate your community members!

Getting Help from the Popular Kids

Follow back, engage and comment with #influencers of Instagram. Tagging users is a great conversation starter, however don’t overuse it.

There is no limit now for using hashtags, but don’t overdo it either, as it sends out the wrong message. Alas, keep the hashtags relevant. Don’t use only the hashtags that get massive clicks, but also the ones that get less, but more targeted traffic.  

Harnessing the Power of Instagram Photos

Instagram is all about the "instant" visual: image, video and now story. How you choose to tell your story is more relevant than you think. This blog post from Yotpo showcases the uniqueness of "insta" stories:

  • Instagram photos convert better than other types of visual content
  • Instagram pics also convert because customer trust photos from previous customers
  • Using Instagram has a positive effect on increasing e-comm conversion and engagement
  • Instagram photos can be used in marketing materials
  • Using Instagram photos allows you to repurpose valuable content, integrate user-generated content

Additional Practices and Curation Tools

To get a grasp of how existing businesses are succeeding, first check the Business Instagram page. Proceed by giving a chance to either of these curation tools to help you filter through stories, or to create better, more appealing stories for your insta business.

VSCO

This is an Android and iOS photo-editing mobile app with high quality filters, with a free download button. You can use this part social network and photo editing platform to really set yourself apart from the rest.

Snapseed

Available on both iOS and Android OS, this is more than just your average photo editing mobile app. You can fine-tune photos by applying effects with a brush instead of filtering the entire image. Extra: save groups of filters as a template after the initial use, and reuse them Shakira style, "whenever, wherever".  

Boomerang

This is an in-house Instagram goody, which allows you to create 1-second videos with no audio. Essentially super short GIFS that loop back and forth. Vinederful, in a way.

Before You Go…

Bottom line: Instagram is more than just a photo-editing & social sharing tool, proving that businesses can convert and strategize through the power of visual. One perfect example of insta success is National Geographic. Thanks to a large network of photographers their images never fail to tell a great story.

Not sure about your own Instagram marketing strategy? This infographic illustrates elements you can integrate for higher success rate.

Google Display Ad Dimensions 2014

Source: Techwyse