SEO, or search engine optimization, is a concerted effort to improve where your website falls on a list of internet search engine results. If you have a website for your small business, it's critical to know the basics of SEO and how your business performs with certain keywords. Many tactics you can do on your own, but in some cases, you may need to hire a professional. Below, we covered some of the most important things female small business owners need to know about SEO.
1. The Basics
Optimizing your website for search engines is important regardless of which type of site you have, and the task tends to be easier the more unique and local your business is. For example, if you run an ecommerce shop that sells shoes, you are competing with every other person in the country, and even in the world, who sells shoes. In cases like these, you may want to narrow your focus and try to compete for open toed wedges, leather boots for wide feet, or other possible niche categories related to your overall business.
In contrast, if you run a catering company devoted to whole roast hogs, you are likely only competing against other businesses who sell whole roast hogs. Further, since your business is locally-oriented, you really only have to compete with people in your area. Luckily, search engines also use geolocation tools to help bring local shoppers to you.
The SEO task tends to be easier the more unique and local your business is.
2. Google My Business
Since Google is the most popular search engine, you need to pay special attention to it. Start by googling your business by name and city. When the business pops up, there should be a listing that appears to the side. If you have not done so already, claim this listing. Then, update it with your correct business name, a few photos, and a description of your business. If you like, you can also use a few keywords when creating your listing.
The words on your website are a key part of drawing internet traffic. To figure out which words to focus on, make a list of possible topics consumers are likely to search when you want them to find your business. It's often easier for female entrepreneurs to have an intuitive sense of what their customers want, and this can help a lot when you are trying to do SEO. Take relevant keywords over to Google's keyword planner tool. When you type keywords into this tool, it will show you how popular those searches are, and it suggests related search terms for you.
4. Website Content
Once you have a list of words, start rewriting your website, sprinkling in the keywords as you go. Don't stuff the words into the content. Make it seem natural, and shoot for about two to three keywords per page. Also, pay attention to your headings. You should specify a H1 heading on your web page, as it is an important feature search engines consider. Strategic H2s and H3s can help draw traffic to your site as well. In many cases, you may also want to add pages to your site — keep it well organized so it doesn't get unwieldy, but more pages typically means more naturally sounding keywords and better results.
A blog is a fabulous way to add pages to your site and beef up your content. Generating your own blogs may be easier than you think - keep up on industry news, pay attention to common customer questions, or look at competitor's blogs to come up with content ideas. When writing your blogs, remember to use keywords as well.
If you don't want to write your own blogs, you can hire writers to handle them for you. Alternatively, some SEO companies provide you with blogs as well as website optimization and other services. While it's possible to do a lot of SEO on your own, you shouldn't try to be Super Woman. In some cases, it makes sense to access small business financing to use for SEO or other marketing efforts.
As suggested by its name, the internet is an interconnected net or web of information, and the better connected your site is, the higher it will perform in the search results. To connect your site, you need backlinks. Essentially, a backlink is a link on another site that leads to your site.
You can create backlinks by offering to write guest blogs for complementary companies. For example, if you are a florist, you may want to create a blog about floral arrangements for a wedding planner or a funeral director. You may also create backlinks by listing your site on local sites such as a local chamber of commerce or any other relevant organization.
7. Social Media
Your social media accounts can also be a useful place to create some backlinks or simply push traffic to your site. Ideally, you should post interesting tidbits as well as links to your blogs on all of your social media sites. If you have social media sites, however, it's critical that you monitor them daily if not several times a day. In particular, if someone complains about your company on your social media account, you need to respond to them immediately or remove the post, if needed, so you can control your image.
SEO may be a relatively new form of marketing, but as long as search engines exist, this type of marketing is here to stay. As a female business owner, it's critical to understand the basics of SEO and have a strategy in place for making it work on your website.
Eboni K. Williams and Cheslie Kryst have a lot in common, as Iman Oubou Founder & CEO of SWAAY as well as host of the Women Who Swaay podcast puts it, "They're both badass attorneys, they're both from North Carolina and they've both competed in the Miss North Carolina USA pageants." And they also both took over our podcast on the most recent episode, straight from the headquarters of the Miss Universe Organization!
Cheslie is a successful licensed attorney who also happens to be the reigning Miss USA 2019, with plans to represent our country in the upcoming Miss Universe competition. Not only is she at the height of her pageant power, but she is using the notoriety to create positive change for all of the women in her life, much like her role model Eboni K. Williams. Williams is a journalist, author, attorney and speaker; from her long history as a pageant queen she has risen through the ranks of male dominated industries from law-firms to Fox News. All throughout her journey she has persevered with intelligence, tenacity and poise. Lucky enough for us, she has kindly put her reporting skills to use and got candid with Ms. Kryst about supporting their fellow women, the current state of race in America and their history together as pageant compatriots. All of these topics are incredibly close to their hearts as powerful black women using their influence to create a better future for all women in America.
Oh and, as previously stated, both are complete and utter badasses.
During their podcast takeover they talked about it all, from pageants to politics. It's clear that both of these women are motivated by an altruistic spirit and are strong supporters of #womensupportingwomen. Eboni even read a passage from her book, Pretty Powerful: Appearance, Substance, and Success, in which she outlines how her own career trajectory was so positively affected by the incredible women who mentored her in different stages of her life. She completely shuts down the idea of the "woman on woman teardown," calling it a "pitiful dynamic" tied to the "long and very hurtful history of women." This idea that in order to compete for a spot in the old boy's club, women must first fight off their own gender is not only reductive but it also supports an outdated social structure that was built to greatly favor male success. Throughout history women have been encouraged to look at one another as competition, one more obstacle to pass by. However, all that has managed to do is to pit us against each other, fighting for the few meager seats at the table allowed for women while we ignore the real problem. The problem isn't about the lack of seats allotted for women; the problem is that men are still the ones making the seating arrangements, and it's time for that to change, something that both Cheslie and Eboni understand well.
Race is another topic that is incredibly important to both of these women, and they have quite the in-depth discussion on it during this podcast. Cheslie, who is biracial and self-identifies as black, laid out her point of view on race. She voiced her frustrations for never feeling like she had her own box to tick, being stuck to decide between "black, white, or other" in standardized situations like the SATs. Existing as someone stuck between two cultures has been incredibly challenging, and though she found some solace in the black community, she felt less welcomed by her white peers. Self-identifying as black is something that has allowed her more agency in regards to her own identity, and though she still faces difficulties she realizes how important it is to be a confident black woman in the esteemed position she is currently in. Both Cheslie and Eboni seem to bond over the idea that no matter the successes, they both revel in the victories of their fellow women of color. Each of them is motivated to see more women of color in powerful, visible positions to inspire future generations. It's not about their own success; it's about respect and renown for any and all women of color.
I may have just provided the highlight reel, but the full conversation shared between Cheslie and Eboni on the Women Who Swaay podcast is a must listen. These two women managed to make me laugh while restoring hope for a better America all within a half hour of listening time! Seriously, go get those headphones, right now. You will not regret it.