BETA
Close

7 Things Female Small Business Owners Need To Know About SEO

Career

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.

3. Keywords

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.

5. Blogs

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.

6. Backlinks

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.

Culture

A Modern Day Witch Hunt: How Caster Semenya's Gender Became A Hot Topic In The Media

Gender divisions in sports have primarily served to keep women out of what has always been believed to be a male domain. The idea of women participating alongside men has been regarded with contempt under the belief that women were made physically inferior.


Within their own division, women have reached new heights, received accolades for outstanding physical performance and endurance, and have proven themselves to be as capable of athletic excellence as men. In spite of women's collective fight to be recognized as equals to their male counterparts, female athletes must now prove their womanhood in order to compete alongside their own gender.

That has been the reality for Caster Semenya, a South African Olympic champion, who has been at the center of the latest gender discrimination debate across the world. After crushing her competition in the women's 800-meter dash in 2016, Semenya was subjected to scrutiny from her peers based upon her physical appearance, calling her gender into question. Despite setting a new national record for South Africa and attaining the title of fifth fastest woman in Olympic history, Semenya's success was quickly brushed aside as she became a spectacle for all the wrong reasons.

Semenya's gender became a hot topic among reporters as the Olympic champion was subjected to sex testing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). According to Ruth Padawer from the New York Times, Semenya was forced to undergo relentless examination by gender experts to determine whether or not she was woman enough to compete as one. While the IAAF has never released the results of their testing, that did not stop the media from making irreverent speculations about the athlete's gender.

Moments after winning the Berlin World Athletics Championship in 2009, Semenya was faced with immediate backlash from fellow runners. Elisa Cusma who suffered a whopping defeat after finishing in sixth place, felt as though Semenya was too masculine to compete in a women's race. Cusma stated, "These kind of people should not run with us. For me, she is not a woman. She's a man." While her statement proved insensitive enough, her perspective was acknowledged and appeared to be a mutually belief among the other white female competitors.

Fast forward to 2018, the IAAF issued new Eligibility Regulations for Female Classification (Athlete with Differences of Sexual Development) that apply to events from 400m to the mile, including 400m hurdles races, 800m, and 1500m. The regulations created by the IAAF state that an athlete must be recognized at law as either female or intersex, she must reduce her testosterone level to below 5 nmol/L continuously for the duration of six months, and she must maintain her testosterone levels to remain below 5 nmol/L during and after competing so long as she wishes to be eligible to compete in any future events. It is believed that these new rules have been put into effect to specifically target Semenya given her history of being the most recent athlete to face this sort of discrimination.

With these regulations put into effect, in combination with the lack of information about whether or not Semenya is biologically a female of male, society has seemed to come to the conclusion that Semenya is intersex, meaning she was born with any variation of characteristics, chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. After her initial testing, there had been alleged leaks to media outlets such as Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper which stated that Semenya's results proved that her testosterone levels were too high. This information, while not credible, has been widely accepted as fact. Whether or not Semenya is intersex, society appears to be missing the point that no one is entitled to this information. Running off their newfound acceptance that the Olympic champion is intersex, it calls into question whether her elevated levels of testosterone makes her a man.

The IAAF published a study concluding that higher levels of testosterone do, in fact, contribute to the level of performance in track and field. However, higher testosterone levels have never been the sole determining factor for sex or gender. There are conditions that affect women, such as PCOS, in which the ovaries produce extra amounts of testosterone. However, those women never have their womanhood called into question, nor should they—and neither should Semenya.

Every aspect of the issue surrounding Semenya's body has been deplorable, to say the least. However, there has not been enough recognition as to how invasive and degrading sex testing actually is. For any woman, at any age, to have her body forcibly examined and studied like a science project by "experts" is humiliating and unethical. Under no circumstances have Semenya's health or well-being been considered upon discovering that her body allegedly produces an excessive amount of testosterone. For the sake of an organization, for the comfort of white female athletes who felt as though Semenya's gender was an unfair advantage against them, Semenya and other women like her, must undergo hormone treatment to reduce their performance to that of which women are expected to perform at. Yet some women within the athletic community are unphased by this direct attempt to further prove women as inferior athletes.

As difficult as this global invasion of privacy has been for the athlete, the humiliation and sense of violation is felt by her people in South Africa. Writer and activist, Kari, reported that Semenya has had the country's undying support since her first global appearance in 2009. Even after the IAAF released their new regulations, South Africans have refuted their accusations. Kari stated, "The Minister of Sports and Recreation and the Africa National Congress, South Africa's ruling party labeled the decision as anti-sport, racist, and homophobic." It is no secret that the build and appearance of Black women have always been met with racist and sexist commentary. Because Black women have never managed to fit into the European standard of beauty catered to and in favor of white women, the accusations of Semenya appearing too masculine were unsurprising.

Despite the countless injustices Semenya has faced over the years, she remains as determined as ever to return to track and field and compete amongst women as the woman she is. Her fight against the IAAF's regulations continues as the Olympic champion has been receiving and outpour of support in wake of the Association's decision. Semenya is determined to run again, win again, and set new and inclusive standards for women's sports.