Can a small business owner really fit enough optimisation into their day to make a difference?
I often fall into conversation with ambitious men and women who’ve started their own businesses but can’t yet afford the services of an SEO agency. It’s often very frustrating for them.
They understand exactly what the benefits are and how it might grow their business faster, but they simply don’t have the budget to launch an optimisation campaign. So, I’ve been thinking about how a small-business owner could chop up SEO work so that it fits into their day without undermining their normal work.
I still believe you need a dedicated staff member or agency to run a really powerful SEO effort, but here are some thoughts in the meantime…
Set weekly or monthly goals
Could you fit half an hour of SEO into your day three or four days a week? Even if you could only manage it two days a week, perhaps by coming in 30 minutes early, you could make a real difference.
This kind of dedicated time will allow you to set goals for your website and gradually work towards them without having to set aside an entire couple of days.
For example, you might want to work on the content of your website to ensure it’s written with optimisation in mind; you might want to give your pages unique title tags that contain your chosen keywords; or simply work out how to use Google Analytics.
Decide what SEO projects you need to undertake and then set a structure in place that allows you to work towards them without undermining your day-to-day work.
Staying ahead: lunchtime
Whether you’re a professional or a hardworking amateur, it’s important to stay abreast of industry changes and to keep improving your knowledge. The good news is that there’s loads of useful information online, especially on websites like this one. Yet it can be hard find time to cram up on SEO when it’s not your full-time job.
But I recently read that 87% of office workers eat at their desks. Lots of people aren’t working through their lunches; they’re reading the news, shopping online and updating Facebook.
If you read one article a day during your lunch break, you’d really enhance your understanding and pick up lots of tips to implement on your website.
A blog can make a big difference to a small company’s optimisation. If it’s well written and useful then other industry figures will link to it and Tweet about it.
That way the search engines can see that your website is publishing regular, popular content that’s naturally filled with your target keywords and other relevant terms.
Of course, writing a blog is a big commitment and there are no shortcuts to the work that it takes. But you can save time on ideas generation. Coming up with ideas for articles can be challenging and take a long time, which is very disheartening for people.
So, when you have a company meeting, try dedicating five minutes each time to brainstorming blog ideas. You may even find different staff members volunteer to write them (which is good for their personal professional reputations), which can obviously save you time.
Working on your paid search: coffee break
Choosing the best keywords to bid on is a fine art and a big pay-per-click campaign needs frequent work to update it and make sure you’re getting the most out of your money.
But, if you don’t have the resources for that, then try considering writing one PPC ad or researching a new keyword a day. By dedicating ten minutes each day, you could gradually build up a decent campaign, which is updated regularly enough.
If you like to mull over a Sudoku puzzle or crossword with your mid-morning latte, then try swapping this for a Google Adwords conundrum.
Wringing a greater return out of every pound you spend this way can be as fun as a puzzle (if you have the right kind of mindset) and much more satisfying when you succeed.
A shortage of shortcuts
Unfortunately, there are no real shortcuts in SEO; it’s a time-consuming business. But what you can do is chop up the work into bite-sized chunks that fit into your day, which is what I have tried to show here.
If you can be disciplined enough to fit these optimisation chunks into your day then your website will benefit.
Once your business has grown large enough to support a dedicated SEO member of staff or an agency, you’ll also benefit as you’ll have a much greater understanding of the tactics they employ.