I can hear the groans from here… SEO, that technical stuff, ugh!
Oops, wrong memo?
How about help in building a business asset on the web. Sound better?
That is what SEO is now a big part of – turning your website into a business asset – and we all need help on that, right?
We have two closely overlapping concepts: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Semantic Search.
So let’s get on the same page here:
SEO – Everything and anything that makes your website more visible to search engines. (See Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday)
Semantic Search – The increasing capability of search engines to understand conversational language, context, and the intent behind a search query, yielding greater accuracy in results. This has transformed not only search, but search marketing.
And if you think search doesn’t affect your small business, consider this: internet search has a $119 billion impact on the US economy alone. As David Amerland notes:
“Search is Marketing. If your business cannot be found on the web it cannot do business.”
If you have a small/micro business, you may be thinking “so now what?” What can I do about it?
David Amerland’s “SEO Help: 20 Semantic Search Steps That Will Help Your Business Grow” answers that question perfectly.
If you read David Amerland’s earlier book, Google Semantic Search , the definitive work for businesses on this subject, then consider David’s recent edition of SEO Help: 20 Semantic Search Steps That Will Help Your Business Grow, the companion and follow-up. It easily stands on its own merits, though. No SEO background or prior knowledge is required.
Here, in an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand format, is the blueprint for any business. But it seems especially tailor-made for the small business person.
Everything about this book “is practical through and through”.
None of the 20 steps requires technical or marketing knowhow! And if you’re not a speed reader, don’t worry. The length is very manageable. David Amerland has intentionally limited the scope and amount of detail in order to avoid the “overwhelm” factor.
Does that sound easy?
Easy-to-understand, it is. With some exceptions, that does not mean the steps are easy to implement. But I do believe that small businesses have an advantage in several areas.
Take Step #2… Establish your identity.
One of the primary recommendations is to establish your online identity: your uniqueness, your mission, your passion. Everything follows from there.
This is much easier (and quicker) for a solopreneur or small organization to accomplish than a mega-corporation with thousands of employees.
Why is identity such a big deal?
Here’s where semantic search comes into play in a big way. David Amerland explains it this way:
“Semantic search works by joining up every piece of information it can find in order to form a picture of who you are…[it] requires a simple thing: data.
It’s no longer enough to just ‘be’ online if you cannot also establish the credentials of who you are and what you do.”
There is much more to this than one might think.
For example, first consider your website. Website? What’s that got to do with it?
Your website is not an afterthought, or something separate from your identity. It is the home base for all your digital activities.
The book identifies 3 elements of your site that relate to identity:
3. Site architecture
While they may seem unrelated to establishing your identity, they actually force you to think about how you want to represent yourself online.
Subsequent chapters and steps relating to these elements shed further light on the interconnections.
Another helpful aspect of the book is that there is a tagline for each of the steps at the beginning of each chapter that sums up the essence of that step, and in itself, is a quotable quote.
Step # 4, Other Digital Profiles:
“Google is mining the web looking to connect the dots of your digital identity.”
Step #5, Content:
“Content is now key to your website’s visibility, you branding and the creation of your digital identity.”
Step #6, Voice:
“Learn to speak on the social web with the sincerity and authenticity of a real person.”
Step #10: Website Design
“The quality of your website design is now critically important to your ranking in search.”
Step #15: Google My Business:
“The web is global but it works best at being local.”
Are you seeing a pattern here?
Interwoven among these steps is the need for a strong, recognizable digital identity that is supported at the most basic level by a well designed website.
This is a small sampling of what’s in store for you. The chapters can be read in any order. I found it helpful to read straight through as the steps tend to build on each other, but you can mix it up as you like.
At the end of every chapter, there are 10 questions to guide you through the process of implementing that particular step. You may be tempted to breeze through these or skip them altogether. But they’re there for a reason. Answering these will set you up for success as you put the steps into action.
There’s no timeline for any of this. Some of these steps you will be able to accomplish in a timely fashion. Others can be future goals. (Caveat on future goals: “Don’t put off til tomorrow what you can do today” because “some day” often never comes.) The commitment required, however, is ongoing. A “check the box and move on” mentality will not work.
The very best part of the entire book and all of the 20 steps…?
They are GOOD FOR YOUR BUSINESS, regardless of how many of them you might do.
Everything recommended in this book for SEO is equally good for your business as a whole, and will help make your web presence a business asset and not just something that eats up your precious time.
As the title says, it will help your business grow. There is nothing here that is “just for SEO”. All of these steps and the activities they entail, will make your business that much better. The great news about a new day in SEO, is that it’s also good for your business. And that’s a win-win.