What is SEO in marketing? How does SEO work? What does SEO mean? How do I SEO my website?
Don’t worry– I’ll be addressing all those questions in this super beginner-friendly article. I’ll keep things short and easy to understand.
Being a Black woman business owner myself, I’m well aware of how difficult it can be to get one’s website to rank. Is it any more challenging to do so as a Black woman than a White man? According to search engine algorithms– absolutely not. Google doesn’t care about the creator; just the content.
But according to networking, connections, budgets, and advertising, the wealthier definitely have it easier. You’ll find that “the wealthier” typically look like Elon Musk or Bill Gates — white men.
This SEO guide will hopefully minimize the disadvantages that minority business owners face when trying to get their websites “out there”.
First things first, let’s address the elephant in the room.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization. Now that you know what it stands for, let’s address the next most obvious question. What is search engine optimization?
Search engine optimization is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. SEO targets unpaid traffic rather than direct traffic or paid traffic.
Whenever you search on Google, the results that show up at the top have been optimized to appear for the keywords you search. Of course, there are a few other factors that determine search result ranking, but SEO is #1.
For example, the following snippet shows the top search result for “marketing techniques”.
Upon first glance, you can see a few things that would’ve made this article a contender to rank first.
“Marketing techniques” is in the page title. “Marketing techniques” is in the page’s main heading. The article is set up as a list… which Google (and readers) loves. We can also assume that the images in the article had alt text that contained “marketing techniques” or similar keywords. And the website looks to be credible.
What this means for you
As a beginner, your best bet is to write articles that target a specific keyword or query.
Yes, there are more complicated forms of “targeting” but they’ll just slow you down and degrade the authenticity of your writing in the beginning.
One of the main questions that plague bloggers or content writers is “what should I write about?” Or more specifically, “what can I write about that readers will actually care about?”
The SEO life-saver
While there are multiple ways of going about answering this question, the most fool-proof way is Semrush.
Semrush’s keyword magic tool is an easy-to-use keyword research tool that provides all the keywords you need to build your most profitable SEO or PPC campaign.
This tool gives you a powerful resource to analyze an entire search market, study niche subtopics, and groups, and save your research as you go.
To get started, simply enter a keyword you want to analyze into the search bar. Here’s a personal example using the keyword “minority owned”.
Now let me tell you, this tool is a game changer. I used to use Google’s search suggestions as my articles’s titles and keywords but… Semrush is just so much more effective.
From just one keyword I’m instantly given numerous keywords ranked by volume of searches.
My keyword is instantly transformed into:
- minority owned business,
- minority owned business certification,
- and minority owned business grants
- plus 3000+ other searches
I don’t know about you, but I would not have thought of all of those queries myself.
Turning your keywords into actual searches
But I know what you’re thinking… “minority owned business” is so broad. It’s too general, too vague, and it alone can’t be the title of my article.
Don’t worry friend, I know. Semrush knows too. That’s why they go one step further.
When you click the dropdown arrow next to a keyword, that’s when the more specific searches pop up. As in searches that you can actually name your article.
So you go from a seed keyword like “minority owned” to relevant questions like:
- What is a minority owned business
- How do you become a certified minority woman owned business
- How to get certified as a minority owned business
Thanks to Semrush, I’m quite literally planning future articles as I type.
More importantly than the search terms themselves, you’ll also see search volume. That’ll tell you many people are actually searching for a keyword or question. A lower search volume means that your article will most likely receive fewer quicks than a higher search volume term. However, since competitors don’t tend to focus on low search volume terms, your article is more likely to rank high in search. So you win a little, you lose a little.
This is a 10/10 feature if I’ve ever seen one.
You that you have your keyword(s), now what?
It’s time to start writing.
But you can’t just write anything. You’re going to need to tactfully weave your keyword(s) throughout the article. Prioritizing headings and not skipping any image alt text.
Be careful not to “keyword stuff.” A spammy SEO technique in which keywords are loaded into a web page in an attempt to gain an unfair rank advantage.
Fortunately, Semrush can help you here too. Their SEO Writing Assistant checks if your texts follow Semrush’s best SEO recommendations. The tool even analyzes your rivals’ content and gives you ideas to write winning SEO-friendly content.
But let’s be real, who wants to write a whole article in an SEO machine? Pretty much no one. While their on-site writing assistant is great for pasting blurbs of writing, their plug-ins are the real must-haves.
Essential Plugins for SEO success
The Semrush SEO Writing Assistant for WordPress provides instant recommendations for content optimization based on the qualities of Google’s top 10-ranking pages for your given keywords in a given location.
And the Semrush SEO Writing Extension for Google Docs does all that jazz from the comforts of… you guessed it, Google Docs.
Here’s a snippet of their writing assistant assessing my article.
I love that Semrush let’s you input multiple target keywords, while some SEO tools only allow one. As you can see, I targeted “productive work routine” (with a smaller focus on “productivity” and “hacks”).
After analyzing my article and keywords, Semrush recommended the keywords:
- productive morning
- rest of the day
- morning routine
- successful people
- daily routines
- important tasks
- and more
All keywords that I could very simply incorporate throughout the article. Plus, I can use those keywords as my target keywords for future articles.
When you hover over a recommended keyword, they’ll display difficulty for ranking for it and search volume.
The tool also checks for alt text, title issues, and link issues.
A general run-through of how to SEO
- Think of a keyword or keywords that identify with your target audience.
- For example, “natural hairstyle” if you’re an ethnic hairstylist.
- Use Semrush or another tool to find queries related to your keyword that people are actually searching for. In other words, go from the general to the specific (and relevant). Semrush’s keyword magic tool is your best friend here.
- For example, from “natural hairstyle”, choose one of the following questions for your title.
- Write your article, threading your keywords throughout. Use Semrush SEO Writing Assistant to output recommended keywords you should also be targeting. Don’t write your whole article and then get it assessed. Get it assessed as you write it.
- Add images and image alt text containing your keyword(s). Actually, make it relevant so that readers who aren’t able to view the image still know what it was about.
- Add a meta description that contains your keyword(s). This is the little blurb that’ll show up under the title in search engines. Don’t keyword stuff. Keep it pretty short; two sentences or so.
As for tags and categories, you’ll need to refer to another article for all that. I promised to keep this guide short and sweet.
Don’t forget to check out 8 ways to develop a business mindset as a minority!
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