Just about every business owner these days understands the need to make the best use of their time spent on SEO and their need to invest in SEO. Even if they don’t really understand everything the field involves (or how Google works). It’s a byproduct of the mass move to online operation that began years back and has lurched ahead once more in 2020 due to the broad consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s extremely simple: if you’re going to succeed online, you need to be optimally visible to your prospective customers. For obvious reasons, people who’ve yet to learn that your business even exists won’t be buying from you. Troublingly, though, SEO is both complex and slow, making it a tough matter to handle even if you’re fully ready to spend on getting it right.
In the end, it comes down to two actions: deciding how much time you can afford to put towards it, and using that time as effectively as you can. The first part is totally up to you, but in this post we’re going to run through some tips for achieving the latter. Let’s get started.
Run your site on a high-quality platform
Every site needs a content management system (or CMS) to underpin it, serving as the platform upon which you can create the pages and features you want — and the platform you use for your site will have a significant impact on how effectively you can optimize it for search. There are platforms designed to be great for ranking, and those with limited SEO features (if any).
If you have yet to create your site (and you’re trying to plan ahead by learning about SEO), then it’s vitally important that you choose a strong CMS for SEO. If you’re creating a regular site, then HubSpot has some good suggestions — and if you’re specifically creating an online retail store, then you can find comprehensive ecommerce platforms reviews at Ecommerce Platforms.
If you already have a site live, though, then it’s worth doing some research to see what people say about the CMS you’re currently using. If it’s decent for SEO, then you can stick with it — but if it has a terrible reputation for ranking, then it may well be worth migrating the site to a new platform (migrations are frustrating, but it’s hard to understate how much the CMS matters).
Cover all the basics of technical SEO
Even if you know your CMS is great for SEO, that won’t completely protect you from facing basic technical issues that can broadly sabotage your SEO efforts. A great platform will make it easy for you to add meta descriptions, for instance, but can’t force you to do it. Similarly, it might give you a one-click option for creating and submitting a sitemap, but you still need to do it.
There are tools out there that can automatically scan a site for basic SEO problems, and your CMS may well help you in that regard. Alternatively, you can consult an SEO expert to get some insight (plus a quote for resolving whatever issues are flagged up). By getting the simplest problems out of the way first, you can make the biggest impact — then work more slowly on other issues that can’t be resolved so rapidly.
Prioritize your most high-value pages
Websites can vary massively in size: you can have a one-page site (which will also serve as a landing page), or you can have tens or even hundreds of pages if you need to cover a lot of ground. Big ecommerce sites, for instance, will tend to have huge ranges of product pages. Trying to get them all ranking would be a massive (and exhausting) undertaking.
Instead of doing that, you should pick out the pages that are most worthy of your efforts. This helps make the most of your time spent on SEO. You might have particular products that have greater profit margins and have more potential to excel than your other products, in which case you should give them more time. Look at it this way: picking away at thirty different pages will end up getting you nowhere, while putting all that time into three different pages can significantly improve their rankings.
Don’t try to rank for hyper-competitive terms
Lastly, one of the biggest SEO lessons anyone can learn is that it’s rarely worth trying to rank for terms that are being fought over by top brands. Suppose that you were running an online shoe store and wanted to attract more visitors — should you try to get the site ranking for “leather shoes”? The problem with that is that everyone wants to rank for a generic term like that, so you’d be up against brands with far more experience and money than you could muster.
You could still find ways to rank, but you’d need to concentrate on other terms: lower-priority keywords with more niche appeal. Instead of “leather shoes”, you could try “waterproof leather shoes for hiking” or “sensible footwear for outdoor use” — and if those were also too competitive, you could go even further into niche appeal with even longer keywords.
Finding the right keywords to target is a tricky process, because you need to find a balance: some keywords will have too much competition, while others will produce too little traffic to be worth your attention. If you can manage to pick out terms that are actionable and viable targets, you’ll know where you need to be investing your time to make the most of time spent on SEO.
Making the Most of Your Time Spent on SEO
Doing effective SEO on a small scale is all about using time effectively. Use these tips to point your efforts in the right direction, and you should see worthwhile results.