Small Business SEO: Content Marketing for the Little Guy

Modern off-page SEO is all about two things: content marketing and public relations. Yes, there are still quite a few companies out there who are trying to sell their clients on outdated practices like directory listings, Web 2.0 sites, and other cheap hand-made links but quite frankly, they’re wasting their time and their clients’ money. Google has made it perfectly clear that they expect two things from their top rankers:

  • An absolutely sterling web page with unique content and a solid user experience that gets visitors to stick around, and
  • Links from authoritative, currently-relevant pages that are earned rather than built.

If you want to earn links, you have two options: you can build relationships with people who run authoritative websites and talk them into linking to you, or you can be an amazing content marker. In other words, you can create content so good that authoritative, relevant sites link to you because they want to.

How Can My Business Earn That Kind of Attention? It’s Boring!

First of all, if you think your business is boring, what are you doing in that business? But without getting into existential issues, quite simply, you’re wrong. If there are authoritative, currently-relevant sites about your industry, then by definition, there is someone out there that is interested enough in your industry that you might be able to get their attention.

For example, let’s take a somewhat obscure area of business: say you make those big rubber blades that mining operations use to clean off their conveyor belts, so they don’t carry debris back into the mine. You might think, “Wow, what I do is profitable, but honestly, there isn’t a soul in the world who cares enough about conveyor belt cleaning blades to read anything I might write about them.”

Wrong! All you have to do is go to Google and type conveyor belt cleaning blades inurl:blog.  That last bit tells Google to only return results that have the word ‘blog’ in the URL, so you can be fairly assured you’re only going to get blog posts as results. And look at the results! 140,000 of them! And 7 of the first 10 are from different websites, with the last three being from the same single site.

That tells you right off the bat that yes, there are people out there who care about your industry. More importantly, it tells you which sites to pay special attention to — click through them, see what kinds of things they’re most interested in. See if they have any questions you might be able to answer, or any problems you might be able to solve. Write about them. Link to them when you do. Mention them on Facebook and Twitter from your business account.

Chances are pretty good that if you create content that they find genuinely interesting and useful, you can get that backlink you’ve been looking for — and especially for a more obscure industry, every backlink you earn is a huge bump to your small business’ SEO. Target a few of the top sites, write content that will get you their nod, and reap the rewards!