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Unlocking the Secrets of Search Engine Optimization

| Flourish Monthly

We’re very excited to announce that we’ve added a Search Engine Optimization specialist to our team! Everyone, welcome the author of today’s blog: Leigh Little. We’re so happy to have her here! This means we will now be able to add SEO strategies to our services. Read on to learn from Leigh how to unlock the secrets of search engine optimization!

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a bit like the wind. You know it exists, can see its effects but it’s hard to put your hands around. For small business owners aiming to increase sales and online visibility, grasping the essence of SEO is crucial. The landscape of SEO pricing and quality is vast and varied, making it critical for business owners to understand what they need and what to look for - not only to increase rankings, but to avoid costly unnecessary high monthly spend.

In this two part series, we’re going to 

  • break down what SEO is and why it’s important, 
  • 5 things you can do to boost SEO without having to touch your website, 
  • when to consult a professional and 
  • what to look for to avoid overpaying.



What IS SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, a multifaceted approach designed to improve your business's online presence. Through a combination of strategies applied across various platforms—your website, social media, Google Business Profile, and online directories for example—you can significantly boost your visibility in search results. 

Local SEO is even more laser focused because it’s concerned primarily with matching the searcher with the best service in the area they are searching. Remember, Google and other search engines' goal is to return the most valuable content for the searcher. This is why it might be difficult if you are a florist in Oregon City to rank high in the search results for someone searching for a florist in Portland. Google is going to look within a specific geographic radius and find the best businesses that match that result. And this can even vary within a mile or two!


SEO has three main pillars that include:

On-Page SEO: Enhances website content for relevance and structure, optimizing for keywords, headlines, and images.

Off-Page SEO: This refers to strategies outside of your own website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Technical SEO: This aspect focuses on the non-content elements of your website, including its overall structure, mobile-friendliness, and the speed at which pages load. Technical SEO aims to improve the backend structure and foundation of your site to enhance its readability by search engines and provide a good user experience.


In this blog we’re going to tackle Off-Page SEO and simple strategies you can use right now to boost rankings.



Top 5 Things You Can Do Now to Boost your SEO

1. Optimizing Your Google Business Profile: Your Google Business Profile is more than just a listing; it's a cornerstone of local SEO. By thoroughly filling out your profile with up-to-date information, including business hours, services, and photos, and regularly updating it to reflect seasonal changes or promotions, you significantly increase your visibility on Google. It’s really like a free second website and is a significant ranking factor for local SEO.

2. Get a Consistent Review Strategy in Place: Reviews are the lifeblood of local SEO and customer trust. Implement a systematic approach to encourage your customers to leave reviews, particularly mentioning the specific services they used. Make it a habit to respond to each review, whether positive or negative, with personalized comments. This not only shows potential customers that you value feedback but also positively affects your search rankings.

3. Ensuring NAP (Name, Address, and Phone Number) Consistency: Search engines prioritize reliability. Ensure your business's name, address, and phone number are exactly the same across all online platforms, from your website to social media to directory listings. This consistency helps search engines confidently present your business in search results, improving your SEO.

4. Learn from the Competition: Keep an eye on your competitors' online presence. Analyze their SEO strategies, from how they manage their Google Business Profile to how they engage with customer reviews and what keywords they seem to target. This insight can help you identify areas for improvement in your own strategy and inspire new, innovative approaches to outshine your competition. The goal is to create something different or better than your competitors.

5. Leverage Social Media: Identifying the optimal social media platform is key, based on your audience, product, and marketing goals. For example, if your expertise lies in home decor, visually-oriented platforms like Instagram and Pinterest would be ideal. Drive traffic back to your website! And be consistent.


When to Call In a Professional

It's time to consult an SEO professional when your efforts aren't seeing the desired improvements in search rankings or website traffic. Look for someone with a proven track record, transparent practices, and a clear understanding of your business goals. Be cautious of those promising instant results or using questionable tactics, as these can lead to penalties from search engines. 

Ask for a consultation. Choose an expert that can make sense of the reports generated and create a strategy around the data. Too many SEO professionals are simply running canned reports and doing very little analytics or strategy. That’s where the true professional shines. 


Stay tuned for part two of our series that will be released on 3/28. We’re going to break down some actual case studies in part 2!

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