A Beginner’s Guide to DIY SEO for Cincinnati Small Businesses

SEO Fundamentals for Cincinnati Small Businesses

Want your local business to get found online and connect with more Cincinnati customers? Then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and learn search engine optimization (SEO)!

SEO may sound technical, but don’t let that deter you. With some fundamental best practices, you can improve your website’s visibility on Google and edge out the competition.

This beginner’s guide will cover the core components of SEO in plain terms, so you can start growing your small business through better search performance. Let’s get started!

keywords – The Cornerstone of SEO

Keywords are the foundation of every effective SEO strategy. Customers type these specific words and phrases into search engines to find businesses like yours. Examples include:

  • “Cincinnati plumber”
  • “HVAC contractor Cincinnati”
  • “Landscaper Northern Kentucky”

Ranking high for keywords that prospective customers are searching shows Google you’re a relevant match for those terms. In turn, Google rewards your pages with better search visibility.

But how do you know which keywords to target?

Research Ideal Keywords with Tools

Rather than guessing, use keyword research tools to see actual Cincinnati search volume data. Helpful free options include:

  • Google Keyword Planner – Gives keyword search volume estimates
  • SEMRush – Tracks monthly searches and keyword difficulty
  • Ahrefs – Provides competitor keyword data

Look for keywords with strong local monthly search volume and low difficulty to rank for. Avoid over-competitive terms with sky-high difficulty scores.

Keyword Research
Keyword Research

Align Keywords to User Intent

It’s not enough to just target high-traffic keywords randomly. You must select keywords that align with what users are looking for.

For example, “Cincinnati plumber” signals an intent to find a plumber to hire, versus “plumber salary Cincinnati” which is more informational. Your pages need to match the underlying intent.

Optimize Selected Keywords Naturally

With your targets set, it’s time to work those keywords onto relevant pages throughout your website. But don’t just stuff or over-optimize pages. That looks spammy.

Instead, seamlessly blend keywords into your content thoughtfully and naturally. Include them in:

  • Page titles and headers (1-2x per page)
  • Image file names and ALT text
  • URL slugs
  • Meta descriptions
  • The body content (2-5% density is ideal)

This shows engines your pages directly relate to those terms.

Craft SEO-Friendly Website Content

Engaging Content For Seo
Engaging Content For Seo

You can’t rank for keywords without having content for engines to index. Different types of content serve different purposes:

Blog Articles

Search engines love fresh, frequently updated content. Blog posts keep them returning to discover new keywords and links.

  • Target 1-2 primary keywords per article
  • A length of 500+ words is ideal
  • Include media like images, charts, videos

Web Pages

Important pages like “About Us” or “Services” should be keyword-optimized to rank for related searches.

  • Sprinkle in 2-3 secondary keywords per page
  • Use keywords in URL slugs (e.g. Cincinnati-HVAC-services)
  • Meta descriptions should also contain keywords

Videos

Video content can help you rank in video search results.

  • Transcribe videos to include keywords in subtitles and descriptions
  • Optimize titles with target keywords

Regardless of format, ensure content provides genuine value to readers first and foremost. Don’t just cram keywords in. Deliver engaging, useful information.

How To Track A Marketing Campaign (3:35)

Website Optimization Best Practices

Website Optimization
Website Optimization

Beyond just content, make sure your overall website is search engine friendly:

Mobile Responsive Design

With mobile usage surging, having a mobile-friendly site is no longer optional. Google prioritizes mobile-optimized, responsive pages.

  • Test the site on all devices and fix formatting/navigation issues
  • Implement responsive frameworks like Bootstrap
  • Avoid software that hinders mobile experience, like Flash

Page Speed Matters

Slow-loading sites negatively impact user experience and SEO rankings. Improve website speed and performance:

  • Optimize images and enable compression
  • Minify CSS and JavaScript files
  • Utilize browser caching and CDNs
  • Review page size and reduce unnecessary bloat

Strong UI/UX

Even if the content is optimized, poor site navigation hampers visibility. Visitors should intuitively find information:

  • Use simple, logical menu structures
  • Ensure internal links work properly
  • Provide search bars and site maps for easy navigation

With the technical site foundations covered, let’s track SEO results.

Measure Progress in Google Analytics

Google Analytics is free and essential for gauging your efforts. It reveals:

Organic Traffic

This shows visitors from Google search results, telling you SEO is working. Compare traffic before and after optimizations.

Keyword Rank Tracking

See which keywords pages are ranking for and their positions. Identify high performers to build on and underperformers needing work.

Geographical Data

Confirm visitors are actually coming from target Cincinnati metro regions.

Conversions

Ultimately SEO leads should convert into sales, leads etc. Measure SEO’s impact on conversions.

Use these metrics to see what’s working and what’s not. Course correct efforts accordingly.

Now Get Out There and Optimize!

Optimize For Local Seo
Optimize For Local Seo

And there you have it – a beginner’s guide to fundamental SEO strategies and best practices in plain English! The foundations covered here provide a recipe for Cincinnati small business success.

The specific ingredients, like keywords and website optimizations, will vary for each business based on offerings, competitors, goals and more. But the core principles remain the same. With the SEO

Stay tuned for more tips on optimizing local content, building Cincinnati-focused links, and converting your newfound website traffic!

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