LinkedIn vs a Resume: Which is Better for My Job Hunt?

It’s that time of year. I’ve been writing resumes and coaching on LinkedIn profiles lately. One of my clients’ top questions: LinkedIn vs. a resume. Do I really need both?

Having both is a good strategy. Think of it this way: your resume is a snapshot of your employment history, while your LinkedIn profile paints a fuller portrait backed up with social proof (recommendations).

Beyond that, recruiters use LinkedIn actively to search for job candidates. That means you may come up as a good fit for a job you aren’t aware of. 

But that’s not the only question my clients have. 

Photo by Van Tay Media on Unsplash

I have a LinkedIn profile. Do I still need a resume?

In the LinkedIn vs. resume battle, resumes win. Most recruiters and hiring managers are more comfortable with resumes. 

Bottom line, ask. While many still want you to submit your resume through their applicant tracking system, some are fine with just a LinkedIn profile.

If someone asks for your resume, find out the preferred format. While some accept PDFs, not all do. (Some applicant tracking systems cannot accurately parse a PDF file.)

When in doubt, submit your resume as a Microsoft Word document.

Can I copy my resume into my LinkedIn profile (or vice versa)?

It takes a lot of time and effort to build both a resume and a LinkedIn profile. But with one done, it’s easier to create the other. 

How to create a LinkedIn profile from your resume

While LinkedIn can’t create a profile from an existing resume, it’s easy to build one. Assuming you already have a LinkedIn account:

  1. Copy and paste your employment history into the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile. 
  2. Confirm your contact information.
  3. Write a few sentences for the About section.
  4. Add relevant skills to the Skills section.
  5. If you have one or more college degrees, add them to Education. If not, or you’re a recent college grad, add your high school, too.
  6. In Settings, review the Visibility and Data Privacy options.

How to create a resume from your LinkedIn profile

Use the LinkedIn Resume Builder tool to create a resume from your profile. See LinkedIn Help for detailed instructions.

Do I need to add anything else to my LinkedIn profile besides work experience?

No, but in the LinkedIn vs. resume wars, this is where LinkedIn shines. I recommend using the following sections to add punch to your profile.

About

TLDR; use this section to add personality, punch, and keywords.

You don’t have to write an essay; a well-crafted sentence or two is fine. Let people know what motivates you and makes you a good candidate for the job you’re seeking. Explain why you and not someone else. 

Skills

Hiring managers and recruiters look for specific skill sets, and this is another place LinkedIn wins the LinkedIn vs resume competition. LinkedIn allows you to claim up to 50 skills and then identify your top three. Much easier on the reader than trying to figure out what your top skills are. And 50 skills is a lot more than you probably have on your resume.

If you already have a profile, review and update this section. If not, pull the information from your resume.

Once you’re done, select the top three skills you want hiring managers to see first.

Recommendations

Social proof goes a long way toward building your reputation. 

Ask for recommendations from colleagues, clients, customers, and managers you once worked for.

Of course, adding volunteer work and samples of your work can also help–one more way LinkedIn beats out resumes.

Four Tips for Repurposing Content to Save Time and Money

Repurposing content is one of the easiest ways to fill the slavering content monster’s maw. But how do you decide which piece is worth keeping without investing too much effort in updating? No one wants to waste time on something that’s not worth it.

Here are four tips to help you make intelligent choices.

Tip 1: Create a framework for making decisions

Before repurposing content, put some guardrails in place to keep the project from growing uncontrollably. 

Why do you want to spend time repurposing content?

What are your goals?

  • Are you repurposing content for the top, middle, or bottom of your marketing funnel?
  • Do you need to refresh outdated content? Or just clean something up a bit?
  • Are you looking to create pillar content you can use in many different ways?

As you work through your content inventory, keep your goals in mind. They’ll help you determine what’s worth investing in and–maybe more important–what’s not.

Will repurposing content be worth the effort?

Even simple projects can eat up resources. How much time and money do you have to spend on repurposing content?

  • Which channels need refreshing? For example, you may want to update your blogs but not tackle your videos. 
  • Which topics will you look at? Your genius content on social media marketing might have been cutting-edge in 2015 but is stale today. 
  • What are the knock-on effects of updating a particular piece? What happens to the videos you recorded based on a brochure you want to update?

Tip 2: Understand your audience’s interests

There are pieces you love. Then there’s content your audience loves. They’re different, but you won’t know that until you look at the data. It isn’t worth repurposing content nobody looks at.

Here are some resources to get you started.

  • Check Google Analytics for website content, blogs, and YouTube videos.
  • Social media platforms each have metrics, e.g., Facebook page metrics, Instagram insights, and LinkedIn analytics and tools.
  • Sales and customer experience metrics and reports from online shopping platforms like Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify.
  • Open and click-through rates for email newsletters.

Once you understand what’s working for you, you know what to focus on.

Tip 3: Fine-tune top performers

Look at the top three to five performers to determine the content your audience likes. That’s where you need to focus your energy as you’re repurposing content.

  • Review content for timeliness and accuracy.  
  • Does the content still reflect your or your business’s views and values? 

Now, look down the list to the next handful. How well are they doing? Can you update them while staying within scope and budget? If so, add them to the list. 

Tip 4: Don’t fall in love

Is the content offensive by today’s standards? If so, update or archive cringeworthy pieces.

Remember the comment above about content you love? Here’s where you need to face up to reality. You may have invested a lot of time and money into something, but no one cares. Don’t throw good money after bad. 

I feel your pain. I wrote a blog about science fiction and put my heart and soul into it. Guess what? No one read it. 

Bummer.

Note to self: if I ever write content like that again, it will be purely for fun.

My Take on the Top Four Content Trends for 2023

Most years, I review industry leaders and gather their thoughts for a blog on content trends. Outside of the hand-wringing about AI, however, most “trends” I’ve read about are tactical, not strategic. Like seeds on a dandelion puff, they will disappear before the first winter snow.

Instead, here are content trends for 2023 that I think have staying power.

Content trend 1: AI as an indispensable tool, not a job thief

Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

I don’t know if AI qualifies as a content trend for 2023 but I’d be remiss if I didn’t address it.

Spreadsheets. The internet. Smartphones. Cryptocurrency. Web 3. 

Once upon a time, each of these was billed as either the best thing since indoor plumbing or as the end of society as we know it. Other than the internet, I’m not so sure. 

Generative artificial intelligence, while a wonderful tool, is not the threat to jobs that some would have us believe. Large language models are fabulous tools for any writer; I rely on Chat GPT and Claude.ai for help with basic writing tasks. But these are just tools, like grammar checkers, thesauruses, and spelling checkers. None of these have put editors out of work; AI isn’t going to replace writers any time soon.

My take

Few technologies end up being used the way inventors originally imagined. While you can do really nifty things with spreadsheets, they haven’t put accountants and bookkeepers out of work–far from it.

Setting aside the serious ethical and moral concerns for a moment, technical issues like hallucinations mean human-authored writing will be needed for a long time to come. If you’ve read any AI-generated content lately, you’ll know what I mean.

Content trend 2: Empathy is a balm for the soul

This may not sound like a content trend for 2023–or any other year–but bear with me.

The human race has been through a lot since the 21st century opened its doors for business. We face increasingly severe global challenges like climate catastrophes, political and social upheaval, and pandemics. Many national economies have been flipped upside down at least twice in the last nearly quarter century. The largest European land war since World War II continues with no end in sight. And, as I write this, a new war has exploded in the Mideast.

We could all use a break.

My take

None of us can fix these problems single-handedly, but each of us can do just a little bit.

A small kindness goes a long way. I’ve noticed how warmly my fellow morning walkers respond to a smile and a nod. And that people in cashier lines seem more willing to chat. It feels like we’re all looking for connection and reassurance from each other.

I’m taking a gentler approach to writing, being a little more playful and a lot more sympathetic to the audience. I’m avoiding fear-based content and leaning into positive messages. 

I’m also making the time to check in with clients, partners, and team members regularly, to smile more, and to make small kindnesses a part of my day. If nothing else, it makes me happy.

Content trend 3: Not to repeat myself, but quality over quantity

This may not be a content trend for 2023–it may apply across time. I’ve written about it a lot.

I googled “how many videos are uploaded to YouTube.” The results vary, but you’ll get the gist–a lot!

  • “3.7 million videos uploaded daily.”
  • “On average, more than 150,0000 (sic) new videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute, adding up to around 330,000 hours of video content based on an average video length of 4.4 minutes.”
  • “720,000 hours of video are uploaded every day to YouTube.”
Image by Alyssa McIntyre from Pixabay

And this is just YouTube! I didn’t enquire about email, podcasts, blogs, white papers, or webinars.

My take

Never mind the unworkable math; we’re drowning in content. Enough already. Besides, I’ve got better things to do than create content all day long. 

Thoughtful marketers pursue two strategies:

  • Repurposing existing content.
  • Creating quality content, not volume.

I’d rather be known for my writing chops than my ability to vomit up a word count. 

Content trend 4: Attention to inclusion and accessibility

Finally, my last content trend for 2023. I find myself relying more and more on accessibility features on my own devices. But when I’m out and about, it’s another story. Badly written signage, poorly designed user interfaces, and fiddly widgets drive me crazy.

My current pet peeve: wait staff who present a heavy hand-held terminal with a small screen to review and pay the tab. More than one of those things has ended up in my tiramisu. And it always seems to come with the assumption that age means technological stupidity.

I have Parkinson’s disease. Sometimes I can’t hold things, and touch screens don’t always work well for me. (I am not proud of the time I told a high school that my master’s degree in computer science was older than his mother.)

My take

Thank heavens designers and content creators are paying more attention to the needs of neurodiverse audiences. Little things like colors, font size and style, and mobility options make all the difference for those of us with challenges. 

As I age, I increasingly appreciate these thoughtful little touches that make a website or device easier to use. I like seeing other old geezers like me navigating the world with the help of–not in spite of–technology.

How to Write a Killer Bio

At some point in your professional life, you’ve probably been asked to write a bio. When you protest, you’re told “It’s simple. Just a few facts. Really, we don’t need much.” Ack.

It’s not all that simple. How do you know what facts to include and what to leave out? What will your audience find interesting? And what the heck do you do if hate to talk about yourself? 

Here’s an outline to get you started, some tips to help you along, and a great resource with examples and templates.
 

Write your own bio

  1. write a bioFind out what the bio will be used for and understand readers’ expectations. There are probably length limitations; it’s best to know before you start to write. No point in writing 500 words when 50 will do, or in embarrassing yourself by handing over something much shorter than expected.
  2. Who are you writing for? Your bio needs to be written so that it meets your audience’s expectations. Bankers, accountants, and lawyers? Keep it formal and fact-based. Moms and dads? Less formal is fine—they want to feel they know you, so including a personal detail or two is good.
  3. Where will they read it? Is this for social media, a presentation you’re giving, or for a website? On a mobile device, in print, or on a laptop? Length will also be an issue here. You want crisp and tight, especially for social media. Longer is OK for a handout or a website when there are fewer restrictions on space. But don’t ramble on! You still want to keep it crisp.
  4. Line up your facts. What is it your audience will most likely want to know about you? How much of your professional life/career will they want to know? Would they care what your hobbies are? Academics will want to know your complete CV (space allowing). Parents and colleagues will care more about your more recent experience. Include your degrees; include certifications and awards if they’re relevant or demonstrate something important about you. Add hobbies if you’re comfortable sharing personal details. Some folks aren’t—and some audiences don’t care.
  5. A bio isn’t a resume. Summarize your facts in paragraphs, using complete sentences and correct punctuation. Start with your present situation and write in reverse chronological order. Next most recent situation or job, the one before that, then the one before that. You don’t need your whole history; the past 10 years is plenty. You get the picture.
  6. Let a bit of your personality shine through. This is you you’re talking about after all. Balance your audience’s expectations with who you are. A stand-up comedian or improv artist would likely show their sense of humor. A doctor might prefer to show her human side, or perhaps mention a research project she’s particularly proud of. If you have a hobby you’re excited about, mention it. For example, I love to cook and knit. It’s something that I’m willing to share with my audience and it helps them get to know me better.
  7. Review review review. Send your draft to others and ask for their input. Review first for factual accuracy. Then review for flow—does the bio make sense? Next tackle grammar and punctuation. (Don’t rely on spell/grammar checkers!!!) Finally, give it a good copy edit. Have others do this for you if you can—another pair of eyes (or two) will catch things you’ll miss.
  8. Submit and ask for feedback. Some folks won’t care; others will want to rewrite your entire bio. Be sure you control the final product.

Tips

  • Explain it to Grandmaif you get stuck, use the grandmother trick. How would you explain what you’ve done to your grandmother?
  • Watch out for humor, especially if you tend toward the ironic or snarky. What’s funny or edgy delivered in person might seem cold and callous on paper.
  • Read your bio out loud and see how it sounds. More and more people are relying on the spoken word from their devices. Make sure your bio flows when you read it aloud.
  • When copyediting, read your bio backward. Errors will pop out more clearly.
  • Don’t let great be the enemy of good. There is such a thing as too much review where you’ll reach the point of diminishing returns. Time to let your baby go.
  • If you are asked frequently for your bio and you feel like you’ve got to rewrite it every time, stop. Do you really need a custom bio for each event? If you do (and you may), create a master bio and select what content you want from that. Stop reinventing the wheel.

Need examples?

Need help? Contact me for templates or some inspiration.

Why the Gender Question Matters

I’ve invited Maureen Ladley of Ladley & Associates to share her recent blog on the importance of understanding audience demographics. While Maureen’s expertise is surveys and focus groups, content creators need to care, too. After all, if you want your audience to hear you, you need to understand who they are and  what’s important to them.

I thought Maureen did such a good job of explaining the issue that I re-posted it here. With her permission, of course.

Take it away, Maureen.

Surveys and forms often ask the elemental gender question, but with a shift in how people in the US define their gender, businesses need to give special focus on customer definition.

In a 2019 report on gender identity, the Pew Research Center found about four-in-ten Americans (42%) say forms and profiles should include options other than man or woman (in ages 18-29 it’s 53%). In a related study, the Pew Research Center reports one-in-five Americans (20%) say they personally know someone who prefers personal pronouns other than “he” or “she,” (in ages 18-29, it’s 32%).
 
Whether you are designing customer profiles or research, here are a few reasons to consider how you are asking the gender question.

Customer experience and expectation

Our clients invest in research to  better align with their customers. The goal is to foster stronger relationships, design the right product or service, and gain a customer’s business. We do not want to alienate the audience while seeking to understand them better. If your customers are better served by a broader gender definition, provide it. How we ask questions affects the research respondent experience.

Confirming research recruiting goals, comparing results

Research looks for patterns and differences. In addition to confirming we hit research recruiting goals, use the gender demographic question to look for important insights from the research.
 
At Ladley & Associates, we use “male,” “female,” “prefer to self-describe,” and “prefer not to say” in our demographic question. However, we will continue to evolve the options to best serve our clients and research goals.

Matching research design to databases

The US Census is changing how they ask questions around sex, gender, and sexual identity. If it’s important to match up your own database, research or profile results to external databases drawn from US Census data, it will be helpful to understand how questions in this area are evolving.

More reading

About four-in-ten US adults say forms should offer more than two gender options.
 
About one-in-five US adults know someone who goes by a gender-neutral pronoun.

About Maureen Ladley

A strategic marketer, Maureen found herself drawn to consumer research. How well do companies really understand their customers? Are we asking the right questions? Have we ignored key findings?

As the Principal of Ladley & Associates, she leads a consumer research firm that is innovative and disciplined, insightful and results-driven, and tailored to the needs of clients who were once in her position.

The Top Four Content Trends for 2022

The good news: digital content trends for 2022 are evolving. While some things haven’t changed (I’m looking at you, videos and podcasts), new trends are in the wind. 

  • The metaverse and augmented reality will challenge marketers.
  • Try a little tenderness.
  • My job may be going away. 

Wait, what?

Back to the future with videos and podcasts? Maybe.

Driven by increasingly powerful devices and the availability of more bandwidth, videos and podcasts are evolving from “nice to have” to “need it now.” However, increasing competition means marketers can no longer rely on the rough charm of a do-it-yourself recording. To stand out, you need high production values and professional polish.

My take on videos and podcasts

 Videos and podcasts have value only if your audience thinks they do. If you’re not sure whether either will appeal, ask a couple of your best customers. Before you invest in Hollywood-quality content, set appropriate goals to help you determine whether you’ll see any return on your investment.

Is artificial intelligence replacing copywriters? Not so fast.

The buzziest content trend in 2022 may be AI replacing content creators. Computer-generated copy has been used to produce routine content like financial news and sports scores for some time. More advanced writing tools like Google Docs and Grammarly employ AI with what I will kindly call mixed results.

My take on AI

Good writers don’t have to worry yet. I for one would be delighted to hand off mundane assignments to an AI so I can focus on the fun stuff.

Augmented reality and the metaverse are coming. Some day.

Augmented reality has been around for a while; the concept of a metaverse is at least 30 years old. How these technologies will play out in the coming years is tough to know. Clearly, there’s a lot of work still to be done, standards to sort out and a platform war to be won by the incumbents.

My take on AR and the ‘verse

Savvy marketers who know their audiences should keep an eye out and be willing to experiment with different platforms.  I expect acceptance to depend somewhat on age and level of comfort with technology. But don’t assume you won’t find older people in the Metaverse. What a great way to lead a whole new life!

Begin with empathy

The 21st century is an uncomfortable place so far. Wars, politics and disasters driven by climate change have dominated the news. Covid is wearing us down. Crime is up–or it seems like it thanks to clickbait headlines that grab attention. It’s draining. Given this backdrop, content that demonstrates empathy and understanding is going to win every time. 

My take on a tough subject

We all share the same desires: a roof over our heads, safety, good health and food on the table. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge our common humanity. I challenge you to stop blaming the other, doomscrolling and wishcasting. This isn’t time for messaging rooted in fear. Let your content reflect empathy and understanding for your audience.

Not sure what to do?

There are dozens of content trends for 2022; some are a bigger deal than others. If you’re not sure what’s worth paying attention to and what you can ignore, let’s connect.

Ode to Science Fiction

I’m a lifelong science fiction fan. My first exposure was the full set of L. Frank Baum’s stories set mostly in the land of Oz. Don’t think that’s science fiction? Then you never read the books. The cast of characters included robots, talking toys, mysterious aircraft and mutant monkeys. And let’s not forget the farm girl with a teleporter in her shoes. 

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

“Let’s fly!”– Captain Michael Burnham, USS Discovery

From there it was on to Isaac Asimov’s classics: I Robot, followed quickly by Caves of Steel and the original Foundation trilogy.  (My heart goes out to the scriptwriters for the Apple TV series Foundation. Asimov could tell wonderful stories but he wasn’t much into writing dialog.)

After that, I dove headfirst into the deep end. Heinlein, Clark, Bradbury, Bester, Butler, Delaney, Dick, Ellison, Tolkien, Simak, Niven and Pournelle, Cherry, McCaffrey, Le Guin, Verne, and Wells;  the Science Fiction Book Club, Astounding Stories and Dangerous Visions. I devoured it all.

Speaking the language of science fiction

Like any true science fiction fan, I also picked up the technobabble. Technobabble is strings of words that sounded sciencey enough to be plausible–as long as you don’t examine them too closely. For example, what exactly is a stargate? The term connotes the sense of interstellar travel beautifully.  More technobabble: transporter, tricorder, lightsaber, death star, grok, unobtanium and tribbles.  All made-up terms that convey an idea even the uninitiated understand. (Weirdly, my grammar checker recognized them all and corrected two misspellings.) 

Technobabble generator

Writing this blog led me to wander through my library, dusting off the favorites and picking out the words I most loved. As a salute to the science fiction authors peering over my shoulder, I created my very own technobabble generator. Pick one word from each column and you’re on your way to speaking technobabble.

The Deans+Co Technobabble Generator
IntergalacticProtonGenerator
GravitationalSeismicReactor
ThermalNuclearWave
MolecularTrans-warpBioprotein
MicroRelationalSpacetime
Non-EuclideanQuadrilateralPhoton
QuantumCosmicContinuum
InterstellarFusibleGravity
TransdimensionalFoldingMonoculator
UniversalOrthogonalFlam Shaft
ExpandablespacetimeBubble
MicrocellularTransitionalFlerp

The Survey Says: Blog Content Strategies That Work

Have you read the 2021 Orbit Media survey on blog content strategies? Orbit Media has conducted this annual survey for nearly a decade so they have enough data to identify trends. This year’s results show some interesting shifts but the data supports my perspective: good writing wins out over SEO every time.

My Take-Aways

  • Blogging is most successful when you have a well thought out blog content strategy, know what metrics are important to you, then track them.
  • Wondering whether blogging is worth the work? The answer is indisputably yes. Seventy-seven percent of the 1,067 survey respondents agree blogging drives results; 20% say it delivers strong marketing results.
  • How-to blogs are the most common yet least read format. Content round-ups are much less popular with bloggers but much more appealing to readers. Good news: round-ups are easy to write once you have a process in place. (For a great example of content round-up, see NextDraft by Dave Pell.)
  • Blog length isn’t as important as content relevance and (ahem) good writing. The survey found the average blog runs a bit more than 1,400 words. That’s not a magic number that guarantees success; blog length should be driven by the content.

In sum, have a content strategy; implement it with well-written text that your audience cares about. If you need inspiration, curate content from relevant sources.

Don’t Let Blog Content Strategies Scare You

Creating a realistic blog content strategy that works for you takes a bit of thought. However, once in place, you’ll find it cuts down on the effort of creating a blog on a regular basis. I wrote a blog on this that will get you started. If you need more help, let me know.

How is Your Homepage Content Holding Up?

Nothing like crash-and-burn to make me scrutinize my homepage content. What I found was ugly–and I can’t blame it all on WordPress glitches.

I like technology. I update my WordPress plug-ins myself; I pay attention to Google Analytics. Until recently, all was going swimmingly. Then I ran a bunch of routine (ahem) updates and all hell broke loose. 

It turns out my hosting service hadn’t run the necessary server updates, thus taking my site down. However, they fixed their problem and brought my site back up the same day. Yay!

Not that I didn’t trust the very nice guy who helped me out, but I checked my website just to be sure. Ack! The updates had thrown everything wonky. It looked horrible. Worse, the homepage content was outdated. It didn’t flow logically. My story wasn’t clear. The reader’s experience was unforgivable. The calls to action I crafted so carefully were almost irrelevant. Ack! Ack!

I did what any recovering project manager does: I created a checklist to be sure every item was addressed. Then I organized it and condensed it for your use. 

Websiste Homepage Content Audit Checklist

The Message

Take a look at your content.

  • Are you telling an engaging story?
  • Is your content organized in a way that makes sense for your audience? 
  • Do your thoughts flow logically?
  • Is the content current and accurate?

The Reader Experience

Pretend you’re a prospective customer.

  • Is it easy and intuitive to access content?
  • Can readers quickly find what they’re looking for?
  • Will everyone feel welcome? 
  • Do you make it tough to get to your content with pop-ups and videos?

Closing the Deal

Make it easy for someone to take the next step.

  • Do you have a clear call to action?
  • Is your contact information easy to find?
  • Do you make it easy for the reader to contact you?
  • Do you have social proof like testimonials, case studies and links to your business’s social media accounts?

The Tech

If you’re not into tech, get some help with this.

  • Do videos and images load quickly? 
  • Is your website’s homepage meta description accurate? Does it encourage people to click through to your site?
  • Do keywords accurately support your current business?
  • Have you set up a Google Business account so you can take advantage of local search?

One Last Thought on Homepage Content

A poorly designed reader experience drives me crazy. Marketing gurus tell you to add a newsletter sign-up and launch at least one video when a viewer lands on a page. Add the legally required cookie statement and you’ve built three barriers to your website’s homepage content. These interrupt the flow and distract the reader. They also give your visitor three opportunities to leave. 

That said, website content should support your marketing strategy. Videos and pop-ups can work for the right audience. Just think through what you’re doing.

If you’re not sure or you want to bounce some ideas around, let’s talk.

Run a Small Business? Yes, You Can Win at SEO

Small business search engine optimization (SEO) can be frustrating and expensive. How do you stand out from competitors with big advertising budgets? Even if you hire a pricey SEO expert, what are your chances of appearing on the first pages of search results? 

You may want to invest in SEO for your small business because two trends are working in your favor right now.

  • Customers are actively seeking opportunities to support neighborhood small businesses. Local SEO helps you capitalize on this sentiment.
  • Consumers are getting increasingly specific in their searches. Use long tail keywords to reach these customers who are more likely to buy from you.

Local SEO

You’re out of town and you’re hungry. You’re in the mood for Italian, so you search for “pizza near me” on your smartphone. Google returns a map of pizzerias complete with distance from your location, rating, and links to find out more and get directions for each one. That’s local SEO in action.

It’s free, easy to set up, and you only have to do it once. Open Google My Business and follow the directions. (You will need a free Google account.) Give Google a day or two to index the information et vIola! Your small business will start showing up in local searches.

Long Tail Keywords

Your other opportunity is to exploit the power of long tail keywords in all your content. In a nutshell, these are descriptive phrases that searchers use to get more precise results. (If you’re curious and want to learn more, see my blog about SEO in which I explained long tail keywords.) 

Most businesses rely on keywords to generate search results using one or two words, not long phrases. Competition for these short keywords is often intense and the odds of you showing up in search engine results are minuscule. You may be more successful using longer phrases–long tail keywords. Competition is lower and even better, you’ll be reaching an audience that has pre-qualified itself with a specific search.

Should I Bother With SEO for my Small Business?

It never hurts to do what you can to raise your search engine rankings, especially if just a few simple steps will improve your small business’ SEO. But the honest answer is your marketing strategy should drive the amount of effort you spend on it. Some things to consider: 

  • How do your customers find you now?
  • Do you want to get more business from the internet?
  • Is your online reputation important for your business?
  • Do you depend on social media to get the word out?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then maybe you should invest in SEO for your business. Confused? Have questions? Give me a call and let’s talk it over.