An Introduction to SEO for Small Business

The internet is big… like really big. Google processes over 63,000 search requests per second. That’s around 5.6 billion searches per day. 

So, making sure your business is visible in the search engine results pages (or SERPs) is essential if you want to really tap into this huge pool of potential customers. 

Getting your business to the top of these SERPs is what SEO (or search engine optimisation) is all about. Google uses sophisticated algorithms that analyse over 200 factors to determine which pages are relevant for a certain search term. 

The internet isn’t a static environment. It’s constantly evolving and changing and that means that SEO has to evolve and change with it. Consequently, the techniques used to improve your search rankings are constantly changing as the online environment evolves and search engine algorithms are updated. 

So, what does this mean for a small business working to maintain its Google visibility? 

It may mean turning to the SEO professionals. Keeping your website on the cutting edge of SEO strategies is time-consuming and requires high-level expertise. Quality SEO services yield some serious results, not just in terms of online visibility, but in terms of tangible leads and revenue. 

However, while SEO is constantly evolving, there are some basic core ways that you can optimise your website. These don’t require a high level of expertise, won’t be hugely time-consuming and won’t get phased out by Google’s next algorithm update. 

So, let’s have a look at a few of quick and easy ways you can make your website more search engine friendly.    

Keywords

Keywords are the foundation of SEO. These are the words and phrases that users type into search engines when looking for a product or service. Make a list of the obvious keywords people will use to search for your products or services (and think about the variations and synonyms for these terms). You can then use a keyword research tool to find out how competitive the terms are and how often they are searched. To best succeed, you’ll want to select terms with a high search volume and the lowest possible competition.  

Once you have the keywords you want to focus on, you need to make sure they appear throughout your site (in content, headings, tags etc.). Make sure you don’t overuse the words (known as keyword stuffing), as Google will penalise sites with spammy looking content. 

If you want to get more complicated, you can consider creating a full keyword strategy. This will help you strategically determine the best keywords for your website, their optimum placement and density, and enable you to track the data and analyse the results.    

Optimise Content

Any top-ranking website needs quality content. This may be website copy, product and service descriptions, blog content or any other written content. Ensure your content contains an even distribution of keywords, but don’t overdo it. 

It is also important that your content is well written, easy to read and properly formatted. This is a case of quality over quantity. Having thousands of words of poorly written content that offers users no value is worth less than 300 words of quality, useful, properly optimised content. Google will reduce the rankings for pages that are poorly written or not easily readable.   

Tools like Yoast are available to help you assess your content for readability, keyword density and other important SEO metrics. 

Title Tags and Heading Tags

Title tags are the page headings that appear as clickable links in SERPs. Title tags for every page should be unique and feature the keyword most relevant to that page and your brand name. Google typically displays 50-60 characters in a title tag, so try to keep them under 55 characters in length. 

Heading tags (H1 through H6) not only help to break up your copy for readability, they also help to signal keywords and key phrases to Google. 

Optimise Images

When properly optimised, images can be useful for SEO. Search engines look at the code behind the image, rather than the image itself. This is why it’s important that images have appropriate alt tags, image titles and filenames. 

Image tags, titles and filenames should use appropriate keywords to describe the image properly.   

Meta Descriptions     

Meta descriptions are the lines of copy that sit beneath the clickable link (title tag) and URL in SERPs. They are used to summaries the contents of a page to help a user decide if this page will be relevant to them. While meta data isn’t as important for SEO rankings as it used to be, the meta description still plays a significant role in on-page SEO.

Link Building

Link building involves getting other websites to link back to your site. Having backlinks from credible websites (i.e. sites with good domain authority) will signal to Google that your site is credible. Link building remains a major factor in how Google ranks web pages. 

Link building can be difficult and time-consuming and is perhaps veering into “easier left to the pros” territory. 

However, there are some quick and easy ways to achieve natural links to your website. 

Creating unique and quality content (e.g. blog posts, instruction videos and product reviews etc.) can be a great way to create natural links back to your site. It may, however, take time and resources to create the quality content and promote it so people can find it. 

Generating reviews and mentions is another good way to create links. Encourage customers, bloggers or influencers to review and mention your products on social media, Google, blogs and other websites. 

Ask friends, colleagues and partners to link to your page or mention your products whenever they can. Remember, however, that relevance matters, so it’s important that links are coming from relevant industry niches. 

If You Want Quality SEO Services, Bring in the Professionals

If you’re busy running a small business, then chances are you simply won’t have the time to allocate to creating a workable SEO strategy, let alone maintaining and monitoring one. So, if your business relies on search engines or online traffic for revenue and leads, you should consider calling in a reputable SEO agency. They have the expertise and experience to build you an SEO strategy that works and deliver the quality SEO services that will rocket your business to the top of Google SERPs.

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