SEO tips for small businesses.
Originally by Hajra Rahim
Your website may be the slickest, most beautifully-designed thing in the world, but without a strong approach to search engine optimization (SEO), it’s virtually useless, because no one will be able to find it.
A website with good SEO will appear higher up on a list of search engine results. For small business owners who have little or no technological know-how, trying to get it right can be an intimidating prospect. But not having the tools or training doesn’t mean that you can’t get higher up the Google results page.
Start simple, says Ross Dempsey, head of digital at marketing agency, Digital Impact. Begin with what’s called “on-page SEO” – the main elements of a web page that search engines look at to understand what it’s about. Getting this right is a good first step to making a site rank higher in search results.
First, he says, make sure that the title of a web page (the headline that users see on a search results page) accurately describes what it is. Second, keep the web address (the URL) short and punchy. And finally, try to use target keywords – the words that people type into the search box to find your business – in the first 100 words on a page.
But watch those keywords. Trying to rank for competitive phrases is a common mistake, says Charles Travers, consultant at Kent-based SEO agency, Finetune Digital.
“If you’re a small insurance company, you don’t want to try to rank nationally for the ‘car insurance’ search term,” he says. “There are enormous companies spending a lot of money there. For smaller players, it’s a losing battle.”
Instead, focus on keywords and phrases with less competition, he adds. These could be longer, but more specific phrases – “cheap car insurance breakdown cover,” for example.
Paddy Moogan, co-founder of digital marketing agency, Aira, says that creating content that draws lots of links from other websites is one of the easiest way to achieve a better SEO score. The more external websites that link to content on your site, the more a search engine such as Google will trust it – and the more likely that your SEO ranking will improve.
“The focus should be on the quality and relevance of the linking site,” he says. “If you’re getting links through from a sports nutrition blog and you’re a plumber, Google may see this as manipulative and it could cause more harm than good when it comes to your rankings.”
To ensure your SEO efforts are working, monitor your traffic using tools such as Google Analytics – and use Google’s Search Console to see the keywords that people are using to find your website, says Mr Moogan.
The bottom line? It’s about the customer, he adds. “SEO can help you generate traffic, but don’t forget to give people a great experience once they arrive at your website.”