Basic SEO for Small Businesses
I thought it would be a good idea to put together the basics of SEO for any small business that is looking to perform SEO themselves. I’m not going to go into too much detail here because I don’t want to overbear you with information.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is rapidly becoming one of the most, if not the most important marketing channels around. Consider that every day there are more than a billion searches on Google for information (Google data, September 2010) this is a massive market for opportunities and brand awareness. In order for a website to succeed online it must be found on Google.
Tips to improve ranking
The basics consist of improving your current website so that search engines can crawl your website and understand what your data is about. You need to make sure that you know what keywords you are targeting and make sure that your SEO is focussed on them. Here are a few things to look at and change to include your target keywords.
- Heading Tags (H1, H2, H3 etc )
- Page Title (make sure it is ~70 characters and includes your target phrases)
- Alt Tags (used to describe images, try to make them relevant)
- Meta Description (this is the snippet that appears on search engines, make sure they are understandable to a human and also include target phrases)
- Content (don’t overuse or stuff keywords, make sure that it is all natural looking to a human)
Remember that your website is for a human to view so you don’t want to overdo the SEO so that it looks un-natural and “spammy” Google is clever enough to tell when you are manipulating for search engines.
Another area to concentrate on is content, it is important to keep your website content fresh and full of useful information, search engines like websites that are updated often and provide unique informative content, so the more often you can update and the more unique and compelling you can make your content the better.
One of the best ways to do this is with a blog. This way you can talk about whatever is on your mind and encourage comments, it’s a great way to engage with visitors and also the comments will add to your content. Try to make use of your target keywords in your content and get into the habit of interlinking blog posts, but again don’t overdo it or it will look manipulative, a couple of mentions of a keyword is enough.
A key area to SEO is links. Search engines see links as a quality signal and treat them as a sort of voting system, any link you get is like a vote. This does not mean that all links are treated the same so don’t be trying to get as many links as you can. A link from a great site (for example The BBC) is much more valuable than a link from Joe Blogs Facebook profile. These links also have to be relevant, so if you own a gardening website it is no use getting a link from a website about finance.
One way to get links is to find websites in your niche that are willing to accept articles or give interviews to you, there are plenty of sites out there that does this so get looking. Links from quality sites are not always easy to get and require effort from you to get them, but the effort will pay off. I often advise that my clients send letters to website owners as it seems a more personal approach and your effort to do so may be looked upon favourably.
We provide bespoke Small Business Marketing Pack’s that will take a look at all the above areas and give you insight and help specifically for your site if you wish to get a professional opinion.