SEO made easy: A brief guide for small – medium sized businesses
You may have heard the phrase SEO before, but what’s it all about? Well, SEO simply stands for Search Engine Optimisation. This relates to the tactics employed to give your website greater visibility in Google. If your site is well optimised, when users enter particular search terms, it will appear within the results pages.
From a business prospective, this means that you are likely to attract more clicks through to your website compared to your competitors who appear lower down for specific search terms. In turn, you can focus on driving more business profit and encouraging people to buy into your services, products or brand.
So now the brief explanation is out of the way, how can SEO help your business?
Without SEO in place, your business is likely to attract fewer visits through Google, impacting revenue and brand visibility. It’s important to appear within the first ten results, as this is how many there are per page (excluding adverted positions on the top and right hand side). Most searchers rarely go beyond the first page, so having a presence here will help your business to develop.
You may wish to employ an agency or professional to manage your SEO campaigns, or alternatively, as long as you are comfortable in doing so, you could optimise your own site. Whichever road you go down, you will need to ensure the basics are carried out.
In order to appease the search engines, as well as your users, make sure that your website is structurally sound. So for example, do all of your links work, are the pages loading quickly, is the text easy to read and do all sections of the site function properly?
If you are lacking in any area, then your visitors could decide to look elsewhere, meaning that you will lose out to your competitors. From an SEO prospective, if the search engines spot that your site has navigational problems, then your rankings (the position you hold within the search engines for various search terms) could suffer.
Another factor that the search engines take into account is content. Again, not only for the sake of the search engines, but also for your site visitors, you need to display around 150 – 500 words per page. The reason for this is so that your visitors can clearly view the information they require and so the search engines can see that your site is of a decent standard. Poor quality or duplicated content will also have a knock-on effect for your rankings.
If you are going to engage in optimisation yourself, then you will need to make sure your site hits the mark in relation to technical SEO. This includes decent Meta, title tags, H1 and H2 headings, a fully performing Sitemap and a robot.txt file to block certain pages from being indexed. There are obviously many more technical considerations beyond those mentioned above, although this will be your first port of call when it come to the technical side of things.
To show the search engines that you have a strong presence online, you need to create social media accounts. Social engagement and activity can also help with your website’s rankings , so the more shares, likes and comments you get on networks such as Google+, Twitter and Facebook, the better. Start by trying to build a community on one or two of the above social platforms and then engage with your followers in order to build up authority online. Not only will this help your SEO, it will also be advantageous for branding purposes too.
That’s some of the basics of SEO explained and this should be enough to get you started. If you require any additional resources, there are lots of great books and sites online to assist you as well.
Written by Ben Norman.
Ben Norman is a leading UK SEO Consultant and has extensive knowledge of search engine marketing. A regular writer on the subject, Ben’s first book, ‘Getting Noticed on Google’ has sold over 25,000 copies with the second edition also selling in excess of 30,000 copies. Ben’s comprehensive knowledge is written in a straightforward and easy to understand way.