SEO is the topic of this week’s conversation! There’s so much content out there that I thought I’d break it down in the manageable chunks, and let’s go through SEO for small businesses step-by-step. We’re going to start with part 1 which will help you gain a better understanding of SEO and the dos and don’ts before you jump into it.
I get it, you feel like you have no spare time on your hands and you certainly don’t have the budget to pay someone else to do it just yet. Although it can seem quite a big daunting task SEO for small businesses could lead to more traffic to your website and more orders. So why wouldn’t you spend some time on it?
If you have any questions at all, drop me a message or get in touch on my socials.
So without further ado, let’s get into it…
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation. It’s the process of improving every page on your website to increase the possibility of appearing amongst the top results of search engines such as Google.
What is SEO?
As the definition above explains, it’s about improving your website to increase your chances of appearing amongst the first results when someone searches for a particular thing. Why do you want appear in the first results?
According to Yoast (THE SEO plugin for WordPress), 33% of traffic clicks on the first organic search result and 17% clicks on the second result. So you’re competing against hundreds of thousands of other websites to try and get into the first five results on Google, just to get the high numbers of traffic to your website.
However, despite the acronym clearly outlining its SEARCH ENGINE Optimisation, it’s genuinely about understanding what your ideal customer or client is searching for online and providing the answer to their questions, or solving a problem for them.
Still with me?
SEO essentially means putting in the work on your website to ensure it pleases the person searching for the answer to a particular question or problem they may have. In turn, this pleases Google’s algorithms and you ‘should’ rank higher in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
But don’t be fooled, there is no one size fits all. There’s no generic checklist that once you’ve ticked everything off means you’re all set. Done and dusted. Never have to look or think about SEO ever again!
SEO is an ongoing task that should be considered by anyone who is running a website. That’s not to say however that there aren’t some key fundamental elements that if you get right will help you rank higher in search results. If you don’t know where to start, check out my free SEO checklist to get you started. Just be aware, Google regularly changes their algorithms and if you want to stay at the top of the game, you’ve got to keep up to date.
Did you know, Google changes its search engine algorithm roughly 500 – 600 times per year?
Is SEO Important?
Many studies over the years would definitely highlight the importance of SEO. Here are some interesting facts for you:
- 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results
- 93% of all traffic comes from search engines
- Over 40% of revenue is captured by organic traffic
Do I need SEO for my small business?
As I previously mentioned, if you have a website for your small business I would highly recommend investing some time and energy in to SEO. Think about it, it’s the cheapest way to get lots of traffic to your website. Well, in the sense that you don’t have to pay to be shown in the top organic search results. You just have to be really good at SEO! Which, realistically could take you some time and resource, or could cost you financially should you choose to hire an SEO expert.
Should I hire an SEO agency or professional?
This genuinely depends on a few things;
- Your willingness to learn
- Your available time
- The complexity of your website.
It is totally possible as a small business owner to do the SEO on your website, yourself. There are, however, a lot of factors that equate to a good ranking.
How do I do SEO?
There are four main categories or pillars that make up all the tasks to complete within SEO. They are:
This is things like, how fast your site is and how easy it is for search engines to crawl it etc.
If you were to ask an SEO professional, they’d probably tell you this is the hardest of them all. This predominantly means building backlinks to your website, i.e. getting other websites to link to yours. However, any other activity that happens outside of your own website could be thought of as off-site SEO including; social media marketing, guest blogging and influencer marketing.
Making sure the elements ON your website are optimised is critical. On-site SEO includes using keywords correctly and effectively, ensuring your site is structured well and it’s easy for customers to navigate and having great content. Which takes me on to the next point…
Having engaging, helpful and credible content will work wonders for your content. The more credible you are, the more likely people will recommend and share your work. This is a big thumbs-up in the eyes of search engines.
Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.” –Wendy Piersall, Author, Blogger and Artist
- Make your pages for your users. It’s easy to fall into the trap of creating content and writing in a way for search engines, as it should get you ranked higher. However, always remember the more people that love your content, the higher Google will rank it because it’s helpful. Because it answers the users’ question.
- Provide clear, engaging and helpful content on your site
- Use Alt attributes or Alt Tags on your images to help search engines understand the contents. Also, this will help any visibly impaired people who are using your website.
- Keep URLs short, concise and include the keyword you’re aiming to rank for
- Do not participate in link building schemes. When you get found out by Google your site will be penalised for it.
- Hidden Text or Links. This used to happen a lot! Search Bots or Crawlers are not human beings so they’re relying on code to tell them about your website. People would hide search engine-friendly text (keyword stuffing) on their pages, generally by making it the same colour as their background, to help them get ranked. Don’t do this. Google has worked it out and it’s not nice when it finds out!
- Copy other peoples content – Keep it original!
So there you have it, a brief overview of what SEO is, why small businesses should be working on it and some dos and don’t to remember when doing it. I want this series of blog posts to be as helpful and valuable as possible so it would be unfair to leave it at that.
I’m all about easy to understand, no BS digital marketing so let me just get real with you for a second…
Key things to remember about SEO:
SEO results are not instant. I know it’s so easy to do a bit of work and then go back and keep checking every single day to look at the stats, but it will not happen overnight.
SEO doesn’t need to be expensive. I tell my clients this all the time! Most of the time it just requires some time and effort in creating quality content. This could be done by you if you know the basics.
Start doing SEO NOW! It may seem daunting and like a lot of work, but a little bit of work each day consistently will get you results. Plus, your competitors are probably doing the work now. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be to rank against them.
Not doing SEO means you’ll get no traffic from search engines. (which is free!) It’s that simple, if you don’t do this SEO work, you’re going to have to find other ways, probably more expensive ways, to drive people to your website.
For some, this will seem totally overwhelming and unbearable. They’re now decided they don’t have time for all of this! For others, you may want to jump in and get started straight away. So here’s 3 actionable points for small businesses to start SEO;
- Register with Google Search Console.
- Register website on Bing Webmaster Tools.
- If you’re a local business, you serve customers in a particular area or have a physical location that customers can visit you at, sign up to Google My Business.
I’ll go through all of these things in depth in a later post.
That’s part one of SEO for small businesses. I’d love to know what you think and if you have any questions get in touch and I’d love to help!