The Basic Vitals of SEO For Your Small Business Website
Here I will be guiding you on some of my basic steps to nailing your SEO foundations.
If you’ve invested in a brand-new website or had your existing site updated and refreshed, what happens next? You might find that existing customers compliment you on how it looks, but it won’t automatically appear when people search for businesses like yours in Google. In fact, if you simply launch a website then sit back and do nothing, nothing much will happen. If you want lots of people to find and click onto your website, you’ll need to work on SEO – search engine optimisation – for your site. The idea is that by focusing on SEO you’ll improve where your website appears in search engine results pages – the aim being to get as close to the top of the first page.
Identify the words and phrases you want to rank for
This is such an important element of SEO work, and it means literally sitting with a notepad or a blank Word document and listing the search terms people might use when they want to find a business like yours. The results will become the keywords that your entire SEO is built on, and it’s one of my favourite elements of marketing! It’s a way to connect your brand with more people and find lovely new customers to work with. Here are some examples:
You run a mobile car valeting business for people living in and around Sheffield. That means you want to rank when people type “at home car valeting near Sheffield” or “mobile car valet Loxley Sheffield” and so on.
You own a beauty salon in Southampton and would like to sell more eyelash extension treatments, so you want to rank when people type (or speak, if they are searching using a smart speaker): “eyelash extensions Southampton” or “beautician who does eyelashes in Southampton.
Of course, there are lots of businesses now which operate online and don’t have a geographical element to them, so consider when you’re choosing your keywords whether geography is important to your customers or not! It may be that there’s no need to include the names of towns or villages in your keywords at all.
Set SEO goals
The next step, which helps you take those keywords and phrases and create a workable SEO strategy with them, is to set goals. How many visitors are you getting now, and how many do you want to elevate it to? The goals you set will depend on the age of your website, as a brand-new website needs a slightly different SEO strategy to an established website. Older websites can be optimised more quickly because they already have authority, and that means Google’s crawlers (programs used automatically to discover and scan websites and are a vital element of how your website ranks in search results) visit them more often.
It's worth mentioning that if you have a new website and want to start showing up in search results, it may take up to six months for your SEO work to take effect. Changes to existing websites will take up to three months to have an impact. There are ways you can improve your chances of ranking sooner, but that’s slightly more advanced SEO work which is a little too complex to go into here.
Start creating content!
New content is critical for SEO success for several reasons. One is that the more content there is, the more opportunities there are for more keywords, key phrases and tags and therefore chances to rank. Plus, the search algorithms and programmes that determine where you rank prefer websites. One of the most popular ways to update content is to upload a blog once or twice a month. Here are a few things to bear in mind when you start writing website content with SEO in mind:
· Use keywords in titles, headings and subheadings when you’re writing copy for a web page or a blog post. That’s because not only does it help Google know what your page is about it also helps a reader know immediately if they want to read the blog or page!
· Watch your keyword density – too many keywords stuffed into your copy can have the opposite effect, making Google rank your content as low quality. Aim for one or two per 100 words of copy and be sure to read the copy out loud so you’re sure it makes sense!
· Include lots of internal links - remember those crawling programmes I mentioned earlier? One thing they love to find on your website are internal links! That’s because internal links help Google’s crawlers figure out the structure of your website and crawl more of your content.
· Fill out your meta and SEO descriptions when you’ve finished writing your content. That’s because when that page pops up in a search engine results page that meta or SEO description will be instrumental in helping people decide whether they want to click on your page or not.
If this blog has got you thinking all about how to maximise your website’s potential with targeted SEO work, why not download my free SEO guide? It goes into lots more depth and will help you create and execute a strategy to get ranked higher in search engine results – and that will boost your website visitor numbers! Get your download here.