Almost every new client meetings we are asked about our SEO capabilities. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s vital to any website, but is particularly important for small businesses. However, optimizing your site is no easy feat, and can require a lot of patience. Small business owners are often already working at full capacity – leaving little time for this additional task.
A little bit about SEO
SEO is the process used to increase a website’s position within Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Search engines categorize available web pages and rank them in order of quality and relevance. Hundreds of factors go into making those decisions – despite the fact that the process typically takes less than a second.
There are many things you can do to boost your rankings, such as including header tags in your content and encouraging backlinks. The use of keywords is also incredibly important since these tell search engines what your content is all about.
Developing a strong SEO strategy for your business can help drive traffic to your site, and improve your conversion rates. This is especially vital for small businesses that are just starting out, since driving organic search traffic can be a very cost-effective way of promoting your content.
Due to the nature of the Google algorithm, the SEO strategies that are considered the most effective are subject to change over time. Fortunately, however, there are a few technics that continue to work even if Google keeps changing its algorithm (which it has now done on many occasions).
So, let’s talk about these players that can help you rank well over time.
1. Focus on Long-Tail Keywords
SEO experts originally believed that targeting keywords was all it took to grab Google’s attention. However, successful SEO now depends specifically on long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are phrases that are more precise, and a closer match to the queries your audience will actually make. People tend to search using phrases and short sentences, rather than one or two words. For example, rather than searching for “web hosting”, someone interested in buying a plan might enter something like “how to get web hosting”.
In other words, long-tail keywords more clearly reflect what the searcher actually wants – and this is exactly what search engines like Google look for. These phrases are thought to send about 70% more traffic to websites and blogs, making them an ideal solution for small business looking to get their content out there.
Fortunately, the process of researching and implementing long-tail keywords is the same as it is for more traditional keywords. What’s important is to focus on more natural phrases that are three to six words long.
2. Build Mobile-Friendly Pages
This one is interesting as we are continually coming across clients who are still running websites that are NOT mobile-ready. Google now ranks websites that are mobile-friendly above those that aren’t (on average). This is because mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches by a significant margin. Mobile users also account for more than 52.2% of all web traffic worldwide, so it’s important to consider their needs.
If your small business website falls short of Google’s standards, you could potentially lose customers and page views, and see your competition rise in the search rankings instead. Therefore, it’s now essential for your site to work just as well on a mobile device as it does on a larger screen.
A good place to start is by ensuring that the multimedia content on your site is viewable on mobile browsers. You should also make sure that all text is readable, your loading speeds are high, and any pop-ups you use are unobtrusive. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is an excellent way to assess your site’s mobile compatibility and get some suggestions for improving it.
Also, this is one of the reasons most of the clients we have helped, we have moved them to WordPress. WordPress can be built to be mobile-ready without you having to worry about it being mobile-ready. If you are a small business owner then you know that in having one less thing to worry about is gold!
3. Leverage Your Social Media Profiles
Social media is one of the most powerful tools in your business. We don’t know how to stress this enough. You’re probably already aware of how effective social platforms can be for marketing your content. However, you may not realize that social media can also be a smart way to boost your SEO.
Many marketers believe that including links to your website via social media accounts can have a noticeable impact on your rankings. These links help search engines understand what websites are most popular and trusted, and decide where they should rank for relevant keyword phrases.
What’s more, social sharing contributes to a brand’s credibility in the same way that external links do. Likes, shares, favorites, replies, and retweets are all considered forms of social sharing, and the best way to solicit these is by creating content that your audience can engage with.
You can also try asking your followers directly to share content and even provide an incentive for doing so. For example, you can run a competition or offer a discount code. When it comes to SEO, the more online activity there is that’s centered around your brand, the better.
4. On-Page SEO
We mentioned earlier how we moved almost all our clients onto WordPress. One of the reasons we did this was to help them not only manage their own content but also to give them the opportunity to do some On-Page SEO.
WordPress allows you to add function and value-add plug-ins, without impacting the content. If you want On-Page SEO, then it’s as simple as installing Yoast SEO Plug-in. If you’re using WordPress and configured Yoast SEO well, you’ll have most aspects of your On-Page SEO covered. You can control.
5. Site Registrations
This one is hard to measure and very easy to do – and yet it’s something that is overlooked by most small businesses.
- Sign up for Google Search Console (GSC) – Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console (GSC) is a great tool providing you with various insights about the condition of your site, the indexation status, the issues found, and loads of other useful info. Listing it all here would take a post of its own. Suffice to say, it’s one of your most important tools for WordPress on page optimization. Not only that, it’s also completely free.
- Sign up for Bing Webmaster Tools (BWT) – This is an alternative solution to GSC. But you can work with both, GSC and BWT at the same time if you want to. After all, if you do so, you gain access to additional data and tools, this time, coming from team Bing. No downside.
- Sign up for Google for Business (GFB) – This is one of the easiest things to do and yet the last thing most business owners think about. Why not just let Google know who you are and let it do what it does best.
It’s already hard trying to get your customers to come to you. We hope this article helps you in getting them to at least find you. And, if you are still not seeing any returns in your SEO efforts then organise a quick catch-up with us and let us help you. Simply fill in the form below.