SEO stands for ‘search engine optimisation’ and is the process of boosting the ranking of a website or a web page in a search engine’s organic (unpaid) results. According to Darryl Coombes, managing director of Web SEO Online, this should be a key part of every company’s marketing strategy.
“SEO is important for small businesses as internet browsers tend to see organic results as being more trusted,” he says.
While you can employ the services of a specialist to assist with SEO, there are many basic things you can do to improve your website’s visibility. Coombes highlights six SEO tips.
Get a Google local listing for your business
Setting up a Google My Business page should be the first thing you do. It’s free and a great way to be found by customers on Google Search listings and Maps. It also provides your business with a Google+ page to display pictures of your products as well as real reviews from customers (which can have a direct impact on your search rankings). You can encourage customers to leave reviews by adding a link to your Google+ page on your website.
Don’t forget to ensure that your business phone number, address and opening times are consistent with that of your website and local directories.
Ensure your website content is up to scratch
Website content needs to be fresh, informative and unique. Coombes suggests that businesses have a blog section on their website with useful information that has not been copied from anywhere else on the web. For example, if you run a restaurant, you can publish blogs on healthy eating and cooking tips. This will help drive traffic to your website.
“Ideally, you should be adding fresh content weekly,” advises Coombes.
Optimise your website’s meta tags
Meta tags – added to the section of your website’s HTML – are the snippets of text that describe a page’s content to search engines. These then show up in a web page’s title and description in search results. Ask your web developer to assist with the correct implementation of meta tags; you can also follow Google’s own instructions on their dedicated page.
Take on social media
Be both present and active on popular social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. According to SEO specialist Jayson DeMers, growing your number of social media followers organically can improve your Google ranking.
This might be a slow process, but it can help develop your brand and connect with your customers.
Link building can be a great way to boost your Google rankings, provided you follow its guidelines. Ensure your business is listed on local online directories, and try getting authoritative sites to provide a link to your website. You can do this by publishing guest posts on industry-related topics, or by asking another site to publish one of your blog posts, together with a link.
Make sure your website is easy to access
Avoid developing Flash websites, advises Coombes. While they might be good at grabbing site visitors’ attention, they are not typically search engine-friendly.
He adds that business owners should also ensure their websites load quickly. In today’s fast-paced world, no one has time to wait for sites to load. And Google knows this.