SEO – The DIY Guide for Small Business Owners
When it comes to marketing investment, search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the best things you can spend your time or money on if search is a main source of sales for you.
It’s the workhorse of digital marketing delivering active and engaged prospective customers to your online door and doing that over again for relatively little investment. However, for many people, SEO is either approached with trepidation or is simply misunderstood.
With that in mind, here’s a guide to SEO.
What is SEO?
Simply put SEO is the process of ranking a website higher in search engines and therefore gaining more clicks and visitors. Search engines such as Google have just one job – to deliver the best results to a search query. To do this they have complicated algorithms in place to respond with relevant and authoritative results i.e. those that are qualified and trustworthy. In looking at what the algorithms are likely to be evaluating to determine the relevance and authority of a website, we can optimise for search. Here are three important aspects to focus on…
1. Keywords and content
The best place to start with SEO is to know what it is you’re actually optimising for i.e. identifying the terms/keywords for which you’d like to rank.
Keyword research is vital in understanding the search volume (the number searching for the keyword) and the competitiveness (how many rank for that keyword) as well as relevance (finding other terms around your main keywords that you may or may not wish to also target).
A good place to start is to think about who your prospects are, what problems they have, how they might describe the problem or solution they are looking for, who else they are buying from and what else could satisfy their needs. This will help form a list of possible keywords to research further to see how popular they are in terms of volume and how competitive.
Once you’re confident with your shortlist of keywords these need to be used within your site in both technical aspects such as the headers, title tag, and meta description as well as the content on the page.
Don’t shoehorn as many keywords in as possible – it won’t flow naturally to the reader and the algorithms are extremely wise to it these days meaning you will be penalised for doing it. Great, natural content will always do well in search – think “topic” rather than “keyword” and write about that topic using as much rich, relevant language as possible. Design each page around the main keyword and a few other related terms and keep the content engaging and informative.
2. Link building
The other key aspect search engines look for is authority – this is how well the site can be trusted and a good measure of this is how many other people share your content either on social media or on another website linking back to your site (aka back linking or inbound linking) – either way you are looking to build links to your site.
Developing fresh and engaging content will increase the likelihood of your website being linked to and in turn reassure the search engines that you are trustworthy and authoritative.
A word of caution here that search engines are wise to the tricks some employ for back linking namely using companies that offer a back linking service that focuses on quantity and not quality of back links, and this doesn’t fool the search engines. The algorithms will take into account the quality of the sites that are linking to yours too.
Choose sites wisely to guest blog on – make sure they are good quality and relevant websites!
3. User Experience
It’s fair to say that what looks great for a user and delivers a good experience on the site, is also good for search and will help the site rank higher.
These give your website credibility and assurance that a visitor will want to stay on your site because it meets their needs well. There are lots of software and plugins available out there to help with all of these aspects.
Get these three pillars right and you will be on your way to doing DIY SEO well! .
If you want to know more about improving your SEO or other ways we can help then get in touch.