I have been talking to a lot of small business owners recently who are getting lots of contradicting advice and information abbot how to improve their SEO on their websites.
Unfortunately it is tricky to sift through the myriad of threads and bits of information out there and work out how you can apply some of it to your website without a Phd in IT!
So, I have broken down a few of the key areas to think about to help you make a really good start. Remember that SEO is an ongoing project in any business and requires you to stay updated and aware of any major changes. This doesn’t mean a wholesale change to your website every few weeks but a consistent and practical approach to ensuring that the people who need your products or services can find you.
- It is really important that you have done some basic homework. Do you really know what your potential customers are searching for? For example, Simply Great Britain principally works with micro businesses but there is little or no traffic on Google for this term other than industry experts talking about it amongst themselves. Therefore I use the phrase small business a lot as it is the ‘common’ phrase for searching. You may feel that you have done this exercise when you set up your business or website but it is worth revisiting this regularly. What search terms are people actually using to find your type of business? Use Google’s ‘related searches’ at the bottom of the results page to see what phrase are actually being used in the everyday. Create a list of all the phrases, words and combinations to help you build a 3D picture of your sector. Once you have done that, check if you are using those combinations on your website. EXAMPLE when looking at search terms around small business, the phrase ‘small business ideas’ is a hugely popular term. This is something I hadn’t used or thought of. I now feature a ‘small business ideas’ blog and download on the website to help capture that market.
- What are your page titles doing? So all pages on your website have ‘meta titles’ which gives Google (other search engines are available!) the overall information about what that page is about. It need to say what the page is about not only clearly, but using words that users are using when they search. How do you check? Head to the top ‘tab’ of your web page and hover the curer over it until a hidden sentence is revealed – that is the meta title of that page. You can not only check your own but those of your competitors too if you are stuck. Don’t copy them! Add your own words but at least it will give you an idea. You need to do this for every page on your website. EXAMPLE your home page should not just day ‘home’ because no one is searching ‘home’! To make your SEO more through, make sure that those key words crop up throughout the page. It is important to not that this should be done in an organic way so that the text reads as a human would write it. Google will downgrade your website if it feels that you have artificially stuffed a page with key words.
- What are your images saying? Search engines can’t read images so you need to tell them what they are otherwise it will be perceived that your website has big holes in it. How can you check? Hover your curser over an image on your website and see if there is an ‘alternative text’ that pops up. That is the description of that image. It makes sense that the words should simply describe the image in a way that relates to the rest of the information on that page. EXAMPLE if the page describes hen keeping but the image says ‘red shoes’ the search engine will essentially tart to lose faith in the page, get confused and downgrade the overall quality of the information being provided. If you need to update or add this type of text behind you images, then you need to add ‘alt tags’ to your images. Most website systems allow for this in your media gallery but if you are unsure, ask me, ask in the Facebook group or ask your web developer.
These are just some of the basic steps to take to improve SEO but they are crucial. Once you have mastered these, then it is important to make sure that you continue to optimise your website so that search engines thinks that your website is of good quality, regularly updated, providing relevant information for its users, works speedily and on mobile, is linked to other trustworthy sites and doesn’t have any loading issues or security problems.
Again, we can’t talk about this over not he Facebook group.