SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and it is crucial for every small business nowadays. Getting your small business to rank on the first page of the search results on a search engine, such Google or Bing, can be a challenging task for any small business. However, it is crucial if you want your business to be discovered online.
Appearing on the first page of Google is vital as less than 1% of users click through to the second page. In this beginner’s guide, we will cover the following topics:
- What SEO is
- How SEO will help your business
- How to improve your SEO
- Six ways to improve your SEO
What is SEO?
SEO is essentially improving how websites show up on search engine results pages (SERPs). There are several reasons why you would want your business’ website to appear on the first page of a search engine such as Google or Bing:
- More traffic to your website
- Higher quality of traffic to your website
- You don’t need to pay for ads
- SEO helps PR
- It gives you a better chance of standing out from the competition
If done correctly, SEO can be a powerful and relatively cheap way of growing your business.
How will SEO help people to discover my business?
Where do people go when they want to find a solution to a problem? Usually, they’ll type it into Google and see what comes up. It doesn’t matter what their situation is, it could be deciding on where to go for dinner that evening or finding a new jacket. Doing a quick search is often the go-to first step for a lot of people.
Suppose your small business provides an excellent service or product that people like, but your only sales are coming through recommendations or word of mouth. In that case, you might realise that you’re missing out on many potential customers. You know there are many people out there who would love your product or service, but they can’t seem to find it. Even when you type in a key search term that you would like your business to appear for, it doesn’t show up.
SEO is the process of improving your ranking on search engines and will help you to show up for the search terms that you want your business to show up for.
How can I improve my SEO?
Once you have your company’s website set up, you can start improving your SEO. This section looks at some of the best practices and tools to get your company’s website search engine optimised.
- Register with Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) is the first step in improving your website’s SEO as it will do a “health check” of your website. With the help of GSC, you will be able to:
- Optimise your website’s content
- Find out what queries bring visitors to your website
- Receive alerts about any issues with your website
- Fix any issues
All of these factors are the key to maintaining a good SEO ranking and it also gives you the invaluable insight of seeing your website as Google sees it.
- Use Google My Business
Google My Business (GMB) is practically an online business card for your business. It appears on the right-hand side of the Google search results page and makes it easier for customers to find and contact your business.
GMB can be very helpful for managing:
GMB is especially important if your small business has local customers and bookings, for example for restaurants, cafes, gyms and so on.
- Think about site structure and internal linking
Internal linking refers to your on-site links that connect one page to another page on your website. If you have an integrated linking structure within your website, your pages exist within a web of links that allow the user to navigate your site easily.
Along with helping the user, they can also help search engines trawl through your website and quickly identify content. This will help to give you a better search engine ranking.
- Research keywords
Once you have your site structure sorted, you’re ready to start finding keywords that you want your business to show up for on the search results page. You can use SEO tools such as:
These will help you better understand what people are searching for and give you some suggestions of which keywords are relevant for your business to target. When choosing the right keywords, there are a few factors to consider:
- Search volume: is how many people are searching for a specific keyword. The more people searching for the keyword, the more people you could reach. On the other hand, if no one is searching for the keyword, there isn’t much of an audience.
- Relevance: your keyword might have a high search volume, but you constantly need to ask yourself, “Is this relevant to my audience?”.
- Competition: You will also need to consider how much competition there is to succeed with your chosen keyword. You might need to do additional research to understand the competition and the chances of ranking highly for specific terms.
- Write your website well
When it comes to writing the copy of your website, you will need to avoid overusing keywords, which is called “keyword stuffing”. This is an old technique that used to be beneficial but it can be detrimental to your site nowadays.
When writing for your website, you need to focus on:
- Writing naturally and providing helpful content
- Using your keyword sparingly
- Making your content relevant to the keyword and the search queries
- Use tags to your advantage
Another thing you will have to optimise is your site’s tags.
- Title Tags: these are the titles of the pages that are displayed above each listing on Google.
- Meta tags: these are the lines of text that appear below the title of the listing. They act as a preview to the web page.
- Headings: these tags are the headings of the web page itself.
Optimising is the process of editing website text to include your SEO keywords, so they are as appealing to a searcher and a search engine as possible. Doing this for your titles and meta tags can significantly impact your website’s ranking. Meanwhile, the meta description influences the number of people that click through to your website.
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