After talking to some search engine optimization (SEO) companies, you could be forgiven for thinking SEO is just an unaffordable, complicated and to be honest, scary topic for small business owners. But there are a few things these companies might not share with you. In this article, I’m going to share a few techniques that can actually get your SEO campaign started for nothing.
But first, what on earth is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Now I know there are thousands of articles online covering the basics of what SEO is, so I’ll keep this short. SEO is the term used to describe a process where a website is developed for, and ranked to the top pages on Google, or other SERPs (search engine results pages) for the purpose of begin found more often when someone searches a specific query looking for the information or service you’re site is offering. Once a certain “visibility” is attained for your site, the website gains users who see your website without having to click through the pages of search results to find you. To sum this up, the end goal is your website gains more traffic and potential clients.
Where Do We Start?
On-page SEO takes into account how keywords are written into the content. We also need to optimize the page’s image sizes for load speed, along with specific words used in on-page titles, page titles, and page descriptions. A keyword is any search phrase someone might enter into Google looking for a specific service: – think San Diego SEO . The content must be written carefully to sprinkle in these keywords without breaking context, or seeming like it was written by a 2-year-old! Trust me it’s harder than it sounds!
Why is this important?
Keywords are important as we are essentially telling Google these are the phrases that are relevant to my site that people are actively searching for. Google’s pretty smart, but I don’t like making it guess what I want to be found for!
How Do I Know What Keywords To Use?
Thankfully, there are plenty of tools to find the ones most searched for like Keywords Everywhere. Unfortunately, this one isn’t free, but costs just 10 dollars for 100,000 credits. That’s more than enough to choose a bunch of keywords to write your content.
Other elements to consider are the ease of navigation for the user, the load speed as mentioned above, and the overall structure of the site is important also. You should be able to get to any page on your website within 2 clicks.
Google and other search engines now index websites looking at the content as though it were a user. As this is is the case, we need to tell Google what we want to rank for whilst still ensuring a seamless, aesthetic, and good reading experience for the user.
So that’s all well and good, but what’s the point of all that on page work if you’re still not going to be found?
Enter Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO is a little trickier. There are a few ways we can go about actively performing off-page SEO without it becoming a problem for Google. You may have heard terms like “link building” or “paid links” or anything other term that may indicate deliberately building inorganic backlinks to your site.
A back link is where one website refers to another via a clickable link. An example above is the keywords everywhere text. What these do is pass “authority” from the referring website through to website being linked to. Google uses these links to measure how trustworthy it deems your site to be. The more trust it has in your site/business, the higher it will place your site in its ranks. Simple!
But unfortunately, not all back links are created equal, nor are the techniques used to place them. I mentioned above the term “inorganic”. What I mean by this is if someone goes about placing links all over the web, paid links, just for the sake of ranking their site, Google may begin to lose trust as the links are generally poor quality, or come from known link spamming websites. This is a big no no.
So how then?
One of the best ways is to contact other local business and exchange a link. You place one on your site, they place one on theirs. Its mutually beneficial so it’s a win win. Another great option is to contact a business within/or closely related to your industry from another town or city where you aren’t a competitor. These can prove to be very valuable!
Go through the motions of doing this enough times and you’ll find your rankings start to move. Remember, don’t go adding thousands of links as once again this is inorganic. Keep it to real businesses in your area or you have a genuinely affiliation with.
What about local search results?
Google My Business (GMB)
One of the best things a brick and mortar business can utilize is a Google My Business account. Its free! Its also incredibly easy to set up and can bring in a huge amount of traffic from your local area.
Once you’ve created the account, you’ll naturally want to place your listing in as many directories as possible, particularly local if possible, or once again industry related. These are called citations. When doing this, ensure that the details shown are exactly the same as on GMB.
This works in the exact same way as linking does to your website, the best part is this is it’s a two for one because as your GMB ranks, it throws even more trust to your website! Some directories even offer a backlink to your site! Three for one!
There’s a lot more to SEO, but these are a few great strategies to get your business in the game. Being online is now more important than ever so don’t get left behind! Once you’ve got some business coming through the door, you may want to consider hiring an SEO company to take you to the next level, but that’s totally up to you!
- When building your website/updating, make sure you build a nice looking, easy to navigate, fast loading site where the content has a few nice keywords spread around your home and back pages. Carefully choose your page titles and page descriptions to capture the eye of a potential user. If a keyword fits nicely, use it!
Once your website is ready to go, you’ve got a beautiful online business card…. It looks great with all the right information, but it’s got no gas to drive anywhere.
- Contact some friends, business owners, directories and build those nice organic links to your site.
- Get yourself a Google My Business account if applicable, and submit some listings to some local and like industry directories.
Guest article by Simon Poulus
Simon is an SEO enthusiast who started at the ground level trying to make his own business work before starting his very own SEO company, Little Big Marketing.