19 May Small Business Guide to SEO
Joshua Hardwick looks at how to make improve the SEO on your site. Some great advice! The article has been shortened so please feel free to follow the link and read more. If you find all this rather daunting, contact Web4Business and we can do the SEO for you!
The Beginner’s Guide to Small Business SEO (6 Easy Steps)
“Do you find SEO daunting? Do you lack time to learn the intricacies of this ever-changing and often puzzling field? Here’s the guide for you.
I know a fair few small businesses owners. They’re busy people.
My brother and his friend run a small wedding videography business.
They’re fantastic at what they do, but when it comes to marketing their business online, they’re amateurs, to say the least. (Sorry, Martin & Gary!)
I’m not saying this to be mean. As I said, they’re busy—they don’t have time to learn SEO.
But even if they did, they’d likely face the same issues as many other small businesses:
They don’t have much technical expertise: SEO isn’t that complicated, but “being good at computers”—as my Nana would say—is a definite requirement if you’re doing this yourself.
They don’t have the budget: Knowing what needs doing is only half the battle. Hiring marketing staff to do the work is the other more expensive half.
Everything above sound familiar?
This article focuses on simple, low-cost and quick wins, many of which need only be done once to have a positive lasting effect. I’ll also talk about outsourcing some of this stuff, so you have more time to focus on the crucial business activities that put money in your pocket.
Still, I’m going to assume that you already have the absolute basics covered in that:
You have a website.
You’ve already installed Google Analytics, Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, etc.
You’ve claimed or created your Google My Business listing (if relevant).
You get some traffic—not necessarily from search engines.
You’re a local business with only a few locations or are in a service-based industry.
1. Create a logical website structure
Here’s what Google says in their article listing steps to a Google-friendly site:
Build your site with a logical link structure. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
In plain English, that means that your site should make sense to navigate. Your homepage should link to your other important pages (about, content, services). Your services page should list and link to pages describing individual services. And so on.
This may sound obvious, but I’ve found that with small business websites especially, this often isn’t the case.
Things usually start pretty logically, but as they add pages over time, things fall apart.
How do you fix this? The trick is to try to look at your website with fresh eyes and make sure it has a logical structure. Start at your homepage and see if you can logically find—and navigate to—all your important pages quickly and easily.
2. Keep your site free of broken pages and links
Broken stuff on a website is never good. Not for visitors, and not for SEO.
Think about it: what does a website with broken pages and links say to you? Most likely that it’s rarely updated, neglected, and that the site owner doesn’t care about keeping their website functioning properly.
3. Make sure every page has an enticing meta title and description
Every page on your website needs a unique meta description and title.
These are what you typically see in the Google search results
Not only should every page on your website have a unique meta title and description, but they also need to:
Not exceed the length at which Google begins to truncate them in the search results.
Entice search engines users to click-through to your site.
Contain your target keyword (optional—but recommended)
4. Polish your written copy
Most pages on your website will have some written copy—and this needs to be on point.
Google looks at the content on a website to help understand whether that website or web page is a good result for a particular query. If there is little or no content on your web pages—or if that content isn’t well-optimized—then they’re going to have a difficult time doing that.
That’s not to say that you have to write 2,000-word essays on every page.
Some pages might warrant that, but others might be okay with a couple of hundred words.
Generally speaking, here are some SEO “rules” for website copy:
Include some copy on every page. How much? That’s up to you—I’d personally recommend at least 100–200 words as a general rule of thumb.
Use one H1 tag on each page. This serves as the heading of the page. Quite often, this is the same as the meta title—but it doesn’t have to be.
Use H2-H6 tags as appropriate. These are subheadings. Use them to create a hierarchical structure of importance on each page. Learn more about these tags here.
Don’t shoehorn keywords into your copy. Be aware of the keywords you’re targeting, but don’t force them where they don’t belong—and certainly don’t overuse them!
Make sure spelling and grammar are on point. More on this in a moment!
5. Get citations by listing your business in relevant places on the web
Google doesn’t only look at the copy and structure of your website when determining where you should rank. They look at many off-page SEO factors too—one of which is citations.
Here’s a definition of citations from our guide to local SEO:
Citations are online mentions of your business, which usually display your business name, address, and phone number—collectively known as NAP (Name, Address, Phone).
Here’s why you should care about citations from an SEO point of view:
Citation signals are one of the top local ranking factors. Moz says that this is the case for Google’s “snack pack” and “regular” organic search results.
Google isn’t the only search engine people use. Imagine that you’re looking for a local plumber. You might use a search engine like checkatrade.com, which specializes in helping users find trusted tradespeople in their local area.
6. Ask for links from the businesses with whom you’re affiliated
Link building—it’s something we have to talk about.
Links are the foundation of the original PageRank formula, which is the formula on which Google is based. Google has also admitted that links are one of the top three ranking factors (as of 2016).
Furthermore, when we studied almost one billion web pages, we found a positive correlation between referring domains (links from unique websites) and traffic.”