SEO is fundamental to having an effective online presence for your business. Basically stated, SEO is a way of drawing online attention to your business by means of search engines – which in turn should increase your leads, increase your client base and help you to grow your business. However, it pays to be a little savvy about SEO, and not just blindly leave it to someone else to do without having some understanding of how it could help (or harm) your business.
What not to do
Once upon a time, you could use a few ‘magic tricks’ to get noticed on the web. This included things like using popular keywords or search terms in every sentence of site content – a practice known as ‘keyword stuffing’. This might have also involved the use of cheap overseas writers to write keyword-filled content without reference to the importance of quality. Another trick was the overuse of incoming links or backlinks pointing to the site – often from irrelevant or poor quality external sites.
These artificial methods might have pushed a business’s website up in the search engine ranking stakes – but it wasn’t long before search engines such as Google caught on and punished these websites. Some businesses, perhaps in some cases unaware of what their SEO departments or providers were doing, have found themselves paying for these actions even now.
What you should do
In the interests of making sure your SEO is helping rather than harming your business, it is important to be aware of a few things when it comes to building good SEO. SEO has changed and is still evolving, particularly with the move away from specific keywords and towards semantic search. Here’s a quick guide to the different strategies that make up good SEO:
- Use and refinement of keywords. Keywords should be used in your site content, articles and blog posts, your URL, meta-tags (the descriptors for each page), and in page titles. However it’s important that keywords are used naturally and in conjunction with good quality content that is relevant for site users. It is useful to target long tail phrases, and keyword stuffing is now irrelevant.
- Creating top-quality, well-written, accurate and relevant content, and adding fresh content on a regular basis such as articles, blog posts, infographics, or videos.
- Making sure your website not only looks good, but is also easy for users to use and navigate.
- Link sourcing – this might involve networking and requesting that other businesses provide a link on their site pointing back to your site, and so forth.
- Providing links to your social media pages on your site.
- Making sure your contact details are always very visible from all your site pages.
Get the most out of working with a professional
So do you need SEO help for your small business? If all this sounds a little daunting, then it’s worth getting some professional help. However, as mentioned before, it’s vital that you are involved in the process. There are also a few things to look out for when getting SEO help for your business. These include:
- Have a goal or goals in mind, rather than merely making your site more visible or aiming at improving your site’s search engine rankings. Put a number on it – for instance, your goal could be to attract 10 new customers a month, or attain 25% growth in the next 12 months.
- Make sure your left hand knows what your right hand is doing! Get to know how your SEO provider operates and keep on top of what they are doing and why. Ask them to explain some of the geeky-sounding terminology in plain English, and request that they keep you informed of search engine developments.
- If you’ve used SEO services previously and you are changing providers, your SEO might need a bit of a cleanout. Ask your provider to check for old backlinks to your site that may be causing you some harm.
In this day and age SEO is a vital aspect of marketing a small business. Make sure to optimise your site to its maximum potential through good quality professional SEO help for small business.
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