Need to put some effort into your SEO but don’t know where to start?
SEO is, of course, search engine optimisation aka ‘getting to the top of Google’. And it really does matter – studies suggest that a third of clicks for any Google search term go to the link at the number 1 slot.
The world of SEO has long been known for being mercurial and shrouded in mystery. There are thousands of sites (and people who all come with a handsome fee, of course) that will claim to demystify the SEO process or uncover Google’s magical algorithms. But in reality, it doesn’t need to be so intimidating. When you’re starting small, keep it simple – it’s easy enough to do the basics yourself.
Start at the start
Good SEO starts with a decent website (it doesn’t have to be complicated, but it also shouldn’t be awful to look at) and a short, punchy domain name that makes sense to your business. We know most of the good ones have gone, but it will be worth it, trust us. Your website may only have a few pages, but nailing the page title (the part that you see in Google when your site pops up in a search) is so important. The reader should know what your page is going to tell them when they click on you.
Look, we can’t write an article about SEO and not mention keywords, but tread lightly. While focusing on keywords (the phrases a potential customer might type into Google to find you) is important, don’t shoehorn them into every paragraph willy-nilly. It’s painfully obvious when you’ve done it, and it makes things look horribly unprofessional. One or two natural-sounding keywords towards the start of your page will do the job. An old trick is to say the sentence with your keyword in it out loud – if it sounds weird, don’t write it down.
Use your locality or speciality
Speaking of keywords, like web domains, all the best keywords have been flooded, and for most small businesses, competing with national huge names and their huge SEO budgets is not going to be doable. But you can focus on what makes you (relatively) unique, and for many, this is your locality or region.
You’re going to see better results from ‘plumber in Chorley’ than from ‘plumber’ (as long as you’re a plumber in Chorley), as the local market is much less saturated online. Likewise if you offer a service that is a bit different or specialised compared to your competition, focus on that for your keywords. Take advantage of Google My Business, and ask your trusted clients to leave you some great reviews.
Google works a bit like an old boy’s club. If you can get a pal to vouch for you, you’ll be seen as trustworthy. If Google sees your page linked from respected and quality websites, it gives you a little pat on the back and a leg-up the rankings.
The methods you use for this can vary wildly. Guest posting has been consistently popular – where you write an article for a popular blog or site in your industry in exchange for a link. Your own social media marketing efforts pay off here too, so regular postings with links back to your site will help.
For a more hands-off approach, ensuring your webpage is included in any of your regular PR efforts is also a no-brainer – a link from a trusted news source is Google gold.
Become an expert voice in your field
Ultimately though, content is king. You can spend a fortune and a lot of time on getting people to your website, but if you have terrible content when they get there, they’re not going to stick around. You are the expert in your field, so make your knowledge accessible to others. Videos, ebooks and blogs are a great way to do this. If done properly, you’ll gain valuable back-links naturally and people will come to you for your industry expertise. Not to mention that regular posting of original content ranks highly in the Google SEO machine.
If you’re feeling confident and/or have the cash, you can fall down the SEO rabbit hole as far as you’d like, but for many, getting the basics right is more than enough.
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