The small business’s SEO checklist
What is SEO – and how can three little letters improve your business, or rather, the online visibility & traffic to it? If you’re new to the online world – or you’ve recently set up your own business online – you’ll have heard ‘SEO’ crop up more than a few times.
But what is it?
Standing for Search Engine Optimisation, SEO is simply the practice of using your website to attract potential customers to your business by telling search engines such as Google, what you do and where you do it. You embed this crucial business information in top quality content that is going to be of genuine value to your target audience.
By producing great content consistently along with on-going efforts to promote your business you will – over time – gain authority, credibility and trust for your business online and as a result you will be found when someone searches for your products and/or services.
What does this in turn mean for you? Well more traffic/online visibility will inevitably lead to more sales, more enquiries and more leads for your business.
So, where to start with SEO?
For SEO newbies, we’ll begin with a few key terms – and what they actually mean. A glossary is always a good place to start if you’re wanting to get your head around a topic, after all. Here goes…
You’ll hear this term a lot, as you navigate your way around the big, wide world of SEO. Basically, an algorithm is a mathematic formula which is used to put a particular set of functions in place. In Google’s case, an algorithm works out which page in its index is the very best match when someone types in a key phrase. In short, it’s a way of sorting out the good content from the bad, and ensuring people find what they’re looking for online – and much more easily.
This is simply an incoming link, from another web page, to a specific page or site.
Google hates duplicate content, which is basically content that is exactly the same to that seen on a different page of your site – or on a different website altogether. If you suspect two of your website’s pages contain the same content, it’s time to reword the text in one of the two locations.
So, we know what a backlink is; what’s an internal link? These are hypertext links between two web pages of the same domain – you can find out more here.
Linkbait refers to content, which has been cleverly created with the purpose of attracting inbound links.
Referring to search results which don’t include any paid advertising, organic traffic is key – since it can bring the most traffic to your site, as well as being completely free to create.
We’ve touched upon the meaning of responsive in a recent blog post here on The Evergreen Agency site. For those who haven’t yet seen it, it explains the method of site design which resizes the elements to ensure it can easily be viewed on a tablet or mobile phone, alongside a desktop computer.
So, now you’ve got to grips with some of the most-used SEO terms, it’s onto our ‘quick wins’ portion of this piece.
Some Quick SEO ‘Wins’
When we talk about ‘quick wins’ here at The Evergreen Agency, what we mean are steps you can take for maximum results – and who doesn’t want to see greater website results which take minimum work?!
It’s worth remembering that great SEO results – i.e. increased traffic to your site – doesn’t happen overnight. This is something we tell our clients a lot, since people expect to see results immediately. The truth is, ranking online – and ranking well – can take weeks, even months.
It’s all about being consistent and publishing good quality content that people want to read. Here’s what else you can do to give your site the boost it deserves:
Since we’ve focused on the importance of ensuring your site is responsive, this is a great place to start. So, make sure you use the right tags – in both the headers of your desktop and mobile site – to let Google know which site is which. It also lets the search engine know that both sites are related, which gives your business a leg-up when it comes to ranking online.
Text Over Images
While images can be important from a user’s point of view (everyone likes to read an article that also looks good), if there’s an opportunity to add text into your site as opposed to pictures, make sure you do. Google will always value text above images, so get ready to get typing! Oh, and if you do use images, make sure you tag them with the relevant key words.
Content really is king at the moment – and Google loves lengthy articles and blog posts. Blogging for your site is therefore something you must factor in to your working week, since publishing regular content will bring your site more traffic.
You should also make sure your content is crawlable. What this means is Google must be able to see it! Too many people spend ages creating fantastic content, but then when someone views the page’s source code, or Google’s cached version of it, you can see that Google can’t see said content. There’s virtually no point at all in posting content that Google can’t see, so make sure you speak to your webmaster to check everything is working fine on that front.
Post regularly – and to ensure you stay on the right tracks, why not create a content marketing plan? In it, you can include the types of articles you’re aiming to write on specific days, as well as how many words you’ll write for each. Try to keep your blog posts to a minimum of 600 words, rising to between 1,000 and 1500 if you really want to do content marketing right.
Fix Any Issues
If your site is full of ‘404’ pages (essentially pages which don’t lead anywhere, as the link is wrong or has since been redirected), make sure you take some time out to fix it.
This is also a great time to check your site in general. Are there images that don’t feature tags? Are there any typos in the text? And could your ‘About Us’ page do with a polish?
So, now you have some top tips you can action!
Ready to get going? Put some of these SEO tips into practice on your site, or via your social media channels, and don’t forget to let us know how you get on. You can also follow The Evergreen Agency on Facebook here.