As a busy small business owner, search engine optimization (SEO) can seem like unnecessary extra work, especially if you don’t know where to start, let alone how to apply best practices. But don’t let the jargon put you off: the concept of SEO is pretty straightforward and it can be a powerful tool when it comes to getting free online traffic from organic search.
When you search online, search engines such as Google and Bing scour the web and present you with the websites they have cataloged in the past that are most relevant to your query.
Search engines rely on a variety of factors to decide which sites should be displayed in a hierarchical order from position 0 to position 100. Ideally, you want to appear as close to position 0. If you get a position 1 -10 in the SERPS (search engine results positions) it would be a first page display. Search engine optimization focuses on optimizing content (whether text or images) and metadata for particular topics in order to create relevance and authority on that topic. .
Whether you are a start-up, a small business, or a large corporation, the principles of SEO remain the same. However, there are several proven quick wins that can help small businesses perform better and rise through the ranks against larger competitors. Here are five tips to help you overcome the search engine algorithm.
1. High quality content is essential
It’s important to make sure that any content you post on your website is of the highest quality possible. Your written and visual content should be informative, engaging, believable, and provide information on topics that your competition hasn’t started writing about. It could be a really in-depth article on the ins and outs of various topics. This shows Google that you are a credible source of information and therefore an authority figure in your niche.
If your articles have well-presented written content with titles and subheadings, Google is able to sift through the information more easily and will improve you in its search rankings. You would be surprised at how often this is supervised, potentially ceding the digital limelight to your competition.
2. Consider using long tail keywords
Whenever you do an online search, you are using search terms also known as keywords. Let’s say you have a flower business. If your customers search for the keyword “bouquet of roses,” Google will then scour the web for authoritative, relevant pages that mention bouquets of roses. The problem is, these types of keywords are hot commodities – the best florist companies will likely have a monopoly on the top spots because they have the time and money to invest in PPC advertising and SEO.
What you can do to counter this is choose to focus on long tail keywords that are 3 or more words long. If your customers Google “rose bouquets for first dates” and you’ve written a quality, in-depth blog post that covers that specific topic, you have a better chance of getting first page rank for that ” search phrase ”.
As a small business, by finding relevant subtopics and using long tail keywords that match them, you target different searches and not only maximize the chances that customers will find your website faster and easier, but also your authority as a trusted company. The source.
3. Include next generation image formats
This tactic is often overlooked by over 80% of websites, and it’s probably the easiest step you can take to improve your site’s performance, load time, and image search traffic. It is easy to understand and will help increase your SEO traffic from image searches with minimal effort. Most websites will include some type of images and this is a useful way to give more context about your business, team, or founders.
The key here is to focus on the next generation image formats, the ones that offer better quality with a smaller file size. There are several types of new generation formats like JPEG XR, JPEG 2000, and WebP, all of which are preferred by Google. The small size of these images has a direct impact on your website performance while providing high definition quality for end users.
4. Make sure your website has both internal and external links
You can think of a search engine as a spider moving along a website, the more links your pages have to other pages, the easier the spider can move around and find more nodes. If there are a lot of links to your page, the spider will find its way there more often. This is generally referred to as backlinking.
If Google can see that your page is being referenced in many places, it will transfer some of the authority from the linking pages to your own property or page. This is generally referred to as “link juice”.
As a small business you can only have 20 or 30 pages on your site, so it is quite easy to insert internal links into every page and by doing so you make sure that the spider can reach all the pages. . It’s also important to make sure you add internal links in relevant parts using buttons, navigation menus, and in-text links.
The first step is to make sure that you don’t have “orphan pages”, these are pages that can only be accessed through the URL and are not linked anywhere else. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to stick to 2-3 internal links per page in sections that include content.
For example, including internal links on the “about” page that lead to the contact page is a good way to switch from who we are to how to get in touch. Likewise, if you have a blog post about how a certain routine is good for your health, it’s a good idea to link either internally to your own products or services or externally to sources of research. information or documentation, which proves that you are telling the truth.
You can choose to include links on the category page to top selling products to direct users to areas where sales are likely to occur. You are effectively creating a map that directs users and the search engine to where you want them to end up on your site.
It’s also important to make sure your site links to external sources when focusing on getting better SEO results and better first page rank. The more your business links appear in notable places (think relevant ezines, newspapers, blogs, niche experts) the more it will bolster your authority status, improving your SEO rankings through association and at the frequency of occurrence.
5. Maintain Google’s performance requirements
It is essential for small businesses to take care of the load times and performance of their website pages. Website performance today impacts not only rankings, but sales as well. Think of it this way, we live in a fast paced world where buying something is usually done in a minute. You open your phone, do a quick search, and you’re probably going to end up on a product page and checking out is as easy as 1-2-3.
Additionally, Google now takes into account the overall performance of the website, from load times to the speed at which your server responds to requests and collects user performance data (called field data) and using specially created tools. to measure specific parameters (called laboratory data). As of August 2021, Google has been measuring speed against a new set of performance KPIs called Core Web Vitals, which has been shown to be a direct ranking factor.
The more your page lives up to these KPIs, the more likely the site is to appear higher in Google search results, sending more traffic and increasing sales and revenue.
A quick fix is to make sure you’re hosting your website on a platform that offers fast load times and ideally will host your website in the country where you operate. Learn more about your site’s performance and tips on how to improve it from Google.
While these are proven quick wins, there are plenty of more advanced activities you can implement that will require some coding and specialized know-how. If you are able to do this, it may be worth considering hiring an SEO specialist to help you along your SEO journey.
As in other areas of business, if you can bring in people who can focus on areas in which you don’t specialize, you can focus on other important areas of your business. If you’re considering taking a more hands-on approach, there are plenty of free online resources to help you understand the ins and outs of SEO, like Moz.com and Ahrefs.com.
Ultimately, you don’t have to be a pro to start making small but big differences. By following the steps outlined, you can lay the foundation for great SEO results, not only helping customers find you tomorrow, but weeks and months away without paying a dime. Be patient with the process and be prepared to reap the long term rewards.
Anthony David Sladariu, SEO and Content Manager, Fasthosts