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SEO: What is it and why is it so important that small businesses know all about it? Whether you are familiar with it or not, it is truly understanding and then applying the concept which is crucial for businesses.
In particular, a small start-up business whose goal is to rise to the top! The below 11 SEO basics will teach small businesses everything they need to know to get started.
SEO: What does it stand for?
Search Engine Optimisation is the process of helping to determine the visibility of a website or page in a web engines search results.
What does this mean? No doubt your business isn’t the only of its kind, therefore when a person types in keywords which regard to your business, you want to be one of the first unpaid results that appear. This directs more traffic to your web page which means more attention for your small growing business.
Why does my small business need SEO?
Of course, people could just look up your business up on social media if they’re specifically after something that they know your website offers, but what if they don’t know your business exists?
SEO targets the keywords have been typed into Google and then drive them to your site when there is a match in words. This gives your site traffic, views and publicity which is crucial for small businesses.
What is an SEO friendly URL?
Firstly, it is important that your website obtains an SEO friendly URL. This is both a consumer and googles first impression of your site, so it is important the URL is clear, targeted and uses a prominent keyword.
The URL acts as a ranking factor by the search engine when determining the appearance of your web page in relation to the keywords that have been typed in on the search engine. So, making sure your URL is relevant and targeted already helps with rising to the top of the search engine results.
Why are keywords so important?
Keywords are one of the most important pillars for building an SEO strategy. The use of effective keywords is what gives your web page the potential to rise to the top of the search engine!
“An SEO strategy should involve reviewing the whole business to define the core SEO goal and then mapping out the activities that will help you reach that goal.” – Adam Rowles, InboundMarketing.com.au
Your business needs to carefully figure out which keywords you are going to engage with your site. They need to emphasise the topic of your web page and be targeted, however, keeping in mind you want your keywords to be a frequent search topic but still differentiate from your competitor sites.
Despite keywords being one of the most important parts of SEO, you don’t want too many irrelevant keywords clogging your page as the search engine may classify this as spam and over right your web page.
Does SEO mean text only?
When the search engine is deciphering through pages linking keywords of search results to web pages they only pick up the text.
A web page doesn’t always look the same to humans and Google’s web crawlers. Your most important content should be in HTML text format as images and flash files are often ignored or devalued. Without any HTML text, the page has a hard time ranking.
However, you can include tags attached to your website’s images and videos which the search engine can read and will assist in driving website traffic.
An internal link connects one particular page of a site, (e.g. a blog post talking about the importance of regular dental care) to a different page on the same site (e.g. a service page outlining the dental care packages the business offers).
Internal linking strengthens the overall search-optimized value of a site by providing clear paths for crawling and easier navigation and therefore prolonged sessions for users. The theory of internal linking is complicated, but it is important because it’s one of the simplest ways to get quick SEO wins.
Operate with a user-focused approach to provide value to the reader with relevant internal links which aid in website navigation and also distributes ranking power throughout the site.
Other web pages linking to yours is positive for SEO. A small business developing a relationship with big players of the industry can help with the blossoming of your small business.
Links pointing to your website can help grow referral traffic from other sites, but they also help Google to determine which websites searchers are most likely to find useful and trustworthy.
The more inbound links, the more votes you have towards your credibility and authority. But beware that irrelevant or dodgy links (casino, gambling, sex sites) can even get your site demoted.
Search engines monitor social media activity allowing them to know what is important and what should be ranked highly in search engine results. Part of developing strong social media presence is using Open Graph (OG) Tags.
They allow a site to give social networks information about its pages to better display pages and rank them. Facebook, for example, has become so important that Google can’t ignore the OG data in their algorithms.
It’s important to add OG tags on web pages via code or a plugin, (particularly blogs) as these pages are commonly shared on social networks.
How does constructive content help my SEO?
Of course, effective keywords are critical as explained before. However, the overall content of a website plays a huge factor in web page ranking.
It is so important your businesses web page is targeted and involves good quality content, as this is a significant factor in determining your ranking place on search engine result pages.
Creating long-form, relevant, and valuable content for the users of your site and answering their questions leads to longer sessions on the web page and more clicks from searchers as Google looks to deliver the best information.
Duplicate content is a problem as search engines have cracked down on sites with thin or duplicate content by assigning them lower rankings.
Is web page construction a factor of my SEO?
Now that you have an understanding of the importance of keywords, linking, content, etc. It is important to understand how web page layout can apply to SEO.
Create a crawlable link structure that lets the crawlers find all of the pages on a website. Google, offers page layout tips which if followed will give your web page an SEO advantage.
Can I hire someone to manage my businesses SEO?
Know that your enlightened on SEO and what it is all about, you aware of how crucial it is for a small business. This doesn’t mean you’re all alone in applying SEO for your business as it can still be tricky even after learning about the 10 SEO basics. Don’t forget, hiring someone to manage your businesses SEO to achieve the best results is always an option!
To learn more about the questions you should ask your prospective SEO, read our article about hiring the best SEO.