If you run your own business and are interested in doing your search engine optimisation yourself, it can be difficult to know where to start. There is a lot involved in optimising a website as SEO can be an in depth and time consuming process. The following tips are simple to do and provide a good starting point for any business.
Set Up a Google Business Listing
A Google business listing is crucial for any local business. It’s one of the easiest ways to increase the visibility of your business in the search results. If anyone searches for your business name, your listing should be visible and will provide additional information such as location, opening hours and reviews. Google My Business also helps to increase your presence in the map results which can help potential customers find your services and business info. You can set up your Google Business listing here.
Write Compelling Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
It’s not only the content on your web pages that is important. Your page titles and meta descriptions should be compelling, informative and entice people to click through to your website. Even though this info isn’t visible on the site itself, it is visible in the search results so you should provide accurate information about the page.
This is what the title and meta description should look like in the search engine results.
Optimise Your Images
A simple yet often overlooked SEO tip is to make sure you optimise all of the images on your website. This includes making sure the file size isn’t too large, creating accurate file names and providing descriptive alt text. You can use a free tool such as Tiny PNG to compress your images, all you need to do is upload the images and Tiny PNG will reduce the file size.
Giving your images accurate files names is also a good habit to get into. Labelling an image pink-flower or large-fruit-and-veg-box for example is much better than a file name of IMG12345678. Alt text is also important as this provides additional information to users as well as search engines. Search engines can’t ‘read’ images but they can crawl ALT text. ALT text is also useful for anyone that is using a screen reader as the ALT text is the info that will be provided if someone is unable to view the image. ALT text should accurately describe the image.
Structure Your Content
Structuring the content on your pages and blog posts is good for your audience as well as search engines. The easier it is for a search engine to crawl your pages and understand the content, the better. A well structured page also provides a better overall experience for your readers.
When creating blog posts, use headings and paragraphs to make it easier to read. Breaking up the content and correctly using heading tags can also help search engines understand what your page is about.
The main heading of your page should always be a H1 and there should be no more than one H1 on each of your pages. The H1 should provide an accurate overview of what the page is about. There are a total of 6 headings you can use (H1-H6) but you are unlikely to need them all.
Headings establish hierarchy and structure. H2s and H3s are generally used for subheadings with H1 being the main heading of the page. You should always use H headings in chronological order, H2 after a h1, H3 after a H2 etc.
The diagrams below show the structure of a simple web page with the correct use of headings:
If you know what keywords you are targeting, you should make sure you use the keywords within the pages of your website. It’s important however not to over use them, use keywords naturally and only where necessary. Google algorithms are sophisticated, a search engines can understand the context of a web page without stuffing the page with keywords. This will likely have a negative effect and won’t be particularly useful for your readers either.
You can use your target keywords in the url, page title, headings, img alt tags and within the main content of the web page.
If you don’t know which keywords to target, conduct some keyword research to establish the best keywords / phrases to target based on relevance, intent, search volume and competition. There are various tools you can use for researching keywords, this article from Ahrefs lists some of the best keyword research tools available.
Make Sure Your Site is Mobile Responsive
It may seem obvious but having a mobile friendly site is crucial. Google’s mobile first index means that the search engine will use the mobile version of the content to rank web pages. This is a big deal if your site doesn’t perform well on mobile, your site must provide a quality user experience across all devices.
Most website platforms and web builders now have the ability to create responsive websites, so it’s more than likely that your site is fully mobile responsive. Some older sites may not be responsive and some of the lesser known web building applications may still create non mobile responsive websites. If you aren’t sure if your site is responsive, Google has a mobile friendly testing tool that will check how well your site performs on mobile devices.
Reviews of your business are good for many different reasons. Positive reviews build trust. Potential customers are more likely to get in touch or purchase from you if you have some great reviews of your products / services.
Reviews are also great for local SEO. It’s often considered that Google uses reviews as a ranking factor, as demonstrated by this article from Moz about local search ranking factors. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your Google business listing as well as on social media and any reviews sites that you are listed on. You can also publish reviews on your website so that your web visitors can read what people are saying about your business.
Establish Authority and Trust
Social media can be an excellent traffic source for your website. Create and share awesome content and more people will be interested in your products or services. Having a clearly defined social media strategy is crucial to maximising the potential of your business as well as growing your following. Social media and SEO together can substantially help to increase your reach and grow your business.
Regularly Add New Content
Keep your site fresh and up to date by regularly adding new content. This will provide new information for your audience. It will also help your site show up for more keywords. Regularly adding content doesn’t have to be time consuming, you can add a new post every week or even every few weeks.
Writing about your business and your achievements, sharing industry news and creating top tips and useful articles are all great ways to engage your audience. New content is also good from an SEO perspective as it provides more shareable content, useful articles for people to link to and more content for search engines to index.
Your content should be:
Quality Over Quantity
As much as it’s a good idea to add new content to your site. Quality is always more important than quantity. If it doesn’t add value, don’t add it to the site, if it isn’t relevant, don’t use it.
Quality is important with regards to every aspect of your website. Make sure your content is high quality with no spelling or grammatical errors and make sure all your titles and meta descriptions are well written and relevant. You should also ensure your site is designed with the user in mind. A user friendly site is much better than a site that is difficult to navigate.
The quality of a website is often considered to be a ranking factor. A few high quality pages is much better than having a lot of pages with thin, low quality content. The aim of a search engine is to provide the best results for any particular search term. Search engines are more likely to return high quality, informative, well written pages than sites with low quality content. Produce content with the intent of the user in mind and aim to answer the questions that people are asking.
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