An essential part of running your own business is marketing, meaning it’s important to use tools that will let you make the most of Google’s SEO, putting your business in front of customers without a hefty price tag.
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the act of making sure your content and site work as well as possible within Google’s ever-changing guidelines and calculations.
You don’t need to be a tech wizard for Google to take you seriously. The importance of SEO for business survival (let alone growth) is undeniable. However, acknowledgement and implementation are not the same things. Not everyone is fluent in SEO, and that’s okay.
You might have a winning idea and the talent to back it up, but it’s hard to gain traction without visibility.
Don’t risk being beaten to the punch by competitors because you’re buried in Google’s rankings.
The main obstacles for businesses focussing on SEO are ever-changing search algorithms and cost. Even if you don’t have budget for a dedicated SEO specialist or digital agency, there are a number of quick fixes you can address right away.
Optimise for mobile
A big part of improving user experience is in mobile optimisation. The volume of search on mobile devices has increased dramatically in recent years, overtaking desktop.
Bear in mind, mobile design is not strictly the same as a responsive display. The former involves coding specifically for mobile use, while the latter uses the same domain and coding, but is agile enough to rearrange itself depending on the device.
Learn more about mobile-specific and responsive design here. If you want to play around with how various responsive displays will look, there’s room for trial and error with Google’s mobile-friendly test tool.
Go easy on the keywords
Keywords are important ‒ up to a point. Google is becoming more sophisticated, and its crawlers can largely determine what sites provide tangible value to users, as opposed to content that is keyword-heavy but ultimately not helpful.
This means the days of throwing keywords around are over. Repetitive, inane content is a big no-no. Instead, when planning content, research keyword popularity and relevance. Focus on a handful of keywords and weave them in organically, not to the detriment of the copy.
Make your listings consistent
Your NAP listings ‒ that is, name, address and phone number ‒ should be uniform across your site. This gives search engines confidence that you are who (and indeed where) you say you are.
If you have multiple locations, make that clear. It’s even worth having individual pages for each location with relevant local info. Especially for mobile search, Google will favour local listings.
Learn how to set up a Google Local listing here.
Differentiate product offerings
For a new business short on time and cash flow, this might seem like window dressing. Instead, it’s a chance to showcase your brand voice and personality – you can differentiate yourself from other websites offering similar products.
Better meta descriptions
Meta descriptions describe to Google (and anyone with a search query) what a particular page is about. It’s the short blurb you see in search results for each page title and URL.
Meta descriptions are embedded into the website HTML code, but can also be the difference between someone clicking one page over another. If you’re running your site through WordPress, each page will have a section to type your meta description ‒ it will even let you know when the length is too long.
Alt tag all your images
Alt tags let users (and Google) know what the subject and purpose of an image are. It’s a simple thing that is often overlooked. You’re probably being penalised for it right now.
- Sneak a peek at your competitors. See what they’re doing well, what they might have missed. This will give you an idea of the benchmark for your audience as well as any potential opportunities.
- Amplify content through social and e-newsletters. You don’t have to rely solely on search. Leverage your existing audiences too.
- Create evergreen content. The bulk of your content should not be too time-sensitive. Google’s a sucker for timelessness.
- Always think from a UX perspective. Look at everything through the lens of ‘what would the customer do?’ Remember, whatever helps the user is likely to raise your esteem with Google.
- Learn more about user behaviour with a variety of search tools. Google Analytics, Buzzsumo, Answerthepublic are just a few handy resources.
- Play the long game. Even though a lot of SEO shortcomings can be fixed in a matter of minutes, the results may take a while to reap rewards. All you can do is keep ticking the boxes and you’ll start to see results in the long run.
- Keep an eye on Content and SEO trends. With SEO, the goalposts keep moving, but at least they move consistently for everyone. With that in mind, don’t stress too much over fluctuations in page ranking. There’s an element of musical chairs to it. Just because you’re the top search result one day doesn’t mean you’ll stay there. Just make sure you’re always in the mix.
Read more: The Top 5 Myths Around Blogging For Business
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