Whether you’re just setting out in your new business, or you’ve been running one for decades, making sure your website is optimised for search is now more important than ever. We put together a simple guide to the basics of SEO for small businesses to help your business get seen on search engine results pages.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimisation. It is the practice of understanding how search engines rank websites and webpages, and how to optimise those websites accordingly.
The site structure of your website is essentially its layout. Most websites will have a navigation bar and a number of pages with different headings. Search engines read all of this information, and view the information at the top of each page as the most important. Therefore, it is essential that you make it clear to people (and search engines) what the page is about – whether it’s your home page or a blog post.
For example, if you have a website selling tea towels and the first heading on your homepage is ‘Quality & Value’, search engines won’t have a clue what your website is actually for. Adding some more information such as ‘Quality and Value Tea Towels Made in Yorkshire’ will be a lot more helpful. This will also make your website more likely to rank for searches such as ‘Quality tea towels’ or ‘Yorkshire tea towels’, meaning your site will start to receive more relevant traffic.
Search engines love fresh content. Whenever you add new product pages or update old copy on your website, search engines will receive a signal that it’s time to index your site again. However, just banging out any old content won’t help you improve your site’s ranking. Instead, it is important that you produce content that your audience will find value in – whether it’s a how-to guide, or review, an infographic or a video. Make sure your content informs or entertains, and you can’t go too far wrong.
Backlinks are links from other websites to your own. If a website that links to yours has a high domain authority (i.e. it’s a popular site), it will pass some of that authority onto your website. A good number of relevant and natural links to your website will help to increase its visibility on search engine results pages.
However, these links must be natural and cannot be paid for! Back in the old days of SEO, people would go around buying links from different websites like there was no tomorrow. However, search engines got wise to this and starting giving people penalties – meaning their website traffic would take a massive hit. Search engines know when something seems forced, so keep things natural!
Our final point is about making sure you have a good mobile site! The majority of searches now happen on mobile devices, so search engines have started viewing mobile sites as more important than their desktop counterparts. All this means is that a slow or out-dated mobile site just won’t stand in 2018. Get your mobile site up to scratch and you’re sure to reap the benefits.
In summary, having a good mobile site, making it clear what your website is about and creating content that your audience find value in are the best ways to start getting more relevant traffic. If other websites think your content is great and end up linking to it, all the better!