Performing search engine optimisation (or SEO) for small business websites can be a minefield if you’re not a seasoned pro. If you’re new to SEO, you will quickly notice the number of websites offering resources with endless technical detail. As you dig deeper, the conflicting advice will only make things worse!
If this sounds familiar, fear not – during this blog we will outline 6 simple SEO techniques that will make your website look much more valuable in Google’s eyes – helping you attract the right visitors to your business.
Without further ado: Easy SEO for Small Business Websites…
1. Find out what your potential clients are searching for
There are a variety of simple tools out there that will tell you what people type in search engines. The free, most popular option is Google’s Keyword Planner tool. You can use this tool to find out how many people are searching for a specific keyphrase, and also to get new ideas about other related keyword combinations that they might be searching for.
This information can also be very valuable to you because it specifically shows the language that people are using to express their problems when they need your service.
For example, if you’re providing housing services in Manchester, it will be very useful to know whether your clients search for “cheap” or “affordable” houses. It sounds like an unimportant choice, but wait… Having checked on the Google Keyword Planner, we have found that 140 people per month search for “cheap houses for sale in Manchester”, but nobody searches for “affordable houses for sale in Manchester.” Even though we’re talking about the same house in both cases, the difference one word can make is monumental.
Different words can be used to describe the same thing and it is essential to know which specific words your own clients use when they are looking for your services.
Try for yourself – for every major webpage on your site, pick a key-phrase and include it in the content, title and page title. Use this techniques sparingly and avoid keyword cramming – a light sprinkling is the key. Before you hurray away to do this, ensure that you have read part 2 and 3!
2. Be specific
Take your research one step further and use Google’s tool to get ideas for more specific phrases. This will decrease the popularity of a key-phrase, but the visitors you do attract will be the right ones.
Let’s look at this idea closer. Trying to compete on Google for the search-term “Accountant” will be impossible. For arguments sake, lets say that you, after years or dedication and SEO wizardry, are ranked number # 1. While you may get visits from people who want to hire an Accountant, you will also get hits from people searching for “Accountant Training”, “Free Accountancy services” and even “DIY Accountancy”. The result – a very high percentage of visitors will leave your websites as soon as they arrive.
Conversely, if you optimised a webpage for “Accounting Firms in Manchester” then you might have more luck. Sure, only 50 people per month search for this phrase in the UK – but they are exactly who you want to attract. They will need your services – after all, they were the ones to look for you in the first place, right? What does this mean? A higher rate of conversion.
3. Go around big competition, not through it
Longer phrases with 3 to 5 words (like the ones discussed in part 2) are typically searched for less, but there are fewer websites competing for the same keyphrases – these are called long-tail keywords. As a result, they are less competitive and easier to rank for. This means that you will spend less time and money in the process.
Let’s say you have a children’s clothing store in Manchester. At this point, some of you might be tempted to ignore our advice and hit those big keywords. I can hear it now:
“Forget this – I’m going to rank first for “clothing” and “clothing store” on Google.”
Remember, as a small or new website you cannot yet afford to go for the core phrases that bigger companies in your field are also likely to target. Instead, do your keyword research and find longer phrases. For example, you could even set up 3 different pages on your website – one of them optimised to rank for “junior clothing shop in Manchester”, another one for “clothing for kids in Manchester” and the last one for “children’s clothing in Manchester”.
Now, Google returns one of your webpages in its results for three different keyphrases. Together, these keyphrases will get you more relevant visits than clothing store would by itself.
Moreover, these visits will be very well targeted to your ideal audience. Now you know that your visitor is looking for children’s clothing in Manchester, and not just clothes alone (a broad term). This means more conversions, and more sales!
This diagram demonstrates the conundrum faced when picking your keywords:
4. Blog. Blog. Blog.
Blogging is the number 1 way to promote your website – it attracts website visitor, boosts credibility and generate leads. You can introduce new products, explore topics and connect with your target audience. Did you know: small businesses that embrace blogging see 126% more growth in terms of leads than those that don’t blog.
Blogging also has many SEO benefits:
- Google loves blogs. Why? Because Google loves fresh, new content to crawl. Think of your website like a newspaper – when you release a webpage it is today’s news and worth reading. In 3 months, it old and boring. Google wants to show people fresh and exciting webpages to their customers. If you regularly release blogs, Google will come back to your website frequently to see what’s new and pass it on. If your website is static and doesn’t grow, Google will ignore your site and conclude that it has been abandoned.
- New Keywords. Every blog gives you the chance to target new key-words. Take this blog for example, a chance for Hello SEO Copywriting to target “SEO for small business websites” perhaps?
- Build Organic Inbound Links. These pages you just built aren’t going to rank high by themselves. When a search engine reviews a website, it considers hundreds of factors – one of which is the number of inbound links. If you blog regularly, external websites will add links to your site, In fact, companies that blog have 97% more inbound links. (Source: Hubspot)
Unfortunately, maintaining a blog is difficult – they require a constant source of ideas, management, search engine optimisation and blog writing expertise. If you need help, take a look at our SEO blog writing services.
5. Article Marketing
In order to achieve success with article marketing there are only three things you must do. You must write high-quality, valuable content and you must distribute only to relevant sites with a good page rank and high traffic volume. Also, it is very important that you optimise your articles to ensure that it receives maximum online exposure.
As a form of low-cost advertising, article marketing has many benefits. It is a highly effective form of advertising in which businesses produce articles relevant to their area of expertise and distribute them on a variety of websites. With each article, you are building links back to your website.
But beware, article marketing should not be overused. A controversial and ineffective method of article marketing is to submit one article to as many sites as possible across the web. While this method may gain numerous low-quality links, it is not recommended. It is much more beneficial to gain a select number of very strong links by submitting an article to a limited number of directories or websites. Some companies recycle and spin articles for you or even post hundreds for just a few pounds. They will make big promises, but deliver only penalties.
A good idea is to post well written articles within your niche to article directories. Currently, the most authoritative article directories are EzineArticles and GoArticles. Start with a couple of articles a month, but do not overuse this technique. This process works a lot like recommendations in a social setting. If a friend you already trust refers a service to you, you will be more likely to use it in the future, right?
This is what links from authoritative pages do for your website. They’re recommendations to Google, from Google’s already well-trusted friends. And the more quality recommendations Google gets for you, the higher the probability it will use your service (and rank you higher in search results).
You can read more about this in our Guide to Article Marketing.
6. Guest post on blogs your potential clients are reading
Posting as a guest on other blogs relevant to your niche is a very good way to reinforce the trust you just built in Google’s eyes during the previous step.
For the clothing store example, you could start posting articles on fashion blogs – with links pointing back to your own shop’s blog or website. Most webmasters will be happy to receive unique and valuable content on their blogs, because this will, in turn, benefit them. Well written articles will provide even more value to their existing readers, and this means they will grow more in Google’s eyes themselves.
In the end…
As you can see, the process of ranking high in search engines can be a rather complex and very time-consuming one. And it can definitely involve a whole lot of writing!
However, you don’t have to do this all by yourself. Our SEO experts at Wrise will do all the hard work for you, so you can focus on what’s truly important for your business – providing the best possible value to your customers. Potential clients are searching for you all over Google right now. Contact us today and let’s make their lives easier!