It’s one thing to build a website, but making sure your business is visible online is another kettle of fish. Knowing how to do SEO could help you climb the Google ladder and attract new customers. But what is SEO, what are the benefits, and why does a small business SEO strategy matter?
What is SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a term that is often used but not always given a straightforward definition. It refers to the techniques you can employ to boost your website’s ranking on search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing. If you dust off the digital history books, the general consensus is that SEO emerged around 1997, which was also the year that Google registered its domain name.
Why SEO is important for small businesses
Why bother spending time tinkering with your website? According to Platonik, there are seven billion searches made on Google every day, and if your webpage ranks in number one position, it could get between 26% and 32% of total clicks through to your website.
Additionally, here are three possible benefits of SEO for small businesses.
Reduce marketing spend. Taking the time to implement an organic SEO strategy – as opposed to a paid PPC (pay-per-click) option only – could give your business the visibility and inbound customers you need, and allow you to reduce your expenditure on other forms of marketing such as direct mail.
Find the right customers. SEO is not just about increasing your volume of website visitors, but using targeted keywords that match what your target customers are searching for. An effective SEO strategy could help you attract loyal customers who are actively looking for products and services like yours.
How to do SEO for your website
If you’re looking to do your own SEO, rather than appoint a digital marketing agency, here are some tips for how to make it work for your business.
Find and implement keywords
When people browse the internet, they input search terms (known as keywords in SEO-speak) into search engines such as Google, whose job is to filter the results so that the user has the best chance of finding what they’re after. One thing search engines look for to order the results is which pages mention these keywords in a helpful and natural-sounding way. For example, if you’re looking to buy a screwdriver, you might search ‘types of screwdriver’ and your results page will show webpages that talk about types of screwdrivers. So, selecting the right keywords to include in your content can be an important part of a small business SEO strategy.
But how can you find keywords for SEO? If you create a Google Ads account, you can check how popular different search terms are, and use Google Keyword Planner for some inspiration. There are many alternatives out there including Moz Keyword Explorer and the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool and as always, you should always do your research to find what works best for your business. And no, simply using as many relevant keywords as you can (as much as you can), known as ‘keyword stuffing’, won’t work in your favour. Or as someone once joked: “An SEO copywriter walks into a bar, grill, pub, public house, Irish, bartender, drinks, beer, wine, liquor.”
Securing high-quality ‘backlinks’ to your website is one SEO technique that could benefit your business. A backlink is where another website links to yours because your webpage is deemed to be a trusted or appreciated source of information. Backlinks are highly prized if they come from reputable websites – such as established news providers or universities – as Google may interpret this as a sign of your website’s quality.
You could also look to build links between the pages of your website so that search engines recognise that you have an active online presence. Creating a blog could be one way of developing opportunities for internal links.
Create an online business listing
Creating a Google My Business listing could prove beneficial to your local SEO ranking. According to Google, having an “accurate, complete and engaging” listing can help your business rank higher in local search results. What kind of information can help with SEO?
- A verified business location so that your business is more likely to appear in Google Maps and search results, for instance if someone Googles ‘beauty salon near me’.
- Accurate information that is updated to reflect any changes, such as your address, opening hours and contact numbers.
- Responses to reviews, which Google claims can improve your business’s visibility on its search results.
- Photos to show the products and services you offer, which can give internet users a realistic impression of your business.
Create meta tags
Meta tags describe a webpage’s content so that search engines can understand what it’s about. By writing short snippets for your meta tags – including title tags and meta description – you can help search engines categorise and rank your page, which could have SEO benefits for your business. Watch this Google explainer video for more information on meta tags.
Grow your social media presence
Finally, having a strong social media presence could benefit your SEO ranking in ways you might not realise. Facebook is among the top search engines in the world, so people may be able to find your business by searching on social media – not just Google. And of course, establishing connections with customers and other businesses through social media could help you secure those handy backlinks we covered earlier.
Patience is a virtue
Getting to page one on Google doesn’t happen overnight, but if you take a long-term approach, there are lots of smart and elegant ways to make SEO work for your business. Hopefully, our guide has painted a picture of how SEO works. Read our latest blogs over at Tyl Talks for more small business guidance.
This has been prepared by Tyl by NatWest for informational purposes only and should not be treated as advice or a recommendation. There may be other considerations relevant to you and your business so you should undertake your own independent research.
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