Earlier this year, we started our digital series for small businesses. We started off with the benefits of blogging for small businesses and social media for small businesses. Following on from them, we will be looking at SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, for your small business website and blog.
SEO is a way for a business or person to push their website up the search engine rankings. There are many different techniques you can use but it is worth bearing in mind that SEO, like social media and blogging, is not a quick fix and it takes some nurturing to see the results.
SEO benefits many websites and has become a popular way for businesses to grow their name online. Search engines are extremely important to get your website and your business found. Because of this, many businesses have seen the benefits in investing in SEO techniques for their website or blog.
What is SEO and what are the techniques?
Search Engine Optimisation is exactly what you think it may be, it is optimising your website or blog for search engines. This lets search engines find your website and what it is about, this will then pull it up when people are searching for relevant search terms. An example would be a Manchester bakery that specialises in artisan cakes, if someone searches for ‘artisan bakery’ or ‘Manchester cakes’ it is likely to pull that website up.
The techniques you can use to optimise your site for search engines are wide ranging and are all quite simple to put into use. They include:
- Keywords – figuring out words relevant to your business and what people are searching for to find you is important. Make use of these important words in your site so people are aware what your business specialises in. Don’t overuse keywords though as this is frowned upon by search engines.
- Backlinks – this is something you can do internally (on your website) or externally (by writing for other websites). On your own website, you can place relevant links to old content in blogs/articles and vice versa. To gain external links, you should build relationships with relevant websites/blogs. You can then enquire about writing content for them in return for a link back to your website.
- Website navigation – A website that is easy to navigate will help a lot with your SEO. Search engines and visitors should be able to read your website easily.
- Brilliant content – this is the cornerstone of great SEO. Content should be easy to follow, grammatically correct and relevant to your business. Investing in a good content writer to spend time writing informative pieces will help your website climb the search engine rankings.
- SEO URL’s – URL’s for your website should be relevant and simple to increase chances of being found online. For example, if you have written a blog for ‘grandma’s Victoria sponge recipe’, a good link would look like this: ‘www.manchesterartisanbakery.co.uk/blog/grandmas-victoria-sponge-recipe’.
- Relevant titles – A simple title relevant to the page/post containing keywords is an example of great SEO. Back to the recipe blog, a good title would look like this ‘Grandma’s Victoria Sponge Recipe’.
- Images – you can optimise SEO for these with appropriate names for the files. Also, once uploaded to sites like WordPress, you can add an alt-tag featuring keywords boosting the searchability of the image.
So what are the benefits of SEO for you as a small business? I’ve listed some of the main advantages of optimising your site for search engines.
Your site is in front of a bigger audience
Good SEO means good searchability, pushing your website up the search engine rankings making it more visible. This increase in visibility leads to an increase in potential audience. A goal for many businesses is to get your website and business out to the biggest audience possible. SEO is a good way to do this, in the long run, it will help you attract visitors growing the business name.
Alternatively, you can target your audience
Using SEO, you have the opportunity to target the audience already looking for your products and services. Sites such as Google’s Keyword Planner can provide search terms relevant to your business, adding to those you already have.
Making use of these in your site, will show your site up when searched for as a good, relevant match. The more you target your audience with methods like this, the better chance you have of growing your customer base and selling your products/services.
Improves your credibility online
Becoming a respected name in your field will see you become a credible business trusted by people needing your services. Writing informative SEO-friendly articles and being professional yet approachable at all times are ways to improve your web presence for the better.
Works in conjunction with good social media and blog content
Good SEO compliments your social media accounts and the blog content you are writing. As mentioned before great content benefits your website’s overall SEO and search presence. By creating great articles, it gives you something to share on social media. The cross promotion of articles and use of your business’ keywords increases your chances of being found online.
You have the opportunity to create a better, user friendly website for users
A site that looks good and is easy to use will attract visitors and keep them on your site for longer. The longer people are on your website, the more likely they are to buy something, enquire about services or contact you.
Search engines crawl your site so the sites with simple navigation usually do better on search engines. This is because they are easier to read making you more likely to end up near the top of the results for relevant search terms.
Achieve better conversion rates and business goals
As mentioned above, you should be aiming to keep visitors on your site for longer. This increases interactions with your site and business, also known as conversions.
Google Analytics lets you track your website’s progress through conversions and other data. It shows you the people visiting your site, if they are interacting, who they are (age, location etc.) and more. It is a great tool with information you can feed into your marketing strategies for SEO, social media and more targetting new/existing audiences online.
There are many benefits to having a website for your business that is SEO friendly. As a small business, this can help you get your name out there, grow awareness and build a customer base.
Time and effort needs to be put into creating good SEO for your website, but the return can be great in the long run. If you’ve been looking for ways to improve your website, SEO could be the solution you have been looking for.
We previously wrote about the benefits of blogging for small business and social media for small business. Keep checking back for our PPC for small businesses blog soon!