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SEO for small businesses: what is it and how do I do it?

SEO for small businesses: what is it and how do I do it?

So, you’ve built a website. Awesome! That’s the first step in expanding your reach and connecting with your target audience. But now comes the challenging part—getting people to actually find your website. Enter SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, the internet’s equivalent of a neon sign pointing right at your digital storefront.

What the HECK is SEO?

Imagine you’ve just made the world’s tastiest porridge. But unless you tell people about it (and they believe you), nobody’s going to taste it. SEO is like spreading the word about your porridge—but online. It’s a set of strategies and techniques aimed at boosting your website’s visibility when people search for products or services related to your business on search engines like Google.

How does SEO Wwork?

The search engine has a tough job, sifting through billions of websites to give searchers the most relevant results. It uses complex algorithms to rank pages based on several factors, including:

  1. Keywords: The words or phrases that people type into the search bar.
  2. Quality content: Information that is useful, well-written, and engages the reader.
  3. Backlinks: Links from other reputable websites pointing back to yours.
  4. Site structure: A user-friendly layout that makes navigation a breeze.
  5. Page speed: Nobody likes waiting; faster-loading pages often rank higher.

Easy SEO things to focus on

SEO can seem really complicated, but there are a few things which – when well tended – can stand you in good stead.

Crafting SEO-friendly titles

The title of your page is like the headline of a newspaper article. It needs to grab attention, but also tell search engines what the page is about. Here’s how to make your titles SEO-friendly:

  1. Keep it short: Google truncates titles that are too long. Aim for 50-60 characters.
  2. Include keywords: Place your primary keyword near the beginning of the title.
  3. Be descriptive: Your title should give a good idea of the content. Make it relevant to the reader’s search query.
  4. Be unique: Duplicate titles confuse search engines. Make sure each title is different and specific to the content of each page.

Pro Tip:

Use tools like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to gauge the effectiveness of your title before hitting that “Publish” button.

The art of keyword research

Okay, so how do you know which keywords to use? Here’s a simple guide:

  1. Think like your customer: What would you type into Google if you were looking for your own product or service? Start there.
  2. Use keyword tools: Free tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or paid options like SEMrush can help you identify popular keywords in your industry.
  3. Check the competition: You don’t want to pick a keyword that’s too competitive, but you also don’t want something nobody is searching for.
  4. Long-tail keywords: These are longer, more specific phrases that are less competitive. They’re your best friends in the SEO game.

If you want to find out more about keywords, check out our simple guide to keyword research.

Writing engaging content with keywords

Once you’ve got your keywords, it’s time to write some content.

  1. Be natural: Keywords should fit seamlessly into your content. Stuffing keywords will make your content unreadable and Google doesn’t like that.
  2. Quality over quantity: Focus on providing valuable information. The better the content, the longer people will stay on your page—which is a big thumbs up in Google’s book.
  3. Use variants: Use different versions of your keyword (known as LSI keywords) to make the content feel natural and cover more ground in search.
  4. Include keywords in subheadings: It not only helps with SEO but also breaks up the text and makes it easier to read.

Quick tricks for engaging content:

  • Use bullet points or numbered lists to break up text
  • Add relevant images or videos to supplement the text
  • End with a call to action to engage the reader

But I use Wix, WordPress…

The tips above apply to any type of website. However, depending on the platform you use, here are some specific things you can do which will help your SEO.

WordPress users

  1. Install an SEO plugin: One of the most popular ones is Yoast SEO. It helps you optimize meta descriptions, titles, and even suggests improvements in your content.
  2. Use permalinks: Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Permalinks’ and select ‘Post name’ to make your URLs more search engine-friendly.
  3. Image optimization: Compress images before uploading them to make your site faster. You can use plugins like Smush for this.

Wix users

  1. Meta descriptions and titles: Use Wix’s built-in SEO Wiz to add meta titles and descriptions to your pages.
  2. Keyword research: Use Wix’s keyword research tool to find the best words to target.
  3. Mobile optimisation: Wix sites are generally mobile-friendly, but double-check to make sure all elements translate well on mobile screens.

Shopify users

  1. Keyword-friendly product descriptions: When writing descriptions, use keywords that your target audience might use to find your product.
  2. Alt tags for images: When you upload images, add ‘alt tags’ that describe the image using relevant keywords.
  3. SSL Certificate: Shopify usually does this for you, but ensure your site uses HTTPS, which is seen as more secure and can improve rankings.

Your turn!

SEO is not the monster under the bed and SEO isn’t about gaming the system; it’s about providing value and making it easy for search engines to recognize that value. Keep your titles snappy, do your keyword homework, and make your content as enjoyable as possible!

And since we are here, it would be silly not to mention it, but SEO is very much in our wheelhouse, and we are always happy to chat!