Search engine optimisation provides small businesses with the chance to mix it up with larger companies in the digital world. The optimisation of a website to be more noticeable by search engines has helped millions of businesses expand their venture, as well as garnering a greater audience for their brand. The SEO process is one that contains many variables and tactics, each of which play their small part in boosting the integrity of your web page.
But with so many existing SEO strategies, approaches, and tactics, it can be quite hard to know where to start! There are many powerful tools with which you can utilise SEO for your benefit, and understanding what each of them provides is the first step to becoming an expert in SEO Melbourne. We’ve compiled a list of 28 top SEO tips, to be presented into two parts, to perfectly suit any small business. Each of these tips are easy to implement, and will see your page soar up the Google rankings.
These tips have also been grouped into stages. Starting off with the very conceptualisation of your website, and running down to the refinement of your process, it will be an essential run through of the entire process of SEO. This article will focus on the first 14 steps of a good SEO approach. We hope that it will provide you with a valuable insight into the IT industry as a whole, and also what you need to look for to have your page noticed by the world.
- Identify your target audience.
Knowing who will be more likely to receive your message in good faith is an important step in web development. The internet can open up your business to new areas, demographics, and audiences. Refining the message of your content to reach those who are interested in what you have to say, however, remains high on the to do list.Have a look at what your competitors are doing, and the particular tone that they are using to reach their audiences. Think about how you can do it differently, and imprint your own, personal touch.
- Analyse your competition
Whilst you’re looking at your competitors, note how their whole website runs and functions. It will help you to get an idea of what needs to be done by seeing the workflows that they have implemented. Do they have service pages which link to service location pages, and then a contact us button? Or do they do it differently?
Again, this is purely for a reference. Feel free to use strategies, keywords, and workflows that you like, but never forget to put your own unique touch on them. After all, your website is an extension of both you and your business.
- Choose keywords wisely
Keywords are one of your most powerful tools for being recognised by search engines. The strategic use of search terms will boost the integrity of your pages, and this will directly turn into traffic and enquiries. Think about how people search for particular services related to your industry, and then queries that they may have about specifics.
Keywords come in two categories: long-tail and short-term. A long-tail keyword will often be a question, such as “where can I find a good pizza restaurant nearby”. Short-term keywords are more prevalent in the internet, and will appear as “pizza restaurant”, using the same example as before. Combining both of these will improve your page’s searchability.
- Add only required content
Many start-up content marketing ventures go astray with either not providing enough information, or providing too much information. Whilst information is good, your visitors want to see what you can offer them, and not an encyclopedia entry. Conversely, too much promotional information may seem like you aren’t knowledgeable on the subject of your industry.An ideal way to go about this is to utilise a traditional problem-solution-conclusion method. List key information about the subject, illustrating what you can do to help them, and then providing them with a call-to-action. If done well, your content will be on song and prove to be a hit with visitors to your page.
- Avoid duplicate content
Duplicate content is another problem that many new websites run into. Most of this duplicate content is accidental, either copying and pasting location or contact details, or repeating a slogan. Google has made it well known for many years that they don’t like duplicate content, and want webmasters to be more creative in their writing.Think about ways in which you can rephrase content, or whether repeating particular phrases is really needed. This includes keyword repetition. Constantly typing “pizza restaurant” (to use our previous example) on the one page will achieve nothing but an unprofessional website, and the wrath of Google’s algorithm.
- Avoid keyword stuffing
Yes, keywords are a powerful tool, however they can also be your undoing if used liberally. Mass keywording was a feature of many websites up until the latter half of the last decade, where Google implemented algorithms to combat this. Keywords should take up no more than 4% of the total content of your page, as a good reference point.
One way to make sure of maintaining this is to consider the length of your content. If you’re writing an article which is 400 words long, using four keywords will suit your page perfectly. However, this is not an invitation to write longer content for more keywords, and you should still factor in our 4th tip when compiling your material.
- Semantic keyword inclusion in your content
Another useful way to avoid keyword stuffing is to consider semantics of those keywords. Using our pizza example, once you use the key term “pizza restaurant”, consider a term such as like “Italian cuisine”. This will help your message translate across to the reader, as well as making sure your keyword ratio is adequate.
There are many free and online synonym and thesaurus websites available to help you search for semantic terms for your keyword phrases, should you ever get stuck.
These next tips are based on enhancing the user experience of your website. In a world where using mobiles is become more popular than using a desktop to browse on the internet, this is very important. Many of these tips will also help bring back visitors to your site, creating a loyal fanbase for your business and your services. Some of these tips will dive into deeper, more technical aspects of SEO, so tread carefully!
- Internally link relevant pages
Internal linking is a useful tool to enforce a workflow onto the visitors of your website. Strategic linking will be able to direct them to why they need your services, why your services are the best, and then direct them to your contact details. However, many people use this as an opportunity to link to random pages, and this can turn away your visitors.
Make sure that any page you link to has at least some relevancy to the subject that you are discussing. A pizza restaurant may link to their “gourmet pizza” options, however it is advisable to not link to their “seafood” options, or something similar.
- Make it easy for your users to get in touch
Imagine a scenario where you really like what you’re reading, you want to know more or buy a product or service straight away, but there were no contact details to be seen? Research has shown that people won’t spend too much time looking for contact details, and it’s important that you make them easy to find as possible.Make sure that your contact details are predominantly placed on your pages, along with a dedicated contact us page.
- Avoid 404 pages
404 pages is the term given to the screen that shows up if the page is missing, has been deleted, or if something has gone wrong. 404 pages are like kryptonite to web users, and they will often go back to the search results if they come across one. Keeping an eye on the functionality of your website is crucial to avoid these.One way of avoiding the dreaded 404 page is to ensure that the structure of your files, pages, and folders are all sorted into an easily navigable format. This will also make it easier for you to quickly identify any problems that arise in the future.
- Keep your website fresh!
Managing your own website is not as simple as setting it up and forgetting about it. Pages that go stale, due to a lack of updates or new content, often lose traffic to them. This will eventually mean that your search engine ranking will lower as well. Always keep your content up to date, and provide your recurring visitors with new material to keep them engaged.One easy way to do this is by setting up a blog on your website for online advertising purposes, and post articles on a regular basis. Websites that have blogs are a common site at the top of search results pages, no matter which term you’ve used. You can also use keywords in your blog articles to attract new visitors, leads, and enquiries.
- Optimise your images
Google has always preferred websites that utilise good, visual content in an engaging manner. A brief glimpse of any high ranking website will show a streamlined use of images and infographics. However, you need to let Google know about your great images! Name your images for what they are, and use hyphens instead of spaces, “gourmet-pizza.jpg” as an example.You should also consider how large the image is in terms of its physical size. Page loading speed is still a huge ranking factor, and your page with great images could suffer if they are too big. Try to keep your images in either .png or .jpg format, and limit their size to under around 350 kb.
- Keep your URL structure short and understandable
We have come across many URL’s which are either far too long, incomprehensible, not indicating what was on the page, or an unfortunate combination of all three. URL’s are not just a link to your page, they are also an important indicator of your content, and therefore, your business.
Your URL’s should never be any longer than 100 characters, and should be a brief introduction as to what the page is about. Borrowing your page title is an easy way to provide the best URL structure. For more information, we wrote an article about the best ways to structure your URL’s.
- Ensure that your site loads quickly
As we mentioned in our 12th point, speed is everything in the internet world. A website that takes too long to load will turn away visitors, and you will soon see your page ranking drop very quickly. You should always test out your website for yourself. If you think it’s too slow, then so too will everyone else.Part of this is the selection of a reliable web host. When looking for server space, you should shop around for not just the best price, but also the most reliable host, one that can guarantee fast connection speeds.
We hope you enjoyed our first installment of this two part series, and we encourage you to check back next week when we upload the remaining 14 great SEO tips for small businesses. If you have any questions regarding any of the material that we have discussed today, please feel free to leave a comment below, and we’ll be able to answer it for you.