Last week, we touched on a few SEO strategies that small-to-medium sized businesses can implement with minimal technical knowledge. If you missed it, here is the link.
For those that did catch it, a brief recap. We focused more on the conceptualisation of the SEO process, as well as refining the strategy into a more efficient and coherent approach. This week, we’ll be discussing the remainder of our 14 SEO tips for small businesses with a focus on using available tools to assess your plan, as well as an ongoing approach.
Many of these tips that we will be discussing are a few of the simpler things that many SEO providers, including ourselves, look for. Whilst they may be simple, and offer smaller gains, when combined together, they will prove to be the nucleus of any SEO strategy. They will help to, not only drive traffic to your website, but also provide your website with integrity and purpose, offering viewers a complete package, rather than a part-by-part solution.
These following eight tips out of the fourteen in total are more about the final polish of your content and website.
Responsive web design has been a key buzzword this year, with Google’s infamous mobilegeddon update making it more important than ever before. A responsive website means that your content can be viewed perfectly across a wide variety of devices. It’s also now a part of Google’s search algorithm.
Normally we use pixels to give margin, size, padding etc but with responsive design, you need to use percentage, instead of fixed numbers for the various fields, images, and tables on your page. This will ensure that the laid out content on any mobile device is appropriate to fit on the screen.
- If you want to check if your website is mobile friendly – Click here
- Responsive web design basics from Google – Read here
- Various responsive layouts explained by Google – Learn here
16. Readability score
When we talk about readability, we are referring to how easy your content is, to read. One of Google’s major concern this year was to focus on the accessibility and usability of content, of which readability is a major component. Google uses the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, which measures sentence length and the amount of syllables. More explanation can be found here.
There are many free readability tests that you can find online. Before finalising your content, it may be worth to put your text into one of these testing sites. Your content should score at a minimum of 60 – anything higher is an added bonus.
Below are a few reliable websites to check the readability score of your content:
17. Metadata optimisation
One of the most overlooked features of a website is the metadata. Whilst minimal in content, these small descriptive values can enhance your website’s standing and integrity. This metadata can also act as a call-to-action to click on and visit your page. It’s therefore important to find a balance between promotion and description of a page and your services and/or products.
Have a look at what your competitors are doing, and make sure to keep your metadata description as concise and to the point as possible. A poorly worded or ill-thought out description may see your potential page viewers scroll right past on the look for something better.
Some fast facts regarding meta descriptions:
- Title tag optimisation – It is a ranking factor.
- Meta description optimisation – Not used as a ranking factor – Confirmed here by Google.
- Other meta descriptions that Google understands are listed here.
18. Use Google Analytics on a regular basis
Throughout the journey of your business’ website, Google Analytics will prove to be your best friend. A web based client, Google Analytics provides you with everything that you would ever want to know about the performance and behaviour of your website. It can also show you which pages need to be fine tuned or changed.
Play around with Analytics, and familiarise yourself with each individual section, and what they do. Google has done a very good job of providing you with all of the help and information that you need. All the features that Google Analytics provides can be found here.
Want to know more about Analytics?
- Optimize Smart have many easy to understand tutorials.
- Social reports using Google Analytics better explained by Neil Patel here.
- Analyse your content with Analytics and see what works, here’s how!
19. Follow Google’s webmaster guidelines
On top of their superior analytics system, Google has also provided budding webmasters with as much documentation as they need. Their webmaster guidelines is a treasure trove of vital information regarding SEO and web design. They also have a few in depth videos, explaining more technical information in more detail and few basics, which can be found here.
Whilst it is a lot of information to read through, we do recommend making time to do so, even if it’s a small amount. It is single handedly your most important, information resource, and is changed regularly to reflect their many algorithm changes.
20. Link your social media pages to your website
Social media is an incredibly powerful tool to boost your marketing reach. Your good work on your social media page, however, can be undone without linking it to your website, and vice versa. Not only are you missing out on the traffic that your page(s) are generating, but you may also be missing out on crucial sales conversions.
Make sure to include on your page a way for those who like your content to be able to view your social platform. This can be as minimal as a Facebook icon in the header, or a more complex live feed section, detailing all of your posts in real time.
- A great article about the power of social media linking can be found on Matthew Woodward.
- Google also has an article relating to how they utilise social media links.
21. Keep sharing!
One SEO approach that many either forget or glance past is the concept of always sharing. As internet users, all we ever do is share content. You should be aiming to share your content with like minded pages or groups as much as possible, and reciprocating their good will with more sharing. If content is king, then sharing is the vassal.
More often than not, those who are pragmatic in sharing their content see immediate and immense benefits. Who knows, you may see someone share your own content, with links to your website, driving further traffic to your page.
- This article from i-Scoop breaks down the philosophy behind content sharing.
- Rand Fishkin of Moz.com explains how to create content that can be easily shared.
22. Implementing a call to action
Anyone who has tried to implement a call to action on the various pages of their content may be aware of how difficult it can be to nail down. There is a very fine line between simplicity and catchiness, and an equal balance must be made. Cues of this nature, if done correctly, can be powerful, and can help to boost your conversion rates.
Look around, see what works, and try to implement it on your own website. Remember, CTA’s don’t necessarily always have to be at the fold, or the end, of the page. Think about using a visual CTA too. After all, 90% of our brain input is purely visuals based.
- Here is a great read of 50 powerful call-to-action phrases.
- WordStream have broken down popular CTA’s and explained why they work.
Whilst the previous eight tips have focused more on refinement, the next six are all about the keyword of any website – development. The following tips will add style to the substance that you have already implemented into your pages. Many of these are about solidifying your existing customer base, whilst others will be conversely expanding your reach beyond these borders.
23. Monitor inbound sites
Savvy SEO experts will know who is coming to their site, when they did it, and from where they came from. The last point is crucial to understanding not only your audience, but also monitoring how you can things do better. For example, traffic coming primarily from Google indicates that your SEO strategy is working pretty well. However, you may wish to look at your social media pages, and see what you can do better.
Always keep a record of where your traffic comes from. It doesn’t hurt either to check the behaviour of this traffic. This will show you what people coming from Google, or social media, are looking for, and how you can best utilise their time to help them find what they want.
- This article explains the key principles behind monitoring inbound websites.
24. The analysis never ends
Nobel Laureate George Bernard Shaw once said “It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics”. You should, therefore, feel good about always analysing the performance and progress of your website. Regular readers of our blogs will note that we regularly emphasise that the Internet is an ever changing beast, and only close monitoring can help to tame it.
Regularly check your traffic, data, and statistics via Google Analytics, and don’t be afraid to adjust your strategy to follow these trends. Remember, the worst thing you could ever do to your website is to think that the job is done after you’ve set it up.
25. Build relationships with your affiliates
Just as affiliate, supplier, and sponsor acknowledgement is the bread and butter of the commercial world, so too is it of the internet. Your affiliates will undoubtedly have websites of their own, and using them in a mutually beneficial arrangement will see both of your sites succeed. Integrity is quickly becoming a buzzword in the digital realm, and this will help see your page’s integrity skyrocket.
Got a good relationship with a supplier? Mention them. Are you sponsoring a sporting club? Feature the organisation. Not only will it improve your integrity, but it will show to your readers that you are connected with the community, too.
26. Local SEO
Whilst hitting the #1 rank for your search terms is obviously an ideal goal, have you ever thought about the smaller, local keywords? Tweaking your strategy to resonate with people nearby your business has been shown to deliver incredible ROI results. A way to help you think about a pragmatic approach to this is to put on a third party hat. If you’re after a quick bite to eat in Preston, you’re only going to punch in “Preston pizza”, or something to that effect.
Fine tune your strategy to reach out to your local community, with the goal to be predominantly displayed on Google’s “Local Pack”. The local pack shows people nearby places that fit their search query, normally within a short travelling distance. Make the most of it!
27. Keep an eye out for Google’s updates and penalties
Google is a very powerful organisation. Luckily for us, they are using their considerable strength to make the digital world a better place. Google updates happen quite often, as they try to make things more user friendly for people using their various services. Rather than seeing everything they do as an attempt to thwart your business empire, see it as a refinement to make your page better.
Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird – just to name a few – are all algorithms that Google uses to determine how high pages should rank. They always have updates – with Panda having had quite a few in recent years. Google provides plenty of information as to why they have made changes, and what you can do to comply, so always keep abreast of what’s happening out of Silicon Valley.
- Comprehensive round-up of every Google algorithm update by the Moz team.
28. Be ready to adapt and change in time
Like everything else, SEO approaches do change. As more and more people find easier and more effective ways to do various tasks, so too will many of these tips change over time. Over the course of this two part series, we hope that you’ve gained an appreciation for the amount of work that is involved in fine tuning your website. Likewise, we hope you will also have the same appreciation for the long road ahead.
Analyse, research, listen to Google and always take stock of what your competitors are doing. This will help you to keep one step ahead of the rest of the field, and who knows? You may come across something that no one else is doing that you think may work, and set your own SEO trend in the process.
That’s it for our two part series on 28 SEO tips for small businesses. We hope that you gained a lot of information, and that you enjoyed reading as much as we did writing. ITCC is a full suite digital agency, specialising in web design and development, as well as search engine optimisation. We offer full and free, no-obligation consultations, where our aim is to help you strive to have a successful web space.