The internet is vast, and as a small business in Kent, creating brand awareness and visibility is a huge challenge. If consumers can’t find you, you cannot grow. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the best way to present your brand to the world and must form part of any long-term marketing strategy.
As many as 76% of UK shoppers will go online to do product research, making it crucial to have a digital presence. SEO is about tailoring the content of your website, blog, or social media pages, to ensure they feature towards the top of search engine results. The tactics involved in SEO take much time to get right but are invaluable for a business to be visible.
In this post, we will give you ten free SEO tips to help kickstart your strategy.
SEO must focus on the words your visitors will enter into search engines and customising content according to that. Tools such as the Google Keyword Planner can help find those most relevant to your business.
As a small business, you don’t want to set your sights on the most popular keywords. For example, if you sell Nike trainers, the large retailers will already dominate search engines for that term, making your job tantamount to impossible. Instead, look for niches to find audiences that will be more specific to you. Something like “custom design Nike trainers” could have an unexpected niche, perhaps, with less competition.
Find popular keywords with lower competition levels for success as a small business.
Smartphones generate over half of online traffic. Businesses need to have a site that works for the modern-day consumer, who wants to search on the go. Furthermore, Google will be moving to mobile-first indexing for all websites starting from September 2020. Mobile-first indexing evaluates the mobile version of a website, over that of a desktop, looking at how responsive it is, ease of navigation, site structure, and loading speeds.
When designing a site, ensure that mobile is the priority and feeds the desktop version, not the other way round.
This tip is quite simple. All small businesses need to be on listing sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, and any others that are relevant to your industry. Google My Business is especially important, with a trend for people searching for businesses local to them. The local listings appear at the top of Google search results.
A quick search for “plumbers near me” produces a list like the screenshot below. It is imperative to be a part of such listings.
SEO requires constant analysis and testing. Tools like SEMRush help you to conduct an SEO audit, with detail on how your website is performing. Such a review will provide a spam score and any broken links that need fixing. An inspection will check for the features below, amongst other things.
As well as the devices that consumers use for change evolving, so is the way they do so. The market proliferation of Alexa, Siri, Hey Google, and Cortana (not so sure but we will leave it in here), show that there is a demand for voice-activated devices. Businesses that redesign their website to enable voice search will increase e-commerce revenue by 30%, according to Gartner.
The challenge with voice is a move away from traditional keywords, and a journey towards conversations. Voice queries tend to be questions, not statements. For example, we might type into Google, “Barcelona flights,” but when speaking, will say, “what is the cost of flights to Barcelona?” When creating content, this shift should be kept in mind.
Experts believe that video will comprise 82% of all online traffic by 2022. Sites like YouTube and TikTok are growing exponentially, and the recent Covid-19 pandemic has put them into overdrive. Google features parts of the video in search results, making leveraging the media an essential part of your SEO strategy.
Videos must all have meta titles and descriptions, so Google can index them as it would any other text content. Consumers like video and engage with it better than other forms of content. See below how simple queries present videos at the top of search results.
When somebody visits your website, you want them to stay there. Every page of a website should have links to other pages, indirectly improving your all-round SEO performance. Metrics like the time visitors spend on the page, bounce rate, and pages per session, are all factors that Google uses in its search algorithm for ranking.
The speed at which your website pages load has been a ranking factor with Google since 2010. Going back to mobile optimisation, Google has also said that it is essential for that channel. The reason for it being a factor is that the time it takes a page to load has a direct impact on user experience.
Some reports say that if someone needs to wait over three seconds for a mobile site to load, they will go to a competitor. The common causes of slow loading times tend to be image-heavy sites, have lots of videos embedded within them, and have a weak background structure.
Other people linking to your website is a sign of credibility and trustworthiness. It can take time to get your website to a level whereby it has the authority to appear at the top of rankings. Backlinks from sites that rank highly help you get more traffic, first by people clicking through, and second, Google sees that as a signal, your website is reliable. If you can get backlinks from as many reputable sources as possible, it can accelerate your SEO strategy.
Backlinks will come if you pot high-quality content through all your channels. At a time where social media is so vast, shares, likes, and follows count for a lot.
Getting content onto as many channels as possible will not only help with backlinks but also get your business out to a broader audience. Different demographics use Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, which might mean different approaches are necessary for each of them. Also, don’t forget content platforms, including Medium and Quora, where you can post articles freely and find niche readership.
Until you know where your audience is, post in as many places as possible, and continually analyse the performance.