A lot of confusing gumpf is bandied around about SEO (aka Search Engine Optimisation) and Google rankings – partly because the rules, often set by Google themselves, are constantly changing and improving.
In the old days, everyone wanted to share reciprocal links as that helped you gain traction. Now the consensus is that if a number of poorly ranking websites are linking back to you then that can actually damage your rankings. This is just one example of the nuances of SEO and how it’s changing over time.
Essentially, the first thing to remember when creating your website is that Google likes useful websites with useful or interesting content. That means websites that have relevant information and are interesting to people searching for your industry/product/interest.
It often translates into in-depth information and new information being posted on a regular basis.
Having a full-on SEO strategy many not be right for you just yet but here are some tips you can use for your small business to help get you found.
High ranking links
While low scoring links coming back to you are not advisable, high ranking websites linking back to you is a big boon for your site.
One of our clients has had numerous links back from news sites such as The Guardian, The Daily Mail and others because they’re a forerunner in their field – which means their site always ranks top for their field across the country.
Getting well trafficked sites to link back to you can be a long-term strategy that takes a lot of hard work, but you can also make sure that your internal links follow the correct structure. Each one should contain:
- An SEO friendly URL: e.g. mydomain.com/my-service
- SEO friendly anchor text. The most common anchor text is ‘click here’ which won’t help anyone. A good suggestion is to use something like ‘Find out more about our xyz service on the abc page‘.
It’s still all about key phrases
The term keywords can be confusing because people then think of single words that they can just insert into their text. Actually, we work around the ‘phrases’ that people will use to search for your business – and it’s not always logical.
If it were a logical process, you would want to be found for the correct name of your service or product, but what happens when people don’t know what they’re searching for? This is where the finer points of SEO come in. While there’s no point in ranking well for something that people aren’t searching for. If you add well-written, informative content to your site regularly that talk around the subjects your customers are searching for then it will put you well above the websites who aren’t taking key phrases into account.
A great way for a page to rank well for a key phrase (if the rest of the website is talking to the search engines in the right way) is to actually title that page with the phrase you want to be found for. Then create the content of that page so it’s clearly informing about that subject.
Don’t be afraid to explain the meaning of any jargon. There are often customers who understand industry terms, but there may be many that don’t. Never assume people have the knowledge you have.
Keep a note of questions customers ask you and create pages around those too. There is a large contingent of Googlers who use whole questions when searching.
Use a simple structure
We’ve all experienced confusing websites – sites where it’s difficult to find what we wanted. Often it’s because the website has grown organically and the organisational side has become confused; or it can be because there wasn’t much thought put into making the site easy to navigate.
Business users are often a bit stumped by how to structure their site (you might find this article useful: What pages should you have on your website?) sometimes due to the fact that writing about yourself is quite challenging. However, not only is a clear structure important for clients and potential clients, it’s also important for those search bots that find the information for Google.
Bots will often find your homepage and then ‘crawl around’ from there. It sounds a bit creepy, but essentially you need to make sure that all your important links are accessible from the homepage and any secondary links are available from secondary pages.
Grouping your pages is often the key to creating a good structure. That’s relatively easy for an online shop as you’ll often group them by product type (e.g. t-shirts) or brand. For a service business it can be a little more challenging but think about making the navigation as simple as possible.
If your website is being built by Truesilver then obviously we’ll advise you on the best ways to structure your content, but try to think about the 3 main services you want featured/clicked on most and then build everything else around that.
Include local places
To be found locally, you need to use specific local places in your titles, links and text.
Be very clear about the areas you cover and mention them in all relevant pages. It also helps to set up a Google My Business page – and there’s a lovely little tutorial available via our favourite photographers strikingplaces.com.
Google My Business is very important as it’s included in organic searches and map searches, so make sure you claim your free listing and that the information is always kept up to date.
If you’re looking for help with your SEO we’ve got some highly results-driven tactics that can work for any business and tailored to your budget. Get in touch today.