- Virtually every aspect of life has been connected to the internet in one form or another. This means that all businesses need to be online too, and to succeed, they need to be invested in search engine optimisation (SEO).
- In a time when having a business also requires having a strong online presence to thrive, any small business that doesn’t take advantage of basic SEO practices will hinder their chances of success.
- But how do small businesses do SEO? In this article, we cover the basics of SEO and what you can do to get started, and get ahead.
SEO is how your business gets noticed - it’s essentially a way to rise above the noise, to get your business onto page one rather than twenty-one.
There's a multitude of tools for you to use, and strategies to optimise your performance but there's also an overload of information.
In this article, you will find a breakdown of information contributed by our members that allows you to take your first steps to create your SEO strategy, or refining it further if you already have one in place.
How to Do SEO: Where Do I Start?
What Google Wants – An Overview of SEO and Why It’s Crucial for Your Business
The honest truth on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is that SEO is pretty difficult to understand. Or maybe’ difficult’ isn’t the right word, but ‘complex’, there’s a lot to get your head around, so much so that even people with a pretty good handle on tech can have a hard time articulating some of the specific intricacies and causes.
I always appreciate a post that’s able to explain SEO in a digestible format - and at its basic level, SEO isn’t that hard to understand. Like anything, you just need to start with the basics, then once you have those fundamentals down, it’s much easier to see the extended connections and connotations of the search optimisation process.
And once you’re across that, you’ll also understand why SEO remains a critical business process. Far from dead, SEO is key to maximising online marketing success.
What Does Google Want for SEO?
In 2013, Google reported full-year revenue of more than $US59 billion. That’s ‘billion’, with a ‘b’. More than 90% of Google’s revenue comes from advertising – their business is, essentially, getting people to visit their site and sites that have signed on as affiliates.
Google is universally known, it’s who you go to when you search for anything online, and this ubiquity gives them a huge market advantage. The search engine giant, particularly when coupled with another Google asset in YouTube, operates the single greatest advertising platform in the world.
But Google only remains in this position while people use it. If Google loses touch, if it’s search results fail to be reliable, if it neglects user experience, people can and will go elsewhere for the same service. Google knows this, and they work extremely hard to maintain the value of its core search product.
Google’s primary driving force is to deliver the best possible search results – the most relevant, accurate, perfect match on the web for exactly what each user is seeking whenever you go looking for info. If you do a Google search and you find what you want, that’s a good experience and you’re likely to use Google again.
The smarter and more intuitive they can make their systems, the better the Google service is, and this is the perspective from which you need to view SEO.
Why is SEO Important for Small Businesses?
Virtually every aspect of life has been connected to the internet in one form or another, and everyone from your grandmother to your customer is online too.
Some people have even made it a goal to never even leave the house for the things that they need, from groceries to grenades – it can all be purchased online.
This means that all businesses need to be online too, and to succeed, they need forward-thinking SEO specialists that will maximize their online potential, exposure and authority to reach the largest audience possible while making the most impact with every dollar.
The days when a local small business could trust in a yellow pages ad as the sole marketing drive are long gone because search engines have replaced them. Even businesses that rely heavily on word of mouth can get more traction from that conversation when it’s being shared online in social media or even just a blog than they can when it is person to person.
In a time when being in business means having a website, any small business that doesn’t take advantage of basic SEO practices will only be prolonging their inevitable failure.
How Do Small Businesses Use SEO?
In keeping with the Yellow Pages theme, there were companies that tried to be at the front of certain category sections by making their business name “AAA Auto repair” or the like, and this worked because of the way that the Yellow Pages were set up. Today search engines work in a very similar way in that an SEO specialist can do the equivalent of renaming your business to AAA-whatever without having to actually do so.
Even business owners with no training and the most basic understanding of language can still take advantage of a number of tips and tricks to rank higher, gain more traffic, and convert more looks to leads than if they simply did nothing at all.
By creating targeted and worthy social signals, content optimization, and backlink building any small business can be at the top of a search results page, and convert website visitors into customers at a much lower investment than would be required through a brick and mortar transaction.
Some of these may sound like scary concepts or unattainable goals, but nothing happens overnight, and all of these tactics are easily manageable with a bit of research and some hard work.
What is a Good SEO Strategy?
While the jury is still out on how much social networking matters for website optimization, it is positively clear that it definitely has some effect, and even if it didn’t social media is still a great way to connect with and tune into a small business customer base. Crafting a social media campaign gets easier the more time you put into it.
Some small businesses after setting up a Facebook page may be daunted by the challenge of constantly providing content, gaining friends, likes, shares and all the other dazzling options that social sites have, but to be sure, the more you invest in this activity as a regular part of business, the more business you’ll have to discuss and it becomes a cycle of success that gets easier and easier.
For social campaigns and small businesses, the best method is usually to set up a schedule for posting the way you would set up a time to do an estimate, or do accounting. Once the task becomes regular, it becomes less of a chore and more of an escape from things like accounting.
Creating great content for your website is a combination of writing for the search engine bots and the people that will come to your site for information. The trick is to walk the thin line that separates authoritative search engine writing with the user friendly experience that you want to give to each potential customer.
There are a number of keyword tools that can aide in this project and even Google itself can be a source for solutions with the combined experiences of everyone else who has gone before you.
Crafting the language for your site may at first seem a challenge, but a safe rule of thumb is to assume that if it explains your business and hits on a number of the ways that search engines view information like the keywords that your business uses, then you’ll be off to a good start.
Backlink building is when you get other websites to link to your website. It’s that easy really, but the best practices when it comes to backlink building involve making sure that the links pointing to your site are from reputable sources that lend authority to your site as a whole.
Think of backlink building as having friends and family vouch for your products or services only instead of people doing it in a word of mouth format, you instead get the search engines to do it for your website as a whole.
Where Do I Start With SEO?
The best place to start with any SEO endeavor is wherever you are most comfortable. Any positive changes will result in positive feedback, and that in turn will provide confidence to try more, and make the website better, stronger, faster and capable of reaching more people and thus converting more customers.
Many people start out with the social media aspect of SEO practices because it is the most fun, and they are already comfortable with the interface.
But in truth, it doesn’t matter where a small business starts with SEO as long as some effort is made somewhere because businesses that procrastinate won’t have too many more chances to reach customers in a world that is driving forward digitally with or without them!
Who Can Help Me?
The success of a business is all about reaching out as many potential customers as possible in a highly impressive way. Most businesses are nowadays run online rather offline.
What the customers expect on the one hand and what businesses do to promote their products and services on the other hand have evolved over time and have become highly sophisticated these days. The role played by the digital media and worldwide web in promoting businesses is unparalleled.
Therefore, every business desirous of success needs to do two things at once namely creating a strong, unique and appealing visual identity for the products and optimizing their websites in order to reach out a huge mass of customers. With these twin ventures, especially small businesses and start ups require the professional assistance of designing companies.
Full article by Braden Vernon here: Find the Best Small Business SEO Services in Australia
What SEO Tools Can I Use?
Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools: 10 SEO Tips on How to Optimise Your Site
Measuring and tracking online activity for your website is very important. The following are SEO tips that will describe how Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools can help track your business and to see how it is growing.
It is a service offered by Google that creates detailed statistics about website traffic, sources, conversions and sales. The service is aimed to marketers compared to actual webmasters. It is the most used website statistics service.
5 SEO Tips for Google Analytics
1. Create goals
Set out measurements of what you want want your visitor to achieve on your website, whether it is to sign up, read articles, make comments, etc. By setting up these goals, it will give more meaning to your analytics.
2. Manage your dashboard
The data can be overwhelming and necessary if not set up properly. By organising and only showing what you need, you will find the analytical process easier and more manageable compared to before.
3. Do not double count your traffic
When using data on visitors activity, do not include the time that you spend visiting the site as it will skew the data.
4. Search keywords
Creating a report to see what phrases people are using to find your website in search engines is useful. This is how to optimize your site and use the proper keywords.
It is especially useful to see the keywords they use if they don't use your business name to see the mindset of what they are looking for.
This goes for the same if you have an internal search feature. You can find out what the popular searches were for, what pages they visited after the search and the activity that they performed after.
5. Tracking linked social media
By using analytics you can see the amount of traffic going to your website from different linked social accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc) and whether they assisted in conversions by checking what specific pages of yours they visited. You can also see the level of success from campaigns and which visitors responded to content shown in a particular social network.
AuthorityLabs lets you track your keywords over time to get decent overview of how it ranks over a certain period.
Ahrefs a great tool for audit, as you can check backlinks and link data, which helps you ensure that your SEO strategy doesn’t just sound good but gives you results.
DeepCrawl allows you to diagnose issues so you can easily fix what isn’t working.
Who can help?
A freelance writer, content creator and social media consultant from Melbourne, Australia. Also an internationally published author, an award-winning blogger, a Hootsuite Ambassador for the APAC region and one of the 'Best Thinkers' on leading social media news website Social Media Today. If you need help with content, content marketing, social media marketing or SEO, get in touch.
Currently working at Click Click Media as the Campaign Statistician. Click Click Media is an online marketing solution for all businesses, with a combined 30+ years industry experience. An AdWords account manager that utilises mathematical background to increase conversions.
Alexander Ruggie is the PR Director for 911 Restoration, and he has been in the advertising, marketing and entertainment industries for more than a decade. When Alexander isn't crafting strategies and campaigns to help homeowners in need, he is trying to save the world, one well-worded idea at a time.
Search Marketing Summit, Sydney, May 30 - June 3,2016
Google Analytics Training presented by Loves Data, Brisbane 4 & 5 April, 2016
CX Marketing, Sydney April 5 2016
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