At Quadra HQ we have data-driven SEO experts on-hand to improve our client’s search visibility. We know that not all companies are ready to use an agency like Quadra, so we’ve listed some must-know SEO basics for small businesses to get you started with search engine optimisation.
Google is essentially a popularity contest. The further down the search results you are the more invisible you become. So how do make your way through the ranks and be seen by users?
- Understand what people search. Think about what you would search for to reach your website and start with that. Google’s keyword tool can take these initial phrases and help you discover relevant keywords to target.
- If you’re a small company it will be impossible to compete with the SEO budget of large businesses selling similar products or services. Long-tail keywords (consisting of 3 or 4 words) will be less competitive, for example, results for “unicorn costumes” will be difficult to compete with, while “unicorn costumes for children” offers more opportunity to rank. Targeting long-tail keywords means the user who comes across your page is more likely to engage, as it’s exactly what they are looking for.
- Keep a spreadsheet. List each page on your website and assign a primary and secondary keyword for each page. Ensure they have different keywords, there’s plenty of competition out there, you don’t want to battle against yourself! Each page is of value, if you have 20 keyword optimised pages, that’s 20 different ways for a user to find your website.
- This spreadsheet is now your keyword strategy and when you add new pages, you add them to the spreadsheet with their own keywords. Don’t skimp on content – remember, the more content you have the more possibilities for keywords and better search visibility!
Meta title and descriptions
In case you’re not familiar with the role of meta titles and descriptions in search, they are the link and snippet of information you see in search results. Add a meta title and meta description column to each page in your keyword strategy spreadsheet. Use your CMS to enter your custom meta title and description, most CMS’s will have a plugin for this.
There are simple rules to follow when writing a meta title and description -
- Titles are limited to 50-60 characters or as many characters that will fit into a 512-pixel display. This is the blue (or purple if you’ve clicked on it before) title you see in Google. Put the important information first and your brand name last, following the same format for each of your page titles.
- Descriptions are limited to 160 characters. The description helps the user decide if your page is what they are looking for, it should be relevant to your target keywords and engaging.
- Include the keyword in the title and description. Google uses your meta title and description to rank you in results, ensure you include your keywords so you rank for the correct search terms.
When users decide that the search engine results pages (SERPS) match what they have searched for they will land on your website. To reduce your bounce rate and therefore increase your authority with Google, the user needs to stay on your site for at least 3 seconds. If they immediately leave, Google will see your content as irrelevant and plummet your page down its rankings.
Letting Google know what your page is about will reduce your bounce rate. Optimise your page by including your keywords in the H1 tag and copy body. It’s recommended that you mention keywords 3 times in total on the page; this ensures your copy has a natural flow without ‘keyword stuffing’.
Remember, it’s a popularity contest, so the more external websites that link to your site the better. Internal links are important too, if page A has a link to page B, it will increase page B’s popularity with Google.
You need to tell Google what your page is about; this is where your keyword strategy comes into play. If page B is about digital marketing, where possible on your other pages, if you mention ‘digital marketing’ link this text to page B increasing your internal links.
Avoid linking words such as ‘click here’ or ‘find out more’. Google will think that page is about ‘click here’ and not ‘digital marketing’.
So here is it, 4 basics of SEO to kick-start your quest for search visibility. If you are already doing this well but your keywords are competitive and you’re not seeing the results you hoped for, there are plenty more parameters that can help increase traffic through SEO - contact us!
If you’re a local business, we hope you've found our basics of SEO for small businesses useful. You may also be interested in how to rank higher for searches in Jersey. We can offer advice for local search engine optimisation, contact us or take a look at our blog on the subject.
Quadra offers in-depth audits to improve SEO, enabling businesses of all sizes to grow both their leads and sales generation while improving brand recognition and reputation.