Search engine optimisation, or SEO, is all about making yourself visible on a search engine’s unpaid results. It’s also referred to as natural or organic. Most people find what they’re looking for on the first page of search engine results, so you’ve gotta be sure to be on top. If you’re wondering how to do that, here’s a guide to SEO for small businesses.

SEO keywords

For starters, you’ve got to know what keywords you are targeting. Certain words will be competitive to rank for but profitable. Choosing keywords to target should be done carefully and online tools should be used to identify what words people are looking for. These keywords should be researched and updated at least a couple of times a year.

Mobile matters

Search engines will focus on mobile-friendly sites – which, by the way, is really important when designing a website. A huge amount of website traffic now is generated from smartphones. Search engines recognise this and will prioritise those that are designed accordingly.

Page optimisation

You’ve got to make sure your pages tick all the boxes so they’ll be flagged up when the relevant keywords are searched for. This includes: making sure the page is accessible to search engines, including the SEO keyword in the page URL and at the beginning of the page title. Make sure you use the keyword enough in the text to rank but not too much that it becomes annoying and repetitive for the reader. It’s a fine line to walk.

Meta titles

Meta information is the content that appears immediately on the search results pages.

It’ll consist of the link to your web page and is v. important because it’s used by search engines to find and rank pages. It needs to contain an appropriate use of your SEO keyword. Google will cut off anything after 65 spaces (including characters) so you’ve got to be short and sweet.

The meta description is what appears underneath the title. Although it’s not used by search engines to rank the page, it’s still crucial as it’ll get you that all-important click – so make sure it’s enticing.

Learn to love link building

Search engines see incoming links as ‘votes’ to judge a site’s popularity – e.g, people won’t click a link they don’t think they’ll be interested in. So when another site links to yours, it shows search engines that it’s popular.

It is important to remember link building is about quality and quantity – a link from a respected site is ‘worth’ more than lots of links to low-quality, low-traffic sites. Learn to strike the balance between a large link base and quality links and you’ll be golden. The best way to build your link base is getting yourself onto relevant directories, producing a piece of content people want to share or taking the blunt route and just asking sites to link to you. There’s good links and there’s bad links – make sure you know which is which.
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