You have a website, but no idea how to optimise it. Follow this simple guide to find out how SEO can work for you.
So, you have had a website built, and you think that’s it. You’re done. You can sit back and instantly be on page one of Google.
If it was that easy everyone would be on page one, and as there are a maximum of 10 free positions on that page that would take some doing. So how can you help your website perform better?
A search in Google for anything to do with SEO and you will be bombarded with tons of information. Some of it is correct, some of it is wrong and outdated. It’s hard to know what to do, if you can do it yourself, and ensuring you do it properly and will not make a mistake that could get your website binned from the off. I’m going to make it easy and give you a short list of essential things you MUST do to your website if you are to stand even a fighting chance of succeeding with it.
1) Google Analytics
Install Google Analytics on each and every page of your website. This is free, tells you where you are receiving traffic from, where they are in the world, and what position in the results for certain keywords you are placed at. Without it you will be second guessing everything.
It’s quick, it’s painless and you can install Google Analytics here.
2) Google Webmaster Tools
Not only do Google have a Webmaster Tools, but Bing do to. Sign up for this as well, but seeing as Google has over 90% of the market share I will focus on Googles version. Used in tandem with Google Analytics you will be provided with a whole host of information about your website, a massive advantage when it comes to SEO for small businesses. Once you have signed up, you will have to verify your website with them – this takes about 5 minutes – and then you will receive reports such as how many pages Google has crawled, errors Google spots in your website, and any potential problems they see with it.
They will also provide you with more information about search terms people are using, and other websites that link to you. Clever stuff indeed and you need to know it.
More importantly something called an XML sitemap. This can be compiled and downloaded from the XML Sitemap generator. Go there now, enter your website and select uncompressed XML Sitemap. They will crawl your site, list every available page, and enable you to download it for you to upload to the root folder of your website. An XML sitemap is a file that search engines use, not human visitors. If you regularly update your content and create new pages, get in the habit of updating your XML Sitemap too. You can then tell Google Webmaster Tools where this file is and they will index all your pages. Never rely on Google, Bing or Yahoo to find your new content. If you do it could be weeks before they find it naturally and that is wasted time.
4) Google Places
This should actually be one of the very first things you do with your website.
Register your business with Google Places for Business and you stand a far greater chance of showing up in local search results.
Do it now, do it well and this could be one of the most valuable things you ever do. You may have to wait a fortnight for Google to send you a postcard with a PIN number on it, but once done you can relax knowing you have just provided the best SEO for small businesses out there.
5) Website Content
If your budget allows employ a copywriter to help you, preferably one with SEO experience. You can write the initial draft, get everything out that you want to say, and then pass it over to a copywriter. You probably have some ‘keywords’ in mind that you want to rank for so pass them to the writer too. What you are aiming to do is balance the information you wish to get across, not just for your potential customers, but also for the search engines.
The average human visitor has an incredibly short attention span, and with this in mind you need to condense the homepage text into simple, easy to read copy so they can quickly scan your homepage and decide if you can help them.
NEVER copy something word-for-word from another website. You will suffer a ‘Duplicate Content’ penalty from search engines such as Google. This can result in your website disappearing from all results and takes a good deal of time and work to get back.
Write original content, write it well, and write it for visitors first, and search engines second. A good copywriter will do this as second nature.
6) Other Tips
Make sure to employ other promotional techniques as well. Use social media, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ amongst others to interact with people. Embrace printed marketing techniques such as flyers, leaflets and brochures, e-marketing can be a hugely successful medium in engaging with potential and existing customers. Get your website designer or developer to build you a blog for your website. You can use all of these to drive people to your website, and there you can go into more detail about your product, or services.
Contrary to popular belief not everything has to cost ridiculous amounts of money. As an example, adding a blog to your website costs nothing with us, and is a great tool that enables you to publish fresh, valuable content and news about your company whenever you wish.