Search engine optimization (SEO) is a very in-depth subject with many challenges and technical stumbling blocks. However, there are some basics that you can easily implement on your small business website without the need to hire in an external agency. If you have never given any thought to SEO, these five simple techniques should help you to start improving your search engine results giving you a nice boost in relevant traffic. If you want to go into more detail and really push hard for rankings in competitive niches then it’s probably wise to consult a specialist. If you’re in control of your own website and want to give SEO a go then these tips might help you on your way.
1. Choose Your Keywords Wisely
This is all about picking your battles. If you are doing all the marketing yourself and have little experience in SEO, it’s probably wise to aim for less competitive search terms. That means you should probably not be thinking about aiming to rank for ‘accountants’, but instead try thinking about more specific search terms such as ‘small business accountants in Vancouver’. Although the search volume for these longer terms will be lower, you are much likely to achieve a good ranking and gain some good relevant SEO traffic as a result. Being stuck on page 1299 for a competitive keyword is going to send you nothing.
2. Use Your Keywords Wisely
It’s a complete myth that stuffing your titles and content full of keywords helps your rankings. In fact it does the absolute opposite and can result in your website receiving penalties from the search engines. Instead, try to use your keywords as naturally as possible. Make sure you include them in your page title, text content, image tags, H1 tag and you’ll be well on your way to having an optimised page for your keyword term.
3. Don’t Hide Your Content in Images and Flash
Search engines read text; they can’t see your pretty images and flash movies like we do. Yes, they can read image tags but if you have great content in image form you’re missing out on a great opportunity. If your website is built solely in image or flash, then unfortunately it’s 90% invisible to the search engines. Make sure that your important content is in text form.
4. Avoid Repeating Yourself
Duplicate content is a big no no when it comes to SEO. To stand the best chances of getting your pages to rank, spend time ensuring that each page is unique. Each page on your website should be discussing a different subject, service or product. The other thing to try and achieve is having unique page titles and meta descriptions for each page. This will avoid your pages competing against each other for rankings. It also makes it very clear to the search engines that each page is a valuable asset to your website.
5. Spread the Word
Even with the best onsite optimisation in the world, if your website has no links pointing to it then sadly you will struggle to rank. Getting some links into your website shouldn’t be too difficult. Try thinking about any friends, business partners or associates that have websites. Would any of them be willing to link to you? You should be able to find some niche directories in your industry or area that you could submit your website to. Remember though that building links isn’t about quantity; aim to get good links from relevant websites and avoid spam like the plague.
Guest Author – Jon Quinton is the SEO specialist for Us For Homes, a listings website for private house sales in the UK. Previously, he has been involved with a large range of businesses selling everything from gifts to software.