As most people know, when we want to find out some information we usually head straight for an online search engine (usually Google). This is why it is so important for businesses to ensure their websites are at the top of the SERPs (search engine results page). The methods used to achieve this are all under the umbrella of search engine optimisation. Essentially, it is the tactic of using the search engine’s algorithms to ensure your site is at the top of the result pages.
This is a very simple one. All you need to do is pick a few top keywords (about five) that you want to concentrate on. These should be the terms people will most often search for when looking for the things your business offers. For example, if you are an online accountancy firm who uses cloud technology and are aimed at small businesses, your top five terms might be:
- Online accountants
- Online accountants firm
- Cloud accounting
- Small business accountants
- Online small business accounting
It’s pretty obvious really and it should be clear to you what keywords will work for your business. Think about the service you offer, whether you service a certain area and the category of business you’re in. Do some research on your keywords before by doing a bit of searching. Have a look to see which competitors come up where and use that to tailor your choices.
Try to get around three of of your keywords on every page of your site. Don’t over do it though. ‘Keyword stuffing’, ie just filling up your page with loads of keywords, will have a detrimental effect on your site’s ranking. As previously mentioned, search engines want natural results and they’ll pick up on tactics like this quickly and punish you for it. Having these keywords on your website will help the search engines associate you with these words. Also, be sure to include your company’s name on every page too.
Start a Blog
One of the things that search engines look out for is fresh content. This is to show that your site hasn’t become neglected and that it’s being maintained and updated. Obviously it would be a bit silly to suggest that you have to update your entire site every few weeks to make it look alive, but there’s a simpler solution; the implementation of a blog on your website. They’re very easy to add and to keep up-to-date. Just talk about what you’re business has been up to recently and that’s it really.
An extra step further is to write articles about the industry you are involved in. If you can write something interesting or useful enough then it might get shared around on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Not only will that bring potential customers to your site, but it will also increase your search engine standing too. This brings us onto the next point.
Having an Effective Social Media Presence
To be honest, this is something all businesses should have anyway, but it does have some positive search engine optimisation effects too. First of all, as mentioned above, it is a great way to share around blog posts quickly to a larger number of people. When people visit the page or share it around, you’ll be getting SEO points. Very handy and incredibly simple too.
There is another effect too which is mostly useful in a couple of situations. One is if you have a business that shares its name with something else. You want the first results page for that term to include as many links to your business as possible so that when someone searches your name they can see your stuff clearly. Your Facebook, Twitter and other social pages, if used enough, will begin to take up spots in the first page giving you dominance over the term’s other use.
The second use is if, god forbid, a bad article about your services starts to surface and bubble to the top. Even if the review or article is wrong, there is nothing you can do about it. Someone will search your businesses’ name and up pops someone bad-mouthing you. As before, properly used and maintain social profiles will help to push it back down into the depths of the SERPs.
Writing Guest Posts
One way to increase your SEO rankings is to have other sites talk about you and link to you. This is something, that for the most part, is out of your control or will cost you money. For example, having a Guardian article link to you will not only increase visitors, but it will also have great value in search engines terms. Of course, it is very difficult to get a link onto a Guardian article. Either way, every page on the web that has a link to your site will help your SEO. There is a way to encourage this without using shady tactics and, if done well, actually does a lot of good on its own. That tactic is guest posting.
It is exactly what it sounds. You contact a blog and offer to write an article for them. What you can get out of this will vary from blog to blog. A link to your site in the body of the article is better, but many blogs are wary of looking like they are advertising a product, so sometimes this can be hard. What is most likely is that they will offer you an author bio that sits at the bottom of your article which is where you can get your link in. At the bottom of this article you’ll be able to see mine. It is pretty self-explanatory.
The more popular your guest post is the more traffic it will receive and the higher SEO value your links will have. You want to write something that people are willing to share, so concentrating on high-quality and original content is best. Try to use your expertise to create something people will like and find worthwhile. Not only will it help your site, but it makes you look like an expert too. Also consider mixing up your author bio ‘anchor text’ every so often. Anchor text is the words that need to be clicked on to take you to a page. Rather than use your business name, use some of your keywords and this will make a big difference with the search engines.
This is pretty much just the beginning of SEO. There is a lot more in-depth stuff out there, but when you’re just starting out, this should be enough. Always try to keep an eye on what Google is doing in regards to SEO and pay attention to other experts. This will help you keep ahead of the game and ensure you don’t do anything that might end up doing more harm than good. Most of it is common sense in the end. Do it right, and you’ll get good results fast.
- Q&A session with Doug Monro and Andrew Hunter co-founders of Adzuna (thestartupmag.com)
- Crowdsourcing helping you run your business (thestartupmag.com)
- Better than spreadsheets – why online accounting is a shrewd move for your business (thestartupmag.com)