Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can be a confusing topic for the average small business owner who simply wants to have as much exposure as possible on search engines (SE’s). Unfortunately there is also a lot of bad advice published on the subject including from some of the experts!
SEO’s themselves will often argue about the right way to do things and Google and other SE’s like to constantly change their algorithms in order to try and improve the results shown for particular queries.
The push for quality results should be the first thing you think about if you are undertaking an SEO project for your small business. You need to ask yourself a fundamental question, is my page about my product one of the best pages on that topic? Is it one of the top ten pages?
If it is one of the best, has the information been laid out in a search engine friendly manner with a good title, sensible keyword inclusion in the text, maybe some supporting pictures and/or video? Do the other pages on your site link to it using good anchor text links? Are the site’s structure and navigation clear?
That might sound obvious to some but the fact is we see small businesses with truly awful websites and content, expecting to be listed in Google for common search terms.
Which brings us to another very important point, you cannot expect to rank for competitive searches, at least not at first and not easily. Your new website selling sports gear is not going to rank for the search ‘sports’ anytime soon. You would need to knock international media sites and major chain stores off their perches to do that.
You see the SE’s are not only looking for quality, they are also looking for ‘authority’. That’s a rubbery concept but we can think of it as the other ‘signals’ that show your site to be a good one in its industry or subject area. Authority develops with time if your brand and website are talked about elsewhere and other websites link to yours.
SE’s look to see which other websites link to yours and more recently have started to look at whether your website or at least its content is mentioned or shared in social media. Getting other sites from your own industry to link to yours is a bit like getting a vote in Google’s eyes. Getting a link from irrelevant sites is not always so great, though they can still be very helpful if they are from big powerful sites.
That’s because Google looks to those incoming links for signs of both relevance and ‘trust’ and in its way of thinking trustworthy sites tend to have links from other trustworthy sites (even if they are off-topic). So by all means if you can get a mention and a link to your site from some big media site or government one then grab it, even if they are just thanking you for sponsoring something or other that’s not directly related to your business!
For many small businesses looking to gain search engine listings the answer lies in choosing quite specific searches to rank for. Instead of trying and failing to rank for the search term ‘sports’ it’s likely to be a much easier task to rank for ‘sports stores Sydney’ and many other search terms that are more specific to your particular business.
Google is getting better at recognising websites that have good content but which are not necessarily professionally optimised by SEO consultants, particularly for those easier search terms so you might well find that by just writing good content you can achieve some ranking success.
If not it might well be worth getting some professional help. A good SEO consultant can advise you on the content and structure your site would benefit from, he can also help you gain some backlinks to boost your sites authority so that down the track you can start to think about chasing those harder terms.
You can see more on SEO and Online Marketing at AdSurf.com.au, a site run by Aidan McCarthy, a professional Online Marketing Specialist.