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SEO Tips for Small & Medium Businesses (SMEs)

Introduction

SEO has been around for a while now, but it has never been more important for business success. This blog post will explain what SEO is, why SEO should form an integral part of any company marketing strategy, and how you can improve your website’s SEO immediately. 

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) helps increase the quality and volume of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or specific web page to users of a web search engine such as Google or Bing. Website traffic from SEO is often referred to as “organic” or “natural” traffic. While SEO takes time and money to implement well, it is not considered a form of paid media like Google Ads.

Why is SEO important?

SEO is an important marketing channel for any business. Most people use search engines on a daily basis. In fact, 3.5 billion Google searches are made every day. [1]  That’s an incredible amount of people searching for information, products and/or services. It doesn’t stop there either, the volume of Google searches grows by roughly 10% every year. [2] With SEO, you can reach more people searching for the products or services you sell, thus helping your business grow and meet its business objectives.

Things to remember

  • SEO results don’t happen overnight. It’s a long term strategy for securing the bulk of your website traffic. Be patient, get started right away, and continually work on your websites SEO. The way search engines change means you’ll never be finished optimising your website.
  • There are lots of aspects to SEO; on-site, off-site, and technical. On-site SEO covers the rules to apply to your site and content to make it more search engine friendly. Off-site SEO involves finding ways to promote your website or blog (typically through the use of backlinks) so that it can rank higher in search results. Finally, Technical SEO ensures search engines can crawl and index your website without any problems. In order to achieve the best SEO results, you will need to consider each aspect of SEO.
  • Don’t take shortcuts. Back in the day, before Google was the complex machine it is today, you could trick it into ranking your website higher with black hat tactics such as buying backlinks. These days, Google is incredibly smart and will penalise any website it considers to be breaking the rules which could result in the loss of valuable traffic. Don’t negatively impact your business by cutting SEO corners. 

Things to do

  • Keyword research. Place highly relevant keywords or phrases on your website and in your content to help people find you via search engines. The keywords you include should “speak the language” of your target audience.
  • Craft accurate and concise title tags. The title tag of a webpage is a HTML element that identifies the name of said webpage. The title tag is used by web search engines as the main clickable link on search engine results pages (SERPs). Title tags are extremely important because they are so visible. The title tags on your website should accurately and concisely describe your webpage content. Considering including your primary keywords and always include your business name.
  • Make the most of meta descriptions. Meta descriptions are the short paragraphs that appear under page titles on search engine results pages (SERPs). Meta descriptions don’t directly influence your website ranking, but they do affect the click-through rate (CTR). Meta descriptions should be about 155 characters in length to avoid being cut off early. Focus on describing your business or product offering and remember to include a call-to-action (CTA) such as “buy now” or “learn more”.
  • Add alt tags to your images. Alt tags have two important roles in SEO. Firstly, search engines can’t read images, they can only read text. Images on websites without alt tags are essentially invisible to search engines which is a wasted opportunity. Adding alt tags to your images helps describe what the image is about and gives search engines more information to help it rank your website. Remember to include at least one keyword in each image alt tag. The second benefit of alt tags is making your website more accessible to disabled people. Blind people use page readers to navigate the internet. Using alt tags means page readers can verbally describe images to blind visitors. Make sure your alt tags clearly describe the subject of the image. 
  • Install an SEO plugin. If your website is built on WordPress, one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your ranking is to install an SEO plugin. There are lots of SEO plugins to choose from, but only really 3 worth considering; Yoast SEO, SEOPress, and The SEO Framework. All of these plugins offer free and premium versions. In most situations, the free version of each plugin will get the job done, but it’s handy to get extra features with an upgrade. While Yoast SEO is by far the most popular SEO plugin (and one of the most popular plugins of all time with over 5 million active installs) and The SEO Framework plugin performs well, here at Cloak&Map we use SEOPress because of its excellent feature list and great value premium plan.
  • Sign-up for Google Search Console and connect your website. Google Search Console is the equivalent of Google Ads for organic traffic. By connecting your website to Google Search Console, you will be able to see which search terms bring traffic to your site. You can then use this insight to identify new keywords for use in new content, optimising existing content or building a paid search (PPC) campaign.
  • Keep up to date with the changing SEO landscape. Search engines change the way they deliver search results to users on a regular basis. This could be an algorithm adjustment which affects the ranking of websites or a user interface (UI) redesign which changes to look and feels of the search engine results page (SERP). Stay ahead of your competitors by getting advice directly from Google via Search Console Help.

Further resources 

Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo

Closing statement

Hopefully, after reading this blog post you now have a better understanding of what SEO is, why it should form part of your marketing strategy, and how you can start improving your ranking right away. If on the other hand SEO is still a little daunting or you just don’t have the time to do SEO well, then get in touch with Cloak&Map Digital today and we’ll be more than happy to discuss our SEO services with you.

Sources

https://www.internetlivestats.com/google-search-statistics/

https://www.internetlivestats.com/google-search-statistics/

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