Search Engine Optimisation or SEO, as it’s more commonly referred to, is a technical and creative marketing tactic that drives targeted website traffic to a site via search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo and all of the others on the market today.
Search engines list content in their search results based on what is most relevant to the users’ query. Search engine optimisation, quite simply, is the process of optimising websites, articles, videos, social content and more to be selected as the most relevant in these lists, which as a result boosts traffic to the pages, or content, being optimised.
Imagine the amount of information that has to be processed by these search engines — everything that exists on the web. To deliver the most accurate information to their users, algorithms have been designed to read this information, rank it and serve what it deems most relevant to the user.
To do well online, you need to be considered the most relevant.
Why does SEO matter for SMEs?
Seventy-five per cent of search engine users never scroll past the first search engine result page (SERP). Getting your business into the top ranks in search engine results means a steady flow of relevant traffic, which, when optimised correctly, leads to more in-store visitors, online sales, shares, likes, or whatever else it is that your efforts are designed to achieve.
Conversely, if you fail to invest in SEO and are banished to the second page, or worse, your online content may as well be invisible and the chances of users finding you are slim.
That is why it is essential for SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprise) to master the art of SEO.
Ten key points every SME should apply for SEO success
Search engine optimisation is an ongoing tactic that takes time and commitment to keep at, but with everyone else investing there, no business can afford to buck the trend and stay offline.
Here are ten essential steps every SME needs to take to succeed in SEO. We will start with the basics and advance through the list.
1/ Keep keywords in mind
Keywords are critical for SEO. It’s essential for search engine algorithms that you write keywords similar to the search terms your audience may search to find your business. E.g. If you’re a coffee shop, you should list coffee you offer, coffee + your location, best coffee + your location, etc. Avoid using jargon that only you or a select group know – like “cup of joe”.
2/ Pay attention to page titles
It’s essential that all online web pages have appropriate page titles which tell the search engines what they are going to find on the page. This helps the search engines to identify and rank them more accurately.
3/ Make META tags a priority
Meta-tags sit on the page’s code to describe its content. This includes meta descriptions, title tags, alt text, and header tags. Each of these snippets of information are used by search engines to identify what content is on the page. They need to be keyword optimised and relevant to ensure algorithms pick them up and put you on top.
5/ Leverage link building
Link building is a practice of promoting your content to other websites in the hopes of them linking your content on their site. Algorithms favour websites that other websites link to. This practice helps to get you good cred with Google algorithms.
5/ On-page SEO
Many organisations focus their SEO efforts on their blog and fail to follow suit with their website pages. On-page SEO is about making sure the content is valuable, relevant, keyword rich, optimised for mobile and easily sharable.
6/ Optimise for mobile
A 2016 report from Search Engine Land suggests that 60 per cent of search engine searches are now done on mobile. Making it critical that your online content is optimised to be viewed on mobile. This and the fact that the algorithms now punish any non-mobile-compatible sites by downranking them.
7/ Google local pack
When you search for a restaurant in Farnham, you will see Google bring up a list of restaurants, along with a map in a quick view. This is the local pack. To get listed here, you need a Google My Business listing that is keyword optimised, up to date with contact details and receiving reviews.
8/ Make social sharing simple
Search engine algorithms favour content that is shared. The easier you make it for your audience to share your content, the easier it is to get them to share and help you get to number one.
9/ Comprehensive content wins
Research suggests that the highest ranking content is usually upward of 1000 words. While it’s essential that the content is also relevant, regularly producing comprehensive long-form content is critical to good rankings.
10/ Keep ahead of new trends
You don’t have to jump on everything, but you should be aware of what’s coming and what you will probably need to get on vs what you can ignore. Voice search is only going to grow as products like Alexa and Siri become more adept at assisting consumers in their everyday lives; therefore it’s going to be very important to think of voice search optimisation when thinking of SEO.
Getting SEO right can take time. It’s not a set and forget type of task, and it requires regular review and management to ensure it is up to date with the latest algorithm changes and tech advancements.
While some organisations may have the resources to handle this in-house, we understand that many SMEs are time poor and unable to take on a dedicated staff member for these tasks. That’s why we’ve created an SEO support package that allows businesses to tap into all of the benefits of SEO, without the hassle of managing it themselves.
If you’re ready for increased traffic and higher returns, get in touch with Preface Studios to discuss our SEO packages or to request a FREE mini SEO audit.