10 Simple SEO Tips for Small Businesses

If you run your own business and are interested in optimising your website yourself to help your pages rank higher on Google, it can be difficult to know where to start.  There is a lot involved in optimising a website but SEO doesn’t have to be over complicated. The following simple tips provide a good starting point for any business.

Create A Google Business Listing

A Google business listing is crucial for any local business. It’s one of the easiest ways to increase the visibility of your business in the search results. If anyone searches for your business name, your listing should be visible. Your listing will also provide additional information such as location, opening hours and reviews. Google My Business also helps to increase your presence in the map results which will help potential customers find your services and business info.

Write Compelling Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

It’s not only the content on your web pages that is important. Your page titles and meta descriptions should be compelling, informative and entice people to click through to your website. Even though this info isn’t visible on the site itself, it is visible in the search results so you should provide accurate information about the page. 

Your page title and meta description will look something like this:

page title and meta description example

Optimise Your Images

A simple yet often overlooked SEO tip is to make sure you optimise all of the images on your website. This includes making sure the file size isn’t too large, creating accurate file names and providing descriptive alt text. You can use a free tool such as Tiny PNG to compress your images, all you need to do is upload the images and Tiny PNG will reduce the file size.

Giving your images accurate files names is also a good habit to get into. Labelling an image white-kitten.jpg or purple-flower.jpg for example is much better than a file name of IMG123456. Alt text is also important as this provides additional information to users as well as search engines. Search engines can’t ‘read’ images but they can crawl ALT text. ALT text is also useful for anyone using a screen reader as the ALT text is the info that will be provided if someone is unable to view the image. ALT text should accurately describe the image.

Structure Your Content

Structuring the content on your pages and blog posts is good for your audience as well as search engines. The easier it is for a search engine to crawl your pages and understand the content, the better. A well structured page also provides a better overall experience for your readers.

When creating blog posts, using headings and paragraphs is a good idea as it makes it easier to read than having all your text in one long paragraph. Breaking up the content and correctly using heading tags can also help search engine understand what your page is about.

The main heading of your page should always be a H1 and there should be no more than one H1 on each of your pages. The H1 should provide an accurate overview of what the page is about. There are a total of 6 headings you can use (H1-H6) but you are unlikely to need them all.

Headings establish hierarchy and structure. H2s and H3s are generally used for subheadings with H1 being the main heading of the page. You should always use H headings in chronological order, H2 after a h1, H3 after a H2 etc.

The diagrams below show the structure of a simple web page with correct use of H Headings:

diagram of page headings
diagram of page headings

Include Keywords

If you know what keywords you are targeting, you should make sure you use the keywords within your content. It’s important however not to over use them, use keywords naturally and only where necessary. Google algorithms are sophisticated, a search engine can understand the context of a web page without stuffing the page with keywords, this will likely have a negative effect and won’t be particularly useful for your readers either.

You can use your target keywords in the url, page title, H headings, img alt tags and within the main content of the web page. 

If you don’t know which keywords to target, conduct some keyword research to establish the best keywords / phrases to target based on relevance, intent, search volume and competition. There are various tools you can use for researching keywords, this article from Ahrefs lists some of the best keyword research tools available.

Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Responsive

It may seem obvious but having a mobile friendly site is crucial. With more and more people browsing the internet via smartphones and tablets, a website must be designed with the ability to respond to different screen sizes. Google’s mobile first index means that the search engine will use the mobile version of the content to rank web pages so it’s important to provide an optimal user experience across all devices.

Most website platforms and web builders now have the ability to create responsive websites, so it’s more than likely that your site is fully mobile responsive. Some older sites may not be responsive and some of the lesser known web building applications may still create non mobile responsive websites. If you aren’t sure if your site is responsive, Google has a mobile friendly testing tool that you can use to check how well your site performs on mobile devices.

responsive website displayed on multiple devices

Encourage Reviews

Reviews of your business are good for many different reasons. Positive reviews build trust. Potential customers are more likely to get in touch or purchase from you if you have some great reviews of your products / services.

Reviews are also great for local SEO. It’s often considered that Google uses reviews as a ranking factor, as demonstrated by this article from Moz about local search ranking factors. Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your google my business listing as well as on social media and any reviews sites that you are listed on. You can also publish reviews on your website so that your web visitors can read what people are saying about your business.

Social Media

Social media is an excellent traffic source for your website. Create and share awesome content and more people will be interested in your products / services. Having a clearly defined social media strategy is crucial to maximising the potential of your business as well as growing your following. Social media and SEO together can substantially help to increase your reach and grow your business.

Regularly Add New Content

Keep your site fresh and up to date by regularly adding new content. Not only will this provide new information for your audience, it will also provides potential for your site to be found for more keywords and more online searches related to your business. Having a blog on your site and regularly adding content doesn’t have to be time consuming, you can add a new post every week or even every few weeks. 

Writing about your business and your achievements, sharing industry news and creating top tips and useful articles are all great ways to engage your audience. New content is also good from a SEO perspective as it provides more shareable content, useful articles for people to link to and more content for search engines to index.

Quality Over Quantity

As much as it’s a good idea to add new content to your site. Quality is always more important than quantity. If it doesn’t add value, don’t add it to the site, if it isn’t relevant, don’t use it. 

Quality is important with regards to every aspect of your website. Make sure your content is high quality with no spelling or grammatical errors and make sure all your titles and meta descriptions are well written and relevant. You should also ensure your site is designed with the user in mind, a user friendly site is far better than is site that is difficult to navigate. 

The quality of a website is often considered to be a ranking factor, a few high quality pages is much better than having a lot of pages with thin, low quality content. The aim of a search engine is to provide the best results for any particular search term. Search engines are more likely to return high quality, informative, well written pages than sites with low quality content. Produce content with the intent of the user in mind and aim to answer the questions that people are asking.

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