SEO tips for business owners

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IMAGE WITH TEXT OVERLAYDoes SEO matters for every business? Why do you need to invest in SEO? These are some of the most common questions I have been asked from my clients. SEO is Google’s way of determining which sites deserve to rank highly for each query entered into its search engine. Users trust search engines, and achieving a top spot in search engine rankings signals to searchers that your site is a credible source: the higher you rank in results pages, the more clicks and traffic your site will generate. This is why you need SEO to grow your business.

 

The challenge for a small business

Small businesses face many challenges with their digital marketing. As they have smaller budgets to invest in advertising, social media, link building and SEO.

SEO is cost-effective. If you’re working with a tight budget, SEO is a great way to drive qualified traffic to your site without directly paying for it.

According to BrightEdge, more than half of web traffic and up to 40% of total revenue comes from organic search.

We all search online before buying anything, even if we then go to a physical store. We ask Google, compare results and prices. This explains why it is so important to be found for the keywords with which our possible customers search for our services and products.

However, that involves an understanding of SEO marketing. According to our State of Small Business Marketing guide, this is one area where most small businesses admit they’re challenged.

The best way for small businesses to even the playing field is with a strong SEO strategy. To best optimize websites for search engines, small businesses need to focus on best practices, including On site and Off site SEO.

 

 

What is SEO Marketing?

SEO marketing refers to any action you take to promote your business online organically.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and it’s been around for a while now. It’s an internet marketing tactic that has grown with the rise of Google and online search.

If you invest in your website’s search engine optimization, you can count on that visibility to help your business grow and prosper.

This is why SEO is so important, no matter what your business does.

Google is a search engine, just like Bing, Yahoo! and Baidu (the Chinese competitor) and they work as a massive cataloguing system for a majority of the 400 million active websites that exist.

I tend to speak about SEO in respect to Google, as Google has over 94% market.

 

 

Why is SEO important for every business?

 

  • There are 40,000 Google searches every second (Internet Live Stats)

  • 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine (BrightEdge)

  • 0.78% of Google Searchers click on results from the 2nd page (Backlinko)

  • 46% of all Google searches are local (99firms)

  • The volume Google searches grows roughly 10% every year (Internet Live Stats)

So, yep, long answer short. SEO is very relevant for your business and there’s not many businesses that SEO isn’t a viable marketing tactic for.

 

 

What does Search Engine Optimisation do for online visibility

Without a SEO strategy, it may be very difficult to rank for your desired keywords. You don’t only need a well-designed website, many backlinks from your niche and on site SEO optimisation to show up in the search results.

You need a strategy that combines on-page SEO, technical SEO, and off-page SEO.

Think about the last time you performed a search online. Maybe you searched for something to get to this page! And this is free traffic that will come to your website.

Consider this: circa 53% of clicks going to the first result.

But how Google define a ranking?

1. Crawling: this is how the Googlebot discovers new and updated pages on the web; it may find new pages through links or submitted sitemaps, and it does recrawl previously visited pages.

2. Indexing: this is how it tries to figure out what the page is about by reviewing the content and other signals on-page

3. Serving: this is how it decides to rank websites when delivering search results for any given query

There are over 200 ranking factors that the Googlebot looks for when deciding which websites to serve within search results, including:

    • Domain age

    • Keywords in metadata

    • Word count

    • Load speed

    • Link volume, theme & quality

    • Mobile usability

    • Reader engagement

    • Clear site architecture

    • Appropriate contact information

    • SLL certificate present

 

 

How to Optimise Your Website for Google

SEO is literally the tactic of optimising your website for that extensive list of ranking factors that you’re being judged on.

For many new websites, the first step of optimising your site may just be telling Google that it exists. Because with half a million new websites estimated to be created every day you can’t just expect Google to know about yours…

From there, the optimisation tactics used will be completely dependent on the website, it’s current performance, the keyword-relevance of content, the offerings & preferred keywords to rank on, what industry it is in, how competitive the industry is, what top ranking websites are doing… and more!

That’s why each business requires its own strategy and continual review of performance from SEO experts.

 

 

Why SEO is important for local businesses?

 

Over a two year period, there was a 900%+ growth in mobile searches for “___ near me today/tonight.” (Think with Google, 2018)

 

Especially for local businesses, showing up within the results for relevant search terms is critical for your business.

Consider this: 80% of users used a mobile device to search the internet in 2019

Have you noticed that now, without searching for something ‘near me’, Google displays you results based on your geo localisation?

If I am searching hairdresser, I probably need a haircut or blowing. These are warm leads, actively interested in your offerings and depending on their search query may have very strong buyer intent.

Having a strong local presence within the organic search results can drive interested visitors, customers and sales.

 

 

Wrap up: SEO for you business

Here’s how SEO can help you in the long run…

      • It lets you drive targeted, organic search traffic that is relevant to your industry
      • It helps your brand gain higher visibility and more exposure
      • It makes it easy to attract people that will convert into customers/clients

 

 

 

You might be interested in reading: SEO guide for a small business

 

Francesca
background with sparks

What is SEO and what is it for? SEO is nothing more than a serries of activities aimed at optimizing for search engines in order to improve the visibility of websites in organic results. The acronym means Search Engine Optimization. In this SEO guide for small businesses we will see the basic concepts that will immediately serve to improve the visibility of your website in online searches.

We will mainly talk about Google as the Mountain View giant has a dominant position in the search engine sector. I leave you some data on global searches:

Google: 94.81%;
Bing: 3.52%;
Yahoo: 1.17%;
Others: 0.50%.

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE VISIBLE ON GOOGLE

Let’s start immediately with some data, which will make you understand the importance of working well on SEO and therefore be able to position your post in the first page of Google: according to a report of sixtrix.com, 99.1% of users do not go beyond the first page.

Besides, almost 60% of all organic clicks occur in the FIRST position. The second, in fact, only receives 15% of the clicks.

Being visible on Google means being found for keywords that relate to the services and products you sell. Through my blog, for example, I sell tailor made itineraries for families in London. And I assure you that even without spending a penny on ads, being found on Google let users trust me, and buy my itineraries.

That’s why SEO is an excellent investment: it guarantees you incoming traffic for free.

Being found does not mean that someone searches Google for the name of your brand / business.

If you get the first results, it simply means that Google has associated your brand name with a site, that’s all.

This does not mean optimising a site for SEO.

 

HOW GOOGLE WORKS

Nobody knows how exactly Google’s algorithm works (if not Google itself). SEO is not science, but it is based on empirical procedures, tests, analysed and put into practice by bloggers and SEO specialists from all over the world to try to give a guide to best practices, to optimize content and a site and be visible through Google searches.

You can go deeply into the best practices by checking the Google webmaster blog.

How does Google get to know that your website exists?

There are spiders, small bots that surf the net in search of content. They are crawling and that is the activity of crawling all the pages of a site.

This phase concerns the indexing of a site: once the site is indexed it means that Google has added and archived it in its lists. How this content is archived is based on many factors, which we will see later.

It is therefore possible to wait for Google to index your site, but it is not known exactly how long it takes, or, you can submit a sitemap to Google to speed everything up.

In what order then this content is shown instead concerns the positioning.

WHAT IS SEO RANKING?

SEO ranking – is the result of a series of factors, a value that indicates the average position of the pages of a site on search engines for specific keywords. The bigger this value, the higher the SEO ranking.

The goal of those who do SEO, in fact, is to obtain the first position in the SERP (Search Engine Result Page is the results page on the search engine) for a wide range of keywords.

To check the indexing level of your site and the keywords for which users arrive on your site you can use Google Search Console, which is a free tool.

 

HOW TO OPTIMIZE A WEBSITE FOR SEO

As far as I’m concerned, I always work by splitting the work into two phases:

  • research, analysis and planning: keyword research with good traffic and not very competitive, so even a small brand can manage to position itself. And then again, creation of an editorial plan and an analysis of the site structure, which will be optimized. This fundamental part concerns the SEO audit of your site, which is used to analyse the weaknesses of your site.
  • The phase of the technical implementation: all those operational activities to ensure that a site is easily readable by search engines, and all those techniques that help you position yourself. These processes include On-Site, On-page, Off-Page optimizations as well as Local SEO.

 

THERE ARE 3 DIFFERENT TYPES OF KEYWORDS

We have seen how SEO is used to make us find users who are looking for something online.

They must therefore satisfy a need.

And it is very important to understand in which phase of the customer journey your ideal customer is when he lands on your site. Because if we do not understand this, we will not use the suitable keywords to interpret a specific need, at a certain moment of the path that a customer makes before buying online:

There are in fact 3 different types of keywords:

  • Informational keywords
  • Transactional (or commercial) keywords
  • Navigational (or brand) keywords

Informational Keywords

Keyword transazionali

The potential customer has more clear what his needs are: his research in this case will be specific, because he has already been informed and is now ready to purchase.

Keyword navigazionali

The potential customer already knows the brand name, he is probably comparing prices and features with other same products from other brands.

Let’s take an example so it will be clearer:

  • what it takes to run is an informational keyword
  • nike running shoes ”is a navigational keyword
  • best running shoes is a transactional word

 

WHAT SEO ON SITE MEANS

On-site optimization covers all factors that affect the structure and functioning of the site and the structure and content of the pages.

The ultimate goal of on-site SEO is:

  • make search engines understand what a web page is about,
  • associate it with a certain search query (and therefore a set of keywords used to perform that search)
  • and give it a score, to define in what order to show it in the SERP.

On-site SEO optimization therefore concerns:

  1. Domain seniority
  2. Architecture
  3. Hosting

 

Domain authority and stability

The older a domain is, the more authoritative it is. Like wine.

This means that domain can affect SERP results. But that’s not the only value that Google takes into consideration.

For example: in my blog I speak mainly of London, but I positioned myself on the front page and in front of blogs older than mine (and therefore with a more authoritative domain) also with content on Sardinia.

I tell you this because in my opinion, Content is still the king.

 

Website Architecture

The structure with which the contents are organized is fundamental. The further a content is located away from the home page the less it will be affected by the link juice (the value of a page).

The structure of the site also affects internal links, corrections of any broken links or error pages (4040) and metadata.

A site structure also affects the user experience, i.e. the user experience on your site. If you have done a great job on the content, but the user cannot find it on your site because it has been poorly designed, it will go away and never come back.

The length of time a user stays within a site and specifically on a page is a factor that affects SEO. Report to Google that that content is interesting and Google can detect it (having access to all the data of our sites through Google Analytics).

Authority

Google scores each page on the web. The greater the authority of a resource, the higher the chances that its content is positioned for one or more keywords.

This value is the Page Rank, which in fact no longer exists, because there have been various attempts over the years to manipulate its value. To give a website value, some companies have created proprietary algorithms.

Among the most famous we can mention PA and DA of Moz (Page Authority and Domain Authority), UR and DR of ahrefs (URL Rating and Domain Rating), ZA of Seozoom (Zoom Authority).

 

Website speed

The speed of your site is a ranking factor. Given the very high percentage of searches made from mobile, the loading speed has become of fundamental importance.

The loading speed depends on several factors: the chosen theme, the images, the various animations and the presence of videos. And last but not least, the choice of hosting.

What is hosting?

It is the physical space on which your site resides.

Look for reliable hosting with a 24/7 customer care service. I use Siteground and after years of being with them and having tried their professionalism, I can really recommend it.

Tip: using a cache system, server side or client side, helps a lot to make the site faster.

 

WHAT SEO ON PAGE MEANS

The term SEO on page refers to the activity of optimizing pages to articles on your site.

Here are the main ones:

  1. Title, H1, H2 ..
  2. Alt Text images
  3. URL
  4. Meta description
  5. internal links
  6. external links

Title

It is important that the title contains the keywords and is not too long.

For each page only one H1 must be present, but there may be more H2, H3 (I would not go beyond H4).

Organize the content by subtitles (H2 and H3) to facilitate reading.

 

Alt Text

All images on your site must be saved with the keyword as a name before being uploaded as a media. They must also always have the Alt Text, that is, the description of the image.

It does not mean giving a name to the photo, but describing it as if you were doing it to a blind man.

 

URL

Urls must also contain keywords and should not be too long. I also recommend NOT to use the date format for your posts, because that could affect the SERP (Google could consider that content no longer fresh and updated and therefore self-serving).

 

Meta Title and Meta Description

The meta title is the “title” of the result that appears on the SERP and normally does not exceed 70 characters. The meta description, on the other hand, is the description (it does not exceed 155 characters) of the content of the page.

Attention the meta description affects the CTR, which is an SEO factor: it must be captivating and must entice the reader to click on your page rather than another

 

Internal links

It is very important to connect each page to another to make the search engine understand how the contents and themes of your site are organized.

 

Backlinks Link 

The so-called ‘backlinks’, that is all those incoming links pointing to your site. If these links come from an authoritative source and relevant to the themes of your site, they will be a valuable aid in growing your Page Rank.

Don’t forget to link also to authoritative external resources. This is also a signal to Google that you are aware that what is on your site is of value.

 

Cosa è la local SEO?

Local SEO deals with local searches and makes an activity visible within a specific geographical area.

It meets the research done by mobile where the ‘close to me’ even when it is omitted, is included in the search results.

Geolocation affects the results you will get in SERP.

Local businesses can therefore optimize their online presence for searches made by users in their geographical area.

They must also have the Google My Business card active and updated in order to appear in the local search results for certain keywords in the Google map.

We will talk more about local SEO in a dedicated post.

In the meantime, however, if you have not already done so, I recommend you download the SEO blog post checklist, which you will need to optimize the posts for SEO.

 

With lots of sparks

Francesca