SEO for small businesses: Getting the basics right

Ever wondered how search engines like Google choose and display websites in their search results? A part of it has to do with how well the website's content is Search Engine Optimised (SEO).

What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?

SEO is a tactic used to boost your Google search rankings based on the relevance of your website content to a web user's search query, based on keywords and other information on your webpage. It is entirely organic (non-paid), and requires more time and effort than online advertising such as Facebook ads and Google Ads  to reap results. 

However, a strong SEO strategy will ensure that people who are already interested in your product find you first.  Maybe you even found this blog by searching for “search engine optimisation” in which case ours is on point!

Here are some things to keep in mind when creating SEO friendly content on your website.

Keywords

When someone searches for something on Google, they enter “search keywords”. One of google's methods of identifying whether your content is relevant for this web user, is by looking at content on your website and deciding if your content is a good match for the keywords someone has searched for. This is just one component of the overall search ranking that google does for every website.

For every business category there are millions of search keywords, which can be classified into simple  one word searches or specific phrases. Generic keywords are specific keywords like “car” or “boat”, and are often too generic for most websites to rank highly unless you own a specific famous brand. However, it’s unlikely that people would search such a broad term as “car”. Often, they’re looking for something much more specific, like “where to buy a car in Singapore”, or “how much does a boat cost”. 

Getting the SEO basics right

1. Get a list of keywords
Create a list of short and long tail keywords, these are very specific and tend to be phrases more than single words.  For example, let’s assume your company is renting yachts. Make a list of short tail keywords (more generic) that are related to yachts, like “boats”, “ships”, “water”, “sailboats”, and a list of long tail keywords (more specific) like “renting a yacht”, “where to rent yachts in Singapore”, “how much does it cost to rent a yacht”.

2. Check the Keyword Planner
To help you better determine the correct long tail keywords check out Google's Keyword Planner.  This tool shows you how many people are actually searching for your keywords. It will also suggest different variations on your phrases or keywords plus their search volume. How many keywords you target will depend on the services you offer. There's no definitive rule but anything over 20 keywords is too many.

3. Add keywords to pages
Now that you have a keyword list, it’s time to optimise them throughout your website. Here are the five most important places to include your keywords:

  • Page Titles
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Headings and Content
  • Image Titles and Alt Text
  • URLs

You should also include them in pages that get the most traffic (page views).

4. Create content around keywords
To improve your keyword ranking, you should create content around the keywords you have selected. Think of it as giving your visitors value before they commit to a purchase. Using the example of a yacht rental company, think about why people would want to rent a yacht. Is it for a birthday party or a weekend getaway? What are some of the concerns they may have? Price? Safety? With this, you can create a list of topics with your selected keywords.

5. Link building
Links to your website also help when it comes to SEO. Approach business partners, ask for customer reviews, issue press releases or create content people want to share. The more links directing people to your site, from quality sources, the higher your site will rank when it comes to SEO.

Summary

  • Successful SEO is a tactic to get your website to organically appear at the top of Google search results.
  • Check Google's Keyword Planner for search volume and different keyword suggestions.
  • Spend time carefully choosing keywords that cover both words and expressions users are likely to type into Google.
  • Regularly create new and engaging content related to your keywords.
  • Ask partners or customers to link to your website

 

 

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