For any small business SEO is the great equaliser in the online marketplace.
But SEO (search engine optimisation) is a tricky business.
Google makes hundreds of changes to its search algorithms every year.
Most adjustments are negligible.
But they could seriously affect your search ranking if you don’t pay attention.
And the competition for attention online is fierce.
With more start-ups launching and businesses ‘going digital’, it’s only getting harder to stand out.
That’s why for a small business SEO is so important.
If you get the technical side right, and have a longer term SEO content strategy in place, your small business website can compete in search with the big boys of your industry.
To help you out, here’s our list of of the Top 10 SEO practises you should follow to get ahead of the game:
Align your SEO content with search intent
Search intent, sometimes called ‘user intent’, is the purpose behind a search query.
Understanding what it is users are searching for (and their reasons) is Google’s main priority.
To rank higher on page one, you need to understand what users are expecting to find when making certain searches, and match your content to it.
For example, if your business wants to rank for ‘best SEO tools’, this is commercial intent.
The user hasn’t made their final decision yet.
They’re looking for options; usually in the form of blog posts and videos.
They’re not looking for a promotional post about why your SEO tools are the best.
Write a compelling page title and meta description
High-quality page titles and meta descriptions can help your business rank higher.
Title tags give the user a quick insight into the content on that page before they even click through.
There are several SEO practices to keep in mind when writing titles.
Include your target keywords, and keep user search intent in mind.
But avoid creating duplicate tags and keyword stuffing.
Plus, Google only displays the first 50-60 characters, so try to keep meta descriptions concise.
A meta description is a brief summary of a page (seen in SERPs) that’s displayed just below the page title.
Although it doesn’t massively impact rankings, it can influence click-through rates and persuade users to visit your website.
Or put them off if it’s badly written.
Aim to write a unique meta-description (between 155 and 160 characters) for each page.
Again, be sure to include your target keywords and consider the search intent of your target audience.
Optimise all images
Adding images to blogs, product pages and other important pages on your website can vastly improve the user’s experience.
Plus, if optimised correctly, images can also contribute to your SEO efforts and boost organic rankings too.
Three things you should do when optimising your images for SEO:
- choose a suitable file format, i.e. JPEG or PNG
- compress images (larger file sizes can affect load speed)
- add alt text to improve web accessibility
Optimise your page speed
Websites that take ages to load don’t just leave users frustrated.
They can drastically impact your rankings too.
There are several free tools out there, like SEMrush, which you can use to check your page speed.
Other SEO best practices to get your pages loading faster include deleting any unnecessary plugins, enabling browser caching, and reducing the number of redirects.
Make your site mobile-friendly
Today, being online isn’t enough.
You also need a website that offers a great user experience to people browsing on their mobile or smartphone.
This will ensure those interested in your products can find what they are looking for, no matter where they are (at home, at work, on the train or the other side of the world!) or what device they are on.
But, this isn’t just to improve the user experience (although it helps).
It’s because search engines are more likely to rank websites that are optimised for mobile over those which aren’t.
Web pages aren’t islands – or they shouldn’t be.
But many are built that way.
You get to the end of one page, then don’t get any directions or links to another page which might be useful.
That’s a mistake.
First, it means users are more likely to leave your site after visiting a single page.
Second, you’re hurting your search performance.
Internal links give Google a better understanding of the content on your pages.
When used properly, they can improve your rankings too.
For top-ranking pages that need a little boost from time to time, it’s good SEO practice to add an internal link, or two.
You’ll notice in this blog that we have links to other pages (relevant to this page) that we think you’ll find useful.
What’s more, you can use SEMrush to identify and fix broken links or any other issues.
If you’re no stranger to SEO, chances are you’ll know that backlinks are one of the most important factors Google uses when evaluating where a page should rank.
Websites that have a lot of backlinks have a greater chance of ranking higher in SERPs.
Which is why – if you don’t already – you should focus on building high-quality backlinks that can significantly boost your rankings for specific search queries.
Improve the user’s experience
Content is more important for SEO in 2020 than ever before.
You need to make sure it’s relevant, helpful and ticks all the right boxes for users.
There are a few things you can do to make your website more user-friendly.
- use subheadings (H1, H2, H3) to help Google understand your content and make the text more accessible to readers
- make your content visually appealing by using images and videos
- avoid intrusive pop-ups as they tend to annoy users
- utilise white space to make your content more readable
Create long-form content
Ok, so it goes without saying that the content on your website has to be high quality.
But pages that contain longer form content tend to get more credibility from search engines and rank better on Google.
The short answer is people prefer to get all the information they need in one place.
One of the best SEO practices for creating long form content is to figure out every question a customer might have about a topic, and make sure you answer it.
Make sure you strike a balance between search volume and keyword difficulty.
If you’re a small website then you’ll probably struggle to rank for competitive keywords.
And if they don’t have much search volume you’re just wasting time.
Search for keywords that don’t have much competition, but still have decent search volume.
Take advantage of Featured Snippets
Google is always looking at ways for users to find the information they need, as quickly as possible.
A Featured Snippet is just one of the SEO practices which have proven popular in 2020.
It usually takes the top spot on Google, above the number one organic ranking, and is referred to as “Position 0”.
Featured Snippets help drive more traffic to your site and increase clicks.
But to really take advantage of this feature, it’s advised you provide clear answers to FAQs (frequently asked questions).
This is because people don’t search for specific keywords.
They ask questions.
So if you answer it directly, you’ll feature higher in search.
Get in touch with our SEO experts today
Do you need a little support implementing these SEO best practices?
Perhaps you’d like to know more about our content marketing services, or how we can help your business to thrive?
Whatever it may be, you’re welcome to get in touch with the Paramount Digital team at any time.
You can either call 01744 747474, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in the online enquiry form and we’ll get back to you.