Why do small businesses need SEO?
If you are a small business owner with a website that shows up in the Google results when someone types in its name, you might think that you don’t need to do any more SEO, but you’d be wrong for three reasons:
1. Small businesses want to be found on search engines by new customers — if these customers knew the name of your business they wouldn’t be new.
2. The vast majority of searchers looking for products and services offered by small businesses tend to type in the products and services these small businesses offer, not their name. So unless your business can be found online for these terms you are missing out on the vast majority of potential customers.
3. Websites that rank on Google’s first page get the majority of those potential customers — up to 92% of search traffic goes to the results on the first page of Google. So unless your business can be found on search engines in the top position for all the top terms customers use to find a business like yours in your area, you need to do more SEO.
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How Google ranks organic search results
Google uses an algorithm to determine which order its unpaid results rank in. Google is constantly changing, upgrading, and updating this algorithm to improve the quality of the results it delivers. SEO is all about keeping up with these changes and offering Google everything it needs to give your site top rankings.
Google search results for Thomas Steakhouse before and after optimisation
How SEO Works
Top rankings on Google from SEO require effort in multiple areas. The first thing you need to do is make sure your website is set up correctly so that Google can find and index its content as quickly and easily as possible. We call this side of SEO technical SEO.
What is Technical SEO?
Making sure a site has the optimum technical setup for search engines to list its content favorably. Many aspects of this approach are about improving your site's functionality in two key areas: Crawlability and Indexability.
Crawlability: How easy it is for a search engine to access your website
Indexability: How difficult is it for search engines to find and list the relevant information on your site to match the terms of search queries
Another important area of Technical SEO is Mobile Accessibility (MA). This is all about delivering an experience of your website to visitors and search engines crawlers that are as least as good as the desktop experience you offer. Also note that your website should also offer a good browning experience on all major internet browsers, especially Mozilla, Google Chrome, and Safari. Sites not taking these factors into consideration could make a site inaccessible to large numbers of visitors using smartphones. This would have a direct impact on a site’s search rankings and traffic. Other key areas of technical SEO include
- Domain Name Optimisation
- Site code Optimisation
- Title tags and Heading Optimisation
- Image Optimisation
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Once you have made sure that Google can find and list your site’s content you then need to make it appear in the searches which are the most likely to drive customers and visitors to your site. To do this you need to find the words potential customers use when searching for your products and services or topics linked to them. In case you hadn’t guessed, these words and phrases are called keywords.
Finding the best keywords for SEO
Finding the best keywords for SEO isn’t as simple as picking the words with the most people searching for them. You need to do your keyword research. So, in addition to the number of people searching for a term you also need to take into consideration the competition and relevance of the keywords. In terms of competition: A front-page ranking with fewer searches is worth much more than a page 5 ranking for a search time with five times the volume. So make sure you target keywords that your website has a good chance of ranking for. Keyword tools like those found in rankingCoach FREE show you the keywords your website has a good chance of ranking for.
As for keyword relevance, you need to consider the quality of traffic that a search term delivers, bringing traffic to your website is only good if visitors stay on your pages and buy things. For instance, a site for a fashion designer in London may get many visitors for term 'handbags London' but may find that their store's products are premium quality that ‘luxury handbags London’ or ‘designer handbags London' brings more kinds of visitors who are willing to pay the store’s prices.
Google does not make the exact number of searches for each term available to people on the search engine or Google Trends, but creators of keyword tools who pay Google a fee have access to this information. rankingCoach FREE has intuitive keyword tools that include this data, so you can find the perfect keywords for your business by striking the perfect balance between keyword search volume, competitiveness, and relevance.
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On-page SEO VS Off-page SEO
Many SEO experts looking to come up with an effective SEO strategy chose to divide the different aspects of SEO into two key groups:
The process of refining web page content for search engines and users is known as on-page SEO (also sometimes referred to as "on-site SEO"). Adding Title tags, content, internal linking, and URLs are all popular on-page SEO practices.
Having said that, there's way more to on-page SEO than just stuffing keywords into the HTML code of your page that may include the following to better the outcome:
- User experience
- Bounce Rate and Dwelling Time
- Intent of search
- Page load speed
- Click-through rate
In general, off-page SEO refers to SEO activities for improving your rankings that do not directly involve your website. So changing content on your pages would be on-page SEO, but setting up a Google My Business page to attract more visitors and send Google positive ranking signals would be Off-page SEO. Other Off-Page SEO activities include link building, social media, and local SEO. A big part of Off-page SEO is creating channels that drive traffic to your website.
On-page SEO is well complemented by off-page SEO. Both are intertwined. To get the best out of your SEO strategies, you should concentrate on link building, branding, and presentation. You can refine your site how you like, but if people don't think of it as an excellent place to visit, you are unlikely to succeed.
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What is the SERP?
SERP is short for Search Engine Results Page; It is the page that Google shows users after they have typed in a search term and pressed enter. The SERP is Google’s most important page. It is the portal from which searchers choose where to go. Every result on the SERP is competing for the user's clicks. Those businesses who get the clicks, get the customers. The results on the SERP that are there because of google SEO are called organic results. The results at the top of the SERP are there because they have the best SEO strategy: the right combination of keyword-optimised content, technical SEO, on-page and off-page SEO.
Not all results on the SERP of search engines are there because of SEO. Some of the results have the words ‘ad’ written by them, these ads come from Search Engine Marketing (SEM). The paid results on Google’s SERP are called Google Ads. If you are looking for quick visibility on search engines, Google’s Ads are a good option that can be a great source of new customers.