Tech-savvy SMEs have long understood the power of search engine optimisation (SEO). The ability to bump your company’s website up search engine rankings with the use of keywords, fresh content and robot-attracting bits of code means having a greater online profile, increased traffic and, of course, more business. But some SMEs are still in the dark about digital marketing and too many enterprises remain clueless about SEO or underestimate its impact. And others make basic errors that could waste their time and effort or even damage their firm.
- Almost 80 per cent of smaller firms have heard of SEO, according to Google’s own keyword planner could help you discover what people are really looking for. Registering with the Google Search Console will also help you see if the search engine can understand your site’s content, and how you might improve your offering.
- Don’t forget your alt texts – the keywords or phrases embedded in a document to explain the content of images on your site. These can also bring in valuable traffic.
- And don’t go overboard. If you’ve packed your site chock full of lots of different keywords, rather than using them organically and sensibly, it could damage your SEO ranking rather than enhance it.
Mind the gaps
Are there any broken or invalid links on your site? This won’t help your SEO at all, and will frustrate customers if they ever make it to your landing page. And be careful about how many gizmos and visual tricks, such as flash and scripts, you use. They may look good, but it’s more things to go wrong and the hard content – what you say and what you’re selling – is what people really care about.
How often do you update?
Gaining – and keeping – healthy search engine rankings partially depends on making sure your website has new and frequently updated content. You should be doing this every few days, rather than weeks or months. Too many small business owners get their internet presence up and running, then leave it untended to become quickly out-of-date and stale. You want accurate and precise descriptions of your products and services and the site overall should be easy for visitors to navigate. Make sure important information like business contact details are prominently placed and quick to locate. You could also arrange to link to partner websites or other firms that compliment your business’s efforts. These are all ways to attract more people to your business’ website.
Make sure you’re mobile-enabled
You probably carry a smartphone of your own and use it to make internet searches on the move. Then, why haven’t you ensured your own company’s site is mobile compatible?
- Three out of four UK SMEs has a site that doesn’t work on mobile devices, research by Yellow Pages owner hibu found.
- Electricians are the worst, with 82 per cent not mobile-enabled, with beauty salons (79 per cent) and hairdressers (78 per cent) not far behind and two-thirds of restaurants, hotels and B&Bs also missing out on mobile traffic.
- Yet, 85 per cent of people use their phones to research local businesses and services, one Google study found, with 81 per cent taking action as a result.
This neglect really matters to small businesses, even more so since April. It was then Google made changes to its search processes, now including those made on mobile devices in its ranking algorithms. If firms haven’t already enabled their websites for mobile use then they could be in danger of dropping even further down the search rankings from all those lost search opportunities.
If you don’t understand or haven’t got the time, ask the experts
All of the above might boggle some business owners and make them determined to put their head in the sand. But there are paid-for SEO tools that can help you manage all of your efforts, such as Serps.com. Independent consultants could also be hired to handle your SEO and other digital needs if you haven’t the time or inclination to tackle this yourself. But a good place to start is with the godfather of search engines, Google itself. It offers lots of further SEO tips and advice on improving your site structure, content, how to use SEO for mobile devices. Moz is another reputable source that offers a fantastic (and free) guide to SEO for beginners. Whatever you do, do something to improve your search ranking and ensure your business online is working as effectively as possible.