If you’re a small business owner and want more free traffic to your web site, then you need to know about SEO.
The online world seems simple; create a website, add some content, maybe even a few blog posts and then share on social media – right? You could do that, and it may interest some of your existing friends and followers but to get your site seen further afield you need to be more strategic, using Search Engine Optimisation.
In basic terms, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a way of driving traffic to your website through a search engine’s organic ranking system – i.e. improving how high your website organically (not paid) features on Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. when searching a particular term.
When using a search engine like Google, results are ranked using an algorithm which determines the ‘best’ results and places them further towards the top – where you want to be.
So, how do you get there?
There are a variety of SEO methods that can improve your website’s search engine rankings and many of these will be discussed at our webinar with James Eaton on Friday 4th September. In this post, we’ll be focussing on keywords and how to use them to optimise your site for search engines.
Keywords are the most essential part of SEO, but how do you find them? Here’s a simple 5-step process for researching the keywords that will help your business climb the search engine ranks.
1. Know your market
It’s likely that you will have a good understanding of what your customer wants from your business, but to truly benefit from SEO you need to focus on exactly who your customers are – the geographic and the demographic.
The best starting point for this is to define whether you are targeting a local, national or international audience as these will all require different strategies.
Secondly, think about how your prospects will interact with your website – via desktop or smartphone? You can optimize your site for both online experiences but other aspects like keywords and content should be more targeted at your specific audience.
2. Drive traffic
Searches on Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines tend to fall into two categories; those showing immediate buying intent and those looking for information to make a purchase at a later date (or possible conversions if your site is successful).
The pages on your website should also reflect these two categories. For example, the pages that host your products or services should focus on keyword which reflect immediate buying intent like; ‘Plumbers near me’, ‘xyz consultants in Portsmouth’, ‘Local eyelash salons’, ‘Local BMW dealerships’, and other specific product or service information.
The pages on your website which simply offer information e.g. a blog page, should focus on keywords which reflect the needs of people who are either not ready to purchase or are simply looking for information. These would be long-tail key words and look something like this; ‘What/ why’ how do I build a desktop PC?’, or ‘What performance is the new 1080 GPU?’, or ‘How do I perm my eyelashes at home?’. Answering these questions on your site is a great way to drive traffic, generate authority and trust through your expertise and get your prospective customers one click away from conversion.
Make note of these ideas and start building your keyword database, ensuring you split them into accurate categories; product/ service-focused and information-focused.
3. Key word research
Once you’ve started building the foundations of your database it’s time to start fleshing it out. Research is vital for SEO and there are plenty of ways to do it – in fact, we recommend trying all of them to make sure you’re getting a broader scope of ideas.
The first and easiest technique is using Google to ‘autocomplete’ your search. Type in a keyword with a space before or after. Then, instead of clicking enter, look at all the search suggestions related to that keyword.
Next, head to forum sites like Quora and Reddit to hear people’s questions relating to one of your keywords. This is great for understanding what queries your potential customers have about your products or services – as an expert in your field it can be hard to communicate to beginners, so these forums provide great insight.
You can also look at what your competitors are doing. Check out the content on their websites and pay close attention to headers and meta tags to see what’s working well for them.
Keep an eye out for recurring keywords and phrases – it’s important to differentiate between short tail (1 or two words) and long tail (full query or sentence) when building your database. Long tail searches tend to be less competitive so are a great place to focus your attention until your website gains more traction and authority.
4. Define which is ‘best’
Search volumes are important for understanding exactly how many times a certain keyword or phrase has been searched, and therefore how likely it is to help your SEO. Search volumes are measured monthly and can give you invaluable insight into the search behaviours of your prospects. There are various tools and software that can produce these figures or you can outsource this information through an agency like Digital Scientists.
You can begin to implement your research in a number of different ways but first and foremost, it’s important to make sure your website is user-friendly. Spend some time ensuring your site is easy to navigate and visually appealing, this will help you generate backlinks and authority. Then, start with on-page optimisation, this means using your research to optimise your headings and subheadings, meta titles, content descriptions and any images you use on your website.
To learn more about SEO for Small Businesses check out the webinar with expert James Eaton in the Bizmosis® Academy.
This article was written in collaboration with James Eaton. You can find out more about James and his SEO services on his website: https://www.digital-scientists.co.uk/