5 steps to effective SEO

To many small business owners, search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of those bewildering technical terms used when discussing website marketing. But SEO is more than just a technical requirement for your website, it determines; how your customers find you, where you rank on search engines, and how you can optimise your presence across other websites to increase your searchability.

Done correctly, SEO can be one of the most valuable marketing tools for a small business to drive organic traffic to your website. More web traffic means more engagement, more engagement means more sales. So where do you start?

Here are our 5 steps to effective SEO.

1. Research your keywords

Keywords or phrases are what your potential customers enter on search engines, such as Google, to find information about your business or products. Therefore the keywords you use, are critical to ensuring your SEO efforts are successful.

Firstly, you need to identify the keywords that best describe your content and that match your target audience’s needs. Compile a list of; your products and services, their key features, and their benefits - how does the product or service meet or satisfy your customers' needs. Think, of the experience your customers are looking for!

You can now research your keyword list using a keyword lookup tool. Google Ads Keyword Planner, AdWords & SEO Keyword Permutation Generator, IMforSMB Bulk Keyword Generator, and Soovle are a few quick and easy tools for providing insight into search volume and also keyword trends. Yes, keywords change over time so your content needs to as well.

2. Create quality keyword rich content

Now that you have your list of optimal keywords, it’s time to start using them and to create engaging content that will compel your target audience. Engaging content answers questions about your business, products and services, it provides valuable insights your customers can use, and it educates through quality and relevant information.

Remember to use appropriate keywords and phrases in all content, but don’t ‘overuse’ or repeat keywords over and over as this effects search engine algorithms negatively. In addition to lowering your ranking on search engines, repetitive keywords and phrases are also likely to disengage your audience.

3. Optimise your website with keywords

To get the most out of your website and to maximise searchability across search engines, it’s critical that your website’s SEO utilises your optimal keywords list you identified in Step 1. Our key hints are:

  • Include your primary keyword in the headline and/or subheading of each webpage and make sure the headline is interesting. You want visitors to read your page and comment, share or buy, not just click on it.  
  • Include secondary keywords that logically complement the primary keyword, but again, don’t over stuff with too many keywords.
  • Don’t forget to include “rich” content or relevant images, infographics, charts or videos as these add value to content and improve page ranking across search engines.
  • Be sure you don’t overlook your page tags and URLs, these are the perfect place to include your primary keywords.
  • Review each webpage again and look for additional places where you can naturally place keywords. Check content, headings, images, image descriptions, page names, downloadable document names, page URLs. You may be surprised at what opportunities you miss the first, and even the second time around.

4. Create backlinks on other sites

Backlinks are links from one website to a page on another website. Search engines such as Google determine how valuable, authoritative, and useful content is by the use of backlinks. Essentially, the more credible places that link back to your website, the higher your ranking on search engines.

So how do you generate backlinks?

One of the simplest ways of getting backlinks is by creating high quality pages. You want authoritative content that other bloggers, industry experts, journalists and influencers will want to share and link back to your site. Great content can also establish you as a knowledge expert whereby you may be sought out specifically for your expertise.

Think your content is the right fit for another website's audience? Take the initiative and promote them to relevant online publications that are often appreciative of receiving great content from credible sources to backlink to. You’ve got nothing to lose.

Business suppliers are also a simple way of getting backlinks. Do you sell other companies’ products? It’s totally acceptable to ask to be listed as one of the sellers of a manufacturer’s or supplier’s products.

Also think about associations and groups that you may be a member of. Business associations and organisations bring together businesses in the the one forum, such as your local Chamber of Commerce. Their members directory is typically the place for your business to be listed. Don't underestimate the reach of member based websites, they can be the ideal channel for generating valuable leads. 

5. Track your SEO score and improve

Why is it important to know your SEO score? Your SEO Score is a measure of how well the user-facing and technical aspects of your website contribute to search engine optimisation. Basically, how effective is your website SEO. Importantly, your score can help you determine your search engine ranking and provide you the insight you need for optimising your SEO and ultimately improving organic traffic.

There are a number of free SEO audit tools that will analyse your website and provide you with your SEO Score. Where most free SEO audits provides a general overview of what needs improving, a paid for SEO “health-check” will list in detail, which pages, links, tags and images and other elements of your sites SEO are broken or require updating.

Want to leave it to an SEO expert?

If managing your SEO isn’t for you, then there are lots of options and organisations able to take the burden away from you. Just remember, many will want you to commit to a monthly service over a minimum six month period, and will charge a high fixed rate for the privilege. As a small business, the best approach is to; first set up your website SEO, create some backlinks, and track your SEO ranking every two to three months. This will give you the opportunity to track site traffic, search engine ranking, and then make the necessary changes to improve.

If you would like to know how JMARC Consulting can help you with your SEO strategy, email us at info@jmarcconsulting.com