SEO (search engine optimization) is one of the most important marketing techniques for businesses these days. However, if you’re just launching your small business website, the amount of information available can be daunting.
There is so much advice being dished out about SEO that it’s often hard to know where to start. So here’s a guide to the absolute basics to focus on at the start.
Once you’ve got these in place, then you can start to look at more advanced techniques for boosting your ranking in the search engines.
Get a Mobile-Friendly Website
A good SEO strategy begins before you even launch your website. The world is becoming increasingly mobile, and more people are accessing websites on their smartphones and tablets than ever before.
Google now takes a mobile-first approach, and it recently updated its algorithms so that mobile-friendly sites now have priority in the mobile search results. That means if you don’t have a mobile-optimized website, you are potentially missing out on vast amounts of traffic.
The recommendation is that you launch a website that is fully responsive so that visitors can enjoy a positive user experience no matter which devices they are using to access your site.
Hire an expert in web design who also knows about SEO so that you have a site that will help rather than hinder your SEO efforts.
Google’s aim is to provide its users with websites that offer a good user experience, and one of the most important factors in any website is that its pages are fast to load.
When you launch your website, make sure you use a developer who will ensure your web pages load quickly. This might involve using a fast web host as well. Don’t miss out on traffic because your beautiful website takes an age to load.
By speeding up your site, you will also provide a better user experience to your visitors, which can convert into more sales.
Another factor to consider is Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). These are web pages that load faster, and while they are not a ranking factor yet, that may change, so it’s worth considering using these.
Once you’ve setup your website, you will want to carry out some keyword research. This involves finding the keywords that you most want to rank for so that you can use them in your content to tell the search pages what your site is about.
Keyword research can be as basic as creating a list of keywords that you think your customers are using. But you will get better results by finding out the exact keywords that are being searched for, along with the search volumes, so you can build a most comprehensive list.
You can do this by using specialist tools, including free tools like the AdWords Keyword Planner from Google.
Keyword research is so important, and it is so fundamental to the rest of your SEO strategy, that it could be worth hiring a specialist to help you with this. They will have access to industry-leading tools, and their knowledge and expertise will be invaluable.
Once you have a list of keywords, including long-tail keywords, to optimize for, you can start working on your on-page SEO.
On-page SEO basically involves everything you do on your actual website to influence your SEO. Page loading times and site structure are part of on-page SEO, but the main focus will be on creating content that utilizes your main keywords effectively,
The way to do this is to create a web page for each service or product that you sell and to build the content around one or two of the most important keywords. Use the keyword in the title, URL, headline, and sub-headings, but be careful not to keyword stuff.
As well as your main website pages, focus on creating content regularly in the form of a blog. Choose one or two keywords for each blog post, then write the content around these. Publish them regularly, and this will help you to rank for more keywords over the months and years as you build up more content gradually.
As well as on-page SEO, you will also want to focus on SEO techniques off your website. The main thing to do is build links from authority websites in your niche, and this is easier to do when you are publishing high-quality content on a regular basis.
You will also want to add your site to relevant directories, and you should also get involved in social media marketing to share your content and build links naturally.
Get Your SEO Strategy Up and Running
There is a lot more to SEO than the above techniques, but these will give you an excellent base upon which to grow. So launch your website, create content, and start building links, then you can move onto other SEO techniques over the coming months to boost your search rankings even further.
James Kerr is a tech entrepreneur, speaker, writer, and philanthropist. He’s founder and Chief Geek of SuperGeeks, a multinational IT powerhouse that serves small- and mid-sized businesses in the areas of digital marketing, web design, SEO and more. A native of Maryland, James lives in Las Vegas but frequently travels to speak to industry groups about emerging technologies. He’s also a go-to IT expert for a wide array of media outlets. James is the author of three books, sits on several nonprofit boards and founded a mentoring program for at-risk youth.