If you’re an Australian small business owner, entrepreneur or even a Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) you should know that SEO is pivotal to your success.
As a guide to SEO for small businesses, this article will take you through the basics and show you why you should start today on SEO.
Great content deserves great ranking.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving the visibility of a target website in the listings of search engines (primarily Google).
SEO is a strategy that involves a series of tactics of Optimization for a website to be :
- Listed in Google and other search engines
- Indexed so that it is ‘ranked’, with the sites Google (or search engines) feels are more important and useful being closer to the top of their listings
- Associated with keywords – either keywords the search engines finds when it ‘crawls’ (i.e. reads) the website and its contents, or by implementing SEO best practices to align the website in the search engine for preferred (chosen) keywords.
SEO is generally broken down into two types :
- On-site/on-page SEO – these are SEO tactics that can be implemented on the target site
Off-site/off-page SEO – these are SEO tactics used on different sites to the target site, usually to refer back to the target site (back linking)
Why is SEO so important for small businesses?
So if you have a website for your Australian small business, how do you find traffic?
Many people make the mistake of creating a website and assuming people will find it, but on the whole – they don’t.
The first reason SEO for small businesses is so pivotal is because if the search engine does not know about your site, no amount of searching in it will find your site – which means potential customers cannot do so either.
Once a site is listed on a search engine, that’s only the start of SEO for small businesses.
When people search for small businesses on a search engine, they generally only search the first couple of pages – and often only the first couple of listings.
So, if your site is listed on the search engine but far down in the rankings, it is only marginally better than not existing at all.
Maybe potential customer will find it, but only a very small, small amount – and even then, it would be luck above anything that takes them to your site.
Last but not least, the most important part of SEO for small businesses is to ensure a prominent listing for associated keywords that people are actually searching for.
A good example would be if a motor vehicle repair garage in Perth specialised in BMW repairs, good keywords to feature for would be something like ‘BMW repair Perth’ or ‘BMW service Perth’.
So how do small businesses implement SEO?
There are generally two ways – through expert, professional SEO agencies, companies or freelancers, or a business could do their own SEO ‘in-house’.
However, cheap does not always mean good value. For example, whilst it may seem a lot cheaper to try to learn and implement SEO oneself, it could end up costing far more in the long run. Here’s why :
- SEO is very much a constantly-changing practice, as Google is constantly tweaking its rankings and crawling of sites. What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow, and only SEO professionals will be aware of the latest best practice.
- It’s highly possible poor SEO implementation could actually harm your site in the ‘eyes’ of a search engine and actually be demoted in its listings.
- If you’ve made a mess of SEO by doing it yourself, you’ll likely need to bring in an SEO professional to fix your mess – and do the work you tried to do in the first place – which will cost more money that it would have done originally!
A brief overview of SEO for small businesses
- SEO Audit – an SEO company will review your site as it stands today, and produce a report to highlight areas for improvement.
- On-page SEO – advice will be given how a site could be amended to improve SEO, which could include formatting of text, headlines, internal and external links, plugins, themes and the technical functionality of the site. Page loading speed alone is one of the key factors Google judges a site as good or bad.
- Off-site SEO – this is generally where other sites will link to yours, thus creating an impression of ‘authority’ in the search engine rankings. The more and better a site is linked from other sites, the higher it will be featured.
- Keyword research – for SEO to truly work well, a site needs to be associated with competitive keywords (i.e. keywords that it will rank for when searched) but also keywords that are popular and relevant.
- Long-term SEO checks – once a site is listed and ranked in a search engine, regular checks and amendments are needed to keep a prominent listing. New content need to be added, new keywords added and backlinks from other sites still need to be acquired.