It’s our belief here at Business Tech Services that Startups should have a basic understanding of SEO and optimise their site before launch, continuing to optimise going forward. New to the world of SEO?
Here we run through the basics and give some top tips on building streams of organic (free) traffic to your small business website.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is an acronym thrown about in most digital marketing and eCommerce teams, but may not be so widely understood by startups and small businesses.
In really simple terms, search optimisation is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility to potential customers when they search the internet.
If you have ever launched a site in the past, you may have been sick with excitement the day you pressed publish on your website builder. However, excitement may have faded as you realised that without a direct link to the site customers were just not finding you in search.
SEO ultimately costs nothing but time and knowledge, unlike its expensive cousin, PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising. However, it really does pay to put aside a budget as part of your marketing strategy.
And here’s why.
SEO is a really effective way of getting your website onto the first page of Google to ensure that anyone searching for a product or service finds you, but it’s not fast. You need to formulate a self-sustaining SEO strategy or get support from a knowledgeable agency.
Google uses web crawlers (sometimes known as spiders) to scan and index web pages. They look through the content on the page and match the relevant pages to the users search query using an algorithm.
This algorithm uses keywords to determine how relevant the content of the page will be to the user. This is where SEO comes in!
If you have recently launched a new website either through a developer or website builder then learn more about how you can start to get your website ranking.
If you are in the process of choosing a domain name for a new business website then read our blog; Why Your URL Choice Matters to understand the SEO implications of your URL.
So what makes startup SEO or SEO for a newly launched site different from regular SEO?
Not a lot to be fair. They are both 'mountains' (so to speak). It’s more the height of the mountain that startups have to climb which can be a problem. Measure yourself against your favourite brand and the SEO requirements will be the same for them and you.
The difference? You don’t have that much time to get this right! Everyone is frantically doing the same things, optimising their sites for that prized spot on page 1.
This is how you boost the traffic to your website and jumpstart your organic search traffic…
#1 Make the most of free SEO Tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Here you can gain a better understanding of how customers reach your pages (where that traffic comes from, what they have searched once on your site) and which pages convert better than others.
#2 Shout about your 'link worthy' site. Encourage other sites with authority to link to your site to increase SEO. The more the better
#3 Content is King! Create a content strategy and spend time (or pay for an agency or freelancer's time) to create unique, bespoke content in the form of a blog. Don’t forget that search engines want you to write for humans first and search engines second...
#4 Use your social media accounts to build traffic and send it to your site
#5 Slow site speed can really have a negative impact on SEO. Use a free site speed checker such as PageSpeed Insights to gain a better understanding of how your site is performing on mobile and desktop and ways to speed it up.
#6 Mobile optimisation is exactly what it sounds like, ensuring that the mobile version of your site renders flawlessly. It also accounts for local search because most mobile users are looking for local results. (We cover Local SEO further on)
#7 Meta optimisation is ensuring that tags that are hidden and seen by your customer are all fully optimised in length and with keywords - without being keywords stuffed!
#8 Use email acquisition once visitors land followed up by a strong email marketing campaign to send returning visitors back.
Local SEO is a strategy that helps your business be visible in local search results. For example, you may be a 'Hairdresser in Cheshire' who wants to rank on the first page for this search term.
The first thing that you need to do to achieve this is to set up your Google my Business account for free! Customers are much more likely to engage with a local business near to them, and local SEO's job is to send targeted traffic to your website.
If you have a bricks and mortar store then yes, and if your customers are based in a city or area then yes, such as you provide a service to a local area.
As well as creating a Google My Business account you can also improve organic local ranking by getting reviews from happy customers on Google and Facebook, creating content optimised with local news and keywords and using location pages such as a location specific 'About Us' page featuring your companies Address and phone number.
Rank / Ranking
Website position in the search engine results page
No paid methods to obtain high search rankings
Text that helps your pages rank high in search rankings
Content that appears on one or more pages
To find and research search terms that users enter into search engines
Longer phrases that users enter into search engines
Too many keywords added to content or meta, considered web spam and not natural. Google frowns upon this
SERP - Search Engine Results Page
How trusted your website is. Trusted by its users (how relevant and useful the content is), trusted by industry experts (do other people backlink to your site), and by search engines (do you rank on page 1?)
A link from another website to yours. A backlink is a reference comparable to a citation, so the more authority the linking site has the better for your SEO
Optimising web pages with title tags, descriptions, and tags
SEO actions taken to improve SEO outside of own website such as improving backlinks
Black Hat / White Hat
Deceptive SEO designed to make Google think that a site provides more value to users than it actually does, it's known as Black Hat SEO. If it genuinely does add value then it’s White Hat SEO
User Intent / Search Intent
The goal a user has when searching in a search engine
Meta Title Tags
The (max 60 character) title of a web page, displayed in Search Engine result snippets as well as the page's tab in browsers. Also known as "title tag" or "page title"
A (max 160 character) element that summaries the content on that web page
Heading that used as an on-page title
Also known as structured data, code used to provide more information to search engines about your content
Mostly used with images, a short description letting the search engine know why the image is relevant to the content on the page
Uniform Resource Locator, more commonly known as a "web address"
The part of the URL which comes after the domain name. Example URL www.examplewebsite.co.uk/slug
The planning and design of your site including the hierarchy of pages
When a search engine sends a bot to a web page to read and understand the content of the page to know if it’s relevant for a user query
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