Unfortunately there’s no magic SEO solution which just places your business at the top of Google. Many companies past and present have spent vast sums of money trying to achieve this and it’s just not realistic. There are hundreds and thousands of blogs and articles online that will give you the latest trick or hacks to cheat your way to the top, but ultimately they never work in the long run.
Google’s search algorhythm is so advanced and is constantly evolving, there’s no doubt it will punish your website eventually. However all is not lost, there are definitely things you can do to improve the chances of your business rising to the top of the rankings!
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, this is the process of increasing the visibility of websites in search engine results. We will try organic SEO which means were just focussed on getting your website to the top of Google naturally without paying for advertising slots or a pay per click campaign.
Being a non-technical business owner what can I do?
Adding Quality Content
Content is KING, it really is that simple. If you have engaging content your site WILL get noticed. There is no substitute for adding original content. It’s like anything, the more effort you put in, the more rewards there will be. Websites that are regularly updated generally receive higher ratings by search engines.
Adding news or blog items is a great way to keep your site fresh. It’s worth noting that placing large amounts of information that has been copied from other websites will have a negative impact on your ranking score. So that’s why it’s so important to create original content.
When you add new content to your site, shout about it! Tweet it, Facebook it, update your LinkedIn status. Try to reach as many different mediums as possible, because it’s all about getting maximum exposure. The more people seeing your content the more links will be created back to your website. This in-turn will increase your website’s PageRank (which is mentioned below)
This is one of the most important factors of Google search’s ranking system. It effectively represents how respected your web page is (on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the highest). The value is determined by the quality of relevant links pointing to your website.
So for example getting a business relating to plumbing linking that links through to an accountant website will not have a great impact, as this is not relevant at all! However if you got your site featured in a similar industry website as yours (especially busy ones) this would be extremely beneficial.
Remember there are over 200 other factors that determine search rankings so don’t just rely purely on PageRank.
To check your PageRank you can get a free browser add-on, there quick and easy to setup.
Link Text Descriptions
Search engines use the text of the link you click to help determine what’s inside the page your about to visit. So the more descriptive links you have the more chance the search engine will find it!
So consider the following examples below:
Bad – “for more information about tax returns click here”
Good – “Want to know more about tax returns?”
Click here doesn’t give the search engine any clue about what’s in the link without actually visiting it.
Google offers a great free resource in Webmaster Tools. It’s an essential for any business owner. It allows you to easily inspect the health of your website. You will need to firstly verify ownership of your domain and then your away! Some of the main things to check are:
Broken Links – You should check your broken links weekly as these can crop up from time to time and will harm your sites ranking.
Sitemap – Add a sitemap to your website, you can do this by free with online sitemap generators, these help search engines crawl your website and let them know which sections of your website get updated more regularly. It’s basically like a big treasure map for search engines!
HTML Improvements – This might be something the website administrator has to deal with, however these are extremely important and need addressing because Google is basically giving you free advice on how to improve your website markup! Take notice!
There’s lots of goodies inside Google Webmaster Tools, check out there video below:
FREE business directories
Getting maximum exposure for your business is never a bad thing, these websites allow you to post all your key information about your business on already existing well ranked websites. Most importantly they allow you to post your website address which will link back to your website and get you much valued SEO points!
Tips for the more Technically orientated Business Owner
What is a clean URL (uniform resource locater – or link to most people!)? A clean URL is a user-friendly link that is easily readable. This makes it much easier for people to remember. It also gives search engines more of a chance to find what content will be displayed on that page.
Bad – www.example.co.uk/static/Browse/9849849/c_1/3354t343Garden%20List%20Limit-50/c_2/product_list_1203801283012.html
Good – www.example.co.uk/outside-and-garden
Keywords – Ignore them! In the past search engines used Meta Tags before they got abused by website owners by slipping non relevant keywords to help boost rankings. Google doesn’t now use any of the keywords in ranking web pages, spend this time on adding quality content as mentioned above.
One thing you can do is search for what keywords people type to get to your website with Google Keywords. This gives you an insight into what your users want. You can also check to see the popularity of searches relating to your website.
Description – These are important for displaying an introductory paragraph about the page in the search engine results list. These need to interest the user enough for them to visit your site, so they need to be relevant.
How does the Google search engine work?
The best way in which to climb the SEO ladder is to understand how search engine works. This video by Google gives some transparency to business owners and will hopefully explain how it all works.
Do I need to worry about other Search Engines?
YES! This article caters primarily for Google search, although other search engines benefit from using these best practices.
- Bing Search
- Yahoo Search
- Ask Search
- Dogpfile (Looks through all search engines)