This article was written by Max Greene is the Managing Director of Muffin Marketing.
Marketing a small business online can be a complicated and time-consuming process, and while social media and content are two of the most popular methods, it’s search engine optimisation (SEO) that can bring you the most success. In this blog, we’ve rounded up five ways that you can improve your website’s chances of ranking on search engines without any SEO knowledge.
But before we get started, a quick introduction to SEO. Search engine optimisation is the act of improving your rankings on search engines such as Google and Bing. There are lots of ways that you can improve your rankings, but some are more technical and intense than others.
The higher your website shows up when people search for products, services or information related to your niche, the more free traffic you’ll get. And every free visitor that comes to your website from search is a potential customer, so ranking high on search engines can be lucrative.
Below, we’ve put together five things that you can do to improve your SEO rank today.
1. Launch a blog and post regular content.
Perhaps one of the best ways to improve your website’s SEO and get more material indexed and ranking on search engines is to create more content. Writing a blog that’s related to your niche – for example, if you run a local bakery, then your blog could include recipes and tutorials – can help you produce more high-quality content that Google will want to rank. Then, whenever somebody searches for a recipe online, they’ll be more likely to click through to your website.
There are no hard and fast rules when deciding how much content to write, but generally, the more the better. Aim to post a blog post at least once a week, but don’t churn out content for the sake of it. Every post you write should be engaging, high-quality and provide genuine value.
There are a number of other benefits to content marketing, too. As well as the SEO boost you’ll receive, content marketing can help you to capture the email addresses of visitors by including a call to action at the bottom of posts. What’s more, you’ll increase trust and brand awareness, as potential customers will visit your website and be exposed to your brand before they buy.
2. Download a WordPress plugin.
The chances are that your small business website was built on WordPress, and if it is, you’re already ahead of websites that are built on other platforms. Indeed, Google recommends and endorses WordPress as a content management system, so it makes sense to use it if you can.
To increase your chances of ranking well, though, you should consider downloading a plugin for your website called Yoast SEO. This tool offers some great SEO functionality, analyses your content and offers suggestions and improvements to help you rank well. On top of the plugin’s keyword tools (for example, Yoast SEO allows you to add a keyword and meta description and then suggests ways that you can incorporate your keyword into your content more effectively), it will also present to you a readability score, which is important for search engines and humans.
3. List your website on directories and business groups.
Remember the Yellow Pages and other business handbooks where you’d list your information so that potential customers could find you? Online directories and business groups give you the same benefits in today’s digital age. If you run a local business, then find directories targeted towards your location, and list your website there. Not only do you get to put your business in front of a new audience, but you’ll get a link back to your website, which is good for SEO.
Directories will also include your business name, address and phone number, and publishing this NAP information on different websites increases the consistency and trustworthiness of your business, making you more likely to rank for local SEO terms.
4. Add links to your pages.
A commonly-overlooked part of SEO and something that all small business owners can get right from day one is internal linking. The more times you link between different pages on your website, the easier it will be for search engine robots to crawl your website and index all of your content. When you’re writing a new blog post, for example, then try to link back to three or four other pages on your website, like your products pages or other tutorials or blog posts.
You should also make sure that your website has a sitemap – that’s a page where all of your pages and blog posts are listed in an easy-to-crawl manner for search engines. The JetPack plugin from WordPress automatically creates sitemaps for websites; as does Yoast SEO.
5. Start guest blogging.
The final simple SEO technique that we’d like to mention today is guest blogging. If you’re a fan of writing content for your blog, then consider the benefits of writing for third-party websites as well. Not only will you get to spread the word about your business and put your name in front of a new audience, but guest blogging allows you to secure backlinks from other websites, which can boost your own website’s domain authority and help you to rank ahead of your competitors.
Just like marketing your products and services in the real world, digital marketing and search engine optimisation require time, hard work and patience, so the sooner you get started on a strategy, the better. Take on board some of the SEO tips we have offered in this article, and you’ll be ranking high on Google, Bing and Ask.com before you know it! Good luck.
About the Author: Max Greene is the Managing Director of Muffin Marketing, a marketing agency specialising in content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimisation.