Search engines such as Google and Bing don’t search in the millions – they search through billions of pages to get you what you want I’d wager thid to be Facebook 99% of the time). This presents a problem for small & medium sized businesses – how can their website compete with literally millions of others? This post offers practical, low budget tips to get the page visits flooding in.
Search engine optimization is a collection of strategies, tactics and general sneakiness used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine. So instead of appearing on the 5th page and being practically dead to the online world, you appear on the first where the chances of grabbing the users attention greatly increases.
- Create unique, accurate page titles that properly reflect your business/webpage. What’s more, creating a unique title for each page increases search optimization, as it lets the search engine know that each page is individual. So – if you’re an online business selling novelty hats, consider changing your Title from ‘Hats that look ridiculous when you wear them’ to include some of the following keywords – ‘Cheap’, ‘headwear’, ‘hat’, ‘buy’, ‘fun’ etc.
- Including a meta tag allows you to describe the page and derive search results from this description, even though the phrases searched for don’t directly appear in the webpage. Overall this greatly increases the chance of your page being a hit.
- Know your competitors! Analyse their descriptions, titles, anything – and more importantly, make sure that yours is differentiated from theirs where possible. This decreases the likelihood of them appearing alongside your site and stealing your market share.
- A sitemap is a simple page on your site that displays the structure of your website, and usually consists of a hierarchical listing of the pages on your site. As well as making the website more customer friendly and enjoyable to use, a separate sitemap can be created specifically for search engines to use – making it as easy as possible for them to search the site for relevance – after all, computers and human beings respond to different things.
Finally, be good at what you do. Interesting content, amazing visuals and gorgeous design will attract visitors and increase the chance of repeat visits. Increased reputation will prompt Google to host your site higher up the rankings – it’s their job to give the user what they desire – and if it’s your website, Google will cooperate.
Depending on your budget, hiring a professional to manage your SEO could be the way forward. Companies such as Jellyfish and RankingCoach offer this service, creating a unique SEO campaign for your business. They seem to work too – read some of these case studies regarding what is possible with professional help. I would recommend a business to take this approach, because the stakes are often too high to undertake a less informed DIY approach – the potential difference an extra 600 page visits a month can make is huge. Additionally, what happens if your SEO strategy is ineffective? Professionals will also use complex methods which may not be feasible for a SME owner – after all your area of expertise is business, not IT. Any error in the sitemap you have designed could cause indexation issues ultimately leading to your website not appearing anywhere in the google search engine. Likewise poor SEO management will effect site ranking and consequently the crawl budget Google assigns to your website, again increasing the risk of the site being removed from the index.
We’ve barely scratched the surface of SEO, so if you’d like to continue reading please read this guide provided by Google themselves.