A strong online presence is crucial for any business owner who is serious about growing and succeeding in the modern marketplace. Yet having a fantastic website is only the first chapter in the overall story. Even the most visually stunning, well-written website will be ineffective if it is not seen by the right audience at the right time.
Without active, motivated website visitors, your site will fail to convert customers and elicit a worthwhile return on your investment.
Paid advertising has its place, but as a small business owner, you are well-advised to undertake SEO. Whether you pay a professional expert SEO provider to deliver an ongoing campaign for maximum results or elect to go it alone, SEO (search engine optimisation) is the key to enhancing your online visibility so that your target audience will find you when they are most likely to be seeking your services.
What is SEO?
In simplest terms, SEO is a series of “invisible” signals which alert Google and other search engines to your site and its value to your audience. This encourages the search engine to rank it highly on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Some of these signals are located off your site, and these require the insight and expertise of a professional SEO provider to affect. Offsite SEO is a complex and time-consuming endeavour.
Other signals, however, are located on your website, and it is these which you can easily implement to help harness the power of organic search engine results.
A Basic SEO Checklist for Small Business
Select the Right Keyword Targets
Your target keywords reflect the search terms your prospective customers or clients are most likely to use when performing an online search for your products or services. Choosing the ideal keywords is critical from the outset – though these can be tweaked as time goes on if necessary. They need to be:
- Relevant but not obscure
- Competitive but not over-targeted
- High-volume in terms of search activity
- Locality-based if you are a local business
Including these search terms in your home and landing page content is the key to your site being ranked by Google for these terms.
Without text, Google has nothing to rank! You must create high-quality, well-written textual content on your website to reflect your offering and your keyword targets, as well as to comply with your brand identity and suit your target audience.
It includes an authority page for each of your targets – i.e. your home page and your relevant landing pages. These should each include at least 350 words of unique content and you must not copy-paste content across your website.
Every page of your website requires a meta title, meta description, and H1 tag which reflect the focus keyword or phrase for that page. The URL should also incorporate the focus keyword.
High quality, relevant and appealing visual content is key to captivating an engaging your online audience. It is also a wonderfully effective way to showcase your brand and what you offer. All images, videos, infographics etc must include an IMG ALT tag and the keyword for that page should be incorporated into the file name.
Statistically, any page which takes longer than three seconds to load will lose its audience. Your site must function seamlessly.
This means optimising it for clear, simple navigation; fast and reliable loading speed across all pages; smooth operation and optimisation across different devices for iOS, Android, tablet, laptop, and desktop users. Ensure every page on the site is accessible within three clicks of the home page and try to keep folds on the page between three and five as an optimum guide.
Maintain Dynamic Content
A dynamic site is a site which will rank. Without dynamic content, Google will view your site as stale and even “parked”- if you don’t care enough to pay attention to your site, why should Google? One effective way to maintain a dynamic site is to publish an onsite blog – ideally, this will be weekly or fortnightly, but at least monthly.
Create original, quality content that is entertaining, informative, and relevant to your brand, industry, or niche. Include a focus keyword for every article and backlink to the relevant landing page on your website.
- Link to each landing page from your home page via the relevant keyword/phrase.
- Ask suppliers, partners, friends, and customers to link to your website and via their social media profiles.
- Contact other businesses and bloggers to seek linking to your premium content.
- Find good backlinks your competitors are using via Ahrefs.com and seek to replicate these.
Include Prominent Contact Information
Authenticity and transparency are crucial. You must include your physical address and telephone or mobile number in your contact details and these should be clearly visible on every page of your website – within the header or footer at the very least.
Incorporate a Social Presence
Social media provides an additional level of authority and shareability for your website and maintaining a social presence is an effective way to engage your audience, share your blog, generate new leads, and provide backlinks. Include social media sharing buttons on each page of your website.
In Conclusion: SEO Checklist
Implementation of the above mentioned suggestions gives your website a solid foundation for success in terms of SEO.
While the best results will only be achieved with a comprehensive onsite and offsite ongoing professional SEO campaign conducted by an experienced SEO company, you can and will achieve some improvement in your online visibility when you provide high-quality, engaging content combined with these tips.
This directly translates to more leads, more brand awareness, more paying customers – and greater growth and profitability for your small business.
About the Author
SEOcycle is a leading SEO company and web design agency based in Sydney’s northwest. Our focus lies with small and medium-sized business clients and we work collaboratively with them to deliver bespoke digital solutions to get seen online by the right audience at the right time. We proudly work with clients throughout Australia and worldwide.