Six Small Business SEO Tips to Boost Your Traffic
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In today’s online world, Google is king. And with ecommerce the fastest growing retail market in Europe, a search engine friendly site is essential for small businesses.
To achieve this, you need to carry out search engine optimisation (SEO), which can feel daunting. However, there is a lot you can do without any expert knowledge and, in many cases, it’s these changes that can make the biggest difference.
Here are six SEO tips that will help boost traffic to your site.
Begin with the Basics
If your site isn’t user-friendly and technically sound, there’s no point doing anything else on this list. First and foremost, it should be attractive to look at and easy to navigate.
You should also make sure it’s intuitively laid out and has clear headings, as well as copy and subtitles that make it easy for visitors to work out what each page is about.
Optimise with the Right Keywords
Effective keyword optimisation is central to any SEO strategy. Essentially, this means including the relevant words and phrases that your target market are searching for in your page copy and meta-copy (the title tag and meta-description, which appear in the search results).
Carrying out keyword research, using tools such as Wordtracker, will give you an insight into what these phrases are. So, for example, a party supplies company might find that a lot of people are searching for the phrase ‘buy Halloween costumes’, making it a good term to include on relevant pages.
If you operate on a local level, you should also make sure that you include plenty of area-based key phrases such as, ‘buy Halloween costumes in Bristol’.
Start a Blog
A blog is one of the best and most natural (something Google is a big fan of) ways to optimise your site for key terms. It’s also a great way to target longer-tail lifestyle phrases that you wouldn’t be able to naturally include on product pages.
For example, if we return to the party supplies analogy, good phrases to base content around might be ‘what are the best Halloween costume ideas?’ or ‘how to dress as a vampire?’
One post a month on a relevant topic, which you’re confident will appeal to your target audience, can increase brand engagement and keep visitors coming back.
Ensure URL Structure is Clear and Simple
Search engines (and people!) prefer clear, simple and keyword-rich URLs. The best test is to make sure that someone could accurately guess the subject of your pages from their URL alone. The content of every page should also be unique to its URL.
Carry Out Quality Link Building
Links from high quality domains are one of the best ways to improve your rankings. Google sees each link as a ‘vote’ for your site, and as a sign that you’re offering high quality content.
However, link building is notoriously difficult, and ‘spammy’ or ‘black hat’ techniques are a sure-fire way to earn a penalty from the search engine. That being said, there are a number of things that small businesses can do to encourage natural links, such as:
- Create high quality, informative blog content that people may naturally link back to
- Regularly share links to your content and site via social channels, to get them in front of as many potential linkers as possible
- Create useful resources or guides, and then ask to be included in relevant organisations’ ‘useful links’ section
Find and Fix Dead Links
Not only do dead links make it harder for search engines to index your site, they also make your site less user-friendly, which will have an indirect impact on rankings. This is because hitting lots of 404 error pages can cause visitors to ‘bounce’ off your site, or not return – an indicator to Google that you’re not offering a good experience.
Our free broken link checker will help you to quickly find dead links on your site – but what should you do once you’ve identified them? The best tactic is to set up a 301 redirect to send the visitor from the old page location to the new one.
It’s also worth setting up a custom 404 error page, such as Flickr’s humorous ‘Bad, bad panda! Come on. We want photos’ page, possibly with a link to your contact details, in case users really need a particular piece of information. This can help to keep visitors engaged until you can fix the problem.
In today’s competitive online market, a search engine friendly site is essential for small businesses. By following these straightforward search engine optimisation tips, you can improve your rankings and boost traffic.
To find out more about how to maintain a search engine friendly site, read our eBook, ‘Maintaining a Search Engine Friendly Website’.