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The Small Business Owner’s Guide to SEO

The saying ‘Content is King’ has become a cliche for a reason: it’s true...mostly

Search engine optimisation can be mind-boggling to the uninitiated. Even professional SEO experts will struggle to provide a concrete answer on which of the factors count as most important among the hundreds that come together to determine search rankings. Google does a stellar job of keeping that information secret, leaving us with just enough information to make intelligent guesses.

Fortunately, you don’t need to know as much as the developers at Google to get your website ranked. An effective Search Engine Optimisation strategy can be separated into 4 key parts which, when properly executed, can lead to better rankings on Google or any other search engine for that matter.

The 4 Key Parts of Search Engine Optimisation

  • Technical Search Engine Optimization
  • Content
  • On-Site Search Engine Optimization
  • Off-Site Search Engine Optimization

Weaving these 4 parts of Search Engine Optimization together in a way that is relevant to your business is the foundation of a solid SEO strategy.

ALSO READ: NewsGram is hiring!

75% of SEO is off-page and 25% is on-page
75% of SEO is off-page and 25% is on-page

Technical SEO

Technical SEO usually involves:

  • Crawlability: Is your website accessible to search engine crawlers?
  • Indexing: Have you clearly defined which pages you want to be indexed by the search engines?
  • Responsiveness: How does your website look on mobile screens and other devices?
  • Tech: Is your tech and CMS search engine-friendly?
  • Speed: How fast do your web pages load?
  • Hierarchy: How is your website content structured?

Fortunately, the majority of technical SEO is taken care of by the content management system, so non-techies can breathe a sigh of relief. There are also a number of tools and plugins that can go evaluate your site to highlight any technical problems. Things get even easier if you’re using WordPress since templates usually come fully optimised for search.

If you are going for a custom-made website, ensure your developer knows the important role which design and page speed play in SEO.

Persuasive meta descriptions under 155 characters increase click through rates.
Persuasive meta descriptions under 155 characters increase click-through rates.

Content

The saying ‘Content is King’ has become a cliche for a reason: it’s true…mostly.

Content ranks as one of the top 3 most important ranking factors (along with link building and Google Rankbrain). But it’s not just any sort of content that will have the internet beating a path to your door. Search engines are interested in content that gives the best answer to the queries they receive, so those websites that provide the most value with their content.

Ideally, your content should showcase:

  • What you have to offer
  • Who you are offering it for
  • Why your audience should go for your services
  • The content should be original. Plagiarism is a strict no-no! Using plagiarism checker tools is a must, when you want to ensure a plagiarism free website.

And the manner in which you share this content should be such that your readers can achieve their goals. Anything less and Google is not interested. Opting for local seo solutions might help you get the things done on a quicker yet better note.

Don’t forget your keywords either. With the right keywords, you can streamline your efforts to produce only the sort of content that your target audience is interested in, and also enable search engines to know what your website and content are primarily about, which makes it easier to rank for those keywords.

Google+ is the highest correlated social factor for SEO ranking.
Google+ is the highest correlated social factor for SEO ranking.

On-Site SEO

On-site SEO involves:

  • Keyword research to know the interests of your audience
  • Optimising page titles by incorporating keywords naturally
  • Using descriptive URLs
  • Optimising meta descriptions to look and act like ad copy, inviting clicks
  • Optimising content with keywords
  • Ensuring a good user experience
  • Integrating strong calls-to-action

In many instances, technical SEO and content overlap with on-site SEO so you want to begin your optimisation efforts by concentrating on technical SEO, then moving on to content, before turning your attention towards on-site SEO. Once you have taken care of the first two, on-site SEO can be pretty straightforward.

ALSO READ: Internship at NewsGram 

In the search engine world, the top 5 results get 75.7% of the clicks so focus your efforts on a few valuable words and build content around those terms.
In the search engine world, the top 5 results get 75.7% of the clicks so focus your efforts on a few valuable words and build content around those terms.

Off-Site SEO

Off-site SEO is mainly concerned with link building and building authority. Link building is arguably the most important SEO ranking factor, but even that is not going to help you out if you have mediocre content on your website. So you want to make sure you have the best possible content which your audience needs before you turn your attention towards building links to your content.

And remember to keep your links as natural looking as you can (if you want to avoid sanctions from Google). Only build links to sites that make sense for the content you are linking to.

All SEO strategies fall under any of these 4 parts, so fully understanding them and how to adapt them to your business can go a long way towards helping you come up with a solid SEO strategy that will see your business rise through the rankings as time goes on.

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