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A Guide to SEO for Small Businesses

If your business has a website or you’re looking to get more customers online, SEO should be a priority. The higher you rank in a search engine for keywords related to your business, the more likely you are to get traffic to your site, which may mean more conversions for your business.
A Guide to SEO for Small Businesses

If your business has a website or you’re looking to get more customers online, SEO should be a priority.

Read on to find out what SEO means and how to improve your business’ website so that search engines rank you higher, edging you ever closer to beating your competitors.

What is SEO?

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SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is a way of making your business’ website more appealing, or optimized, for search engines.

When an internet user types a query into a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo, the search engine will provide what they believe to be the most relevant results to that query. For example, if you were to type ‘pizza places in London’ you would expect to see a list of websites for pizza places based in London, along with a map that shows you where the pizza places are in London.

The higher you rank in a search engine for keywords related to your business, the more likely you are to get traffic to your site, which may mean more conversions for your business.

Unfortunately, ranking highly in search engines doesn’t always come easily and it’s not a case of just creating a website for your business and setting it live. However, there are a number of ways you can help your business’ website rank higher in search engines.

How do search engines choose who ranks on the first page?

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Google and other search engines use crawlers, which is a Programme that systematically browses a website in order to create an index of data.

When a search engine crawls your website, it looks for a range of factors which contribute to what they believe is an authoritative and trustworthy site. The search engine’s aim is to provide users with the most relevant results, and the more authoritative a site is, the better it will usually rank.

There are thousands of ways search engines measure the quality of a site. Below are just a few of them:

  • Page speed
  • Content
  • Layout and structure
  • Backlinks (link from other websites to your website)
  • Age of site
  • Traffic
  • Keywords

Business SEO Tips

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There are a number of ways you can improve the quality and authority of your site in aid of improving your website’s ranking within a search engine. Some ways of improving your site’s SEO can be quite technical and require a professional, but some can be done by yourself or by your employees.

Below is a good starting point for your business, but it’s also worth remembering that SEO should be continuous. There are always ways you can improve your site, especially as search engines become a lot smarter. Competitor activity and their attention to SEO can also hugely affect how your business’ website ranks within a search engine.

1. Make sure your website is indexed

The first thing you need to do is make sure your website is indexed. This essentially means, make sure search engines are aware that your business’ website exists, and it has indexed it ready to appear for relevant searches.

A quick and easy way to check if your site has been indexed by search engines, is to simply type site:yourdomain.com into a search engine. For example, if we were to check if Esme Loans was indexed, we would search site:esmeloans.com (removing the www.) into Google, Bing and Yahoo.

If your website is indexed, you should get a number of results, similar to the total number of pages on your website.

If the search engine does not provide any results, there’s a large chance your site is not indexed. To index your site you’ll need to submit a site map to each search engine, you can do this by following Google, Yahoo and Bing’s guides.

Once your site has been indexed, search engines will crawl it and continue to do so as you add or take away content over time, so you should only have to do this once.

2. Make sure your website is well structured

Search engines are becoming smarter and smarter and therefore look at the structure of a site to ensure it is easy for a human to navigate around it, another effort to ensure that the search engine is providing the easiest way for the searcher to get the answer to their query.

From an SEO perspective, search engines typically look for a good, logical hierarchy within your site. The most important thing is to make your hierarchy simple for the user’s sake, and for the search engine’s crawlers. Each main category should be unique, with each sub category relating to the main category it sits under.

3. Include keywords

Keywords are search terms that you want to be ranked for in a search engine. A keyword should reflect what your business does or what is on that page. For example, if you run an e-commerce site that sells crockery, you’ll probably want to your homepage to rank for keywords like crockery for sale or tableware for sale.

If the site has a range of category or subcategory pages for the types of crockery it sells, you’ll want each one to rank for the relevant keywords around that page, for example, your plates page will need to rank for keywords like buy plates or plates for sale.

To rank for relevant keywords, you need to make sure the information on your site is as informative as possible and contains the keywords you want to rank for. This will help search engines figure out what your business does and what keywords it should associate your business’ website with.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re including keywords into the text on your website, it’s important to make sure they are naturally included. Search engines don’t like it if you insert a number of keywords into a sentence to the point it no longer makes sense. Whether a sentence has a keyword in or not, it should flow well and be grammatically correct.

There are a range of useful SEO tools for small businesses, especially if you want to find keywords that relate to your business’ sector. Keyword Tool, Topics and Keywords Everywhere are good websites to start with.

4. Create engaging and informative content

Creating engaging content is a great way to increase your chance of getting ranked in search engines for keywords that may not directly relate to your business’s services or products. It’s a way for you to add more keywords into your website, which exposes your brand and drives more traffic to your site, which could lead to a conversion.

Search engines like itwhen sites are often updated with good quality content that is useful to the reader. Therefore, if your site doesn’t currently have a blog section or it isn’t regularly updated, then now is a great time to start adding to it and write engaging content related to your business’ sector.

Answer the public is a great SEO tool that can help you think of good content to write based on keywords and search queries related to your business and its sector.

How could Esme Loans help?

SEO in business is important, especially if your business relies heavily on website traffic. If you’re looking for finance to hire an expert and take your business’ SEO efforts to the next level, you can get in touch with Esme today. We offer online business loans ranging from £10,000 to £250,000* over a 1 to 5 year repayment period. Visit our how to apply page for more information.

*£25,500 to £250,000 for sole traders.