Tips for Small Business SEO

A website can be a great asset for any small business, but only if it can be found. Just last week I had a conversation with an old school friend about SEO and his misconception as to what it is; it came out that he thought once you build a website Google will rank it and your site will magically appear in the search results. Anyone who has launched a website will obviously know this is not the case and the website will require Search Engine Optimisation or SEO.

There are many aspects to getting a website site ranked, and the first step should be to hire a professional SEO company for advice, and to co-ordinate an ethical campaign designed to raise the profile of the website.

As a website owner though, what should you also focus your energies on to help your site rank? I have compiled my 5 top tips below, that are easy to implement, but often overlooked by many website owners…

1/ Good content – content is king in Google’s eyes, and by content I mean written content. A flashy website and nice pictures all make a website look great, but Google algorithms don’t use human eyes – so you need to ensure it to can see what the website is about.

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2/ Social Media – no matter what niche you are targeting, you need to utilise social media. Setup and link from your website to Facebook, Twitter and Google + as a minimum, and post daily content to them. These are free to setup and they help to raise the profile of your website and give it greater reach.

3/ Dynamic content – Once a site is designed and launched, your job doesn’t end. A static site that is never updated can hurt a future site’s chances of keeping high ranks; why should Google care about you website when you don’t? Have a news section or, if applicable, a blog that is updated once a week.  Ensure all content is up to date.

4/ Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics – ensure both of these are setup on your website. They are a free service from Google, and give you valuable information to monitor your site’s performance and whether it has any problems that could be improved.

5/ Google Local Listing – another free service that is especially useful for small business, as most work or service a specific area. This is also a great way to help Google work out what region your service is in,  better targeting your website to reach potential customers.

All of the above are essential processes that most new website owners do not consider, but are a paramount first step to having your website recognised in Google search results. Small business SEO is often a daunting task for any new website owner, but the above tips are a great start to help you achieve your goals and make you website a success.

At SEOcycle, we work closely with our clients so not only do they achieve the results they want, but also provide ongoing advice to help them understand what it takes to become a successful website owner.

Choosing the right SEO Company

Website owners often come to us with a ‘simple’ request: “I want to be number one on Google” – without really knowing what they are asking and what it entails. Being listed highly in Google should be any website owner’s goal, but it’s not simply a job of launching a website and waiting for Google to thrust it into the spotlight. For a website to be successful, it must be optimised to what Google is looking for and this is where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Companies can help. But how do you find a good company and what should you look for?

A quick search will find a myriad of companies, all claiming to be the best and guaranteeing your site to rank; but once you cut through the hype there are a few things you should look for so you’re adding value to your business and not just a liability.

1/ They should take the time to understand your business.
SEO is a long term strategy and should be integrated within your overall marketing plans and goals. When an initial analysis is done, the SEO company should take time to understand your business and goals, and tailor a solution for you; be wary of companies that sell linking strategies with set number of links each month etc. This is a good indication they have a cookie cutter approach to SEO and haven’t really taken the time to understand your individual needs.

2/ Constant feedback and reporting.
The SEO company should be viewed as one of your team, and like all members of a company, be approachable at all times. SEO should not be a set and forget type of arrangement, and your chosen SEO agency should be available for feedback and advice as part of the service they offer. It is estimated Google will make around 300 updates to its algorithm this year alone, so your chosen SEO provider should be keeping you in the loop on these changes and actions that you as a site owner may need to undertake to take advantage of them.

3/ No lock-in contracts.
Be wary of companies that require you to pay money up front for extended contracts. Instead, favour companies that work on a month to month basis in terms of payment, as they will constantly be proving their value to you. A company that asked for payment up front for 6 -12 months in advance is more likely to be more interested in their bank balance rather than your SEO results. A company should have enough confidence in their ability to work for a monthly fee, knowing at the end of that month their value has been proven and you will continue the employment arrangement.

At SEOcycle, we like to think we tick all the above boxes. If you’re just launching a new website, or are not happy with you current SEO provider, contact us today for a free assessment and analysis.

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Google Hummingbird – What does it mean?

We have seen Google make major updates over the past year to their algorithm that ranks websites via Penda and Penguin updates. Several weeks ago, we observed increased chatter about a possible new algorithm being rolled out, and just last week Google confirmed this new search algorithm as Hummingbird.
According to Google, this is not just update but a complete re-write that will affect up to 90% of search results, and is the biggest rewrite of the algorithm since 2001. Some analysts are not even calling it an update, but a whole new algorithm replacing the old system; no matter how you look at it, it is a big change in the landscape of SEO.

So what is Google Hummingbird and how does it affect today’s SEO environment?

Hummingbird is designed to give Google users the results they want, not just by keyword matching but by implementing Semantic language and the meaning behind the specific search terms.  ie Less about the keyword itself but more about the intention behind it. It is intended to match the search results with relevant pages offering the information they desire, not just a match for the keyword they have typed in with content that is not relevant.

For SEO this means developing rich content and user experiences around how people use the internet naturally; not just targeting  specific keywords. Sites that offer good unique information and engage with their audience via social media, blogs etc, will benefit from this latest algorithm change.

Google’s aim is to deliver relevant, up-to-date information and a good user experience, and have been for a while viewing on-page analytics to determine a website’s authority; with this latest update it takes it a step further. The aim is for it to be less about the specific keyword and more about how the customer interacts with the website, which is viewed as a better indicator of a successful search.

SEO has changed dramatically over the years, and it takes an experienced SEO company  to keep abreast of the changes and adapt with the times. SEOcycle constantly monitors changes and works closely with our clients so their websites rank highly and stay there. SEO should now be an integrated part of any company, not something outsourced and forgotten about.

If your website is not reaching its potential, why not contact us here at SEOcycle for a free website analysis…