SEO – A Guide for Business Owners

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is something you’ve likely heard about before. It can help you attract organic (unpaid) traffic to your website. There is a lot more to SEO than keywords (words that your customers enter into Google search) to learn about. This report is not comprehensive, but it will give you the meat of what SEO is, the different types of SEO, what it does and how to do it


On-Page SEO

Essentially on-page SEO is any SEO that you do directly on each page of your website and it all starts with content. But, it also includes architecture and the actual code within your website.

Anything you put on your website that disseminates information to your audience is content. Posts, articles, memes, images and graphics – all of it is content. You want to have a variety of different types of content for maximum SEO value.

  • Quality vs Quantity – While it is true that you want to put up a lot of content for your audience, it’s more important for the content to be of high quality. You do want to put up content more often than monthly, but you don’t need to put up several things each day if it will compromise the quality of the information you put up for your audience.
  • Keyword Research – Many people choose not to do keyword research, but if you do it, you’ll waste less time creating content that doesn’t get results and end up with more time to create awesome content that does get results.
  • Use Words Strategically – Try to figure out what type of power words make your audience feel something and want to do something. There are general power words that you can use such as ‘devastating blow’ or ‘majestic views’ or something that gets their attention and makes them feel something.
  • Hot Topics, Updated and Fresh – A great way to make use of the time you have to create content is to focus on hot topics and trends of the day. Keep the content updated and fresh by using headlines of the day to evoke curiosity. Warning: Don’t try to trick your readers with clickbait. It only works a few times, then it stops working and you’ve lost something important: Trust.
  • Horizontal & Vertical – You want a combination of both types of content. Think of it this way; Horizontal content covers everything on your website that is full of content on all pages like your about us page, or home page and that is consistent throughout. Vertical content concerns itself with a specific topic and goes across all channels and how they work to improve your website.
  • Provide Solutions – Your content also should seek to provide solutions for your audience. They want you to help them solve their problems. They should be able to solve some of their problems without buying anything and your content can fulfil that need.
  • Authoritative – Longer, more in-depth content such as long blog posts, white papers, as well as articles and guides can help people and search engines know that your site is serious and that you are there to help your audience.

When it comes to content and SEO, you have a lot of ways that you can improve your content by using good SEO practices. That is, using keywords within the first paragraph, the title, subheadings and headings as well as anchor text. Do this in a way that is natural though, otherwise you will get yourself into strife with Google.

Another important on-page SEO factor is the architecture of your website. If your page doesn’t load quickly, when people click to read through your content, they will lose patience and leave. Ensure that all of the following is optimised.

  • Site Maps – Search engines need to crawl or ‘see’ your pages in order to index them. If the search engines can’t do that, your information won’t be listed in search results. The best thing to do is to create a site map so that the search engines can easily crawl and index your website.
  • Avoid duplicate content – You’ve heard it before and it’s true. To be sure, check content you put on your website with or or any other plagiarism checker. Even if you didn’t purposely plagiarize, you want everything to be unique on your site.
  • Responsive – Your site must be mobile friendly right now. There is no time to wait, more people are using mobile devices than ever before, and it is not likely to change. If your site is not mobile friendly, you’re going to have a tough time ranking in Google.
  • Load Speeds – We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, speed matters. Having a website that loads slowly is bad for you and bad for your visitors. Because of this, it is also bad for SEO. You want your website to load in less than 3 seconds; Each second over this results in a loss of conversion rate.
  • Meaningful Page URLs – This goes back to using keywords in titles. You want the URL to say what is on the page. Rather than saying ‘page 1’ or ‘page 2’, make sure it says ‘about your business’ or ‘take a course’ so that people and search engines know what will be on the page.
  • Security – If you sell anything on your website, having a secure HTTPS with an SSL certificate is important, not just to people using the site, but also for Google. In fact, in late 2017 Google changed the way domain names appear in the address bar of your browser. If your website does not have an SSL certificate installed, your visitors will be given a ‘not secure’ warning in the address bar. Google prefers HTTPS and will rank it higher than a standard HTTP website.

How your site is arranged and whether or not your audience can find what they want on your page is imperative for good SEO.

The other aspect of your on-page SEO that you need to concern yourself with is how your website is coded. Be careful if you use a do-it-yourself builder like Wix or Squarespace as these website builders can produce low quality code. A good builder like SiteOrigin’s Page Builder used in WordPress is a better alternative, and it’s free.

  • Title with Keywords – All your titles for every page and blog post should include a keyword. This informs your visitors and Google about what is on the page and what it is about.
  • Meta Description – Within the website, behind the scenes are meta tags. These bits of code tell search engines what is inside. If you took our advice and used WordPress to build your website, downloading a plugin called Yoast will allow you to fill in the meta data easily. Don’t skip this part, it’s important.
  • Navigation – Have you ever been to a website and left because you don’t know where to go next? Having good internal linking that allows your visitor to traverse your website without any confusion is essential. This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are many websites that do not have a clear navigation flow.
  • Using Headers – Headlines, subheads, and proper ‘H1’ and ‘H2’ tags are fundamental to use on any page. Using headings increases the readability for the visitors and Google likes that. Be sure to only use one ‘H1’ tag though, otherwise you will lose points.

If you hire a web designer, make sure that they have an understanding of the SEO principles outlined above. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on having a new website built, only to find that you have to spend even more money or waste time changing elements of the website because they aren’t SEO friendly. If you’re building your website yourself, follow the instructions set out in this report and you should be ranking in no time.

Off-Page SEO

The other type of SEO is off-page search engine optimisation. This is everything you do off your website to bring people to your website. There are four primary types.

There is almost nothing more important to your success than trust. If you lose the trust of your audience, you lose sales and any authority standing. If you do what you say you will do however, and don’t disappear for long periods of time, you can build trust.

  • Are shares/links showing authority? – When you share anything, ensure that it comes from a reliable source, if it isn’t coming from you. If it is from you, double check your data to ensure that what you are releasing is accurate.
  • Are you engaging with your audience? – When you post anything anywhere, do you answer questions, share other people’s content and get involved? Don’t for that engagement helps build trust.
  • Domain Age – One thing that search engines, like Google, use to rank a website is the age of a domain. They assume that if it is around for a long time than it must be something important; Something real, trustworthy and relevant.
  • Reconsider Advertisements – Depending on the type of site you have, pay attention to how your audience views ads. Many people are making money through blogs these days, but just as many people won’t revisit a site that has lots of ads. Always focus on the experience your visitor has. If you were them, would you like a bunch of ads popping up every two seconds while you’re reading content.

You can build trust by sharing authoritative and accurate content that you or others have created. Just double check the facts, be ready to answer any questions and get ready to back up what you say.

One way to build trust as well as traffic to your website is through link building. This means that there are links going to your site from another site. For example, your LinkedIn profile has a link to your website. There are some important factors to consider before getting started with link building.

  • Who is linking to you? – First, look at who is linking to you. You want to ensure that everyone that is linking to you is a legitimate site, with legitimate reasons for existing.
  • Are they high quality? – It is better to focus on high quality links rather than having a high quantity of links of lesser quality. The best links come from educational and government sites, but website that have been around for a long time and have a lot of traffic will also provide a good boost to your search ranking.
  • Are links and anchor text thoughtful keywords? – Be sure to have the anchor text in the link that is linking to your website contain a keyword.
  • How many people are linking to your website? – Above we said that quantity didn’t outweigh quality, and it is totally true. However, having a high amount of both high quality and moderate quality links will help you rank well. It is not always possible to get a lot of high quality links, but so long as you spread the links evenly, it should have an impact.
  • How to get more – To get more links, find authoritative websites or blogs to guest post on. Send a letter to them with a post idea that you can write. Let them know when you’ll send it from the time they agree and stick to that deadline.

It’s important that you never pay for a link. Avoid link farms, private blog networks and spam. Getting links back to your website should be a natural result of the work you do on social media, guest posting, conducting webinars and interviews, and other audience building tasks. Anything other than this may get you de-indexed from Google and put on their naughty list.

Another factor that is important when it comes to SEO is geography. In some cases, you won’t want the search engine to index you geographically. This could keep some of your audience from ever finding you. But, don’t overlook the importance of geography.

You can use both your country and your locality by using those terms within your website. Put your address at the bottom of every page, mention things about your area within your blog posts and make it a priority to mention your local area or country if you want to be indexed accordingly.

This is by far one of the most important off-page SEO tactics. Using social media effectively can do wonders for your website traffic. But, you have to come up with a good plan of action and see it through rather than just getting on social media and posting willy-nilly.

Look at your social shares and find out who is sharing your content. You want to ensure that they’re reputable and if they are, you can surely get more people to share it. The biggest key to getting others to share is to ask them to share it.

  • Grow your followers – Run a contest, a give away or other event to build your followers on the social media platform you’re trying to promote and build.
  • Ask people to share – When you share anything on social media, make sure that no matter how far it’s shared, that it will lead back to you and ask people to share it. If you don’t ask, unless it is really great material, they won’t share it.
  • Keep your content optimised – People will click on your content, often by chance. Make sure you’ve optimised it as much as you can. Check page titles, meta descriptions, alt tags on images and so forth. Make it the best it can be.
  • Follow influencers – You may need to follow influencers before they’ll follow you. Mention their name in posts, and call them out so that they notice you. Don’t be a pest, but identify the influencers you most want to mention you and find a way to stand out.
  • Keep your brand solid – Try not to go off brand and lose your voice on social media. It is easy to get mixed up with your personal accounts and your business accounts, but don’t cross them. Instead, practice your brand voice and keep true to your brand.

Social media is an amazing opportunity for big, medium and small business. There are people who have become millionaires by using Instagram creatively and strategically. Use social media to push people toward your website and you can’t go wrong.

Search engine optimisation can mean the difference between success and failure. if you really want to get a lot of targeted traffic to your website, then take a look at your on and off page SEO. It’s not hard, just go through the list, improve one thing at a time and soon you’ll see a huge difference in your traffic.

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