Part two of my top tips for Small Business SEO success. I'm passionate about helping small businesses understand the importance of SEO and how it can help them to achieve great search visibility. Even the most basic knowledge and implementation of SEO best practises can set a small business apart from competitors and help attract ideal clients searching for your services.
In Part 2 of this blog post I'll be sharing my top tips on Website Structure, Website Content and Website Speed. By the end of this 2 part blog series you'll have a basic understanding of 6 SEO fundamentals and be able to get to work implementing changes to your website.
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Usability and website structure go hand in hand. A good site structure is easier for user to navigate and easier for google to crawl. Whether you're planning your website from scratch or optimising an existing website it's important to think about site structure.
Navigation is a key element of site structure that you'll want to consider. Where does your main menu click to, is it helping your user find relevant information and pages on your website? Every page that you want your user (and Google) to be able to find should be accessible from your header/footer menus or homepage, or linked from within the pages in your main menu. Think about it a bit like branches of a tree, you start with one main trunk and then it splits into branches and from those branches splits into more branches. A lot of these branches can be accessed from one another.
Regularly I see beautiful websites from small businesses but sadly they lack structure that supports SEO. Some DIY website platforms will push one page websites that include navigation links like About, Services, Contact etc that anchor to content on the single homepage. These may be quick to create and provide just enough info for the user but they can be very difficult to get ranking highly in search engines. It's not impossible but it is limiting.
Often I also come across websites that do have a number of content rich pages however these aren't linked to from a logical and prominent position on the website so may not get the visibility they deserve. If you've taken the time to create a page that you want your users to see then make sure it can be accessed from relevant points on your website. If you go back to Part 1 you'll see information on Internal Linking. This can be a great way to allow navigation to pages that might not warrant main navigation exposure.
Last but not least we can't forget the importance of your sitemap when talking about website structure. I'm not going to go into too much detail here as it could be a post of it's own but think of it as a map of all of the pages on your website that you want a user and Google to be able to find.
Make sure you have an up to date sitemap. Most website platforms will generate a sitemap by default or have a plugin available that does. Check your sitemap is submitted to Google via Google Search Console and kept up to date. If you want to read more around sitemaps before I get chance to write my own post then I always recommend Moz or SEM Rush as the best source of all SEO information.
The content on your website shouldn't be written for SEO but for your user. If the content is useful to your user, tells them about what you do and answers any questions that they may have then you're most likely ticking the right boxes for SEO too.
Write useful, authoritative content for your user. Write naturally about your area of expertise/industry/product and you can't go too far wrong. Make sure that you intersperse your content with keywords relating to the terms that you want to rank for.
Part 1 of this blog post gives you more detail on keywords and how to use them wisely. In summary, have a strategy of what pages you want to rank for certain keywords, intertwine your keywords naturally into your content and don't keyword stuff (repeating as many keywords as possible which doesn't read naturally).
If you have a product based website make sure that your product titles and descriptions are detailed and descriptive. This will set you apart from your competitors as many small businesses fall short on this vital area of content. Think about all of the detail you and your customers might like to know when thinking about buying your product and ensure this is part of your product description. Do you get frequently asked questions? If so answer these within the product page, this will not only help SEO but will be likely to increase conversion rate too as your user has everything they need in front of them to make a purchase decision. Win, win.
One final thought on content is to think about what the user is going to type. What are users typing in search engines when they want to find your product/service or research around it? This also touches on the keyword research that we covered in Part 1.
If you can naturally weave some of these search terms and phrases into your content then it's a bonus. Think about a business that sells handmade candles (you'll see me use this example a lot!), this store could weave information and headings naturally into site content such as 'Why is soy wax better than normal candle wax?', 'Why do some candles have wooden wicks?', 'Why are beeswax candles good?'. This information is going to support your users decision to buy and support your SEO by naturally adding rich informative content to your website.
Site speed is a key ranking factor for SEO, and in particular mobile site speed. Google introduced mobile first ranking in 2019 following the growing dominance of mobile web traffic. Google is all about giving the user what they want and users don't want to wait around for slow websites to load. The faster your mobile web experience loads the better chance you'll have of gaining good search ranking positions.
You will find a whole host of services that allow you to test your mobile web speed. Personally I like to stick with Google owned tools as they're reliable and using Googles own data. Page Speed Insights is great for getting an insight into how pages on your site score and it couldn't be simpler to use. For a more in depth view of site speed and overall site health Google Lighthouse is a great tool however is suited to those with a slightly more technical understanding. Give one or both a try and reach out if you have any questions.
There are some key practises that you can implement to ensure that you're optimising for site speed and not falling into bad habits that will create unnecessary load.
Optimise image file sizes - you don't need high resolution images to serve good quality images on a mobile sized screen. Always use jpeg images and compress the images before uploading to your website. One of my favourite free image compression tools is Optimizilla.
Reduce image and video content on your homepage and if necessary keep it towards the bottom of the page. You want as little load as possible within the first visible section of the page.
Remove any unused plugins that might be installed on your website. Anything needed to load is going to impact site speed.
So there is Part 2 of my Tips for Small Business SEO success. I hope you found both parts of this blog post useful useful and can take some tips away to action on your own website. SEO doesn't have to be huge, scary and technical, every small step you take is going to improve your chances of ranking in a prominent search position.
If you need any support with SEO for your small business then please reach out and we can have a chat about how I might be able to help you.