Working with SME businesses I am often asked how they can get their website ‘on page one’ of Google. There seems to be a view that there is a magic formula that can be applied (maybe that is the fault of the hundreds of SOE ‘consultants’ and web companies who seem to throw out such promises as their main prospecting tool)!
In many instances professional and ongoing SEO is required and, like many things in marketing, the amount of money that can be given to this may determine the results. More money = more time and effort spent = better results
BUT, what if you are a small business with restricted budgets who has invested in a website, what can be done to make sure your website is seen by the people you want to target? Not necessarily. There are some basic things that can be done that do not rely on SEO techniques and hocus pocus. But these things are often overlooked in the quest for the ‘quick fix’ search engine solution.
1) Google dan’t find what isn’t there
So you have a broad product range but when you type in one of your main products or services, your competitors are there and you are banished to page 10. Take a good look at your site. Is there sufficient content about that particular product or services, or is there just a brief product overview page?
Search engines are clever but they are not telepathic. They can only find what content is there, so spend time to make sure your products and services are covered in depth and that you include plenty of the words people are likely to be searching for. Just make sure it is worded naturally and look at what supporting information you can include such as tagged images, video, specification sheets.
If you have lots of products you could consider using an e-commerce style platform for your product section as this can provide you with the ability to update and refresh content yourself easily. The structure of an e-commerce page is ideal for displaying products and you can switch off the purchase element if you don’t want an online transaction.
2) Search Engines are looking for new content
The workings and algorithms of search engines may be shrouded in mystery for us mere mortals but they are at heart simple beasts. They are looking to deliver back the best match for the search that has been put in. If they don’t, the user will get fed up and switch to another search engine. But relevance covers not only a good match (see point 1) but also something that might be new or different and so they also look for sites that have new content posted regularly as this should denote more up to date or new information.
If you are a company that has a fairly static product or service range, this can seem like a problem. If you aren’t regularly introducing new products then you need to look at what other type of content could be added regularly, because if you don’t, your website will drop down the rankings, however good it was when launched.
New content could be things like news stories, case studies, blog articles, photo gallery, guides, hint & tips, new pdf’s – if you think about the content you have or could create, even the smallest company can keep their site fresh. By having a self-editing (CMS) site built you can handle this yourself or within your company, keeping costs down and controlling when new content goes on.
3) Generate some inbound links to your site
Inbound links (so other sites with links to your site) are important to the search engines because they interpret it as someone endorsing your website as being credible.
As with most SEO, the cowboys looked at ways of making quick bucks out of this and the link-builders and link farms surfaced providing 100 or 1000’s of links to your site. There was little or no value to this as the sites were not credible so Google now looks for links for relevant sites and you could get blacklisted if it deems you have been using thinks like link farms.
There are options you again can do yourself and often these will be of most value. So look to your suppliers, customers, trade organisations or business associations and see if you can put your site profile and link on their sites, or provide a case study or article. These can always include your website address in the sign off.
There are a host of free online directories such as FreeIndex that with a bit of time spent can get your web address onto credible sites.
4) Create links within your site
This is something that is often overlooked and is very easy to do. Google likes to see websites which help its visitors navigate through the site and having lost of links within the wording of the website is deemed to do this. So take a bit of time and see if you can link any of the words to other sections or pages in your site.
5) Create a blog
A blog is a great way to keep your content regularly updated and also stuff pages full of relevant key words and phrases in a natural way. For example I can only really have a few pages of my site talking about the marketing services we provide but I can have endless blogs about marketing subjects.
Many people are scared of blogging but once you get your head around it, it can be a very valuable marketing tool.
If you still need convincing about blogging check out my blog ‘5 reasons for your company to start blogging’
If you have a blog and have no idea what to write about – read ‘No more excuses – 10 blog ideas for every business’