5 SEO tips for small businesses

Working with small organisations on search engine optimisation is very rewarding – making a difference to a new, ambitious enterprise and here are my top 10 search engine optimisation tips for any small business:

1) Get a relevant, user focused domain. Pick a domain that has relevance to your company name AND the keyword term that you want to be optimised on. For example, www.name.com may be meaningful to you but be honest to yourself…are you developing a brand or primarily a cash cow milking business? Go for the www.name-keyword-term.com approach because your company name/brand is still important long term to users but it will enable prospects to find you easier once your site is indexed and well ranked. Do not discount the power of a great domain – don’t pick it without some careful consideration.

2) Be careful if you go for a free website design system. If you are keen on using a website template that has a content management system, do some research about how search engine friendly the provider’s outputs are. Most website CMS systems (especially blogs – WordPress & Blogger – I use Blogger) are very easy to use and the output is search engine friendly. However read up on the provider you go with – some sites are not constructed in a way that allows easy access to search engines. If you are unsure about this, then it may be worth a small investment for your first company website with a local website developer.

3) Powerful, unique content has a value to you. Take lots of time to write content. You may not be a copy writer. However you do know your business best – and your customers. They will want written, image and video content to support their buying decision. Also search engines thrive on unique content so you will be giving genuine reasons to rank for terms relevant to what your product or service is.

4) Use Google Webmasters information. There is nothing wrong with working with an SEO consultancy that help you with link development and SEO strategy. Google won’t penalise you for doing this. However your bank account might not be able to take it quite yet – so learn the basics yourself. It is in Google’s interests to make it clear to website owners how to make website crawling easier for themselves as this is a hugely technical, complex challenge. Google will tell you the best practice on page titles, meta tags, content in general and things liks XML sitemaps.

5) Install both Google Webmasters and Google Analytics. This is easy enough to do and won’t cost you any money. You will get pointers on what is right/wrong with your site in terms of Google Webmasters. With Google Analytics you can see all visitor/pageview related statistics as you gradually get some traction and traffic.