SEO: An expert's top five tips for small business owners

Nick Bell

Google algorithms are constantly changing in order to provide users with the information most relevant to their queries. Search engine optimisation (SEO) provides a way to improve your website’s ranking and online visibility while balancing user and search engine needs. Today, everyone is online and online visibility is critical. While the factors that influence a website’s ranking are varied, it’s essential that as a business owner you know the basics. Here are my top 5.

Produce fresh, well-written content

Google can tell the difference between poorly written and quality content. It can also identify unoriginal content and penalise your website for it. In order for your company’s SEO efforts to be successful, the right balance is essential. Google looks favourably on sites that can utilise keywords without compromising on quality. It is now absolutely vital that your site caters to both the reader and the search engine. Prioritise one over the other and your website traffic will suffer.

Build your social media presence

When it comes to SEO, a strong social media presence plays an important role in your brand’s online strategy. Search engine algorithms now include activity from social platforms as a factor for rankings, and their influence will only increase with the rising popularity of social media. Links to your content on social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ assist the search engine to determine a site’s credibility. As social platforms have increased in popularity, they have stepped into the role of secondary search engines. Users can now easily find their favourite brand via social channels, so the more social channels your business utilises, the more audiences your brand is exposed to.

There are now more searches coming from mobile than any other device, including desktop.

Mobile optimisation

There are now more searches coming from mobile than any other device, including desktop. Earlier this year, Google confirmed that mobile had overtaken desktop for searches conducted via the search engine in the U.S, Japan and ten other countries. Soon after, Google released the mobile-friendly algorithm, which Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji was quoted saying would have more impact than both the Panda and Penguin algorithms.

Blogs

At WME, we’ve seen a surge in clients seeking blogging services, and this rise in interest isn’t without reason. Fresh content is one of the main ranking factors that Google looks for, and blogging opens up an avenue for brands to be pro-active about distributing new, industry-relevant content regularly. Sharing your blog posts via social media is also great for user engagement as it encourages readers to like and share your brand’s posts.

Improve your website’s load time

Google has invested millions into improving search engine load times, which indicates this is an important element that shouldn’t be overlooked, but Google’s investment only decreased load times marginally. By decreasing your site’s load time by a number of seconds, you could increase your ranking, and by extension, your website traffic. You can reduce your site’s load time by optimising images, not relying on HTML to resize images and by not confusing the browser with redirects.

By implementing these five simple strategies into your SEO campaign, you should see a great improvement in the performance of your site. Remember, this is just a glimpse into some of the ways your brand can boost site traffic. As the digital landscape evolves, SEO techniques evolve along with it, so it’s important that your company stay up to date with the latest tips and techniques, and even seeks help from an industry expert.

Nick Bell

Nick Bell is the founder and managing director of WME, Australia’s largest digital marketing agency.

Image: Charlie WollborgFlickr Creative Commons license

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