One of the great novels of world literature is The Trial by Franz Kafka. You may be familiar with it. It tells the story of Joseph K who discovers that he is accused of a crime and that he will be put on trial. He then enters into a surreal world where he can’t discover what the crime is that he has allegedly committed, and he can’t get anywhere in finding information about the procedures that will be followed by the court where he will be tried. Therefore, how can he possible defend himself?
Search engine optimisers may sometime feel that they are in a surreal, Kafkaesque world when they try to discover how best to optimise their web pages and produce content that meets all the criteria for the search engine algorithms.
Few people involved with search engine optimisation (SEO) would disagree with the view that they are operating in a world that is more art than science. Content may be king but knowledge is power. The challenge for international, national and local businesses is to determine the quality of the SEO information that is out there. More especially, if you are a small local business without access to the expensive advice of consultants, how do you determine where to start with SEO basics? Here are five top tips for SEO techniques for small businesses.
SEO Is a Marathon Not a Sprint
If you have some work done on the fabric of your building, you expect that it’s going to last a good few years before you need to get it done again (apart from a few touch ups here and there). SEO is not like that. You have to view SEO as an ongoing project and not something you do once and leave alone.
Google is the big player as far as search engines are concerned and Google is constantly changing its algorithms; consequently, your SEO techniques need to change as well. How do you know when things change? You can, of course, employ experts, but this article is predicated on the basis that you want to avoid this. The best advice, if you are serious about putting the optimisation into SEO, is to become a student (or get a colleague to take on that role) of SEO and make it a lifetime’s study.
Bear in mind, as well, that SEO results are rarely immediate. It can take weeks or months before you start to see the fruits of your labour.
Work on Gaining Citations
In simple terms a citation is any mention of your company on somebody else’s website. Ideally you want that mention to include your address, telephone number and web address. A citation focuses attention on your business. In SEO terms, search engines take note of citations. And this is good for local businesses because the more citations you have the higher you will rank when searches are made that relate to your location.
Citations effectively tell the search engines that your company is operating in a particular locality. This can give a small local company an advantage over a larger rival that operates on a wider geographic base.
Make sure you are listed on google places. You list your details and people searching on google maps will discover your company and its location. Customers using your service can leave reviews. Once again, though, you need to consider how to get yourself ranked highly. Thus, make sure your details are accurate and encourage your customers to leave reviews.
Start a Blog
If you don’t have a blog, you really should consider starting one. Content is king, but it has to be high quality content. Google has made a number of changes in the way it judges the quality of content and poor quality content will no longer rank well.
However, a high quality blog that has a niche bias will pay dividends. You can look at such things as discussing local events and having quizzes and competitions that have local themes.
Web Loading Speed
You may be high in the search engine rankings; Google places may be working well for you, but if people landing on your site have to wait an age for pages to load they will go elsewhere. No matter how well optimised your pages may be, snail speed loading will drive your customers away.
The above are just five fairly simple ways that local businesses can use SEO to their advantages and make their world just a little surreal.