In December 2022 we ran a series of events taking about different aspects of marketing, one of which was about Search Engine Optimisation when I spoke with Emma Pearce, along with a dozen small business owners, about why SEO is so important for a business. This is a summary of that conversation…
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation is the process by which you help Google (and other search engines) to know what your website is all about. To do this effectively, you need a clear plan of which words or phrases you want to be associated with each page on your site.
And it’s really important!
The relevance and importance of this topic makes complete sense when you think about it. People are searching for products and services every day. You want the once who are searching for your product or service to find you. So why wouldn’t you optimise your website so that the people who are actually looking for the exact thing you sell find your page…
You will need to do some research to learn how specific search terms ‘perform’. You need to know how hard it will be get your site on to the first page of the Google results. You want to be in the top 5 results when people search for certain words or phrases. There are some great tool available to do this, and we recommend Mangools. You can use this tool for free for 5 searches every 24 hours (and a 7 day free trial if you want to do more searches than that).
So for example if you sell lawnmowers, you are unlikely to be first on the list for the leading brand names like Flymo, Bosh, Honda etc. But if you link this to a location or combine the word lawnmower with the brand and the location (Flymo lawnmower in Sussex) – you can research to see how many people in a specific location have searched using that exact term in the past 12 months. It’s marketing gold!
It does need to be that exact phrase. ‘Sussex Flymo lawnmower’ may appear similar, but similar isn’t good enough.
The Mangools tool will also suggest similar phrases or words you can think about, and show you how competitive each one is. Brilliant.
Don’t over do it
Now what do you do with this new found knowledge? The temptation is to cram several key phrases in to every nook and cranny of each page but… there is this crafty thing called page density. Google has worked out that if a phrase is used too many times, it is not going to be very readable. They know this is someone trying too hard! So they look for pages where a specific phrase represents 2% of the word-count. Good practice is to have a minimum of 300 words on a page, so you need to be including your key phrase about 6 times.
The recommendation is that you identify one key word or phase that you associate with each page of your website. So if you have 5 different services, you should create 5 separate pages and use a different search terms for each page.
SEO Meta Page Headers and Titles
There are two key SEO fields for each web page that you need to fill in behind the scenes on your website (this might be within WordPress or some other software that manages the content of your website):
i) You need to write the SEO title for each page of your website. It is vital that this includes the key phrase and location for that page so Google knows what your page is about.
ii) The page description field could be in sentence format and include benefits of why someone should choose your business (as well as reinforce the key phrase for that page).
Someone asked about reciprocal links, where you include a link to their website on your site and they do the same for you. Apparently that doesn’t count for much these days so isn’t really worth the effort. But if you can can get sites with strong domain authority to link to you, that will help.
Adding your site to local directories is a good idea (just search for local business directory). Make sure you add the data in a consistent way, and that means it must be exactly the same (to the letter) as the entry you added to Google My Business.
You should also make sure that your search phase is used on your LinkedIn profile.
It may be a lot less used than Google but Bing hovers at about 10% of searches made – and is the search engine used Amazon’s Alexa. Head to the Bing site to submit your site (here).