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What is SEO? A Guide for Small Businesses

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. SEO is a method of optimising your website to improve both the quality and the quantity of traffic you have visiting and interacting with your site via organic search engines results.

What is quality traffic in SEO?

When we say quality, we are basically talking about relevancy in a way. These are the customers who are actively searching for what you’re selling or the services you offer. And, the better your SEO, the higher you rank and the more people you have clicking on your site and visiting your pages.

This is done via search engines. So, think every time you search something on Google, you’re using that search engine to find the most relevant page to your query.

Let’s throw in some examples. So, if you’re looking for birthday cakes in york, you’ll probably type the keyword phrase ‘birthday cakes in york’. Google then crawls through all the pages that feature this phrase and other keywords that are relevant to it, to bring you the pages that are most likely to satisfy you on your search. The more optimised they are to satisfy your search, the higher they will rank on Google.

Sounds pretty simple right? Well, SEO is something of a fine art these days. Google and other search engines use a complex and very finely tuned algorithm to find the best pages, for every search. And it’s about more than just featuring the right keywords on a website. There are a range of factors that come into play which make a page or website worthy of the top spot on Google for certain keywords.

We’ll delve into some of those factors right now.

How does SEO work?

What is SEO and how does it work

That’s a big question. And, while SEO is based on a few steadfast rules, search engines like Google don’t ever really tell you what goes into their algorithms. They keep it a secret so the best, most organic and highest value pages reach the top spots, rather than those that have just been optimised to do so by people who might not be experts.

Having said that, expert analysts have deduced that, if your website ticks all these boxes, you should see rewards for your website. We’ve pulled out the main contributors, and weighted them so you can see how important they are to your SEO strategy.

Domain Authority (highest weighted) - This is a measure of how much your website is trusted by others. Google determines this by how many incoming links you have from other, highly trusted websites.

Page Authority (highly weighted) - This is the same as above, but on a page level. A page should rank well if it also has valuable links and appears to be trusted by other trusted sites.

Keyword and content features (highly weighted) - At a page level, this is the relevancy and quality of your content. A lot goes in to create high-quality content, but ensure yours is authentic, well-informed, in-depth, relevant and valuable to your reader.

On top of all this, there are a few moderately weighted elements that are very important too. The type of content and the length of copy is important, along with social metrics and even your branding mentions (which is more for the big companies in reality.

But, if your website has a strong backlink profile, great on-page content and is an all-round expert on your chosen topic, you’re definitely on the right track as a small business.

How can I optimise my site and tick those SEO boxes?

In terms of creating great copy, that’s fairly straightforward. You need to plan out your content and ensure you’re presenting your website as the expert in it’s area. Write valuable, in-depth articles around all areas of your expertise.

But, as you’re writing, make sure it’s relevant to what’s valuable to your customer. For example, if you’re a car mechanic based in Leeds, you’re less likely to convert a visitor into a customer if they’re from London. While it might not result in more people on your site, the value of those people will be much higher for you.

When it comes to backlinks and authority, that’s a matter of time in most cases. The idea is, if you’ve written great content, it will be valued and other trusted sites will link to it.

However, if you’re a small business, you might want to think about link building a little. Start local with news websites that cover events and businesses in your area, asking to be featured in an article, with links to your site included. That should start you off on the right path.

You should also make sure your website is SEO friendly too. Without getting too technical, make sure your domain is relevant to your brand, services and products. Always follow SEO best practises with alternative texts and compressed images, and think about how your user will experience your page.

All of this will add up to a good SEO site.

So, what is SEO? It’s all about quality

After all that, and to put it really, really simply - SEO is all about creating a high-quality, valuable site. Once those foundations have been laid and you put the time and effort in that that requires, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t see the right results on your website.

If you need more support on what SEO is and how you can utilise it to boost your traffic and website sales, then check out our comprehensive SEO and content marketing courses. With our cost-effective solutions, you can master the art of optimisation and boost your organic traffic yourself, without paying out loads to expensive agencies.

Get in touch to learn more about how you can incorporate SEO into your business.


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