- Do your keyword research first
- Optimise title tags and descriptions
- Get on social media
- Add content to your site and social media outlets that show your business as an expert in its field
- Get an SEO consultant to do the legwork for you and make sure everything’s been optimised properly
Startup businesses – no matter how big or small – could benefit from an online presence. But it’s not as simple as just creating a website and hoping potential customers will find it. We spoke to Paul Birkett, an SEO (search engine optimisation) consultant who runs Blue Square Management, about how your business can make the most of the web.
Why is SEO so important for small businesses?
Traditional marketing still has a part to play, but the vast majority of people now search online for products and services. Businesses need to be online and place themselves in the shop window. The website has become like a business card.
What are the first things to do when looking to optimise your site for search?
If you’re a new business, keyword research is the priority. This means finding out the terms people enter into search engines. You could get a high Google position for a certain keyword but, if people aren’t searching for it, you’ll get lost. AdWords – Google’s free online keyword tool – is useful for people just starting out. It shows you monthly searches for a certain keyword and its competition, as well as suggesting other relevant keywords that could provide a higher ranking. You’ll want these keywords in your site’s domain name, too.
Are there more advanced ways of raising a site’s Google ranking?
The title tag – the site description that’s displayed at the top of the web browser – is important. It needs to be the main keyword that people will be searching for. Google calculates the relationship between the keywords being searched and a site’s title tag and description to work out its rankings.
That’s just the start. You also need to have more backlinks – incoming links from a website or web page – than your competitors, as backlinks are another way that search engines calculate rankings. The more relevant the website linking to yours, the higher the quality of the backlink in the eyes of Google. If you’re a PR consultant, for example, then a backlink from a media and PR site would be ideal.
Businesses could do these things themselves, but it’s time consuming. The best thing to do is get a consultant with expertise to optimise the site for you.
What does a successful site need?
Content is the most important thing. Businesses should be showing the customer the benefits that their products or services have. There should also be a blog offering expert knowledge in your sector. The people that find you for advice will come back as customers.
And is social media important?
If you’re just starting up, you should be on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. For some keywords, YouTube has even larger search numbers than Google. Videos are more likely to be clicked on than standard links. On Twitter, it’s best for businesses to keep it simple and start with things like tips to give relevant information to potential customers.
Get in touch with Paul Birkett, SEO consultant, London, by visiting bluesquaremanagement.com