10 Step Guide to SEO for SMEs

         When it comes to marketing, a website is undoubtedly one of the mostpowerful tools a small business can have. For SMEs, the internetprovides the perfect opportunity to showcase a brand, products andservices with few barriers to entry.Acting as a virtual shop window, a website gives companies access to a wide, diverse market with no geographical boundaries. But simply having a website won’t guarantee success: to generate business, you’ll needthe help of search engine optimisation (SEO). In this guide, we explainwhat SEO is, and how to build your own strategy for small to mediumsized businesses.
The point of SEO is to ensure your website ranks in Google (and other major search engines) for keywords andphrases of relevance to your business. Lets say you’re an electricianbased in Canterbury. If someone searches for ‘PAT testing Kent’ inGoogle, you’ll want to make sure your website appears in the results –and preferably on page one. A good SEO strategy will help you achievethis. Google holds over 94% of search traffic in the UK. Without SEO,you could be missing out on huge volumes of traffic to your website,from people who could become customers.

The Ten Step Guide to SEO

SEO covers two areas: onsite and offsite. With Google’s latestalgorithm changes (known as Panda and Penguin), there’s no way to‘cheat’ with quick-wins. To be ranked highly in Google search results,you’ll need to create relevant, original web content, pay attention tothe coding of your site, and gain backlinks to show your value to thewider online community. SEO is a long-term game, and our ten step guidewill help you get off to a good start.

1.    Keywords – at a glance

First up, you’ll need to decide upon the keywords you wish to target. Draw up a long-list of keywords you think will draw in your targetmarket.  These are often referred to as search terms.

2.    Assessment

Assess your current website by finding out where your website ranksfor these keywords. You may find that your site is optimised forirrelevant keywords, or perhaps you’re nowhere to be seen on Google forthe search terms that are important to your business.

3.    Keyword Analysis

Run a keyword analysis on your long-list of keywords, so your SEOcampaign is based on facts rather than assumptions.  You need tounderstand how many people are searching for each of your keywords onGoogle, then alter your keyword list accordingly as to what terms arepopular and have high traffic search figures.

4.    Traffic and Competition

Disregard keywords with little or no traffic. Instead, choosekeywords with low to medium competition, and good levels of traffic.

5.    The Buying Journey

Focus on keywords as far down the buying journey as possible. Theseare more likely to attract customers with the intention of buying, ormaking an enquiry.  Generic keywords might provide you with increasedtraffic to your website but it’s about quality not quantity.

6.    Onsite Content

Optimise your onsite content by selecting one web page for eachkeyword. Then, write your copy in a natural, authentic style with akeyword density of around 1%.

7.    Website Coding

Ensure your website meta data, tags and image alt tags contain therelevant keyword – additionally the page titles need to reflect thesearch terms you have chosen.

8.    Backlinks

Gain ‘organic’ links to your site from other sites by guest blogging, participating in online discussions and maintaining a strong socialmedia presence.

9.    Ongoing Analysis

Continually assess your SEO campaign, gathering metrics includingconversion rates, user journeys and exit pages.  Google Analytics isessential in this process.

10.    Adaptation

Tweak your keywords according to your findings. For example, yourtime is best focused on keywords with a conversion rate of 60-70% – socull any under-performing search terms.
A recent report on SMEs revealed they are looking to spend 40% moreon SEO in 2013, and for good reason. By investing time, effort and money on a well-researched, intelligent SEO campaign, your business will seesuccess rates soar. Get in touch to chat SEO further or do you have anyhints for your guide to SEO.

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