Yeah, I know the year is almost over, but there is still time for you to get your SEO strategy right. It is true that small businesses struggle with SEO. The problem is that they need it quite badly – it is the only way that they can get to the first page of search results. When they are on the first page they will be found easily by users which in turn means that they have the opportunity to increase their bottom line. If you’re a business that is struggling to attract customers to your website, there are some basic unwritten rules of SEO that you should be following. Check that you are complying with the rules below and watch your website rankings catch up to your competitors.
The Fundamentals Haven’t Changed
All the fundamentals of a good online campaign remain the same, which are:
- you have to use White Hat methods and use them consistently if you want to dominate page rankings;
- you should be focused on On-Page search engine optimization (which is all about what you say about yourself);
- you should also focus on Off-Page SEO (which deals with what others say about you);
- you have to focus on creating content that is loved both by users and crawlers alike; and
- you also have to work hard to build proper backlinks.
Mobile SEO – More Important Than Ever
Earlier this year, around April, Google made it mandatory that websites would need to be mobile-friendly if they wanted to appear on the first page of search results. Effectively this means that even if your website has been heavily optimized, if it doesn’t render cleanly on mobile phones, tablets and other mobile devices according to Google’s specifications, you’re just wasting time and money because Google won’t rank you in the SERPS – in other words, your customers won’t even see you! As over 7 out of 10 online purchases are made using mobile devices, this is bad news for businesses with websites that aren’t responsive (i.e. dynamically adjust depending on the device the website is being viewed on).
But it’s not all bad news, as converting your website is usually fairly inexpensive and will not take much time to resolve the issue. Simply ask your web designer to test your website on a wide range of mobile devices to ensure that it works as designed.
Local SEO – Also More Important Than Ever
As a small business that is serving your local community you have to focus on improving local SEO in 2015. You have to include directions, locations, addresses and phone numbers in your website, Google+, Facebook and other areas online. Today, more and more people are getting information about local businesses through online listings and citations. Make sure that you are listed in relevant listings and that you get citations on websites that are important to your community.
Good Quality Content – Still A Critical Requirement
Attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter each year. People are multitasking more now. They receive content all the time and they have to choose what they will engage with and what they will ignore. That is why it is very important that you develop content that arrests attention. For articles, don’t make them too long unless you are sure that you can keep users glued to the end – people want you to get to the point quickly. Videos are another driving force in SEO in 2015 and they are though of as part of content. You have to develop a few videos that you can share on relevant channels and also on your website and on your social media pages. Create videos that beg to be shared because they are interesting, informative and relevant to your product or service. Keep in mind that Google now requires that content be refreshed from time to time so you cannot keep the same content on your website for a long time.
Social Media Continues To Rule In 2015 (And Into 2016, 2017…)
This year, Facebook reached the 1 billion user mark. That should make it pretty damn obvious that the rate at which social media use is growing cannot be ignored. What this means for you is that you must be able to engage users on social media on a regular basis. Small businesses usually get social media burnout because they try to engage too many social media websites at the same time. My recommendation is that you should choose to focus on just one or two, preferably where your competitors don’t appear. The content that you create for social media is even more sensitive than the stuff that is on your website so you should be very careful to create content that is interesting.
Reputation Is Everything In 2015
Social media and review sites have made it possible for users to exchange experiences with different businesses in a matter of seconds. If just one user posts a negative review about your business it can spread in a very short time and come back to bite you. That is why, even if you have a small budget, you should seriously consider hiring a reputation management expert – they will know how to find and deal with any negative comments and reviews involving your business and get your brand name back on track with your customers.
So keep these SEO tips in mind whilst you continue to grow your business and prepare for 2016!