Simple SEO Checks Any Small Business Can Make

knightAre you the type of person who breaks out into a cold sweat whenever you hear the term search engine optimisation?

To many it seems to be one of those mythical beasts that you can only tame if you’re armed to the teeth with an array of magical implements.

Well fear not for your knight(ess) in shining armour is here to save the day.

There are 5 very simple SEO checks you can make right now. Open up another browser window and pull up your website.

Ready?

OK, first things first. Let’s take a look at your website structure:

1. Looks aren’t everything

That’s something my mum was constantly telling me when I was growing up.

Take a look at your website – this one is especially pertinent for all owners of custom built websites. For many business owners the ‘look’ of their website is at the top of their list. It’s the part of the process that takes the biggest budget because they want theirs to be prettier than anyone else’s.

The problem with custom builds is that, sometimes, looks are at the expense of SEO, especially if you’ve been seduced by flash. Yes, it looks lovely but unless you’ve got some magic going on in the background coding it’s not going to help your search engine optimisation one jot.

Template websites – love them or loathe them – tend to be more SEO friendly from the start. If there are any web designers out there who want to disagree or comment further please do so, I’d love to hear your take on the design vs SEO debate.

Next we move on to how to get found in the first place, yup, the dreaded keyword research bit.

2. Keywords

Remember this post is all about simple SEO checks so I’m not going to delve into the realms of thorough keyword research.

Take a minute to jot down the top 3 words that you would use as a Google search to find your website.

For example I would choose copywriter, freelance copywriter and possibly Suffolk copywriter to get a geographical tag in there. Next ask a friend or colleague to do the same, in fact ask as many people as you like to do the same and eventually you’ll have a list of keywords.

You may not think that’s very scientific but it will give you keywords that real people would search under for you.

Next you do the hard bit and work out how competitive they are and which ones are the best to tackle (you’ll need to use something like Google’s free keyword research tool for this). The chart below should help you work that bit out.

keyword tool chart

It’s also a good idea, before you make any changes to your site, to search under the terms you decide on and write down your current ranking so you can watch in awe as your site rises ever higher.

That’s your keywords done, so what’s next? Well it’s back to your website.

3. All present?

If you want your site to rank for your identified keywords they need to be in your copy. That doesn’t mean cramming them into every sentence on the page. But rather weave them into the text in a couple of places.

Your headings and sub headings are always a good place to put them and in your title tags.

OK, so now you’ve got your words in your website copy, what’s next?

4. Power content

The next thing to do is write a page or blog post centred on your keywords (one for each keyword). Again that doesn’t mean stuffing, but using your keywords wisely (e.g. in a post of about 200-300 words, use your keyword 2 or 3 times).

Try and use it in your headings to give it more prominence. Once you’ve published these on your website you can then use them on your social media sites too (e.g. your Facebook page) and link back to your site using the keywords as your anchor text links.

With me so far? For the next bit you’ll need a bit of help.

5. Get votes

Every link that comes into your website acts like a vote of confidence in Google’s eyes. The more you have, the more authoritative you are.

So ask friends and colleagues to link to you (like a link exchange) using contextual anchor text links.

OK, so these 5 tips aren’t the most comprehensive SEO techniques but they can and will make a difference. So what have you go to lose? Give them a try and the come back and let me know how you get on.

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3 comments ↓

#1 Jamie Fairbairn on 04.28.11 at 7:51 pm

Good post with sound advice. I’d add the following to point no. 3 – use your keywords and phrases in anchor text links between pages of your website rather than generic phrases like “click here”.

I’d also recommend adding keyword rich alt tags to any images on your site.

#2 admin on 04.29.11 at 8:06 am

Thanks Jamie for your input – very useful tips.

Sally

#3 Best Copywriting Blogs: The Definitive List of Great Copywriting Blogs on 08.11.11 at 7:10 pm

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