For many small business owners, just getting their head around the idea of having a website is hard enough let alone when someone starts talking about SEO, which by the way, stands for Search Engine Optimisation, and is essentially the way that google decides when and where to show your website to people in a search. Most glaze over when the words SEO come up and even the more tech savvy still don’t really understand it. Hey, I don’t know everything about it in the universe, but I am going to try and share what I do know with you.
First up SEO is essential to anyone that has a website. (Don’t worry, I will get to explaining it soon). Unless you have no need for people to find your website by search ever…
SEO is what helps google decide when to show your website. For example, if I typed ‘buy double bridle’ into google, and you sell bridles, then if your SEO has been done, your site will show on that list. But it doesn’t stop there. You could be number 200 on the listing, so the big question is how do you get near the top of that list so people actually click on it? Your site’s SEO is what helps your ranking.
Second important thing to know – you can’t just ‘do SEO’ once on your website and expect good results, it is an ongoing thing that needs to be done.
Third important thing to know – SEO Isn’t typically part of a website build. It is treated as a separate thing, so by having someone build you a website doesn’t mean all your SEO is done from then on and forever, it doesn’t work like that (unless you have an agreement and are paying an ongoing fee for SEO)
There’s lots of other things to know. For starters, no-one including your web developer can control google. It can take months for google to index your website once it is first up and running and no matter how much you want to ‘make the developer’ hurry it up, there is no way to do that. It’s out of anyone’s control but Googles. So take that time to develop your own SEO strategy and start to understand what is needed.
This is where a lot of my entrepreneurs glaze over and say ‘I don’t know anything about SEO how can I develop a strategy’. I’ll just point out you just spent a fair whack of money on a new website, and if no-one can find it, you just wasted your money.
There’s a whole lot of technical jargon that you can go find in a million other articles if you want a really deep insight into SEO, but here’s the short version.
You need to be sharing your site on multiple social media platforms regularly, with purpose (as in, not just ‘hey, look at my site’, give them something specific to go read, look at, a product to buy.
You need to look for opportunities to promote your website with a clickable link on other relevant sites. Treat these opportunities like a marketing expense, so don’t just go for all the free listing stuff, a paid link on a large site with heaps of visits is quite likely to be more effective than a tiny site that 10 people visit a day. Again, you just paid a heap for a website, now you need to spend some money on promoting it and getting traffic (people to visit it).
You need to be constantly updating the site, so it might be adding new products and setting up specials, writing articles or blog posts, changing header banners, updating text here and there.
You need to be sending regular communications to your clients (probably by email) and give them a compelling reason to visit your website each time.
Your site needs to have unique text on it. Google knows if you copy and paste someone else’s text (for example, product description) and it doesn’t really like you doing that, don’t ask me how it knows, I can’t comprehend it myself. So write your own unique text, or find someone with writing experience to write it for you if you are struggling.
Your site needs to be mobile friendly and responsive (for example, phone numbers need to be clickable to go straight to a phone dialler, email addresses also clickable, etc).
Now here’s something important to note – you can’t compare your brand new site to another site that has been ranked number 1 for the last 10 years and the person has worked on their SEO weekly if not daily. Most people don’t realise this, and fair enough, how would you know.
All of these things add up to your SEO on your site. There’s many elements to it it’s not funny, but if I list them all here I am going to fry your brain. So that’s a good start for you.
As you can see, a lot of these things are things you need to work on yourself. Lots of places (Equine Entrepreneurs included 😉 ) offer support for small business to do their SEO for them ongoing if you can’t manage it on your own, but there will always be an element in small business of you needing to understand even the basics and work on it.