SEO Basics for Small Business Websites

Advice 23 September 2015 5 minute read

Getting SEO right is about more than just some well-optimised title tags and publishing a blog post once a month. Climbing the search ladder takes time, effort and a lot of patience.

Just remember, good SEO takes time to learn. If you don't fully understand a certain technique or area of SEO, please take your time to learn about it. If you don't understand, it's more than likely you'll implement something wrong and it'll, at the very least, not work. The worst case scenario is it'll have the opposite effect and make things worse.

So, without further ado, let's get to the tips!

1.) Creating Intrigue with Meta Descriptions

The meta description is the piece of text that shows up below the page title in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) of Google.

A lot of people look at it as a great way to describe what the page is about. However, what they miss out on doing is creating some intrigue. You can do that by asking a question or leaving the description without a definitive answer.

What this does is make people want to click on through to the content so they can find out the answer and in-turn start engaging with your site.

Note: Please take note that this isn't a "trick" to get people onto your site. If you have poor quality content and you are indeed trying to trick people onto your site, they'll leave right away. This simply helps the user onto the page, from there it's up to your content to keep them around.

2.) Use Your Blog Posts for More Content Indexing

A basic rule of SEO is that the more pages you have, the higher the chances you'll appear in search.

Now at first, that sounds like a win-win, but let me explain. This doesn't mean that with 100 pages you'll rank well for one specific term or phrase. Rather, it means you'll appear on more results pages overall, increasing the likelihood of traffic from search engines.

The easiest way to go about doing this is to consistently post high-quality content to your blog. Once a week is the general rule of thumb. But what classes as high-quality content? So long as it ticks the following boxes, you should be good:

Recommended Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Blog Posts That Rank in Google’s Top 10

3.) Have a Responsive (Mobile) Website

If you've not yet heard of responsive design, it's the process of creating a website that adapts to the screen size of the current device your user is on. For example, this website will adapt to any screen size and still look/function at 100% capacity. To get an idea of what I mean, resize your browser window and see how the main menu and header of this site changes as you resize.

But why have a responsive site? Well back on April 21st, 2015 Google released an update to the way it deals with the SERP on mobile devices. If your site is not mobile friendly, I.E. responsive, then you'll be penalised. On the other hand, if your site is mobile friendly, then you'll get a little badge next to your site that says "Mobile-Friendly".

As you can imagine, the majority of mobile users are going to choose the mobile-friendly site when searching for something.

4.) Focus on Long-Tail Keywords for Better Results

The difference between long-tail keywords and standard keywords are quite important to know if you're optimising for search traffic. A standard keyword is simply a word, like "basketball". A long-tail keyword is a phrase or short sentence, like "basketball training in new jersey".

The biggest difference here is that the second one (long-tail) actually appeals to how people search. Think about the last time you searched for something. If you were looking for your local cinema and you lived in Bristol (in the UK), would you just put "cinema"? No. You would put something like "cinema opening times in Bristol".

By appealing to these long-tail keywords, you're not just going to get better rankings, you're actually going to get better traffic from those rankings. This is because people who use long-tail keywords are usually in an actionable state of mind, whereas standard keywords have no real action behind them.

5.) Have an Easy to Navigate URL Structure

This may sound simple, but it can take a little bit of work to get done. If you don't know much about URLs or your site isn't using a CMS like WordPress (I can help!), then I advise you ask someone who does, as this can really affect your rankings if done wrong.

Take a look at the following URL: Do you know where that would go? No, nobody would.

Now take a look at this URL: What do you think that is? If you guessed a sample of my work, you'd be right.

Even though it sounds simple, this makes a huge difference because being able to see your searched keyword in the URL of the page add some weight to your ranking.

Final Thoughts

Optimising your website for higher search rankings is no simple task. It not only requires you do a lot of learning, but you also need a lot of patience as improving in search doesn't tend to happen overnight.

I hope these 5 top tips on the SEO basics for small business websites has helped you get a better understanding of what you need to do.

Please leave me a comment below with what you're doing right now to get better rankings!