It’s quite astounding! 1.98 million SMEs in the UK do not have websites, which means they are collectively losing over £343-billion in business a year! (Research from approvedindex.co.uk). Hundreds of thousands more small businesses HAVE websites but they are being overlooked or ignored, and not serving the purpose of engaging with potential customers, because of poor SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
For us here at Dentons Digital it is those “wasted websites” which we find so depressing, because they are not fulfilling the great potential of any business website: to expose a brand/product/service to the marketplace.
If you don’t invest in SEO you may as well not have a website at all, for all the good it is doing for your business. The operative word here is “invest”, because that is how SEO should be regarded – not as a frivolous cost, but as a serious investment.
Believe it or not, with a few tweaks and a bit of expert knowledge, it is possible to have your website pop up on the first page of the search results when people go online to seek out a service or product like the one your business is offering.
It’s not rocket science, but it does take a bit of know-how and using the right tools to initially diagnose the SEO shortcomings of your site, and then measure progress up the rankings once the site has been “doctored”.
Building on the basics
Many savvy small business owners/managers have put some effort in themselves and seen the advantages of SEO. You can build a solid foundation for your website right from the outset just by bearing the basics in mind:
- Firstly choose a domain name that fits your business. Don’t try to be cute or clever – just tell it like it is as simply as possible. If you’re a plumber, for example, get the word plumber or plumbing in your domain title.
- When you’re deciding on the content of your website, you can give your site the SEO advantage by making a list of keywords and phrases, and incorporating them across the website content.These are the words and phrases that you can imagine that people searching for a business like yours might type into the search engine. Use generic short tail keywords (like “emergency plumber”) as well as long-tail more specific keywords (like “plumber in Westbury, Wilts, for emergency repairs”).
- When you craft the content for your website ensure it is original, unique to your website, and consists of a variety of text, images and videos. The content needs to be as interesting, useful and relevant as possible. If you’re including blogs make sure they are well researched. Long articles rank better than short ones on the search engines, and regular fresh content is good too.
- Your website design as a whole must provide an efficient, informative and pleasant user experience. Happy users equate to happy search engines!
- Acquire as many backlinks as you can – start by listing your website in online consumer and trade directories, like dentons.net.
If you’ve taken these steps yourself, your website should be well on its way to a good ranking. If you then bring your website to an SEO expert (like Tony Heywood here at Dentons Digital!), it can be taken all the way to the top in your target demographic or local area. You’ll bypass the competition in the market and notice all sorts of benefits.
With optimized SEO you’ll soon begin to notice a rise in organic traffic to your website, an improvement in the spread of your brand awareness, and a boost in your social media activity. Another spin-off – and of course the most important – is a higher conversion rate (ie. website visitors converting to customers, subscribers or return visitors). Your name will also be imbued with more credibility, because if you appear at the top of the search rankings, you must be good, right?
SEO is not a one-off exercise. It is measurable, and therefore testable. To be truly effective your website’s SEO performance should be continuously monitored and the site adapted accordingly. It’s also necessary to keep a weather eye on the rapidly changing search engine industry. SEO is an area in which the goal posts are constantly moving, so you have be on the ball.
If your business does not have that all-important web presence, or you feel your website is not working as it should, consult with Dentons Digital – we do it all, from design and development to hosting and SEO packages.