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SEO Tips for the Small Business Owner

As a small business owner it’s really hard to be ‘all’ things in your business. It’s the old question about whether you want to work ‘On’ your business or ‘In’ it. I’m not trying to sell anything here, just trying to impart some of the learnings that I’ve found helped as a small business owner, trying to keep an eye on the bottom line, and that I can do to help my business. One of them being how to get my business noticed in a sea of Information that quite frankly can be daunting when staring out in a new enterprise. Trying to get noticed amongst all the other businesses that are floating out there in the business ocean.

As a Small Business Owner you’re rightly excited about this great product or service you’re providing and you probably don’t have the budget to take out prime time advertising on TV to help drive customers towards you and your bank account. That said, we all know the best idea in the world isn’t worth anything if no one knows it is there. Enter social media and the vast ecology of the Internet. Where to spend your advertising dollar and get best bang for your buck? Well, we all know that you need a website and some social media to drive enquiry and people to you, but how to do that and still have time to do the others things that your business needs to keep the door open…and hopefully on to that magic word – profit.

I’m going to make the assumption that you’ve created a website and you want to increase traffic to your website. The first tip on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is that you need to be 'relevant'. Googles algorithm (The smarts behind their ranking process) is constantly being reviewed, but generally what they are looking for when someone enters a few key words into the Google search bar is to be able to return the most relevant answers to the customers search. The key of course, and the secret to the sauce is their secret, but if you have a look at the most 'relevant' results that come back from typical search these will generally be the organisations that have some longevity, and through their marketing have been able to rank higher than their competitors. I'm not an SEO guru, but have enough experience to be able to pass on a few tit bits and suggestions. Here are a few that I know will help; 1. Check out the # 1 ranking competitor that has been returned for your search. I don't know your industry but lets says its supplying green widgets (Who actually knows what a widget is anyway!..) So Google will typically look for the most relevant green widget supplier based on that criteria. The wider the search, the more internationally the search engine will look - so if you are geographically focused then your website should be referencing this as much as possible i.e. green widgets in Sydney Western Suburbs. (As this is what people are searching for) So always think like the person who is searching when looking for web design and keywords. Have a look at the next few top site responses as well - but take your cue from #1. The number #1 site will most likely have a bunch or information around the topic. They will have industry biopics, FAQ's, testimonials, whitepapers, tool tips etc etc. So Google looks at that site and says' These guys are switched on..the know their stuff and its relevant to the market' let's rank them higher 2. Use back links and other site linkages - Back links are links to other sites, information or otherwise that increase your relevance in Googles eyes. i.e. a link to the widget societies national conference. You must include Facebook, linked in, Instagram and Twitter links (Where appropriate) as they are great back links 3. Offer something - Don't just show stuff on your website. Have a call to actions somewhere. People like free or discounted stuff. Remember - your website is your shopfront and in an electronic world its super easy to just land, have a quick flick through and they are gone forever. When you go into a shop and you're looking for something specific and find it and then can't find a sales assistant its pretty annoying. Your website is the same...I mean I've come here and found you and I've looked at the items on the hanger and no-one is around to help me buy it...same thing on a website - offer something if you can. If you have the budget and can pay someone to manage your SEO for you, then all well and good. Just make sure that you’re clear on your desired outcomes so that you can drive the professional towards your outcome…not theirs. And lastly, if you are the one responsible for pushing your web and social media presence into the stratosphere, my suggestion is to keep that one word top of mind….relevance.

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