Building your Website for SEO
This article on the importance of website SEO has been a long time coming and I was more than happy to share my expertise and advice for other business owners whether in Brisbane or around the world.
One of the the biggest problems many small business owners have is money. When starting out in business they just don’t have the money to put into a website or search engine optimisation and subsequently they try and undertake it themselves. Now for those not well versed in computer code, domains, hosting and every social media platform under the sun. Or those trying to filter through information and advice from more SEO gurus then there are stars in the sky, there is an easier way.
These are my five main tips for generating a strong website that has a solid SEO architecture and foundation on which to grow your business:
- Getting the right domain
- Start the website small
- Start the social media small
- Consistency in listings
- Commitment to quality
Now if these five tips make absolutely no sense, fear not. I will give you a brief explanation of each, but then like everything in life, you must go and learn. Before I created my own websites, I tried and failed. I ended up hiring experts and at the time it was worth it to get professional web design. However if you are on a budget and dedicated to getting it up and running then here we go.
Getting the Right Domain Name
Now by this I mean two main things; the first is to do some research on your major search terms. If you go and register for a free Google Adwords account, you can use the Google Keyword Research tool for free. This will give you a good idea of the search traffic in Australia and globally for various keywords. A good domain name is similar to having a good business name and if you haven’t settled on a business name, I would recommend incorporating the major industry keyword (if relevant) in your brand name. For example my company; Flex Removals, could have been called Flex Movers, Flex Furniture Movers, Flex Removalists and so on and so forth. It isn’t a huge point, but if the first three industry keywords have search traffic of 0-10 people/month and number four is searched 1000 times per month, then it is worth including.
The second is the domain extension, this is the “.com” or “.com.au”. Nowadays there is a heap of what I call “rubbish extensions” i.e. “.xxx”, “.biz” etc. To keep it simple f you are just doing Australia or local business a “.com.au” is essential for SEO in Google AU and it looks better to customers in Australia anyway. If you plan to do business globally or would like to get both then purchase the “.com” also and read up on a 301 redirect of one to the other.
I’m going to roll the website and social media into one here, because less really is more. Your website and your social media presence are essentially like kindergarten children, they’re new, they might wet their pants and they are definitely going to make mistakes. Now this is your first time teaching, ask yourself “Do you want a class of 5 or 50 to take care of?” It sounds simple but just about everyone gets this wrong.
Google+ is essential for SEO and you will need to verify your business or home address with them to get your page verified. From a social standpoint you could do a lot worse than just getting your head around Google+ and a simple business Facebook page, that’s it.
For your website go back to your keyword research and pick out 5-10 keywords you would like to target. Don’t actively jam these in all over your site, but just write them down and keep them in mind. Step 1 is optimising for your business name so you show up number 1 on Google for that. I recommend installing a WordPress theme, you can pick these up for $10-$50, install it, watch tutorial videos on websites or hire someone to do it for you. For starters just have a 1-3 page website; include your story and offerings, your contact information and include your social media likes/+1′s etc.
Consistency in Listings
Your first SEO step is boring but a necessary evil. Listing to directories is a good way to get an initial web presence out there and to get that big stubborn SEO ball rolling. It is essential to list your NAP (name, address, phone) consistently across all of these listings otherwise Google can flag it for duplicate and suspicious listings.
Not to confuse things anymore but while keeping that information consistent, you need to vary just about everything else. I’m talking your business description, your core benefits etc. An increasing number of directories and sites around the web will check Copyscape to see if content is just cut and posted from somewhere else. Google passes minimal SEO weight or votes to anything that is duplicate content.
Commitment to Quality
Again this is two-fold, the first being stay committed. Building links, writing content, engaging with social media subscribers is all time consuming but hugely necessary. None of this is going to happen overnight, but nothing happens when you stop working on it. Either do it yourself or get someone to do it for you, but it is essential. Your website and SEO is not going to get any less significant moving forward and the sooner your presence is established, the better.
Secondly everything you do should be quality. Write one 800 word page of content, rather than hiring 10 Fiverr gigs for 250 word posts with poor grammar and spelling (I’m sure I will have made typos now). Call one local business and ask to write an article about their business in exchange for a testimonial on yours as opposed to just doing low quality link exchanges. Whatever you do don’t get sucked in by any build 50,000 links packages, paid links or SEO companies who will get you to number 1 in a week for a “nothing keyword”.
So in summary just remember KISS (keep it simple stupid) and be prepared to fail, you’re going to more than once. That’s business, that’s SEO and that’s life. You either need to work to be the best, or hire the best. If it was easy every one would be doing it (well).