10 easy SEO wins for SMEs

Generally speaking, SEO is a long game. It’s common to see benefits in rankings and website traffic as a result of your optimisations months after making them, and it’s a changeable landscape. Websites age, backlinks become toxic, algorithms evolve, links break.

You don’t have to be an SEO guru to make some quick-win updates – besides, the tricky stuff is what we’re here for, right?

If you’ve got a little time on your hands, there are always improvements to be made. We’ve compiled a list of 10 easy SEO wins that’ll give your search visibility a boost, increase website traffic and improve user experience:

Get some citations

Citations fall into off-page SEO. Sometimes called NAP (name address phone number), they are key to standing out in searches that contain a location. Most people know and use citation websites and household names include Yell, Google My Business and business directories of newspapers.

Citations provide correct and consistent information about your business across the web: think opening hours, types of payment accepted, telephone number, address etc. Google checks that there are no discrepancies or misinformation about you online, so having a bank of consistent data is important.

Consider building yourself some citations with Yell, Facebook, local directories and websites like Free Index – and be sure that you’re using the same information across each one and including as much information about your products and services as possible. Also focus on powerful national and international citations (like Yell and Facebook) as well as less powerful but very relevant local ones (like your local government business directory or the local chamber of commerce business directory).

Gain backlinks

Similarly to citation building, backlinks are an important ranking factor which give Google an idea of your website’s authority. Try responding to questions on relevant forums or turn your content into backlink building opportunities (or write new posts) and submit them to journals or publications – just be sure you’re providing value and not just asking someone for a link.

Optimise your images

It’s not just your content that can be tailored to search results, your images can be too – and they should be. Particularly if your business is one with a very visual buying process (e.g. clothing) where people may be likely to use Google Images to search for a product.

You may find that your images have random names on your computer or even in your website’s CMS. The title of each image should reveal what the image is so that when people search for that term, your image may show. For example, change ‘IMG_81937.jpg’ to ‘white cashmere round neck jumper’ and with that one tiny action you’ve significantly increased your chances of ranking for that term. If your images are already uploaded into WordPress or similar, you’ll be able to change their titles in your media library.

Make sure you’re utilising Google Analytics and Search Console

It’s pretty common for people to install Google Analytics and never look at it again, but it’s one of the most effective tools for understanding how users are moving around your website, what they’re finding useful, and any pages that may not be working well.

With this data you’ll be able to identify which pages are performing as entry pages from search results and how your organic traffic is working in relation to your other channels (e.g. traffic from social or PPC campaigns).

In addition to this, you’ll also be able to work out which terms you’re currently ranking for using Google Search Console. You can see the number of impressions your pages have had in search results, whether they converted and which keyword got visitors there.

Run a site speed check

Google’s Page Speed Insights will tell you whether your web pages are loading quick enough. Site speed is an important ranking factor – it turns out that people are very impatient online.

Simply pop in your URL and you’ll get a site speed score and recommended improvements. You may need a web developer for some of them, but there should be some small improvements that can be made.

Remove any duplicate content

Duplicate content is an absolute no-no – whether it be somewhere within your website or elsewhere on the web. Lots of businesses tend to include the same brand or business information (such as an elevator pitch) across multiple areas of their websites. Identify any duplicate content and replace it with fresh copy.

Hunt for site mentions

Acquiring backlinks can be challenging. One quick and easy way of finding opportunities without having to write content and delve into a whole backlink acquisition strategy is to identify any mentions of your website, product or service around the web which haven’t been linked back to you.

We recommend setting up Google Alerts to notify you of mentions of specific words or phrases around the internet – spot those without a link and simply get in touch to ask for one.

Keyword research

If you know your business, you can conduct basic keyword research. At Patch we undergo many layers of keyword research using specialist software and logic, and think about a number of things like search intent, variations in language and creating touchpoints at multiple stages within the marketing funnel – but there’s no reason you can’t get started with some top level keyword research if you haven’t done it before.

There are a few tools available to aid your research or you can start with the obvious – let’s say you’re a restaurant, ‘restaurants in (location)’, ‘places to eat in (location) – Google’s recommendations (what comes up when you begin typing a search query around your topic) or the ‘People Also Ask’ boxes lower down the search results page. To start with think broadly about your business and how people are likely to find it, then think about adding locations, products or specific features into your searches.

Competitor research

Once you’ve got a list of keywords to get you started, have a look at where your competitors rank for these terms. This will help you understand whether you can outrank them and if so, how. Are they appearing on map results? What are they doing to get a top spot? Or perhaps they’re not, and it’s therefore a real opportunity for you.

Add internal links

Internal linking is important to how visitors move around and use your website, and an opportunity to get customers on the journey that you’d like them to take.

Have a look at your existing blogs and see if there are any opportunities for you to add in links (naturally) to other content, resources, products or services on your website. Don’t be spammy with it – make sure every link you add is going to give your user more information to enhance their experience with you.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you want to talk more about SEO or explore SEO coaching, a strategy or a fully managed campaign.

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