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Are you feeling lucky punk – A business owners guide to SEO 101

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Search Engine Optimsation (SEO) – A keyword that conjures many emotions among business owners, “It’s expensive, I get spammed a lot about it, It’s way beyond me, Cost vs ROI is out of whack” and so on and so on.

Don’t get me wrong, SEO has become a very technical field which can require a decent investment and there a lot of people touting for business in this field. However the alternative of not doing SEO is in my books inconceivable, I mean if no-one but your trusted fans and customers can find your business online how on earth can you attract new customers and grow your business. I mean thats why we’re in this together right?

I am not going to go anywhere near the technical requirements or pain staking hours of keyword analysis, competitive analysis, site architecture or data analytics but rather introduce a concept called contextual relevance (just talk about your business as if you were telling a friend or potential new customer about it)

Above all things the one key I will always stick to even with my own SEO is “always write for people who don’t know your business and entice them to check you out, only write for search engines if you really know what you are doing” So what is the logic behind this? Admittedly this is my humble opinion but I strongly believe that Google’s business model is to simply direct a search query to the most relevant result and subsequently do a bloody good job at doing so. Imagine how popular Google would be if you couldn’t effectively find anything relevant to your search query….

Have you even tried the “I’m feeling lucky” button, have you ever thought about why they have that button? Imagine if you Googled something and you just went to the perfect result without having to wade through search results. But people love choice so I don’t believe we will be seeing any Google Algorithms any time soon that can factor individual choice preferences.

My point is that Google and other search engines simply want to provide the best result for whatever is being searched. The complexity lies in the various User Experience factors which contribute to what results appear first.

 

 Are you Feeling Lucky punk?

SEO 101 for Business Owners

With that introduction out of the way here are some key tips to doing “better than nothing” to your website Search Engine Optimsation (SEO). The one caveat here is that you may need someone technical to show you where to implement SEO on your website as websites vary from WordPress to Weebly from Drupal to Bespoke. That being said lets rip into it.

  1. Check out Google Instant Results – Start typing some keywords around your business, services or products and instead of hitting search see what other search suggestions drop down. These are great basic indicators to what people are searching for. “Use keywords that people are using not what you think people are using”
  2. Ask your friends, colleagues and customers what they would search for to find either your business or your products and services. “It will provide some insight into what people call some of your products as well as what immediately springs to mind for them.
  3. Match this against your notes from your Google instant searches and pick the top 4-8 keywords (1 or more words used in a search) that feel right and write them down. “Your intuitive decision based on facts will likely be the best guide here”
  4. For each page on your website (if you have hundreds of e-commerce pages then select your top level pages)use the keywords you have collected and do the following
    1. Write a page title which describes the page content
    2. Write the first paragraph in a summary format that explains the content on the page in two or three lines using one or two of the keywords
    3. Write a meta description (If your website has this ability then write a meta description similar to your introductory paragraph lines.
    4. Go through the content on the page and ensure it is well formatted by using headings (not heading 1), bold text, bullet lists and easy to read paragraphs that are contextually relevant to your product or service the page is dedicated to. “Search engines don’t see pages like humans they see it in code so if your content is structured well for human reading it will likely be structured well for search engines”
    5. Check every image and ensure it has a couple of words describing what the picture is in the “Alt Text” field. “People with reading disabilities may use a screen reader and Alt Text will be read out. i.e. Photo of New Widget”
    6. Check the image sizes in kb or mb. Ideally less than 100kb is ideal (yes please argue with me 🙂 “If images are huge they will cause speed issues with your site and that is a bad User Experience, get it?”
  5. Lastly get some friends to look at your website and give you feedback. Do a three second test. (get someone who hasn’t seen your website to look at it for three seconds then ask them the following questions.
    1. What was my website about?
    2. What was really good that jumped out at you?

That’s it… Now you will be able to create results in Google that look like the following.

The Two Bedroom Superior Family Taipa Suite – Beachfront
taipabay.co.nz/room/two-bedroom-apartment/
Perfect for families this 2 bedroom suite has a self-contained Kitchen is equipped for up to 6 people making it the ideal family holiday apartment.

The areas are broken down in the below example.

PAGE TITLE: The Two Bedroom Superior Family Taipa Suite – Beachfront
URL: taipabay.co.nz/room/two-bedroom-apartment/
META DESCRIPTION or FIRST FEW LINES FROM PAGE: Perfect for families this 2 bedroom suite has a self-contained Kitchen is equipped for up to 6 people making it the ideal family holiday apartment.

So there you have it, if you are not doing SEO and are not planning on either taking on a professional to manage it for you or embark on a new career of search engine optimisation then please try the tips mentioned above. They take time both to do and also to see results. If you would like to know more, want some one 201 training or simply are looking to speak with someone to see whether it is viable hiring an agency to do it then give us a shout at team@marketingfuel.co.nz or call me (Russell) directly on 021 332 404.