With so many ranking factors it can be hard to know where to begin. Start by considering these:
What type of website do you have?
Does it just contain information about your business or do you also post general information about your industry?
What type of person are you?
Do you (or someone from your business) have the time and ability and enthusiasm to regularly create unique and engaging content?
How competitive is your niche?
Are you willing to invest in keyword research to find out?
Did keyword research reveal any opportunities?
It’s all about the shareability of your content
Brochure style sites can be difficult to rank
Many small business websites are like online brochures – they focus on information about the business.
Brochure style sites can be great at converting visitors, but they’re often difficult to get people to share which is a problem in the great Google popularity contest.
When was the last time you recommended a plumber’s website to a friend? You may have recommended your favourite plumber, but I bet you didn’t post an online link to their website (links in private messages like emails or texts don’t help with SEO).
Sites with interesting content have a better chance
A plumber’s site that posts helpful DIY info, or ranks hot water systems based on reliability, for example, has a much better chance of being shared.
Obtaining backlinks depends on content too
For years SEO was all about getting backlinks. Initially all links helped, you could swap them or buy them from any corner of the net. But since Google’s ‘Penguin’ updates started in 2012 poor quality links actually hurt rankings, now links must be from relevant and reputable sites.
There’s a variety of ways to get high quality links, but now all the methods rely on having or creating some interesting content to link to. It’s hard to get good links without good shareable content.
Shareable content still has to be popular
You may know something is interesting but if lots of other people don’t know it yet – if they’re not actively searching for it – you won’t increase traffic to your site.
If you’re going to create new content with the intent of increasing traffic via higher rankings be sure to research if people are actually searching for your topic – answer questions that hundreds or thousands of people are already asking, not just one or two.
What are the alternatives?
If you don’t have the time or the inclination to create lots of unique content your site may have difficulty competing for organic search listings against more established brands dominating your niche. But your site can still be a useful sales tool for your business if you drive traffic to it in other ways.
Online and offline advertising is still effective.
If you’re going to try online advertising I also recommend doing some keyword research so you can accurately target your most promising customers.
Getting your brand out there ultimately helps with SEO too – the more people ‘mentioning’ your business the more weight Google places on your brand.
Reviews on Google will help the most with local search rankings, but good reviews on any site are good for business.
Ask your happy customers for reviews. (Let me know if you’d like the exact link to pass on to your customers to allow them to review your business on Google.)
Social media is most effective if you share unique and engaging content as well, but even just interacting with customers – answering questions, building relationships – it’s great for business and will probably become more important for SEO into the future.
Your goal should be encouraging people to visit your website which is set up to convince them to choose your business. Of course getting them to contact you directly is good too!
Get the basics right
Whether you’re going for a content driven site or not, it’s still worth getting these aspects of your site right because they’re good for your visitors too:
- NAP (Name Address & Phone number) on every page and in a consistent format that also matches your social accounts. Down in the footer is fine.
- Responsive – make sure your site looks good and functions on all screen sizes.
- Speed – fast!
- Easy to share – social share buttons/links on every page.
- HTTPS – get a green padlock.
- Google Business Page – don’t forget! Do Bing too.