As the headline suggests, in this guest post, Michael Jenkins (pictured below), director of Shout! Web Strategy, extols his wisdom on how to get your business higher up the Google rankings…
Recently I was reading this article about the growing flower delivery market, particularly boutique services like The Little Market Bunch and Posy Supply Co. One of the founders talks about her desire to get to the Holy Grail – page one of Google, curious (and quietly confident) to see how her business would fare against big guns like Roses Only and Interflora.
How do I get to page one of Google is probably the most often asked questions of me and my Shout! colleagues. I’ve tried to summarise it into some simple tips – after all, us Aussies love to help the small Aussie battlers right?
Small business vs Corporates
Corporates have large SEM spends. They understand it, they get that they can measure return on spend. In some large corporates they have internal departments that handle it, or a media agency that is booking the spend, typically through programmatic buying. Keep this in mind when you’re a small team of one – or some. It can be hard to compete – think smart!
Most large businesses haven’t “got” SEO. It’s a specialist skill set and the big company’s SEO is usually as good as the agency that they employ.
Most large businesses are late adopters of SEO.
We have seen large businesses that haven’t even considered SEO in the mix. The sites often lack any traces of SEO. Often these brand’s digital agency has said that they build SEO friendly sites, however this is just a very small part of SEO.
Small brands are fast, nimble and usually specialise in a niche. Having niche content allows their businesses to push well above their weight in their space.
Things small businesses need to consider:
Nail on page optimisation. Get all the meta data on your site detailed with precision. This will help pull you up in the rankings. If you don’t know how to do it – research it! Or ask an expert for some advice.
Have an on-site content strategy. Allow landing pages to be deep with copy. Have the UX (user experiencer) geared for conversion and lay out the page copy so it’s broken into readable pieces of information as the user scrolls down the page. If you’re an e-commerce site and have category and sub category introduction texts of 150 words or more, why is this? Because search engines can’t read images unless they are labelled.
Search engine robots can better understand the context, and relevance, of a page when there is adequate text to determine that the page is the most relevant result for the term being searched. Moreover, Google weights text at the top of a page higher than text at the bottom of the page, especially when headings are placed in what’s called H1 or H2 tags. These heading tags will boost your page’s relevance for the search terms that you are optimising for.
Interlink your blog content back to key landing pages of your site to build an internal linking architecture. This internal linking architecture pushes internal page authority and lets Google know that the page you are linking to is relevant within your site hierarchy for the keyword that you are trying to rank.
Write for an industry publication. Not only will it help build your profile and credibility in the industry but once published it will be a quality link back to your website. Quality links equal great SEO.
Do strategic outreach development monthly. How? Sorry to say, but there are no shortcuts with outreach. Your best bet is to search for websites relevant to your industry, get in touch with them and ask if they would like an expert article on a relevant subject. Most site owners will know that you are after a link. The way you approach them is key, so don’t ask for a link straight up.
If they are happy for you to write the article, you can request they place a branded link within the ‘about author’ section of the article. Very few webmasters will have a problem with an ‘about author’ link. Hardly any brands do this and it will certainly make marketing managers cry when they see your rankings surge. This is a little gem that most brands don’t understand or do!
Have a social content calendar – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – they all help! Google loves to see that you have traffic referred from lots of other domains other than there search engine. Social referrals will help trigger this ranking factor.
Getting to ‘page one’ for keywords and outranking the larger brands is still very possible. SEO comes down to two factors – Onsite SEO and Offsite SEO. When both of these are well optimised, and best practices like above are implemented, a small business can punch well above its weight through effective SEO.