If you think about your own Google searches, would you be happy if you got a whole bunch of irrelevant results and you had to scan page after page before you found something even vaguely useful?
I wouldn't. We want the very best, most relevant results delivered to us, straight away. We want Google to intuitively know which websites to recommend we look at. That’s the point of SEO. It helps Google understand enough about your website that it can deliver your site to people searching for what you offer.
Search Engine Optimisation sounds intimidating when you don't know how to do SEO. But if you break it down, it’s just a series of actions you take to help your website rank higher on search engines. It's not as difficult as you might think to improve your SEO.
Is it possible for a small business to get on to page one of Google?
Getting your site listed on page one of someone's search result is the ultimate goal. Those listed on the top half of page one get the majority of the clicks.
With between 1.5 – 1.7 billion websites on the internet and over 40,000 searches made every second, whilst it is possible for a small business to get on page one of Google, it’s important that you have realistic expectations. You are fighting against an enormous number of other contenders for those top spots.
With that many websites competing for space, Google won’t manage to deliver your site on page one unless you help them figure out why your site is the best one to deliver. That’s not a quick job; it takes a lot of time and patience. Getting good natural SEO, or organic SEO, is a marathon, not a sprint.
What does Google look for?
Google likes to deliver popular, reputable, trustworthy sites with well-written, useful content. If your business has quality products and excellent service, your website will reflect this, and that is the foundation to building good SEO.
Just as you want to receive the most relevant results to your search, Google wants to deliver the most relevant results, so it constantly improves its algorithms to help it determine which sites are the best ones to recommend. If you imagine Google having a score card for each website, their algorithms are like the referees, awarding points for all the things you do right and penalties for the things you do wrong. There are over 200 parameters the algorithm looks at and the sites with the best ‘scores’ are the ones they are most likely to recommend to searchers.
In order to keep a fair playing field, Google doesn’t release full information about how their algorithms work but there are some known parameters that Google will scan your site for. This SEO checklist for small businesses will help you with getting the basics right.
If you want to be found, you need to improve your SEO
Google is an essential tool in both our business and personal lives and working on your SEO is the best way to ensure people can find you. Think back a few years and listing your business in the Yellow Pages was an absolute no-brainer. It was the main business directory that everyone used to find what they needed.
Nowadays, Google is that directory and you don’t just need to be on it, you need to be found. Businesses who work to improve their SEO are rewarded by Google for their efforts, and over time, your site gets higher and higher in people's search results. Google Ads will deliver your site high in search results for as long as you pay for them but SEO is the most cost-effective way to make sure people find you without having to pay for the privilege.
Author: Pip Mehrtens | June 2020