Being #1 on Google. Isn’t that every small business owner’s dream?
Ranking high in Google’s search results is without a doubt one of the best ways to get traffic to your website and turn those visitors into customers. That’s why making sure to focus on SEO as part of your digital marketing plan is so important.
There are lots of amazing resources available with tips on how to improve your SEO. But, the reality is, unless you’re a professional dedicated to doing this for small businesses, you probably have some questions about the best ways to increase your rankings in Google.
1. Is SEO worth it for my business?
SEO is a very effective digital marketing strategy but absolutely favors certain types of businesses. For example, local businesses which once relied on the Yellow Pages for client discovery now rely on search engines for people to find them. Retailers who increasingly rely on eCommerce also rely on search engines to funnel customers to their sites.
In determining if SEO is worth it consider the following questions: Do or would a significant number of potential customers discover or research my business online?
If your answer is “yes” then it’s probably a good idea to invest in SEO as part of your company’s marketing strategy.
2. How quickly will I start to see results from SEO?
Google is always looking for reasons not to trust your site and building Google’s trust takes time. Google and other search engines are crawling the Internet, automatically evaluating and ranking millions of sites per day. While quick, their ability to evaluate and rank the entire Internet is not instantaneous. Your optimizations need to be repeatedly crawled by Google to persistently show that your website is a valuable content source for your particular niche. SEO is a long-term investment that requires multiple months to mature. Google always wants to show the most valuable and freshest possible content for every search term, so the way to raise up in the ranks is to persistently have the freshest and most valuable content possible. Plus, once you start seeing results from your SEO it doesn’t mean you should stop. SEO is an ongoing process that builds value over time.
3. What is the difference between indexing and crawling?
When a search engine such as Google looks through the content on your website, this is what is known as crawling your site. As they crawl your site, they index content that will appear in the search engine results.
However, you should be aware that not all of the content on your website is going to be displayed in the Google index. The search engine may miss pages or choose not to index certain content as they go through the crawling process, possibly if it is very similar or duplicate to other pages. By implementing a good internal link structure and including an XML sitemap, you can ensure that all of your pages are crawled and have the opportunity to rank in Google.
4. Is any link a good backlink?
The short answer to this “no.” Backlinks still remain a key factor in SEO today. However, getting links from low-quality websites can hurt your Google standing. And if you aggressively pursue low-quality links, you can even risk a Google penalty. Instead look to always to gain links from quality, relevant sources. As an example, when pursuing link opportunities, we recommend checking Moz Open Site Explorer to check for good domain authority scores and low spam signals.
5. Is there such a thing as too many keywords on my website?
Keywords are a great way to help your site rank for certain words and phrases on Google, but can there really be too many keywords? The answer is Yes! In the early days, developers and SEO experts used to add as many keywords to a website’s text as possible, loading the site with countless keywords. After Google made updates to the algorithm to penalize this type of “keyword stuffing,” it hurt the rankings of pages who had pursued this tactic.
The key is to create high-quality content. By creating well-written content on your site that seamlessly includes keywords and still sounds natural, your site will be on its way to a good start in its SEO journey.
6. Why should you include alt text with your images?
Alt text, also known as “alt attributes,” are used within HTML code to describe the appearance of an image on a page. Search engines are not able to read images but are able to read text. Alt text is needed to help explain and describe the images to search engines. This provides an opportunity to help your SEO by naming the images with relevant keywords. It should be noted that the longer your alt text is, the more difficult it will be to read by search engines. It is best to keep alt text between 5 and 15 words in total.
7. Is there a way to cheat the system with SEO?
No, not over the long-term. Long gone are the days where webmasters could use manipulative techniques to rise to the top rankings in search. Using this kind of “black-hat,” unethical SEO now results in your site being penalised, so it’s important to keep everything clean and natural.Depending on your industry, it’s not uncommon for competitors to use this kind of “negative SEO” to outrank you, so it’s very important to stay at the top of your game. If you think someone is building bad backlinks to your site, for example, you should immediately create a disavow list and submit this to Google. That way, Google will know that you don’t want these links associated with your website.
8. How much does SEO cost?
There is a wide range of types of SEO services, ranging from as little as a couple hundred dollars per month to several thousand dollars per month. For most small businesses, we recommend an SEO budget of between £500 and £1,500 per month, depending on how much work needs to be done on your website. The strength of your competition also plays a role; if your competitors are very sophisticated, then you may need to invest more in order to catch up in the rankings. And for clients with multiple physical locations, we recommend an increased budget so there’s enough budget to build citations for each location.
9. Can I make a one-time investment in SEO, or does it need to be ongoing?
We recommend an ongoing investment in SEO, for a few reasons: 1) it often takes a couple months to properly optimise a website, 2) it takes time to build citations and links, and 3) the more content you publish on an ongoing basis, the more opportunities your website will have to rank in Google. But we also understand some businesses may not have the budget for ongoing SEO. At the very least, we recommend a one-time SEO tune-up to fix any problems that may be preventing your website from ranking in Google.