Contrary to popular belief, SEO is just as important for smaller businesses as it is for bigger brands.
In fact, effective SEO provides smaller businesses with the best possible chance of standing shoulder to shoulder with their more established competitors.
At the cornerstone of every successful SEO strategy lies a series of simple yet effective best-practice essentials. With this in mind, here are the seven most important SEO fundamentals all smaller businesses or an SEO agency should prioritise:
1. Perform Keyword Research
The keywords you choose will form the basis of your SEO strategy; therefore you need to research carefully. Tools like GoDaddy Search Engine Optimisation can help, enabling you to find the most relevant primary and secondary search terms of relevance to your audience. Smaller businesses are also advised to focus on longer-tail search terms where possible.
2. Populate Your Site with Quality Content
Quality should always be prioritised over quantity where website content creation is concerned, everything you publish needs to be relevant, current and of genuine value to your audience. It also needs to be authentic, true to your brand and 100% unique with just the right proportion of keywords included.
3. Use Meta Titles and Descriptions Properly
These are the short snippets of content that appear in the SERP rankings if and when your page appears; they are also the main make-or-break factors that will determine whether your link is clicked, or just another entry in the list. Keep your Meta titles shorter than 60 characters and your Meta description between 150 and 160 characters.
4. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
Google has been stressing the importance of mobile-friendliness for some time, indicating its intent to prioritise pages that put the mobile user first. This therefore means that every aspect of your website needs to look great and work flawlessly across all types of mobile devices. Under no circumstances should mobile visitors be short-changed, with a diluted and disappointing approximation of your desktop site.
5. Avoid Duplicate Content
Contrary to popular belief, duplicate content will not result in a Google penalty. It is not nearly as harmful as many have come to believe, but it is completely devoid of any value. Google is engineered to simply disregard duplicate content, meaning it adds no benefit whatsoever to your SEO strategy. In which case, it is best avoided at all costs.
6. Build Quality Backlinks
Google’s John Mueller recently made it clear that one quality backlink is worth more than a million low-quality links. Backlinks from sources of questionable quality simply do not factor into the considerations of the major search engines. Quality links from authoritative sources hold immense power and appeal, and should therefore be the only links you focus on.
7. Speed up Your Website
Overall website performance has been a major ranking signal for some time now. Google in particular makes all possible efforts not to recommend sites that are slow, sluggish or susceptible to performance issues. However small and humble your website may be, it needs to deliver a smooth, seamless and super-speedy experience for every visitor, without exception.