How can small businesses reap huge profits from foundational SEO?
Digital marketing has been on the rise for the past few years with the discovery of online marketing. Online marketing is accomplished with help of social media services. Employing 20% of your effort in search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing SEM will give your business up to a profit of 80%. Digital marketer Marcus Miller outlined different SEO tactics which can be employed on small and medium-size business SMEs to make big profits. This will include:
Whether you are new to SEO or have been in the field for years, there is always something that you need to improve on. Not many SEOs are written in a perfect manner. Creating an SEO is not a difficult thing to do. However, it is easy that you will get confused about the trivial SEO details. The basic principle of SEO is that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects are as a result of 20% of the causes. Making sure that 20% of the SEO work is done will be very crucial as it helps to attain 80% profits. Below is a discussion of the basics and ways we can use this 20% today to score easy wins.
With the correct decisions at the outsets, most of the technical work will be done by the company’s website host or website software. It is good to select a search-engine-friendly content management systems CMS such as WordPress. This will ensure that you have a strong foundation for your SEO efforts. It will ensure that your site is hosted in a customized environment. Making smart decisions will save you time and keep you from performing manual optimization.
Searching for keyword
In order to create good Search Engine Optimization, understand your customers’ language first. This will help to improve your ranking on organic search results. In addition, it will greatly help to convince your visitors to click on your site and get engaged. Below is a discussion on how you can make a list of good keywords.
- Seed List: This will involve listing all elements of your business in a spreadsheet. In the case of SMEs, this will include the type of products, services, and location. Organize the seed keywords in a clean spreadsheet.
- Keyword Research Tools: There are a lot of keyword research tools that exist. These tools will help you to understand what the search volume is and what the potential value of keywords is. Some examples of these tools include:
Google Ads Keywords tool: this tool offers you a huge search volume in terms of location and the idea of difficulty plus cost per click for ads.
Keywords everywhere: this tool is a chrome extension that will offer you a search volume based in Singapore.
Google: Google will always make keyword suggestions at the bottom of the page you open. This will give you a hint of what your competitors are optimizing around.
It is good that you understand your searcher’s intentions. This is the key for you to ensure that you optimize around the wants of your target customers. Some other tools include Moz, SEMrush, and Ahrefs that are paid for before use. If you operate a cash-strapped small business, you can try their free services before you get signed up.
In SEO and SEM, your target is to create a group of keywords that relate to one page. Other additional values such as competition, volume, and rank by keywords will help you in making the best optimization choices. If we take an example of a plumber working in one city in Singapore, he can have a list of the following keywords; Services, Plumber, Emergency, Boiler repair, Locations, and Singapore. These keywords can be expanded and be written as follows:
Plumber, plumbing, plumbing services
Emergency Plumber, Emergency plumbing, emergency plumber 24/7, 24-hour plumber, and
Plumbing maintenance and repair service.
The above is a variety of keywords that a user may search on. Using these variations on your sales and on-page optimizations makes sure that Google is satisfied that you can help the user to the search. This makes sure your SEO efforts result in your keywords being ranked highly, therefore, generating more business.
Organizing your content well helps Google and the user to understand your site. For example, if we take a typical small and medium-sized business SME, services and locations will serve as our primary pages. This will result in the following type of structure:
- Location A
- Location B
- Location C
- Services A
- Services B
- Services C
The above structure is understandable by the search engines. The search engines can provide the user with individual pages for specific locations or services. We can combine the above structure with the earlier developed keywords to have:
- Services> emergency services
- Services> plumbing services and
- Services> boiler’s services
Something else considered to be of great importance is having a URL structure for the pages which will incorporate the keywords as in the following two examples.
These descriptive URLs describe the content of the page. With these links, Google will be able to show which is the most relevant page, and as a result, will display to the customers the most relevant information.
Under this state, we combine all work that has already been done together. The keywords now can be used on the already structured pages. In order to improve optimization on your page, you can consider optimizing the following:
#1 Optimise page titles
The Page title is the most powerful ranking determinant of on-page ranking. These titles also serve as headlines and are frequently shown in the search results. Optimizing for clicks will be of great importance as it is done for ranking. This is why it is important to weave branding elements where possible. Take for example our previous plumber’s example. We can optimize our pages as follows:
Plumber in Singapore- Marcus’s Plumbing Service
This service page will consist of:
Boiler Repair Service- Free Quote/Marcus’s Plumbing, City of Singapore
Emergency Plumber-available 24/7 /Marcus’s Plumbing, City of Singapore
Page titles can be optimized with keywords variations in order to tick all boxes. An example of such optimized page titles is;
A call to action where relevant “Free Quote”
#2 Optimise internal links
Optimising your internal links will be the last thing to consider at this stage. This one will help to improve your SEO and also help guide the user to visit where you want him to go. Interlinking services and location pages can be used to benefit small businesses. For example, service pages are linked to all locations where your business operates, and a specific location page is linked to all services offered in a particular location.
This is a subset of traditional SEO that aims at helping local businesses rank. The main factors for business owners to focus on is the Google My Business and citations
Google My Business
Under this factor, you will provide information about your business. This will improve its visibility in Google maps and in the search results. The information will include the business type, opening hours, contacts, photos, and address. Posts, reviews, and the ability to receive messages from clients may be needed too. Ensure that you provide complete information and use all options to advantage your business.
Here you mention the name, address, and phone number of your business. This will help customers to identify your local business and in the local search result ranking. To identify the important citation sites, search on your keywords through Bing or Google. When adding your business online, make sure you submit the completely correct category of your business and its descriptions. Include the main keywords, services, and locations in the description.
One of the most difficult aspects of SEO is links and authority building. Search engines will use links to determine the relative authority of your web pages and sites. However, in local SME businesses, this is taken as one factor. Other factors include address, proximity to the searcher, and business category.
The specifics will always depend on the type of your local business. However, it is good to pay attention to the following link and authority building tactics:
- Links from business partners and suppliers
- Consider sponsoring local charities and clubs
- Join any relevant organizations that have established profile pages
- Getting into partnership with other local enterprises and offering a review to other businesses. It is also good to make sure you build links where they are likely to add value.
SEO Strategies for Small Businesses in Singapore
75% of people who go online in Singapore to search for information do not go past the first page of Google. Therefore, investing in organic SEO is a critical approach for growing a successful online business. It will help your website rank at the top of SERPs.
Regardless of the numerous SEO advantages, many small businesses in Singapore are still not using SEO strategies. A strong SEO strategy will assist you in expanding your market and increase your brand awareness. However, controlling SEO is far from simple, and it takes a great deal of patience and dedication.
Here are SEO strategies you can use for your small business in Singapore.
Find The Right Keyword
70% of small businesses that use SEO strategies use keyword research. Keyword research helps companies determine what people are looking for and optimize their sites to appear in the most relevant search results for their target market. It also allows you to know the keywords your competitors are using.
To conduct keyword research, use tools like Google Keyword Planner. This tool will help you understand keywords with a high volume of searches but have low competition. Use those keywords on every website page to help them rank higher in SERPs when potential consumers search for them.
Start by including the keywords in the URL. Also, use them in your headlines and metadata descriptions.
Also, concentrate on long-tail keywords since they rank easily and are more profitable than short-tail keywords. The nature of the keyword determines its profitability. To do so, comprehend the keyword’s purpose first or why a customer is searching for it.
An effective keyword strategy should be reviewed and modified frequently since trends in how people search for information continuously change. Use tools like Alexa’s Competitor Keyword Matrix to study your competitors’ SEO methods to give you an upper hand in the competition.
Build Backlink Profile
A fundamental aspect of a good SEO is earning backlinks to your website. However, effective link-building strategies need substantial time and effort. The amount of external and internal links is a metric used by SERPs to determine the quality of your site.
Even though link-building is an effective SEO strategy, only 24% of small businesses take their time and effort to build high-quality backlinks to their sites.
You can earn organic links in several ways. First of all, start by creating quality and engaging content. The more your content matches your customer’s search purpose, the more likely they are to mention your site. Some sites also prefer reaching out to other sites and trade links since it is easier. They don’t have to hassle too much.
Other activities also help in speeding up the link-building process. They include:
- Creating shareable material like videos and infographics
- Answering questions on sites like Quora or Help a Reporter
- Use testimonials from satisfied clients
- Using contacts in the industry and posting on social media like LinkedIn
- Guest blogging on reputable sites
- Contact local influencers on social media or by emailing them and ask them to link back to you
- Ask local news publications to cover and link your business
When it comes to link-building, it is crucial to concentrate on the link’s quality. A single connection from a university or government website will be more beneficial than a dozen links from unknown blogs.
Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
There are over four billion mobile users worldwide, and marketers cannot afford to overlook these numbers. According to a study, 50% of internet traffic comes from mobile users. Therefore, small businesses should invest in creating mobile-friendly websites.
Fortunately, Google allows small businesses to test if their websites are mobile-friendly using their Mobile-Friendly test.
Using a responsive design is the best way to make your website mobile-friendly. A Responsive design guarantees that your site adjusts to fit whichever device a person is using.
A mobile-friendly website design should also be minimal and focused on actionable content since mobile screens are less. Only provide the most crucial information that prompts clients to take action, such as clicking a button, completing a contact form, or downloading an eBook.
Also, the speed of your website is crucial for SEO. It should not take longer than three seconds to load. The last thing you would want to do is irritate your visitors by having a slow-loading website.
Here are other tips that can make your website mobile-friendly.
- Make your fonts larger since they are easy to read.
- Use pictures and copy minimally, delivering only the information you require
- Ensure your website has a user-friendly interface for a great UX
Create High-Quality Content
The primary goal of search engines is to assist users in finding answers to their queries. As a result, creating interesting content that delivers quality information to your visitors is your best approach for generating traffic. Be sure to include images and videos to provide quality information to your readers.
Content quality greatly determines the rank of your website on SERPs. The relevance of your site’s content to your target audience, or potential consumers, is also crucial. Quality content will also make you a thought leader in your industry.
Besides creating quality content, ensure to use the right keywords naturally. Do not overuse keywords in your content in an attempt to improve your rankings. Google will impose heavy penalties on your site if they discover. They may downrank your site or ban it from their index altogether. Also, stuffing keywords will irritate your readers since they will be reading the exact words repeatedly.
To deliver quality material relevant to your consumers, first, have a better understanding of their interests and what they value. To keep track of user trends, regularly audit and monitor your website.
Also, update your content frequently to ensure it stays relevant to your readers.
Improve Use Experience
A user-friendly website is essential since it determines how your audience interacts with your website. Most users will leave your website if it is not user-friendly. Your SERPs rankings will be higher when people stay on your website for long.
A user-friendly website goes beyond creating quality content. It involves developing an easy-to-navigate website, and each link should take users to the information they are looking for.
Other factors that improve user experience include:
Use shorter paragraphs with two to three sentences– Shorter paragraphs improve readability and make it simpler for your readers to read through your material.
Avoid jargon– Many individuals think using jargon is a way to demonstrate their knowledge. However, it causes more harm than good since your audience won’t understand what you’re saying. Avoiding slang is the best option.
Include visuals– While informative content is vital, long of content can overwhelm your readers. Adding images to your pages, such as photographs and videos, helps break the content and make it simpler to read through.
Leverage Google My Business
A GMB account will enhance your local SEO by making your site more visible to the local customers. Create an accurate GMB account by filling all the fields with the right information such as brand name, physical address, operating hours etc.
To optimize your Google Business Profile, ensure you do the following.
- Provide accurate and updated information
- Respond to customer reviews.
- Publish business posts announcing your products, events, and offers on the Google My Business dashboard
- Include the logo of your business, operation hours, acceptable methods of payment and the product or service you provide, and their pictures
- Encourage your consumers to review your business online
Optimise Your Website for Voice Search
Voice search is going to be the most preferred method of searching for information online in the next few years. Therefore, it is imperative to optimise your content with question-based keyword instead of just relying on short-tail keywords.
Consumers use long-tail keywords when using voice searches. Therefore, you’ll need to modify your content’s SEO to match a conversational tone.
When optimizing for voice, it’s also essential to consider the intention of the user because people mostly conduct these searches when they need precise information. When people request Alexa to change teaspoons to cups when baking, they want a speedy and constructive response. When clients use voice search to inquire about your business operating hours, provide that information quickly.
Optimise Your Metadata
Metadata is as essential as keyword research because it is among the first things both potential visitors and Google will notice. Therefore, it is the most direct approach to entice somebody to your website.
When crawling through websites, metadata is among the first things they look at after indexing the URL. This includes tags for images, meta descriptions, and titles, including the page title and a brief sneak peek line that appears when searching for anything on Google.
Create A Webpage for Each Product or Service You Offer
Most small businesses offer all of their items on one page, such as the homepage, which is not a smart strategy. Ensure each of your products or services has unique pages to earn more revenue from your local SEO strategies. As a result, you’ll be able to rank higher for many keywords on each product page.
If your business deals with only one product or service but is located in many regions, use the location-based content for each page.
Optimise And Properly Categorise All Website Pages
Your website contains different pages. Some of these pages include contact, FAQ, Products and Services page, and the About page. Each of these pages is essential in a small business.
You need to be creative for your business to succeed. Your consumers should not come to your website and have trouble figuring out which category a particular page belongs to. Therefore, ensure you categorize your pages well to ensure your readers navigate through your website seamlessly.
Categorizing will also optimize your website for local searches. Local search engines allow you to organize your business into many categories, allowing customers to understand your products and services. Some search engines don’t rank pages if they are not categorized or if you don’t categorize specific keywords correctly.
Ensure your listings on search engines are correct, professional, and relevant. This is the first step in attracting organic customers to your company. Most importantly, don’t forget about any of your pages. Identify the specific search phrases your prospective consumers are typing into search engines, and categorize them accordingly.
Analyse Your Competitors
Don’t forget to include competitor analysis in your list of SEO strategies. When trying to improve your search engine rankings, it’s essential to understand who you’re up against and how you can beat them in the competition.
If you want to rank for specific keywords, first go to Google, type in those keywords, and see what comes up. Note who comes up first for those keywords. Study their websites to find out the type of information they provide on the subject.
As you go through your competitor’s page, ask yourself the following questions.
- What is the layout of their page?
- What is the length of their content?
- Do they use images or videos in their content?
- What pages are they missing?
- Which of their pages do well?
- What can I do better?
It is also important to answer these questions since it will help you understand your competitors’ actions and some ideas you can borrow from them.
Monitor Your Strategies
Monitoring your website is an important SEO strategy. It ensures your investments don’t go to waste. Monitoring will also help you identify strategies that are not working early enough so you can adjust them or stop using them altogether.
When tracking your SEO strategies, ensure you look at metrics like:
- Pages a person visits per session
- Bounce rate
Ultimate Guide of Technical and On-Page Optimisation
Already we have discussed the different types of SEO you can use to generate more organic traffic, sales, and rank better. Now, let us proceed and look at the technical and SEO strategies you should implement to help you get more clicks without spending a fortune.
Technical SEO Optimisation
Technical optimisations are considered in the initial stages of developing a website and are not usually visible to the audience. Some best practices include:
- Having H1 on each page of the website.
- Minimizing website loading time.
- Adding alt attributes to images.
- Building URLs without dynamic characters.
- Linking your highest value pages to the main navigation.
Here are the best technical optimisation techniques.
Broken Links, Redirects, and 404 Page
A broken link to a page that does not exist often should redirect a visitor to a 404 page, which informs Google that that page is non-existent hence prevent it from indexing its content.
To effectively solve this, ensure all broken links or links to non-existing website pages redirect to a 404 page so that Google does not include it within their index.
All your links should redirect to appropriate pages so that Googlebot focuses on crawling to pages with relevant content, FOR Google o effectively rank your site on search engine.
Custom H1 And Intro on Topic Pages
Making changes to individual headings and content topics has indirect benefits to SEO. However, they create higher quality text that is easily readable for the users hence better for your SEO.
The quicker users find what they are searching for, the longer they stay on your site, reducing bounce rates and improve ranking.
Use headings to add structure and signposts to your content and describe each of its sections. If titles make it easier for users to learn about the article, it will also help Google understand your content.
An example of how to utilize heading structure in a post:
H1: How to improve SEO ranking.
- H2: Why SEO ranking is essential.
- H3: Improved ranking.
- H3: Reduced bounce rate
- H3: Increased conversion rate.
- H2: Components of SEO ranking.
Pagination refers to a series of related content divided into multiple pages, often done on a list of blog posts or e-commerce products. The main goal is to improve the overall user experience. It is achieved by incorporating links that allow users to move from one page to the next. They can be easily identified through URL.
Here are some best practices for pagination:
- Use self-referencing canonical tags.
- Change your site’s pages Meta Tags.
- Don’t include pagination in the XML sitemap.
- Make use of faceted navigation.
An XML sitemap is your website URLs list that informs search engines what content is available and how crawlers can reach it. It helps Google crawlers in faster indexation of websites that:
- Have deep architecture or have many pages.
- Regularly add new pages to the site.
- Frequently update content in the existing pages.
- Lack of external and internal linking.
Including pages in an XML sitemap indicates that you consider them as quality landing pages hence increasing chances of being ranked or indexed.
The hreflang attribute informs Google what language is on a specific page so that search engines can give results to users in that language. It is essential when curating content that is specific to a local audience.
Consider the following tips to get most of hreflang:
- Include a hreflang attribute only in either on-page markup, HTTP header, or on the site map.
- All pages with the hreflang attribute should include a reference to itself and to all pages that act as alternatives.
- Use -default to indicate that that page is not mainly targeted for a variety of languages.
Hreflang attributes help deliver the right content to your target audience. They assist search engines in swapping the correct version of your website pages based on audience location and preferred languages.
On-Page SEO Optimisation
On-page SEO is essential in delivering value to both audience and customers and, at the same time, helping site optimization by improving the overall user experience. They are referred to as “on-page” as they are visible to the visitors of your site.
On-page are categorized into three:
- Content elements.
- HTML components.
- Website architecture elements.
High-Quality Page Content
Content does not merely refer to the blog posts; it is the valuable information you give to online searchers delivered to them by search engines.
Quality content is considered by Google worth sharing. It provides solutions to authentic challenges experienced by the audiences, entertains them, or helps them figure out how something is done or where to locate certain things, products, or services.
To create quality content, first, select relevant keywords or topics. Conduct research on keywords by leveraging available tools such as Google search console, Keywords explore by Ahrefs, and keyword tool.
Some of the best practices to curate high-quality content include:
- Identify and establish your target audience.
- Write for your specified buyer persona.
- Actively offer solutions to your target audience.
- Add relevant and engaging visual content.
- Optimise your content for conversions by including clear CTAs.
- Curate content regularly.
- Naturally, add short and long-tail keywords.
Page titles inform visitors and search engines what the pages are about, include a focus keyword in the title for ranking.
Consider the following critical pointers for your page title.
- The page title is less than 70 characters.
- Use at least one focus keyword.
- Make the title relevant to the page.
- Do not use all caps.
- Include your brand title.
Meta descriptions appear below the title in search results. They determine whether the online searcher will click on your page or not.
An excellent meta description:
- It should be below 160 characters.
- Incorporate entire keyword or keyword phrase.
- Avoid alphanumeric characters.
- It should use complete sentences.
- Include a Call to Action.
- Make it captivating and unique.
Image alt-text describes your images; this is important as the audience may discover your site through images. Ideally, it should be specific but also descriptive of the topic of the webpage it’s representing.
A compelling image alt text should;
- Be specific and descriptive for the image.
- Add context to the topic that relates to the page.
- Less than 125 characters.
- Include targeted keywords.
- Free of spelling errors.
Image alt text increases the chances of your images appearing on image search results. Hence, improving your online visibility.
Website Architecture Elements
Your site’s page URLs should be simple for both the audience and search engines. They are also essential to maintain sites hierarchy when creating subpages, blog posts, and other internal site pages.
Page URLs have three main benefits:
- It improves the overall user experience.
- It boosts your site ranking.
- They can act as anchor texts.
Here are some best practices for URLs.
- They should be simple, accurate, and relevant.
- They should at least incorporate one or two keywords.
- It’s advisable to use a secured URL. i.e., HTTPS, as this is a Google ranking factor.
A website needs to be user-friendly due to the wide use of mobile devices by online users. A responsive website changes its layout depending on the device being used. It includes elements such as:
- Text readability without zooming.
- Adequate white spaces.
- No horizontal scrolling.
Why should you consider optimizing your website for mobile devices?
- To enhance consistent user experience for customers. Hence, increasing lead generation and conversion rates.
- Analytics, tracking, monitoring, and reports can be derived from one place.
- It saves time when it comes to on-site content management.
- Boosts reach for audiences on their convenient devices.
- It will enable you to stay ahead of your competitors.
Use Google’s mobile-friendly test tool to determine whether your site is mobile-ready.
Internal links connect one page of your website to a different page on the same website. That is, the source domain and target domain are similar. It is an SEO power technique, especially for content marketing, and has three primary purposes.
- It enhances website navigation.
- It defines websites hierarchy and architecture.
- Distribute your site’s ranking power and page authority.
Internal linking enhances the overall site SEO by providing clear paths, pronged user sessions, and a closely-knit network for your site’s pages.
How to establish effective internal linking?
- Create a lot of high-quality content.
- Links should go deep within the structure of your site.
- Use links that are naturally appealing to the readers.
- Use relevant links in your content.
- Use follow links.
- Use anchor texts.
Site Loading Speed
If a site visitor clicks through your site’s page and waits for a few seconds, they will probably bounce off your site, which will cost you ranking and potential conversion.
Fortunately, there exists a solution to slow loading sites, which involves identifying the issues. Use tools such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights to analyse your page speed, after which the analysis will provide a list of metrics contributing to your site’s loading score.
Let’s explore some of those metrics.
- First content paint (FCP): is the initial information that your browser renders. It includes text, images, scalable vector graphics, and non-white canvas.
- Largest contentful paint (LCP): this is a ranking factor for Google that measures the time it takes for the most significant bit of information on your site’s page to load.
- Cumulative layout shift (CLS): refers to unexpected changes of the page’s components as it loads, can result from poor coding and can originate from images, videos, fonts, and content forms.
- First input delay (FID): refers to the time it takes for the user to interact with your site.
A Step-To-Step Guide for Technical and On-Page Optimization
Crawl your site and obtain your page performance results using Google’s PageSpeed Insights or HubSpot page performance tool. Export results into an Excel document and include the following critical data;
- The URL or web address
- Page title
- Page meta description
- Define your site’s architecture and conduct an SEO audit
- Review and update all your current URLs, page titles, and meta description accordingly
- Include a target keyword is in the URL
- Include the keyword strategically in the web pages
- Monitor keywords and topics on each page
- Avoid keyword stuffing
- Identify and define your target audience
- Review and edit page content where needed
- Incorporate visuals in your content and optimise it
- Add internal and external links
- Optimise for conversions
- Establish each page’s value proposition
- Curate a plan for new page titles and meta descriptions.
Best Tools for On-Page SEO Optimisation
SEOCrawler analyses your site’s page and showcases metrics such as your page speed duplicate tags, duplicate content, broken links and optimised keywords. It gives you a checklist of reviews that can be amended on each of your page’s website.
Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer
Ahrefs’ keyword explorer allows you to discover new keywords, it also provides backlink data, analyses your competitor’s keywords, helps you discover what the audience is searching online, and tracks your ranking progress.
Moz on-page Grader
The Moz on-page grader tool analyses your page and compares it against the existing SEO factors. It gives an output that grades your overall page performance.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Screaming Frog is an innovative tool that crawls throughout URLs and sites elements to analyse them. It enables you to find broken links, analyse page titles, generate site maps, visualize site architecture, compare crawls and staging and identify duplicate content.
Google PageSpeed Insight
The PageSpeed Insight tool analyses your site’s pages to ensure they are fully optimised to load faster and hence improve the overall user experience and boost its ranking on SERPs.
Copyscape platform helps you check whether your content is unique by checking it against other internet records. Hence, preventing you from publishing duplicated content.
For your small business to succeed in Singapore, consider using SEO strategies. These strategies will help your business rank at the top of SERPs. As a result, more people will visit your website, giving you an upper hand in the competition. If you pay attention to the strategies discussed above, there is no doubt your small business will grow.
SEO is not an easy task for anyone whether new or conversant in the field. It can be disturbing to determine in which activities to place your efforts on and which will give you better results. It will as well take time to develop. However, if you pay attention to the SEO basics discussed in this article, you will get maximum results from the employed efforts.