In part 1 of our guide to small business SEO we covered the initial steps you need to take to improve your site’s search rankings. Read on for the final two steps.

Step 3: Time to get technical

There are also some technical elements that can impact on your site’s SEO performance – you may need to consult your developer or someone with technical skills for assistance with these.

  1. Site map
  2. This is the structure that the search engines robots will “crawl” to list your site. It’s important that it is available and in a format that it is easy for them to read.

  3. Directions for robots
  4. It is possible to request that there are certain pages that are “no follow” for the robots. Examples might be pages that you don’t want people to be able to access via Google – perhaps they contain restricted information or just wouldn’t make sense to be accessed directly.

  5. Site speed
  6. Since 2010, Google has announced that it also takes site speed into account for SEO. It’s good practise in any case to have a website that loads quickly as today’s internet visitors have a short attention span – for tips see our other blogpost on 5 easy ways to increase your site’s speed.

  7. Mobile optimisation
  8. Avoid using separate m.yourdomain.com sites when serving mobile content. Instead, optimise your website using Responsive/Adaptive Web Design techniques so that contents are served under the same URL.

    Step 4: Making your site attractive to users

    Although search engine algorithms are a closely guarded secret, we can be confident that the main aim is to ensure that it is the sites that are well-received by users that are pushed to the top of the search results. The key to ensuring this is to create content that your users find relevant.

    Starting with the general pages of your site, make sure that the content is easy to read and never give into the temptation of “keyword stuffing” (the practice of overfilling content with keywords so it’s almost nonsensical). You can also carry on creating additional content for your users to read and share; maintaining a blog is time-consuming but near-invaluable when it comes to SEO. Blogging interesting posts at least once if not several times a week will have a major impact on your search results.

    No doubt you will already be engaging in social media in some form to promote your business so you’ll be pleased to know that there is an SEO benefit; this is because it reinforces your site’s credibility and relevance if your users are reading and sharing your content.

    In a similar vein, inbound links (i.e. other people linking to your site) are another way to lend credibility by showing that you have something valuable to share. PR, guest blogging and creating profiles on respected, high traffic websites are good ways to create these kind of links. Use Moz’s Open Site Explorer to see which websites are linking to yours.

    In conclusion

    SEO is actually very simple once you understand the basic concept. Most of the edits that you will be making will also be making your site more valuable to visitors and increasing any conversion rate that you have.

    The two main assets to have when reviewing SEO are patience and consistency:

    • Patience because it takes time for changes to be taken into effect by search engines, for users to realise that you have interesting content and to build a social media following.
    • Consistency because you must be continually making efforts to work on your ranking either through content production or other link building activities.

    For more information about SEO best practices we recommend the SEOMoz blog which has some great guides and advice.