Your website’s ranking in search results has a huge impact on the number of visits and thereby inbound leads – therefore knowing how to implement a few easy changes to improve your site’s search engine optimisation (SEO) will be invaluable to improving your site’s performance.

Step 1: How do you want to be found?

The first step in optimising your site is to work out which keywords are going to give you the right visitors as well as which keywords are most searched. The best tools to use for this analysis are Google Trends and the Google Adwords Keyword Search.

Google Trends allows you to see search trends over time which lets you compare which terms are most searched; this helps you decide whether “marketing consultancy” or “management consultancy” is the best term to choose. Google Keywords allows you to see monthly search volumes by keyword and is also great for suggesting other ideas that you may not have already brainstormed.

This step is the most important as you will use the keywords you establish here to audit your website.

Step 2: Optimise your site’s meta data

Once you’ve established your keywords and phrases you need to optimise your website to be found for these terms. There are three key things that you can modify to have an impact:

  1. Page title and URL
  2. Adding your keyword to your page title and URL is the main way that you can have an effect on your site’s rankings – the closer the keyword is to the beginning of the title, the greater the impact it has. Ensure that the title and URL are “human” friendly and make sense. Page titles should not exceed more than 60 characters.

  3. Page description
  4. Page description is the text that users see when they find your site listed in Google. The two objectives of this description are to intelligently use your keywords whilst creating an attractive (and accurate!) description that will make users want to click on your link. Page descriptions should not exceed 155 characters.

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  5. In-page headings
  6. The third option is to ensure that at least one of the main headings within your page contains your keywords.

In the second half of our Small Business guide to SEO we talk about technical improvements as well as give some tips on how to make your site attractive to users.

Read part two of our guide to small business SEO