For the last 20 years I made my income has depended on the search engine rankings of a range of websites, mostly travel and tourism related and mostly about Cornwall. This has given me an excellent insight into the specific requirements of SEO in Cornwall.
Initially competition was fairly limited and just making sure your keywords were repeated enough times was sufficient to rank in the likes of Google and Yahoo! However, things have changed both for the better and worse. It is now somewhat harder to ‘coerce’ the search engines into ranking your site near the top and whilst this shouldn’t be a problem if you have great content there are a multitude of pitfalls out there for the unwary.
Basic SEO should be affordable. Given a website has not been optimised by a SEO practitioner already there should be plenty of ‘low hanging fruit’ in terms of quick fixes and boosts to your ranking. The challenge is taking a well optimised site in a competitive arena and increasing traffic / achieving goals. One way this can be done that is not entirely intuitive is by careful keyword research and focusing on slightly less competitive phrases. It is a fact that 70% of internet searches are carried out on longer / non-premium keywords.
The Key Pillars of Search Engine Optimisation for Small Business
1. On-Page SEO
On-Page SEO focuses on optimizing the content and structure of individual web pages to make them more search-engine-friendly. Here’s what you need to know about it:
- High-Quality Content: Creating high-quality, informative, and engaging content that is optimized for your chosen keywords is crucial. This includes well-structured headings, relevant keywords, and comprehensive information.
- Keyword Research: It starts with thorough keyword research to identify the terms and phrases your target audience uses in their searches.
- Meta Tags: Optimizing meta tags like title and description tags to make them more enticing and informative for users.
- URL Structure: Creating user-friendly and keyword-rich URLs that describe the content of the page.
- Optimizing Images: Compressing and properly labeling images with alt text to improve accessibility and load times.
2. Off-Page SEO
Off-Page SEO involves activities that occur outside your website to enhance your online authority and reputation. Here’s what it entails:
- Link Building: Building high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites to improve your site’s credibility.
- Social Signals: Engaging in social media marketing and encouraging social sharing to boost brand awareness and drive traffic.
- Guest Blogging: Contributing guest posts to reputable websites in your industry to showcase your expertise.
- Online Reputation Management: Monitoring and managing online reviews, comments, and discussions about your brand.
3. Technical SEO
Technical SEO focuses on the technical aspects of your website and how it impacts search engine ranking. It includes:
- Website Speed: Ensuring your site loads quickly to improve user experience and search engine ranking.
- Mobile-Friendliness: Creating a responsive design that caters to mobile users, as Google gives preference to mobile-friendly sites.
- Site Structure: Organizing your site’s structure, navigation, and internal linking to make it easier for search engine crawlers to navigate and index your content.
- Sitemaps: Creating XML sitemaps to help search engines discover all your web pages.
- Schema Markup: Implementing structured data to provide search engines with more information about your content.
4. Local SEO
Local SEO is essential for businesses targeting a local audience. It helps businesses appear in local search results. Key aspects of Local SEO include:
- Google My Business: Claiming and optimizing your Google My Business listing to provide accurate information about your business.
- Local Citations: Ensuring that your business information is consistent across all online directories and platforms.
- Customer Reviews: Encouraging and managing customer reviews on platforms like Yelp and Google.
- Local Content: Creating content that’s locally relevant, such as news about local events, service area pages, and location-specific landing pages.