Regardless of whether your website offers products, services or information it’s essential that you embrace the requirements set by leading search engines.

Search Engine Optimisation is a strategy to improve your overall website exposure. Most small businesses feel as though they don’t have the time to optimise their websites. This is why they must opt to use an internet marketing agency. However some businesses do have the time to optimise their websites and there are many ways in which they could do this. Please find below several Free or low cost tips to optimise your website effectively.

Realistic Expectations

Small businesses need to understand that they are not in a position to target highly competitive national terms. Instead of attempting to climb Mount Everest on your first attempt, I suggest that you target more specific keywords and phrases. For instance, if you’re a web designer in Colchester you don’t need to rank for the term ‘design’, ‘designer’ or ‘web design’ – these are incredibly competitive terms and in some cases they aren’t actually that relevant to your business. Your business would be far more fruitful by targeting more specific terms such as web design Colchester. The traffic that you would receive will not only be more relevant but your leads will be more qualified.

If you don’t have a locally focused business, you need to either source niche terms within your industry or target more specific keywords. Terms such as Internet Marketing Agency maybe out of reach for your business at present however terms such as Low Cost Internet Marketing Agency will deliver far more qualified traffic and you will have a standing chance to rank for such a term.

The most important aspect that most SMEs need to appreciate is the amount of time that SEO will take in order to deliver a return. A full time SEO specialist maybe able to deliver good results in a month or so, however most small businesses will not have the budget for this kind of investment. I would suggest that a highly competitive term could take anything from 8months to 2 years and a term with low competition may take from 3 – 9 months. In one of my previous articles I demonstrated how ranking top for one search term could be worth a minimum of £16 000 for your business, so don’t knock SEO on the head just because it will take time. I must emphasis that the key to SEO is to generate more qualified leads to visit your website and not to simply generate more traffic.

Professional Web Design

Google and other search engines are sceptical about new websites and they don’t give new businesses much respect until their website is at least 6 months old. This is why it’s important to build your brand online and your website is the foundation to this plan. Users trust brands more, because of this, so does Google.

Successful SEO is a combination of on-site and off-site optimisation. A professional design, a well coded website structure and high quality content are all ingredients required to maximise your websites success. All of these components will make it a lot easier for you to attract good quality links. No one wants to link to shabby, un-user friendly websites with no resources.

Free downloads, samples, information or free advice are all great ways to build links in return for giving stuff away.

Exploit All Current Opportunities First

It’s likely that you already own a website, the next step is to conduct a few checks to ensure that your website is as search engine friendly as possible. Your website code, structure, layout, page loading speed and usability are all highly influential factors behind your websites ranking.

If you don’t already have Google Analytics installed, I highly suggest that you install it as soon as you can. This will provide you with more data and information than most businesses will ever need.

Google Webmaster tools is also a great resource provided by Google used to asses your website traffic and to identify any onsite errors.

You should also check your website for any broken links on a regular basis, check your page loading speeds and optimise both of these regularly for search engines.

Link Building

When you begin building links for your website I urge you to not to focus on quantity but on quality. Your rankings will be affected more so by good quality websites linking to you, low quality links will make very little and in some cases no positive affect on your websites ranking.

The best places to build links include other industry relevant websites, news websites, business websites or any other website related to your business. Guest blogging is a great way to build online exposure and more webmasters are accepting this since they gain valuable traffic to their site.

If you have friends with businesses local to your business, then links from their websites can also help, especially if you are targeting localised search terms.

Stamina

The most crucial aspect of SEO is to keep doing it. Many businesses do it for a month or two then give up. Have you ever heard of the phrase Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day? Well this couldn’t be anymore true than in relation to search engine optimisation. Super fast success strategies no longer exist! Google’s algorithm is so complex and consists of over 200 ranking factors that it’s simply impossible to rank well for quality search terms quickly.

You need to place a good amount of effort into your SEO activities every month for long lasting success. Build more connections, develop relationships and share your content. Over time you will notice an improvement in your rankings and enquiries will come rolling in.