With ten years of experience as an SEO consultant, I’ve learned a really useful and unique set of skills that help websites rank online. I’ve also learned about the power of inbound marketing. That is, targeted content creation can be used to attract and engage customers organically, allowing businesses to build trust and authority within their industry. If you had the ability to rank for any search term on Google – what would it be?

SEO is a powerful tool for small businesses because it levels the playing field when it comes to online exposure and gets potential customers to your business for a low cost. If SEO is done right, you should enjoy the benefits of increased lead generation for years to come.

In this article, I’ll talk about SEO and how it can turbocharge your business this year.

First, what is SEO?

SEO stands for “search engine optimisation.” It is the process of making a website more visible in search engine results, like on Google. It’s the process of making a website rank better on Google. The goal is to get a website to rank for different keywords or search queries that people type in.

When I think about SEO, I keep things very simple: people want to know about a product or service, or they are looking for information. All you need to do is sell a great product or service, give people the information they’re looking for, or solve someone’s problem.

SEO is mostly about asking and answering. What is the keyword? What is the response? If you make really good content and usually follow Google’s rules, you’ll be able to get your website ranking quickly. Here’s a quick rundown of the SEO process.

Understanding on-page and off-page SEO

SEO includes two components: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

On-page SEO refers to the content published on a website and how it is optimised. On-page optimisations can include these elements:

  • The focus or primary keyword
  • Related keywords, both semantic related and more broader topic keywords
  • Header tags such as H1, H2, and H3
  • A meta description, which is a description to help search engines understand what the page is about, is what appears on a search engine page
  • Copywriting that is optimised for search
  • Image alt tag optimisation.

Off-page SEO is all about getting links from other websites to yours in order to boost its authority.

Link building is a common off-page SEO tactic, where the greater the number of links and the higher quality links you obtain, act as a vote of confidence. The more links you get, the more popular your website is and the higher you should rank. Common types of off-page link building include:

  • Guest blogging
  • Broken link building
  • Business listing submissions
  • Using infographics
  • Reaching out to influencers.

Let’s discuss some of these items in more detail.

Off-page SEO tactics

How to benefit from guest posting

Tip: publish articles in your name on websites in your industry.

Guest posting is an off-page SEO approach that we employ a lot here at Orion Marketing. In my experience, guest posting is a great way to secure high-quality backlinks to your website as well as boosting your own authorship, expertise, and authority on the internet.

But how do you guest post? A guest post is an article you offer to be published on someone else’s website. Typically, it’ll be published in your name, so you’ll get the author byline and hopefully an author description at the end of the article.

Find blogs in the same field as you that will let you post as a guest author. To find these sites, perform a simple Google search using terms like “write for us” or “guest post guidelines” and check out the sites that come up.

Write an original, interesting, and well-researched piece that the site readers will find useful.

Send your draft in the way that the host blog asks, which is generally by email. Include any extra information they might need, like a bio of yourself and a headshot.

Hopefully, they publish it for you, giving you a great backlink that should turbocharge your SEO efforts.

How to benefit from link building

Tip: submit your business to local business directories.

Link building is something we also actively do. Link building is the process of creating links from other websites that link back to your website. One of the more effective and high-quality ways of doing this is by building out business listings. These business listings include your business name, address, phone number, a link to your website, and a short description of your business.

First, choose the business listings that are the most useful and trustworthy. Some of these are Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, True Local and Yellow Pages.

Add the same information that you use for your other listings i.e. correct business name, address and contact details.

After you have submitted your details, the business listing site will review your submission, which may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, based on the directory.

Listing your business across various online directories helps to increase your visibility and makes it easier for potential customers to discover your services.

How to improve your technical SEO

Tip: review your site’s speed and performance score and address any issues.

Technical SEO is the process of making sure that a website meets the technical needs of modern search engines. Mobile friendliness, or how well a site works on phones, is one of the things that technical SEO looks at. Another thing you can do is check your site speed score, which tells search engines how quickly a website runs.

You can check how your site scores by using Google PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix.

There are also security-related parts of technical SEO. Having an SSL certificate and https in your URL ensures the trust and safety of website visitors. Additionally, a website’s crawlability lets search engines properly index its content by crawling it, which usually means including a site map and a robots.txt file.

This is where Google Search Console comes in handy.

Using these free online tools goes a long way toward boosting your SEO work. Some of these items can be a little technical, so engaging a developer to assist may be useful.

On-page SEO tactics

Content optimisation tips

Tip: invest in content marketing and publish quality content

Now, when I upload information online, I like to go into great detail to ensure that it is optimised properly.

For example, if we optimise for the term “switch internet providers,” the page will have “switch internet providers” as part of the H1 heading. Overall, the page will be published with lots of great information to support the main keyword.

Choosing an SEO page title, such as “How to Switch Internet Providers: A Step-by-Step Guide” is snappy and contains the keyword.

The meta description, which appears on the search engine results page, may read “Discover 5 essential steps for a smooth switch between internet providers, from comparing plans to managing downtime, ensuring an easy transition with minimal disruption.” This is catchy, descriptive, and contains the keyword.

Take a look at how this page is optimised for the keyword ‘how to switch internet providers’.

From my own experience, I find that half the work in SEO is getting the content right. Good, well optimised content naturally wants to rank. The more optimised it is, the better your SEO performance.

Publish longer content over shorter content

Tip: longer form content outranks shorter form content

On-page content should be quite detailed. From my experience, search engines often rank longer form articles over shoulder form articles. This is because a long form article can cover a topic in greater detail and provide the answer or information a user is looking for.

Additionally, by publishing long form copy, you have the opportunity to publish more keywords and related keywords on the page compared to a shorter article.

I usually like to prepare my content by considering the following points:

  • Who is looking for the product or service?
  • What information are they looking for?
  • What problems might this product or service solve?
  • What are the benefits of the product or service to the customer?

I prefer to talk about the advantages and benefits of a product or service to the customer, so I have a specific paragraph of content that talks about the benefits.

Calls to action – ask them to do something

Tip: have a strong call to action

It’s very important to publish calls to action on your website pages. These would include a sales button, a phone number, a contact form, or another call to action like ‘request our advice’ or ‘sign up now’. You want to urge the reader to take action and make it clear what the reader is supposed to do on a page.

While this may sound obvious, many websites lack a strong call to action, or any call to action at all. Having a strong call to action that converts, helps search engines figure out how well a page meets user intent, which is a very important part of search rankings.

Publish frequently asked questions

Tip: publish frequently asked questions to your main pages

Publishing a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) is another content tactic we readily use, especially on service pages and blogs.

Publish these longer questions and their answers near the bottom of the page. I often use a clickable accordion tab for these items.

You can find these FAQs on Google. Google snippets, or Google’s ‘people also ask’ shows questions other users have asked that are similar to the ones you originally searched for.

Then publish a series of five to ten frequently asked questions and provide a short and succinct answer to each.

Overall, these provide a terrific opportunity to have the client’s keyword and associated keywords published, as well as a high probability of making this page rank online.

Image optimisation hack

Tip: include the keyword in your image file name AND alt tag

I often see clients not optimising their images, and here’s a great little hack I suggest you use.

Before you publish an image to your website, make sure you resize the JPEG to the right size—not too big, not too small. I use Canva, and for a nice landscape image, I usually use dimensions of 1200 pixels by 800 pixels.

I then download the JPEG from Canva and rename the file to include the target page keyword. Basically, I’ll rename the file name to whatever keyword I want the page to rank for

For example, if we’re talking about ‘switch internet providers’, I’ll change the image file name to include ‘switch internet providers’.

I’ll then upload the JPEG to WordPress as a media file and make sure to add an image alt tag to the alt tag field. Website owners often skip this little step, but it helps search engines understand what a page is about by giving them the keywords that people are looking for.

Key points

That’s it for my article on how to use SEO to boost your business. We talked about what SEO is and the difference between on-page SEO and off-page SEO. We also talked about some off-page strategies, such as link building and guest posting. Finally, we talked about how to make great content, including technical optimisation and keyword placement. All in all, there are some great tips here that you can use to grow your business with SEO.