If you’ve been in business longer than a few weeks, chances are that you have heard or been told about SEO, and how it can drive free clicks and sales to your website – and how you should really get it done by a professional.
While this is true, it’s also easier said than done. Sure, anyone can do a basic SEO optimisation, buy an “SEO friendly” WordPress theme, write a couple of blog posts, and get a few free directory links and hope for the best. But this is what most people are doing – so how are you going to stand out and get ahead without investing too much upfront?

Here are six SEO things you can do yourself before anything else.

Google Search Console

This is a free service that Google provides to help website owners see where they can possibly improve their online presence and what error Google might have come across, which prevent them from properly indexing your website. I’ve seen professional web-design agencies make basic mistakes with their client website’s, when for example they move across from the development server to the live server – forgetting that their robots.txt is telling all search engines not to index them. A quick scan with Google Search Console will highlight most of these issues so you can get them fixed. Be sure to submit your sitemap.xml.

Google Analytics

Not only will this make Google aware of your website and kickstart the indexing process (if you haven’t already added it to Search Console) it will also help you see what people are doing on your website. You might be sending traffic to a webpage that is broken for some reason, and your hard earned visitors just leave your website, frustrated by their experience and they’re not likely to come back again. With Google Analytics you can see exactly where people came from, what device they are on, what pages they visited and what actions they took. I highly recommend using Google Tag Manager to get the analytics code installed, as that lets you add all sorts of code later, without having to go looking for things on your website ever again.

Google My Business

Get your free listing! There is absolutely no reason why you wouldn’t want this service from Google, as they show these results above the traditional organic results these days. Fill out the listing as much as you can, use all the features, get it verified by postcard, ask clients for reviews. This is one of the fastest ways to get ranked on Google and it wont take as long as traditional SEO if your listing is relevant, at the right distance and has prominence.

Trial SEO Tools

Most SEO tools out there have free trial available, ranging from 7 days to a month. Some of the industry standard ones for SEO professionals like us are Semrush and Ahrefs. You can sign up for a free account, run your website through an on-page SEO audit, see what they recommend and make the changes yourself as far as you can. If you’re just managing your own website and you don’t really update it much – this is the way to go if you want to get the best insight for the least amount of money.

Google Ads Keyword Planner

Get keyword ideas straight from the horses mouth. All you need to do is sign up for a Google Ads account (you don’t have to run any ads or spend any money) and go to their Keyword Planner tool. From there you can easily use either your own website, a competitors website or just start off with the main keyword that you would like your clients to find you on.

SEO plugins

If you’re running a WordPress website (which most people are these days) you probably know that you can download and install thousands of plugins that will all add features to your website. Some of the classic SEO plugins available are Yoast and All-In-One-SEO, but keep an eye for the new kids on the block such as RankMath – who are trying to disrupt the SEO plugin industry by our performing all of the established names. When you get an SEO plugin, it can take care of some basic optimisation out of the box for you, but you’ll probably spend a a little money of upgrading to a pro version. After all – these plugins will help you get ranked better.

Those are six things that you can probably do yourself to get your small business website SEO ready for 2021.
Happy optimising!