If you’ve gone to the trouble of putting your business on the internet, it’s worth investing just a little more time to ensure that as many potential customers as possible will see it. The top five results on a given Google search get two-thirds of all traffic, while 90% of people don’t look beyond the first page.
That means focusing on search engine optimisation (SEO): ensuring your website is close to the top of search results. While there are consultancies that charge big money for SEO services, there are also many things you can do yourself.
Google provides all sorts of support free of charge. Using its Search Console service, you can measure your site’s current performance, get advice on how to improve it, identify problems getting in the way of maximising traffic, and formally register site maps and individual pages with the search engine. Keywords are crucial to boosting traffic. With the right keywords on your website, you’re signalling to Google that you have content that can help its users.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
Don’t just guess what keywords are suitable for your business; you can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner to identify precisely which will work best. Be specific: “Wedding Planner in Milton Keynes” is much better than “Wedding Planner”, for example. Think, too, about how to optimise your pages. This means focusing on “title tags” (the clickable headline for a result), page headings and URLs. Your job here is to make sure you’re using keywords and language that appeal very clearly to the audience you seek. Get this right, while also delivering content with the right keywords as high up as possible, and you’ll see your ranking improve.
How to use other sites
Links from other trusted and influential websites can also be valuable. Not only will these generate traffic of their own, but you’re also signalling to Google that your business is sought after in your marketplace.
There are many ways to secure these links: post content such as blogs that influencers in your sector will read and recommend, for example, or ask your business network to link to your site.
A related area particularly relevant to local businesses is verification from directories such as Thompson and Yelp. Listing in these sources will tell Google that you really are, say, a bike maintenance shop offering services in and around Shrewsbury.
Finally, another important aspect of users’ experience for Google is the efficiency and security of your website. If it loads quickly and features security such as an SSL certificate, Google will rank it more highly.
You can check your performance on the former using free tools such as GT Metrix, while SSL certification is available cheaply or even for free from many web-hosting services.
David Prosser is a regular MoneyWeek columnist, writing on small business and entrepreneurship, as well as pensions and other forms of tax-efficient savings and investments. David has been a financial journalist for almost 30 years, specialising initially in personal finance, and then in broader business coverage. He has worked for national newspaper groups including The Financial Times, The Guardian and Observer, Express Newspapers and, most recently, The Independent, where he served for more than three years as business editor.
10 vinyl records worth up to £10,000 - is one in your collection?
News Vinyl is experiencing a resurgence and collectors will pay up to £10,000 for some albums - is it time to dust off your old records?
By Marc Shoffman Published
FCA: Banks are still short-changing savers
The latest FCA review finds that while public shaming has encouraged providers into offering better deals on savings, many of those with closed accounts are still being shortchanged.
By John Fitzsimons Published
UK wages grow at a record pace
The latest UK wages data will add pressure on the BoE to push interest rates even higher.
By Nicole García Mérida Published
Trapped in a time of zombie government
It’s not just companies that are eking out an existence, says Max King. The state is in the twilight zone too.
By Max King Published
America is in deep denial over debt
The downgrade in America’s credit rating was much criticised by the US government, says Alex Rankine. But was it a long time coming?
By Alex Rankine Published
UK economy avoids stagnation with surprise growth
Gross domestic product increased by 0.2% in the second quarter and by 0.5% in June
By Pedro Gonçalves Published
Bank of England raises interest rates to 5.25%
The Bank has hiked rates from 5% to 5.25%, marking the 14th increase in a row. We explain what it means for savers and homeowners - and whether more rate rises are on the horizon
By Ruth Emery Published
UK wage growth hits a record high
Stubborn inflation fuels wage growth, hitting a 20-year record high. But unemployment jumps
By Vaishali Varu Published
UK inflation remains at 8.7% ‒ what it means for your money
Inflation was unmoved at 8.7% in the 12 months to May. What does this ‘sticky’ rate of inflation mean for your money?
By John Fitzsimons Published
VICE bankruptcy: how did it happen?
Was the VICE bankruptcy inevitable? We look into how the once multibillion-dollar came crashing down.
By Jane Lewis Published