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What business owners need to know about SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of galvanising effective visibility of your website on search results, returned via Google, Bing, Yahoo and similar search engines, when someone searches for related search terms. It has become a bit of a science, that may require the help of a professional for consistent and most effective results. A professional SEO copywriter will understand the intricacies of creating quality content that is both engaging and crafted for optimisation purposes. With the use of researched and well-placed keywords, appropriate headers and other best practices, you can ensure your website ranks high up on search results. The top three pages are deemed to be the goal, as most people seldom go beyond clicking the top three pages of results.

Whether you are attempting to tackle basic in-house SEO yourself or enlist an experienced professional, here are a few important points to note:

It is not a quick fix

Do not expect immediate results; think marathon and not sprint. Think slow and steady for sustainable results, as opposed to one-hit-wonders that quickly fade. It can take months for your SEO strategies to finally start bearing fruit. It is thus important to monitor the rankings of your targeted keywords, and see if they are rising in ranking. But bear in mind the significant ROI once traffic to your website starts increasing, potentially exponentially.

Have responsive websites

Most website traffic in South Africa and around the world is now channelled via mobile phones. Google now penalises websites that are not responsive. A responsive design means the website looks good and proportionate on a desktop, mobile phone, tablet or smart device of any type.

Avoid anyone who promises quick results, i.e. someone who uses Black Hat SEO

This involves using unethical or unacceptable SEO practices such as keyword stuffing and unrelated backlinks. Google may even ban your website from showing on search engine results at all, if yours is a website that’s been identified as using Black Hat SEO techniques.

Optimise your website’s images

This means naming images with the right keywords related to your website and using ALT Text when inserting the images, which can help your website rank on Google Images.

Google loves text

Your website should contain relevant content with the keywords you would like to rank for. This helps to ensure that Google’s ‘spiders’ are able to read and decipher what your website is about. If you only use images to convey your messages on your website, you will not rank well as original written content is a critical component of measuring a website’s rating and authority.

These are some of the basics you need to know if you have a website and would like to be as visible as possible in search engine results. Business owners need to know and understand at least the basics of SEO, as ultimately all marketing and growth tactics must line up to the business’ vision and core objectives in entirety. As a business person operating in this modern era, an online presence can, and almost certainly will, revolutionise your business potential in one or more ways. SEO and visibility of one’s website on the web is paramount, so starting with a basic understanding of such, as outlined in this article, is important for all entrepreneurs.

Proudly brought to you by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC).

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