What Is SEO? A Basic Guide for Small Business
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is a foreign word to many small business owners. Some know
what it is but think it's irrelevant, many others have no idea what it is and don't care to know. It is
important however and I defy any business to provide me with an argument why it's not (please
If you want new customers then SEO matters. We live in a world where we all love 'Googling' stuff.
We self-diagnose medical problems, we look for phone numbers and we search for businesses. If you
want to win new business then it makes sense optimising your search engine presence.
SEO has a number of components, some that are easy to understand, some not so easy. Some that you
can do yourself and some that you may need some help. But essentially the whole practice is to work
with the guidelines set out by the major search engines to help them rank your website better.
Remember, they are in the business of providing people with the most accurate results as fast as
Here is a basic rundown of the practices that make up SEO and what an SEO agency or marketing
company should be doing for your business. It's certainly not a complete list and unfortunately not a
'How To' but it is a snapshot of the industry to make sure you're better informed.
Take a look at SEO
SITEMAPS & SEARCH ENGINE SUBMISSION
A Sitemap is a page that helps the search engines navigate themselves through your website. The better
the engines navigate your site the more trusted you come across. A site map should be submitted to the
key search engines.
META TITLES & DESCRIPTIONS
The Meta Titles & Descriptions tell the engines exactly what a page is about, which of course helps to
fit your site with the relevant keyword searches. When you search a keyword, the search results you see
include a Meta Title and a Meta Description. This is obviously important for the engines, bit is also
super important because it is often the first contact you have with a potential client or customer.
Building third-party links to your website works in two ways, not only does it increase direct inbound
traffic to your website but the search engines see this as an indication of credibility and rank you
higher. Third-party links include listings in business directories, etc.
The performance of your website is going to play a big part in how well a browser can navigate your
site and if it performs badly then the search engines will penalise you. So your site should navigate well
Have you ever clicked on a website link and you get a page saying 'Page not Found' or something like
that? Well if you have links like that, then you're going to be penalised again. So Google Webmaster
Tools should be monitored for Crawl Errors and 301 Redirects to other pages should be implemented to
correct any such errors.
REDUCING DUPLICATE CONTENT
Duplicate content became a huge issue only recently. The key search engines will now penalise you for
having duplicate content on different pages, so make sure your content is unique from page to page.
SEO is a topic that is rarely explained well because it is in some people's best interest to keep it
secretive and hey it's pretty hard to explain. But that's not a reason to ignore it, SEO is a super-
important exercise for even the smallest business, albeit a little confusing. That's why, depending on
your technical knowledge and time available, it's going to help you to get someone who knows what