If you have a website then you should have analytics and SEO.

If not you need to optimise your website to make sure it shows up in search engines.

This guest blog from the amazing Shaun Graham from Van Zant Design should give you all the information you need.

You have probably all heard of SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, but a lot of you may be wondering what it is and why it is important. There are probably more than a few of you out there who look upon anyone selling SEO with suspicion and I can fully understand that mindset, there are plenty of scammers and “snake oil salesman” out there to give the industry a bad name and i’m sure we’ve all received more than one email promising to improve your SEO with search engine and directory submissions. What I will attempt to do in this post is give you a better understanding of what is involved in SEO and why it is vital for your business.

What is SEO and Why Is It Important

In basic terms SEO is the process of optimising your website to improve it’s visibility in the search engines for select keyword phrases. There are a number of factors that need to be taken into account but they can be split into 2 distinct sectors, “on-page” and “offpage”. On-Page SEO is all about making sure your website is optimised well for the search engines, that you have plenty of well written content, that you have no technical issues effecting ranking etc. Off-Page SEO is all about spreading the word about your website via links and social signals (i.e. Facebook, Twitter etc.) A good SEO campaign would require extensive work in both sectors.

For a lot of small business owners local search traffic is far more beneficial as it is generally more targeted, leading to higher conversion rates. For example if you were a Solicitor in Sunderland you would benefit far more by localising your SEO so that you are attracting customers in the Sunderland area. A quick look at Google’s keyword tool shows me that on average 110 people type “Solicitors in Sunderland” into Google so you can begin to get an idea of the potential customers you could be attracting with a successful local SEO campaign. That number is from just one search term and you can add “Solicitors Sunderland” which gets searched 91 times a month or “Sunderland Solicitors” 73 times and you can easily imagine the increase in sales leads a good local SEO campaign could generate.

The importance of a good SEO campaign should be clear when you consider the numbers above. By not appearing on page one of Google when people search for your product or service you can pretty much guarantee that a competitor will land that sale instead.

How To Improve

Keeping with the example above of a Solicitor in Sunderland here are just a few of the very basic steps I would take to make improvements in rankings:

  • Make sure the primary keyword “Solicitors in Sunderland” was contained within my homepage title as well as within the on-page content.
  • Absolutely make sure that your registered address is on every page of your website (the footer will do)
  • Get your business listed in as many local, national and industry specific directories as you can.
  • Set up a Google+ Local account for the business.

A couple of additional things worth bearing in mind is that doing any work to your website without tracking your visitors is a fruitless exercise so get Google Analytics installed on your site, it will end up being a goldmine of information. Secondly make sure you have a professionally designed website with good, clear calls-to-action. Sending visitors to a poorly designed website is a complete waste of time, make sure it looks professional and is designed to capture sales leads (either through a contact form, getting them to pick up the phone etc.)

Article written by Shaun Graham of of Van Zant Media a brand new design and marketing company in County Durham.

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