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Thursday, 16 May 2013

BBC Radio Wales, Wales At Work SEO For Small Businesses Feature

This short post was created from some research I did after being asked to appear on BBC Radio Wales flagship business program, Wales At Work on Thursday 16th May 2013 @ 18:30. The program makers were doing a feature offering SEO advice for small businesses. Being a small business and being found by them via a Google search seemed to qualify us, with some justification, as small business SEO advisers.

The Challenges

SEO can be difficult for small businesses because they might be competing against larger brands with bigger budgets, brands that have consumer confidence and awareness. Therefore for smaller businesses it’s got to be about taking a strategic and targeted approach.

The first advice I’d offer is pick your fights and accept the search world as it is and not as you would wish it to be. It can at times seem unfair and the work required unfathomable. Find a reputable agency who can help you figure out what you should be aiming for and what’s realistically achievable.

Geographic targeting can help. For example, trying to rank for “car insurance” might be hard, but trying to rank for car insurance Aberdaron might be pretty simple. However take care, there’s no point being #1 in the major search engines for search phrases nobody uses!

That said, geo-targeted search phrases can often be easy to rank for, and they’re often used at the purchase stage of the buying cycle, which means they can convert really well, something often missed when considering search marketing.

How Does This Search Malarkey Actually Work?

Most people would agree search engine software's quite clever, but it's an automated process, and the major search engines are constantly trying to improve the quality of their search results to make them more relevant to users. We've all carried out searches and had poor results, there's still some way to go.

In very simple terms search engines "choose" page's based on their content and authority, authority's measured by, amongst other things, the number and quality of links coming to a page from pages on other websites, it's one of the most contentious aspects of search marketing and an entire industries' been built around link building.

In simple terms businesses need to help search engines understand where they are, what they do and who they are, and they need to make sure they are the best answer to the search engine users query.

What About Local Search?

Local search, at least from Google's point of view, seems to be in a permanent state of disarray. That said claiming your listing, making sure it's complete and correct and building up reviews from happy customers can only help. I think there's a danger people will become jaded with reviews and confused by the many different organisations offering different rating systems. It's also possible reviews can be contentious and we've certainly helped clients remove reviews clearly added by competitors in an attempt to damage them.

Where Now?

Ultimately if you've got the time and a limited budget you can do your own search marketing. There are plenty of great resources available both free and for a fee to help you. Failing that, find an agency who'll love your business as much as you do...

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