Four SEO tips to smarter ranking success for SMEs

Smarter SEO for SMEs

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Consider long tail keywords, the longer the better

When I first ask prospects about the keywords that they’ve ranked, or tried to rank for, I generally find they’ve gone for the highest search volume keywords applicable to their sector. Nothing wrong with this but it ignores search intent. For instance, one prospect was keen on ‘cherry picker’ but overlooked that the phrase didn’t inform you whether they wanted to buy, hire, train or even know the definition of ‘cherry picker’. Given they were a rental company, I found that the best volume keyword was ‘cherry picker hire’. Dedicate say the Home page to this and then create pages say for this phrase but with a location for a branch and then you start to obtain not only people with an interest in hiring but also from areas where the company operates in or has coverage in. It’s fair to say that many long tail keywords are needed perhaps to gain the same sort of traffic as a more generic high volume search phrase but the conversion rates tell another tale. The key is that it takes a lot of work devising landing pages that will only attract a few clicks each month but those will be clicks from highly motivated prospects. This is obviously a time-consuming exercise and of course goes against the grain of a frequent mistake made by digital marketers….

Don’t put all your hopes (and SEO) in your Home page

It’s a frequent mistake to expect a home page to mean all things to all people. As discussed in the first point, search intent can vary hugely as can where each person may be in the buying process. This can frequently mean that the website becomes a portal that will be burdened with having to answer all possible concerns. This can also mean that any SEO efforts also revolve solely around the fortunes of the Home page. For instance, all keywords determined become stuffed into the page and it’s meta data, all backlinks are focused on the Home page and all user behaviour is expected to flow from this common origin. No page should be the repository for all the keywords (or variants) that you’re trying to rank for since, unless it’s one or two, then it will be a thoroughly confusing place for a search engine let alone for a prospect. In addition, building a website with a number of landing pages can also mean there’s scope to develop a number of tailored user pathways to conversion. Finally, with more landing pages you can more closely optimise for a keyword (or a family of keywords) that you’re trying to rank for as well as compartmentalise each ones development, or for that matter, easy removal.

Consider local SEO, it’s not all about the organic listings

Almost all clients who want to use my services are wanting a boost in the organic rankings. This is obviously a reasonable expectation. However, when I explain that there is something that they can influence, generally more quickly, that is higher than the organic listings then they tend to get excited. Sometimes the Google searches that produces maps with nearby businesses has completely passed they by as an opportunity to be grasped. Frequently, they will have done little else for their local listing than verify their GoogleMyBusiness (GMB) listing, if that. However, with a fully populated GMB, with the most applicable categorisation, a good spectrum of photos and a few positive reviews; then you have the bare bones to a high ranking local listing. Harness this comprehensive listing with a range of other contributing directories and you have a powerful, that may be a greater traffic generation source than through the traditional organic listings!

Consider pay per click, that’s right I said Adwords

But surely the hiring SEO consultants is often to stop the perennial splashing out on pay per click! However, Adwords should be a definite consideration in the potential researching of big search volume (which often prove to be vanity) keywords. It may take double figure months, if not years, to possibly rank for certain highly competitive phrases. Adwords can be a great way to sanity check if the phrase is actually going to be the highly converting keyword of your dreams. And you’ll get result almost immediately (well once you’ve devised a compelling ad, a highly optimised landing page and made any changes to the site to exploit this traffic). The good news is that of you do find that you have a gem then you’ve also pre-built much of the framework that can be exploited for SEO. In fact, with a pre-built highly optimised landing page you may have found that it’s already ranking in the organic listings!