The small business SEO guide for 2019

First things first, I am not an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) specialist, however I have worked alongside specialists for the best part of my career.

The subject matter is enormous and ever-expanding so my aim in this article is to provide some of the key 2019 SEO tips for those who know a little about the subject and would like to be reassured that they are heading in the right direction. 

If you are in a fiercely competitive market (what I ofter refer to as the top 10%) and the website is crucial to the running of your business, there is a very good chance that you have a good grasp of all the points below. If you are an SEO newbie, and this post makes no sense at all, give me a shout and I can point you in the right direction.

1. Generate a buzz about your business

Google (other search engines are available) has gradually but consistently moved its focus towards the reputation of your business. It may sound obvious, but to get strong results in a competitive industry, you first need to build a positive online reputation for your organisation. Most importantly, make sure you build a following so people are talking about your business on other websites/social media channels regularly and in a positive light.

Obvious examples are to charm clients into leaving glowing reviews on your googlemybusiness page or Facebook. For Hotels and B&B's, positive Trip Advisor reviews are very effective. 

To summarise, if you can create a positive online buzz about your business or one of your products or services, great things are likely to follow with SEO.

2. Keep the faith, this could take years to master.

Gone are the days when (and I remember them well) a few tweaks and well-placed keywords will transform the fortunes of a website. In many cases, it takes years to build an authoritative website in Google's eyes. If you create a blog or news section, Google will respond well to a consistent website with content that engages your peers.

Develop a plan of attack based on your availability and budget and make sure you don’t burn out after a few months.

3. Get your website ship shape

Although the focus has shifted to get results it is important to work on the basics, e.g. make sure you enter the phrases that you want to be found for on the page, ideally in a few different places without getting anywhere close to spamming the page. If it is a service page, try to make sure the keywords (often phrases) are distributed in the page URL, H1 and once or twice in the page content.

4. Oh baby, I don’t care

Naturally I do care, but leaning on the lyrics from Transvision Vamp’s catchy 1989 hit, “Honey, Google doesn't care about your company or website". Its sole focus is to look after the end user. If you spam your website by cramming in as many keywords as you can so the content doesn't flow, you are very unlikely to get any success.

If you develop a poor reputation, you are very unlikely to have success without fixing your PR problem and making your customers happy again.

But if you care about your customers and provide a top notch viewing experience, Google will love you in return. And who doesn’t want Google’s warm embrace?