Boss Digital offers a range of bespoke services for ambitious small businesses who are looking to take their marketing to the next level.

Working with Boss is like having your own team of marketing specialists; we can help you with everything from branding and website development to SEO and performance analysis. The best part? You will pay no overheads and get your very own team of marketing experts for a fraction of the usual price.

Ultimately, we care more about your enthusiasm than how deep your pockets are, and we recognise the importance of results, measuring everything we do in pounds and pence. Enquire today for more information.

In today’s digital world, if people want a solution they turn to the internet; free, efficient and easy to use. So, it’s no surprise that 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine – which is why SEO plays such a vital role in every digital marketing strategy. As a small business, one of your priorities will likely be to grow: while SEO doesn’t necessarily bring immediate results, having a strategy in place is essential for long-term growth as it will not only drive more traffic to your site but will improve the quality of your leads, too. 

Another benefit of SEO for small businesses is that it puts you above the competition (quite literally). If you are searching for something online, are you more likely to click the first result or the tenth? Well, with 75% of people never making it beyond the first page of Search Engine results pages (SERP), it’s clear SEO is fundamental for small businesses looking to increase their reach and awareness of their brand. 

If you want to improve your rankings in the Search Engine results pages (SERP) and drive organic traffic to your site, you need to have a powerful website to lead the way. When it comes to creating an effective website, you need to forget about impressing Google and focus on your customers. 

There are a number of areas you need to master from a customer and SEO perspective, including:

  1. Navigation: whilst it can be tempting to opt for elaborate designs to showcase your abilities, when it comes to the structure of your website, you’ll want to keep things simple. Humans are creatures of habit, we like certain things to remain predictable – and one of those things is website navigation. If people visit your site and can’t work out how to use it or find what they are looking for, they will simply leave and turn to one of your competitors. So don’t over complicate things.
  2. Content: we’ve mentioned this already, but when trying to master SEO, the key is to not think about SEO; you need to instead focus on your target audience. Your content must be high-quality, relevant, offer value, be unique and should include videos and images along with the text. You should also use relevant keywords (but be sure to avoid keyword stuffing). With 72% of digital marketers saying that content marketing is their most effective SEO tactic, it really is worth the investment.
  3. Mobile-friendly: with mobile phones becoming increasingly advanced, many are now favouring them over traditional desktop computers and laptops, hence the use of mobile devices to search the internet is rapidly increasing. Currently, more than 52% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices, and this is only set to increase. So, if your site is yet to be optimised for mobile, you will be missing out on a lot of opportunities.

When looking at on-page SEO for small businesses, there several areas that should be considered, including the following:

  1. Content: we’ve touched on this above, but the content on your website is key from an SEO perspective for two reasons: firstly, for satisfying your audience’s search intent and secondly, to encourage inbound links. 
  2. Title tags: displayed on the SERP, your title tag should describe exactly what your page is about and use relevant keywords (where appropriate), and ultimately, it should give users a reason to click. It’s important to note that Google will only show the first 50 – 60 characters of your title, so you should aim to keep them below this to ensure they are displayed correctly.
  3. Alt-text: primarily used to describe images for the visually impaired, but also for the Search Engines and those who have difficulty loading the media. The alt-text should describe the content of an image, use relevant keywords (but avoid keyword stuffing) and be relatively short; typically you will want to aim for less than 125 characters.

One of the most commonly referred to off-page SEO factors is inbound links. To the Search Engines, every quality backlink is equivalent to a recommendation, so more often than not, the more backlinks a page has, the better the ranking will be. That being said, the links must be relevant and authentic, otherwise, you will risk facing penalties such as those imposed by the Google Penguin algorithm.

Other off-page ranking factors include:

  1. Social media presence
  2. Online events
  3. Guest blogging
  4. Influencer marketing

Along with the above, you must also consider the technical elements of your website when developing an SEO strategy for your small business, this includes:

  1. Site speed: did you know your bounce rate can increase by up to 50% if your site takes just two seconds longer to load than expected? It may seem like an absurd result for such a short amount of time, however, in internet terms, 2 seconds is the equivalent of an hour; consumers are used to receiving results instantly, so anything less will leave them feeling dissatisfied. 
  2. Navigation: we touched on the importance of your site’s navigation earlier on, but it’s not only important for your site’s visitors but the Search Engines, too. In the same way, it helps users find what they are looking for, your navigation can also provide the Search Engines with clues to the hierarchy of your content and help them to better understand your site.
  3. Responsive design: again, this is one we’ve already mentioned, but optimising your site for mobile devices with the use of responsive design is essential. 
  4. URL structure: when deciding on the format of your URLs, you should ensure to consider the following:
  • Have you used keywords and avoided keyword stuffing?
  • Is it relevant, descriptive and succinct? 
  • Have you separated words using ‘-’?

As with any aspect of marketing, tracking the performance of your SEO strategy is essential to measure your success and identify any areas that need to be addressed. To gauge how successful your SEO strategy is, you need to regularly review several metrics, including: 

  1. Organic traffic: monitoring your organic traffic will enable you to gauge the impact of your SEO strategy. Naturally, if your organic traffic is increasing, it would imply your position in the SERP has risen and your visibility for key search terms has increased. 
  2. Keyword rankings: of course it goes without saying, one of the easiest ways to measure the effectiveness of your SEO strategy is to monitor your ranking for key phrases and words. You can choose to either do this manually or with the help of tools, such as SEMrush.
  3. Page speed: we’ve spoken about this earlier, but ensuring your site speed is up to standard is crucial for not only improving your ranking but driving conversions, too.
  4. Conversions: ultimately, the goal of SEO for small businesses is to enable growth by driving conversions, so it makes perfect sense to track this metric. To truly understand the effectiveness of your SEO strategy, you should go beyond simply looking at conversions overall and focus on those from organic search traffic. 

For more information on developing a digital strategy for an educational institution, please email hello@boss-digital.co.uk or call 01628 783973.

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