What is SEO : A Dummies Guide for Small Business


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What is SEO? SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is a foreign word to many small business owners. Some know what it is but think it’s irrelevant, many others have no idea what it is and don’t care to know. It is important however and I defy any business to provide me with an argument why it’s not (please comment).

If you want new customers then SEO matters.What is SEO We live in a world where we all love ‘Googling’ stuff. We self-diagnose medical problems, we look for phone numbers and we search for businesses. If you want to win new business then it makes sense optimising your search engine presence.

SEO has a number of components, some that are easy to understand, some not so easy. Some that you can do yourself and some that you may need some help. But essentially the whole practice is to work with the guidelines set out by the major search engines to help them rank your website better. Remember, they are in the business of providing people with the most accurate results as fast as possible.

Here is a basic rundown of the practices that make up SEO and what an SEO agency or marketing company should be doing for your business. It’s certainly not a complete list and unfortunately not a ‘How To’ but it is a snapshot of the industry to make sure you’re better informed.


A Sitemap is a page that helps the search engines navigate themselves through your website. The better the engines navigate your site the more trusted you come across. A site map should be submitted to the key search engines.


The Meta Titles & Descriptions tell the engines exactly what a page is about, which of course helps to fit your site with the relevant keyword searches. When you search a keyword, the search results you see include a Meta Title and a Meta Description. This is obviously important for the engines, bit is also super important because it is often the first contact you have with a potential client or customer.


Building third-party links to your website works in two ways, not only does it increase direct inbound traffic to your website but the search engines see this as an indication of credibility and rank you higher. Third-party links include listings in business directories, etc.


The performance of your website is going to play a big part in how well a browser can navigate your site and if it performs badly then the search engines will penalise you. So your site should navigate well and fast.


Have you ever clicked on a website link and you get a page saying ‘Page not Found’ or something like that? Well if you have links like that, then you’re going to be penalised again. So Google Webmaster Tools should be monitored for Crawl Errors and 301 Redirects to other pages should be implemented to correct any such errors.


Duplicate content became a huge issue only recently. The key search engines will now penalise you for having duplicate content on different pages, so make sure your content is unique from page to page.

SEO is a topic that is rarely explained well because it is in some people’s best interest to keep it secretive and hey it’s pretty hard to explain. But that’s not a reason to ignore it, SEO is a super-important exercise for even the smallest business, albeit a little confusing. That’s why, depending on your technical knowledge and time available, it’s going to help you to get someone who knows what they’re doing.

Hopefully, if you do contact an SEO agency or marketing company you are now better informed to keep everyone honest.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Quentin Aisbett
Quentin is a co-founder and the SEO strategist of the Australian-based agency Searcht. He is an information-hungry Gen Xer, often found lurking in the deepest corners of a client's Google Analytics on a quest to dig up something insightful. With 12+years of SEO experience, he’s the man behind Searcht's 5-star client reviews and a regular contributor to GoDaddy.


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