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Harnessing SEO as a local business

Out of all the various moving parts that make the Internet work, the concept of SEO is probably the hardest to really nail down. What is certain is that being successful as a business online is almost impossible without it these days. It’s important at all levels of business, and our local businesses around Armagh should be making the most of the whole system.

SEO Basics

Short for ‘search engine optimisation’, SEO is all about getting your website and page to appear as high as possible in search results when people look for things related to you. For example, if you’re a florist in Armagh, you want your shop to be the top result if someone searches for ‘flowers Armagh’ or ‘Armagh flower shops’. 

The bigger the target you aim for, the more competition you’re going to have from other companies with the same idea. For example, if you’re trying to rank highly for casino searches across Ireland, you’ll find yourself working towards the same search terms as larger sites like Casino Alpha. These sites have a lot more weight behind them thanks to years of careful set-up and name recognition, so ‘Irish casinos’ or ‘casino sites in Ireland’ are hard to rank highly for.

Getting Started

The best way to start is by focusing on your SEO fundamentals, which initially involves getting your website up to standard. There are a dozen small things that can improve your SEO rating and most of them aren’t very technical. You can start with tasks like making sure your images are all optimised in size, which you can do with an image compressor like Optimizilla.

On the more technical side, making sure your HTML code is all correctly organised and tagged is important for when Google ‘reads’ your site. Your site layout and internal linking should also be clear, as poor navigation is a red flag in SEO ratings. Thankfully, most of these factors are available through free SEO analysis pages.

Advanced Ideas

Once your basics are sorted out, you can start looking at more specific strategies. SEO is done on a page-by-page basis, and if all the core parts of a page are equal, the higher ranking goes to the page considered more relevant. This is often down to how frequently keywords appear on the page, with the more the better, although it has to be done naturally. The algorithm used by Google can detect ‘stuffing’ and will actually lower the page ranking if it feels too artificial.

Source: Unsplash

For more long-term projects, getting other notable sites to link naturally to your page is valuable for increasing your site’s importance in Google’s eyes. This is another advantage to being a smaller business, as being a ‘local expert’ can pay off, although don’t expect results overnight either way. Most SEO work will take a long time to start making a difference to your site traffic.

Companies all over the world are investing in SEO to compete both locally and globally. Armagh companies would do well to keep up and stake their claim on a slice of the web!

Main image source: Unsplash

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