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How to do SEO for a Small business in South Africa

SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is an important element in getting a small business ranked well on Google.  The main outcome of performing SEO is to get the best possible ranking for your site on the results page of a search engine (like Google) based on a specific search term.  Basically, if a person searches for Dog Jerseys (and you sell dog jerseys) you want your site to rank as high as possible in the search results. 

So, if you’re a small business in SA here are some tips to help you get some basic SEO done:

  1. Keywords

Start the process by identifying a few search words or search terms that you want to index on.  So, if you sell trendy dog apparel choose terms like ‘Dog Jerseys’, ‘Dog outfits’ and ‘Trendy Dog Clothing’. A good option is to choose search terms that have high volumes, or lots of searches because these terms will produce more traffic ultimately;  if you rank well on them.  You can get metrics and forecasts on search volumes for specific keywords from Google Ad Partners. IMS are a Google Partner and they will help you with the info at no cost of you need it.

  1. Competition

Look and see who your competition is.  The easiest and fastest way to do this is to do a search for the keywords and search terms you are targeting.  So just go to Google and search for ‘Dog Outfits’ and see who is ranking on the page.  Doing this will establish several things including seeing which sites are ranking well, and what they are doing.  You’ll also be able to establish if your competition is from local businesses, national businesses or global companies..

  1. Site Audit

There are many great SEO analysis tools, including some free ones and some excellent in-depth and costly ones.  As a SEO agency we use a number of them but for general technical analysis there is a great ‘free’ (you can do one check every 24 hour period) one we love SEO Site Checkup You get a score out of 100 and the closer to 100 you are the better.  Most sites that have solid SEO, range in the 85 to 95 range.  Once you have your free report ask your developer to implement the fixes, or make the changes yourself.  Fortunately, each error found comes with a suggestion and recommendations on how to fix it.  Keep in mind not everything is in your control and certain things may not be applicable.  Once the tweaks have been made, run the report again and see how your score has increased.  I suggest you run the report once a month, because the requirements and algorithms from Google change on a regular basis.  This way you can make changes regularly and stay up to date. 

  1. Optimisation

Now you want to get the optimisation done, both correctly and efficiently.  Remember that Googles Search Algorithms are intelligent and constantly evolving.  So just stuffing keywords into your content and writing drawl will not help.  You need:

  • A site that loads fast. Google have a great free speed tool that tests the speed of your site, you can find it here 
  • Site should be mobile friendly and Google have a free tool to check this
  • Original content that is useful and relevant to your business
  • A URL structure that is relevant to your pages and the content on them
  1. Link building

Link building is the process of getting other websites to link back to though to your website.  These links drive referral traffic to your website and increase your site’s authority.  If you read an article or view an infographic online, there usually is a source for the content, with a link that clicks though to the content creators’ site.  This link that goes back to another site (hopefully yours) is a backlink.  Let’s get back to our dog jersey example; how do you get backlinks?  A simple example would be to create an article on the benefits of having a toasty pooch in a fashionable jersey.  Share the article along with a few pics with bloggers and news/pet sites.  If they like your content and publish it, they will include your link in or at the bottom of the article.  There you have a link; the more credible the site that has linked back to you the better.  One link from a large well respected (by Google) site is better than many from small or unknown sites.  I’ll mention it once, don’t buy backlinks.

  1. Monitoring and optimisation

Performing SEO on your website is unfortunately not a one-time activity. You will need to refresh, update and create new content on an ongoing basis. You need to monitor your ranking and update the necessary elements, or you could lose your ranking, or drop in your rankings.  A simple generic way of measuring your SEO’s effectiveness is by looking at your Google Analytics Organic traffic.  However, this increase in website traffic needs to result in enquiries and sales (if those are your business objectives) that make the time, effort and cost worth it.

SEO is both a science and an art.  You need creative thinking and great content and a website that abides by Google requirements and recommendations.  There are other search engines to optimise for aside from Google; but look at those search engines market shares in South Africa and make your decision.  

 For more info on SEO for your business reach out to Francois on info@imsolutions.co.za or 087 822 1488.