This is a guest blog from Magnus Linklater, Director of SEO and Digital Marketing company Bespoke Digital.

For many small and medium sized businesses employing an expert SEO or digital marketing company can be out of reach creating another competitive disadvantage against big businesses that can afford to bring in the experts. While it would not be advisable for a small business to lightly undertake a full scale SEO campaign, there are some small steps that can be taken to get the search ball rolling. 

SEOLearn a bit about SEO 

With no prior knowledge, researching SEO online can lead you into dangerous territory. As with every online topic there are good articles, bad articles and everything in between. A great article for learning the basics of SEO is ‘the beginners guide to SEO’ from SEOmoz. Other reliable websites include SearchEngineLand, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Journal. Besides getting to grips with the basics, this will also mean that if you do ever employ an SEO company, you’ll know what to expect.

Make sure your site is search engine friendly 

You’ve built a beautiful website that (as far as you are concerned) is the epitome of what the search engines are looking for. Yet your site is still not appearing in searches. There’s more to making a great website than appearance. If you’re relying on images make sure they are tagged with text otherwise all the search engines will see is empty space. Other features such as page titles, headings, folder structure and sitemaps all need to be built with both humans and Google bots in mind. For more info see the Google Webmaster guidelines.

How do your customers find you online? 

Working out what words your customers use to find you online is another important step towards better online visibility. You know better than anyone else what it is your company does or sells but do your potential customers? Make a list of all the terms you think your customers would use and plug them into a keyword research tool like this one from Google. This will tell you how many people are searching for those phrases and keywords, some alternatives you might not have thought of and also what sort of competition you face from other businesses for those words. You’ll want to make sure your webpages are optimised for the best of the keywords you’ve chosen. See here for more information about onsite optimisation.

Expand your web presence beyond your website 

Don’t just focus on the website, make sure your business is included in online directories and get your business onto social media. This will not only increase the number of links back to your site, but will create more places for your potential customers to find you. Most directories are free to list in so the only thing it will cost you is time. The same goes for developing a presence on social media.

Making a bit of time for some DIY SEO can make all the difference to your visibility online and is well worth the investment.

Magnus Linklater is the director of the Bristol based digital marketing company, Bespoke Digital.