If you have a website for your business, website management should rank at the top of your priorities.
Google will only care about your website if you care about it.
Gaining Google’s favour happens to be a key way to propel your business forward, so I’d suggest that all small business owners review their websites at least once a year.
A good time to review it is during the low season, for example, in December.
Table of Contents
- SEO for your portfolio
- Why bother with SEO?
- What can I do today to improve my SEO?
- Checking your page speed
- Check your image sizes
- WordPress? Check your plugins to improve performance
- Need further help?
SEO for your portfolio
One of the things I’ve learned doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is that there’s so much room to cover that you can’t cover it all, especially if you’re a small business.
Why bother with SEO?
It’s a question that I wonder sometimes.
You have finite resources for marketing. You’d want the best bang for buck.
Putting your money into ads would mean instant results (which can include abject failure).
For a person like myself who can write and create graphics, it’s a no brainer.
I can run ads AND create content during the lulls.
However, if your specialization isn’t creating content, then you would have to consider the following…
Creating content is like creating a product that will be around for a long time.
That means that if your content gets you 200 users per month, it will continue to get that many views over its lifespan (until it gets outranked).
So, let’s say you spent $100 on that piece of content. That means the $100 could bring you thousands of viewers over a few years.
One of my clients had a fantastic experience with this methodology.
Currently, half of their traffic comes from organic searches and the other half comes from paid ads.
To put that into numbers: they might have paid $10,000 for content since the start of their SEO focus and that brings them half of their monthly views.
So they are paying $833 per month to get half their views.
Whereas they have to pay $2,000 every month to get the other half of their views.
What can I do today to improve my SEO?
At the heart of it, Google wants to recommend content that people think is good.
Think of it this way: if you wanted to recommend someone, you’d also make sure that their work is good.
How do you make sure your work is good?
Hit the right keywords
Do you have a front page called “Home”? It’s time to change that.
First, go through every piece of content and ensure you’re hitting the keywords.
If I were doing it, I’d put my content through a keyword tool. I personally use Ahrefs to find keywords that people are searching for.
There’s no point creating content that people don’t search for. No matter how witty the title is, you will still need to keep an eye to the search term that people are looking for.
But Ahrefs is a really expensive tool at $99/month. There are free alternatives too.
For example, you could use Ubersuggest (three free searches per day). Or you could simply go to Google.com and search a phrase that you would like to rank for.
If your small business is rooted in a specific location, then I have always found that the format [your service] + [your location] is a keyword.
And those keywords are generally easier to rank than the root keyword.
For example, “hair loss” is a more difficult term to rank than “hair loss vancouver”.
The first search term will put you up against Wikipedia, WebMD and other authoritative websites that provide general information. The latter search term will likely find you hair loss clinics in Vancouver — which is where the bulk of your clientele will come from.
Post relevant content
If you can, you should post relevant content onto your website as soon as possible.
I find that having a fresh memory of my work makes it easier to write and create relevant content.
So, if you are a photographer who just took pictures of a client, then make sure to upload some pictures and write some text that describes what exactly you did, where you did it and what they were looking for.
Creating a showcase of your portfolio is a good way to start creating content.
Wait 2-3 months
Google is a really busy guy.
It takes Google a few months to discover your content and rank it.
If you decide to embark on working on your SEO, you would have to do it for the long term.
At the very least, it takes 2-3 months before your content gets into Google’s indexing. And from there, it will start manoeuvring you around its leaderboard (aka search engine result page).
It’ll move you up as it sees that people like your content, and vice versa.
Now, you might be wondering… how can I find out what I am ranking for?
I generally use a professional tool like Ahrefs to find out more about my client’s content, but there’s a free way.
Google Search Console can tell you what people are searching and related data. You’d just have to sign up and verify your domain.
It’s a bit of a technical process, so if you have any questions, my email is at the end of the page.
Checking your page speed
Another aspect that is important for your website’s success is its page speed.
You can test your page speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. It will give you a score and also let you know how you can improve your website.
Almost always, Google will tell you that your images aren’t sized right, and this is especially so if you haven’t resized your images before uploading.
Check your image sizes
Generally, if your images are not wider than 1920 pixels, you are doing OK.
But if you know the maximum width of your page, then you should size your images for those pages.
Never upload the raw image to the website. It’s exceedingly rare that you will need a photo that is 10 megapixels.
If you do not have any desktop tools that you can use to resize these images, you could also use an online tool to resize your images.
WordPress? Check your plugins to improve performance
If you use a content management system like WordPress, it’s quite important to go through your site periodically.
Think of it like spring cleaning. If you constantly buy stuff without getting rid of stuff, then you’ll find that you have less and less space.It’s slow and pernicious.
One self-inflicted problem with WordPress is that we often use a bunch of plugins.
But these plugins can cause problems in certain areas that were fine just a while ago.
That’s why, if you install a plugin, it’s important to check every page to ensure that your pages are functioning.
Then, it’s also time to consider which plugins are unnecessary. Delete those and see if you have any negative results.
Plugins add to the website’s load times because they add additional steps before the server can deliver a website.
That’s why I advocate for a plugin-lite, page-builder free WordPress methodology. I try to use WordPress’s native functionality to its limits, then writing my own PHP scripts in WordPress’s back end, and finally, if all else fails, then I use a plugin.
At the end of the day, Google’s latest update makes it important to have a website that loads quickly, and so that’s exactly what we need to target when doing our periodic maintenance.
Need further help?
Advice is always free, so if you have any follow up questions, please contact me and I will be happy to help you.