Ranking highly on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is incredibly important. But for small and local businesses, competing for the number one spot is hard. Especially in your own area, where you want to appear top of the personalised results for searches in your local zone. But knocking competitors off the top spot is no easy feat, and once you’ve risen to the top, how do you stay there? Well, there is certainly no easy or quick fix for this. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a game that needs to play out over a period of time, and nobody can offer you an immediate and legitimate solution. But here at Pumpkin Web Design, we are Preston’s leading web design and web marketing team. And we work across a range of industries with businesses and companies, to deliver excellent web marketing and SEO strategies that really pay off. This includes higher ranking on the SERP. As a result, we have produced this guide to answer the question: how can small businesses rank higher on the SERP?

What is the SERP?

First of all, let’s look at what the SERP actually is, and does.

The SERP is the page that is shown to a searcher, after they have entered a search term. So the page of blue links and snippets of text, displayed after you have searched for something in Google or Bing, or any other search engine, is the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). And this is essentially an index of webpages with information that is relevant to your search.

Ranking highly on the first page will dramatically increase your website traffic, and help you snag more paying customers. But how can small businesses rank higher on the SERP?

Choose your keywords carefully

The first thing you need to consider before you think about your website ranking is the keyword(s) you want to rank for. The SERP shows websites that are relevant to the search term used. So if you are local mechanic in Preston for example, you need to rank for “Preston mechanic” or “mechanic Preston”. Otherwise interested customers will not find you at all. This means you need to use this search term in page headings and copy, as well as image <alt> tags.

While your SEO across the whole site will be focused on variations of the same short keyword- i.e. “Preston mechanic”, so will that of all your local competitors. This can make it challenging to rise to the top. So what strategies can be used to help? Well, there are a few avenues. These include:

  • technical fine tuning
  • content marketing
  • link building
  • local SEO boosts

Technical fine tuning

To help your page rise up the rankings, you need to make sure the website is fine tuned and well optimised. This includes:

  • Performing a technical SEP audit
  • Checking your websites load speed and optimising this
  • Making sure your website is crawlable
  • optimising your images
  • checking your URLs and removing broken links

For more information and details about these, check out our handy guide.

Content marketing

Producing great content on a regular basis can help your whole website rank higher for the overall keywords, like “Preston mechanic”. This is because quality, original content can add authority and depth to your website and improve the user experience. It makes your business seem more reputable, and knowledgeable, and Google will reward websites that offer more to their users, with higher page rankings.

At the same time, content marketing is a great way to add to the link juice of your website, by producing more pages that link back to the homepage.

Link building

Along a similar line to content marketing, websites with good quality links that are legitimate appear more authoritative and reputable. This means that Google is more likely to rank these website highly. You can use content marketing to generate these links, as your new pages will be internally linking to other pages in your website.

At the same time, sharing your blog articles on social media, generates external linking, as well as more traffic. And this again improves the link quality of your website.

Local SEO boosts

To really push your page ranking, especially for local searches, you should use local SEO boosts. This includes:

  • Getting a link from local media sources- such as the local newspapers digital edition. Not only is this good for link building, it also means that your website has a better chance of ranking for the local search
  • Use your Google My Business profile to attach your business to the Google Map and make sure people can find your business and leave a review easily.
  • Use service review sites like yelp to get listed and reviewed. Again this will improve your link building and your page ranking.

For more information or advice, get in touch with the professional today, here at Pumpkin Web Design.

Pumpkin Web Design Ltd is a small and highly results driven digital agency working for like minded clients in Preston, Manchester, Chorley, Southport, Blackburn, Wigan and the UK. Our services include web design, SEO, content marketing, video production, brand design and much more.