What is Search Engine Optimisation?
Actually, let's start with what it isn't. It is not:
- keyword stuffing
- keyword density measuring
- spamming of offsite and onsite content, directories and comments
- earnest promises of getting you to the number 1 spot on Google for non-brand terms
Why? Well the first three are likely to get your site penalised by Google and the last is mostly snake oil sales pitch.
What is it then?
Over the years SEO has become much more comprehensive than its beginnings in page optimisation. Different disciplines (such as coding, usability, content marketing, social media) are involved so that today the all-encompassing term is Digital Marketing.
It means that you have a strategy, based on your business objective(s), with tasks that roll out over the months ahead. Before that there are audits and a review that tells you what needs doing urgently and why (and by whom).
It means you have transparent reporting every month that tells you how close you are to those objectives and what has been done so far and what remains to be done.
If not number 1 on Google then what?
Chasing rankings for individual keywords won't be the focus for your strategy.
Instead, as a small business the focus needs to be on increasing the number of valuable visitors (organic or otherwise) to your site that ultimately convert into customers, leading to more business for you.