SEO, the art, and science of ranking well in search engines are one of those things that are easy to learn but hard to master, so let’s focus on the easy part. You’ve got a website and it’s not ranking in Google so well for whatever search term you are coveting. So what do you do?
Here are some simple things you can do, or even better tell someone else to do, to get your SEO strategy in gear:
1.Figure Out Your Target Audience
Until you know who you are targeting there is not much point in doing SEO. What words are your potential customers searching with when you want to be found? What are different modes are they in when they are searching? Are they ready to buy? Are they just doing research?
To get an idea of search volume uses Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool which can be found here:
2.Update Your Page Titles
The page title or “title tag” is perhaps the most important element of SEO. These are the words that appear at the top of your web browser when you are on a page. Put the search terms you are targeting in your page titles. In general, keep the titles as brief as possible while at the same time making them appealing to searchers. No easy trick. Put the most important keywords at the beginning of the title. Don’t worry about getting this perfect the first time as these are very easy to change and Google usually reacts to these changes quickly. And if your website developer tells you these are really hard or expensive to change, get a new website developer.
3.Make Each Page Title Unique
It is also important that all of the pages on your site have unique page titles. A quick way to see if you have more than one page with the same title is to do the following search in Google:
site:yoursite.com intitle”the words in the title”
The results of this search will show all of the pages in Google that have these words in the title. Once you identify these problem pages you can update the titles to make them unique. And make sure you add your city name to the titles as a lot of people search for your service in your city.
It also couldn’t hurt if you added some text to the actual page that uses the keywords you are targeting as well, in both the body of the text and the h1 tag, which is typically the headline of the page. If you don’t have a page that targets the keywords you are using, add a new page that does. You also should check the meta descriptions tags of each page to make sure those are unique as well.
4.Add a Few Internal Links
The number of links a page gets from its own site and which pages link to it matters. The homepage is the most important on the site and so the pages that are linked to from the homepage are also important. Figure out which pages you want to rank the most from pages to other pages. Make sure you use relevant keywords in the text of those links.
5.Add Your Address to Every Page
Ideally, every page should have your address and phone number. This is helpful for users but it also reinforces your location to the search engines. If your business has multiple locations then you may want to create a separate page for each location or at least a single page that lists all locations. Make sure you link to these pages from as many pages as possible on the site. It would probably be a good idea to list as many location names as possible on the homepage too.
6.Claim Your Profile on Merchant Circle, Google Local Business Center, Yahoo Local, etc.
There are a huge number of yellow pages-like sites that allow you to update your business information for free. These sites get a lot of traffic and tend to rank well. At the least, you should go to each one, claim your profile and make sure they are linking to your site. You may be surprised at how much business you can get from these free listings. Here’s of sites that offer a free yellow pages listing:
7.Maintain the Chain with all Social Media Channels
Make sure your website is linked to from your profile. Then link to these video pages from your site with the keywords in the link text. You will be amazed at how easy it is for these pages to rank for your search terms.
8.Add a Blog To Your Site
A blog is just a simple way to add pages to your website. A good, or even worse, the web developer should be able to set up a simple blog for you in a few minutes. If you don’t want it super customized it shouldn’t cost that much. Once it up starts writing a blog it will instantly be added to Google, and each of those posts has a chance of ranking for the term you are targeting.
9.Make Sure You Don’t Have Any Technical Issues
There are a number of technical issues that could be preventing your site from ranking. An easy way to identify them is to sign up your site to Google Webmaster Tools at www.google.com/webmasters/start. By copying a short line of code to your site you can get an idea of some of the common problems that Google is having with it. Google provides you with some detail about the problem. There is not much you yourself can likely do about these problems, but you can at least show them to your website developer or an SEO guy and ask him/her to figure it out.
Now, none of this stuff will work very well if you don’t have any links to your site. The big search engines look at links from other sites as a sign of quality and trust. So you should spend the remainder of your five minutes thinking about what other sites you think you can get links from.
There are hundreds of other ways to get links like writing articles for other sites, sending out press releases, adding your business info to social media sites, making a fool of yourself in public, etc.
It’s important to understand that SEO is not a one-time thing just like running a TV ad campaign is not a one-time thing. It’s a marketing tactic like any other. And as more people use the Web to find local services, SEO could become one of the more important components of your marketing plan.