Your Google ranking is undeniably important. In fact, research shows that more than half of Google’s traffic goes to the top three ranked websites, and approximately three-quarters of the traffic goes to sites listed on the first page of search results. How do they get on that first page? Here’s the secret:
Their sites are optimized to ensure that they get there.
I’m sure you have already known about Search Engine Optimization, but a lot of local businesses are, quite simply, not getting the job done. They’re focusing on outdated (read: keyword-centered) SEO methods, or else they’ve designed their own websites and missed out on some key opportunities to improve their Google rank.
That stops now. In this post, I’ll walk you through the must-have optimization techniques that will help your website get the lion’s share of traffic for your keywords.
Coding Tips for Optimization
You’re probably not an expert programmer, but with today’s easy-to-use site-building tools, you don’t need to be. However, that doesn’t mean that you can afford to ignore some basic coding issues on your website.
Metadata is the first coding issue to address. Metadata includes two things: your title tag and meta description. Both items appear on Google’s SERP, so you need to get them right.
Let’s start with the title tag. Ideally, you want as much of your title as possible to appear on Google. If you shoot for a title tag that’s fewer than 60 characters. (Technically, it’s 600 pixels but that’s a little harder to measure.)
Your title tag should contain your most important keyword as close as possible to the beginning of the title. After that, think about your audience and write a title that’s likely to appeal to them.
The meta description is longer, usually about 155 characters including spaces. Its job is to provide a concise and compelling description of your page. It’s important to have a unique meta description for each page of your website, including blog entries.
Here again, use important keywords but don’t overdo it. You want to give readers a clear idea of what your page is about to make them want to choose your site over the others that are available.
Next, you’ll want to make sure to include Schema markup on your site. Schema is a collaborative effort by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Yandex. It’s designed to let search engines (and users) know what your website is all about.
For example, a reference to the word “avatar” might refer to:
• A web ID that represents a user
• The animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender or the film of the same name
• The James Cameron film Avatar
Schema code provides context for the language you use on your site. Using it properly will ensure that your site displays properly and that the information you put on it can be understood.
The final coding issue to consider is the crawlability of your site. Google and other search engines send out bots to “crawl” your site – meaning that they check its navigability. Broken links and other issues can make it difficult or impossible for search engines to index your site properly and that can affect your search rank.
You can manually check your site and make sure to repair or remove broken links. You may also want to use a tool like RankSider to check your site’s crawlability.
Your Site’s Content and Optimization
When it comes to getting to the top of Google, your site’s structure and content have a lot to do with where you end up. While you can design your site to your liking, there are certain things you need to have if you want your site to do well.
1. Global headers and footers will ensure that whatever page a user lands on, they’ll be able to find your home page and get basic information about your company. Your headers and footers should include basic information like your phone number, email address, and social follow buttons. The footer should also have hotlinks to the most important pages on your site.
2. The About Us page may not contain a ton of keywords, but your site needs to have an awesome one to let people know who you are and what you do.
3. The Contact Us page should let people know all the ways they can get in touch with you. That means you’ll need to include your address, phone number, email address, social pages, and directions to your office or store.
4. Each service you provide should be on a dedicated page. Putting all your services on one page limits your SEO impact. You can target more keywords, both in your content and your metadata, if you give each service its own page.
5. Finally, your site MUST be mobile-friendly. Ideally, you should use a template that’s mobile responsive and will adjust itself to display on any mobile device.
Including these five things on your site will maximize your SEO and ensure that Google’s algorithms give you the rank you deserve.
Web Design and Content
The design of your website might not play a direct role in SEO, but people will be more likely to visit (and revisit) your site if it looks good. That means that you’ll need to have:
• A simple but memorable logo.
• Compelling images that let people know what you do (and how you do it). Ideally, you should have original (not stock) images.
• High-quality video.
• Compelling written content that sounds natural, has a high degree of readability and uses keywords and LSI artfully. You don’t want your content to be overly repetitive. It should be easy to read and use plenty of white space.
• Social share buttons make it easy for visitors to your site to share your content with their followers.
• A click-to-call button is ideal if you want to make it simple for mobile customers to call you.
• Reviews and testimonials are important. Having a live feed of your Yelp reviews might slow down your site, but you can put links to your pages on key review sites on your testimonial page.
Some companies add additional bells and whistles, but you don’t need to – and your site’s loading speed may be impacted by extras. Keeping it simple is the best way to attract traffic and engage the people who visit your site.
SEO is about more than keywords…
Your site may have qualities and pages that we haven’t listed here, but these are the basics. Doing a quick audit of your site can reveal opportunities for improvement – and make a big difference in your Google placement.