We get called a lot from small businesses, probably a lot like yours, about getting their company up in the search engines. While this is just a small article, I’m going to give you some things to look for that you can do yourself. You don’t always need a pro to do some serious improvement to your website.
The Easy and Obvious First Step – Your Content
The absolute easiest thing you can do to help your website? Improve your content. Plain and simple. We so often see content that is full of “insider” words. In the tech world, many of us are guilty of using those insider words – the good ones try to translate those terms into human speak. Terms like “mobo” and “proc” are often tossed around by myself and my techs. What are these? Motherboard and processor. Even then a lot of people don’t necessarily know what these are but we’ve simplified it a bit. If you’re trying to reach your customers…
Use the Words your customers will use
For a quick eye-opener on what people will actually search for to find a service or product such as yours, do this. Ask 10 of your friends how they would go about finding someone (besides you) to do the service they need or from where they could buy a product like yours. Don’t ask the people that work with you as they will likely use the same “insider” words. The answers you get will be a step in the direction that your website content needs to take. You will probably get a few similar answers but with slightly different wording.
Say the same thing with different words
Google does like to know what your page is about and you don’t need to ram the same phrase down its throat over and over again to get it to realize that you offer “green widgets”. You don’t necessarily need to use the exact phrase 10 times in 100 words. You can get a few occurences in there with the “green widgets” term, but also feel free to throw in a “widgets in green” or something along those lines – mix it up a bit.
Avoid ambiguous lists
Here’s a great example of what we see regularly from a lot of websites. We’re going to pick an HVAC service company here as a demo. We see this kind of list as humans and will take it a bit differently than a search bot. Look sort of familiar?
Company XYZ offers the greatest HVAC service in the area! You should be using our services. We’re established and have been in the Raleigh area for 100 years.
So what’s the deal?
So, doesn’t look too bad, does it? Well, did the BOTS understand it? After all, the Google bots, Bing bots and all the other bots are out scouring your words and assigning them relative values and weight. What did they think? Probably not as much as you would hope.
How Close are Your Keywords?
Google and the other search engines rely on the proximity of keywords to help determine what a page is about. In the above case – somewhat exaggerated, but not much – we have an HVAC company that offers sales, installation and service. We, as humans, will quickly infer that this company handles heating, air conditioning, probably new heating equipment sales, new air conditioning units, they install air conditioning and heating units, etc. There are a lot of things that we will read between the lines with the given text.
Bots aren’t that Smart
Bots don’t do a REAL good job of reading between the lines. Your website should more clearly indicate what you are trying to say in here. You don’t need to beat them over the head completely, but you need to make sure those keywords and key phrases that people will use to find you (remember a couple paragraphs ago when you asked your friends how THEY would find you???) are in your page somewhere. The bots will then have a very clear understanding of what you are selling or what you do.
An improved version – this is still a simplification, but you’ll get the idea…
Company XYZ offers the greatest heating service in Raleigh! You should be using our heating repair services. We’re established and have been in the Raleigh area for 100 years.
- Heating Equipment Sales
- New Gas Furnaces
- Gas Furnace Installation
- Heat Pump Installation
- Heating Repair Service
- Furnace Repair
WE LIKE EXPLICIT
Again, this is greatly simplified and we would want to do a number of keyword phrases in here, but you have now told the search bots EXACTLY you are up to – what you’re selling, what you’re offering. We have several key search phrases in place as our list items. The problem with the short version above is that “Sales”, “Service” and “Installation” apply to a TON of different industries and businesses. “Sales” could be medical sales, cookie sales, bake sales, Soupy Sales – there’s a lot of “sales” out there. You need to be specific.
Can you HAVE too much of a good thing?
WARNING: There IS such a thing as being too heavy handed when it comes to this. And even yours truly can overdo it a bit at times. You, from a mathematical perspective, want your target keywords to comprise 2-4% of the page content. Sometimes you may go over this, but all in all with all the other page content including sidebars, footers, headers and all that text, you want to keep it reasonable. Honestly, I’ve never gotten a warning or ding from Google for being too heavy with the keywords, but sites HAVE gotten overlooked when I wasn’t aggressive enough Or explicit enough as to what my client companies offered.
Keep on learning and plugging
There are a lot of tools out there to help you learn more about SEO, these numbers, examine your page content, learn what keywords really ARE being searched on the internet and even more. If you don’t have time to become a SEO junkie or guru and just want knowledgeable and experienced help now… Well, since you’re here, we hope you have a good idea of who to call 🙂
Until next time!