Clients often ask me how they can get more of their customers to find their website on the search engines for the products or services they offer. The best place to start is with these simple but effective SEO techniques.
The first thing I do is identify what your customers are likely to be searching for: these are known as your key search phrases.
Professionals and tradespeople, for example, are likely to be searched for using what they do and the location i.e. a plumber in Nelson may want customers to find them when searching for “Nelson Plumber”.
While you may think it is a given that they will rank under this key phrase, you will be surprised to learn that many businesses do not and are not ranked under the most logical key search term. Why?
Search engines always start with the exact key search term used to find the best match
To have your website found under a specific key phrase you need to have the exact key phrase on the page in several important places, and this key phrase must be exact.
Having both words ‘Plumber’ and ‘Nelson’ mentioned on the home page will help, however, for customers to find your site with that particular key search term, then you need to have them together in the right order.
These exact key phrases also need to be in specific places on your page. They are:
- Page title
- Page Meta-description
- Page headings
- Page paragraphs
Note: in the old days you also had to have the key phrase in your meta-keywords. The search engines no longer read this information as too many web developers have cheated by adding keywords to this area which have no relevance to the website. Trying to ‘trick’ the search engines is never advisable, as it can result in your website being penalised by Google and not ranked at all.
The first two – the page title and meta-description – appear on the search engine results pages (SERPs) and not on the web page itself.
When customers search for something using the search engines (like Google or Bing) they are first shown a page of results. Each listing on the search engine results page shows three things:
SERPS results information
This is your website’s address. Keyword domain names used to be highly beneficial. However, this has now changed and is only a very minor ranking indicator. You are better off using your business name or something else that is logical, memorable and easy to spell.
Have your targeted key phrase as the beginning of your Page title, and keep the page title within the length limit of 70-71 characters.
Again have your targeted key phrases at the beginning of your meta- description. The displayed length of the description is set at either 160 or 278 characters (the longer version is being trialled currently by Google with its new 3 line display).
Both the page title and description must be appealing to your customer; as this is the first contact point many will have with your business, you want to make a good impression.
Note: Where to edit the page title and description for a CMS website is usually found under SEO. If you are not sure where to find these ask you web developer or contact me below.
Visible page content
Have the key phrases at the beginning of the paragraph; this is a signal to the search engine of what this page is about.
Have the key phrases at the beginning of the paragraph; this is another clear signal to the search engine of what this page is about.
The minimum number of words the search engines see as useful on a page is 250. This has decreased from 400 words, with the advent of mobile devices for browsing the internet.
When writing your content use small paragraphs and bullet points as these are easier to read.
Be sure not to stuff your content with the key phrase you are trying to target. Not only will the search engines flag too many occurrences as suspicious, the content must make sense to your customer too, because they are the ones that you want to visit your site and contact you.
You should also try to include hyperlinks in your page content to other pages of your site using the targeted key phrase for the linked page, as this also tells the search engines what the other pages are about.
These are the simplest things you can easily change yourself that will have a big impact on getting more customers to find your website via the search engines.
For help with identifying the best key search phrases or more advanced search engine optimisation techniques, I offer a free one hour consultation with all clients who are interested in getting more customers to their website.
To book your consultation click here.
Craig Cochrane, Web Tonic