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Website Design and Development for Local SMB's
- ELEVEN Tips for SEO and SEM
Google has stated that while they acknowledge that the local business website has been pushed down the page by Google Places. Nevertheless, the SMB website will be more important than ever in the Internet marketing strategy for small businesses that depend on local traffic.
Here are eleven tips on how to optimize your visibility on Google and Bing searches.
DITCH YOUR CURRENT URL.
That is unless you've already made a keyword-rich URL. No one is going to remember your URL even if it’s really cute, so take advantage of the known fact that Google consider the words in your URL to be very, very important for ranking. SpringfieldWeddingCakes.com is better than BobbyJoesOven.com.
If your website is several years old with many backlinks and lots of traffic, it is probably better to keep your URL.
TITLE TAGS ARE SO CRITICAL AND SO EASY, BUT SO OFTEN THE TITLE OF A WEBSITE IS HOME.
For best results use all 64 characters that Google will show on search. Separate ideas with vertical posts. Springfield Wedding Cakes | birthday cakes | bakery would be the form.
Title Tags should be different on every page. Again, this is a simple thing to accomplish by some amateurs and all developers. Creating appropriate Title Tags requires some analysis. Putting them in place shouldn't cost more than $3 per page.
Most modern website development systems offer an SEO setup option. You will usually want to ignore the automated recommendations in favor of much better keywords.
DESCRIPTION TAGS ARE SIMILARLY EASY AND IMPORTANT.
It isn't clear whether the keywords in the description tag matter to Google. What is clear is that they will use your description as the content in search results. So, the description needs to SELL something. Concentrate on words and ideas that will create action. You get about 125 characters to tell your story.
TITLES AND SUBTITLES ARE IMPORTANT TO SEO.
Google will scan your page trying to figure out what you consider to be important on the page. One way they can tell is by looking at your headlines. What keywords are you using in the headlines? Are you using the same keywords as in the URL and the title? They don’t have to be identical words or phrases. They should be variations.
You must also use code to identify headlines and sub-headlines. Generally, you will want one <h1> on each page. You might have two or three <h2> on a page. You could have multiple <h3> and <h4> on each page.
Your content in the body of each paragraph should also use exact keywords or variations of those keywords. Avoid keyword stuffing which is the practice of using those keywords to the point where the reader would feel it is unnatural. You do need to stretch it a bit sometimes to get your keywords into headlines, but you want to make your paragraphs sound natural. It is rare that you can’t mention your keywords at least once every 50 to 100 words.
Most pundits recommend that you only attempt to rank for 2-3 keywords on each page, with one of those being primary.
CONTACT INFORMATION CAN HAVE ITS OWN PAGE AS SEARCHERS ARE USED TO GOING TO SUCH A PAGE.
But your phone number should almost always be large and prominent on your home page. You may want to put a contact email on your front page also. For GoogleMyBusiness (GMB), you should create a name, address, and phone number block (NAP) at the bottom of the page. The NAP is a confirmation to GMB that your identifying information on the GMB listing is true and correct. Make sure it is the same in both places and everywhere else on the Internet, including social media, YouTube, blogs, other search engines, and directories.
SOCIAL NETWORKING LINKS SHOULD BE UNDER THE SPOT,
where your phone number appears in that prominent place mentioned above. Use the thumbnail logos and link to your blog, Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Linkedin. If your blog is active and informative, make a bigger deal about the link to the blog.
DOES YOUR CURRENT FRONT PAGE MEET THE 2 SECOND TEST?
You want the visitor to be clear that they are at the right place within 2 seconds or they will leave and try other options. A large, bold headline telling your story in 20 characters, a great graphic creating an emotional reason to visit, and evidence that there is serious content available are three ways to attract the searcher in that two seconds.
CONVERSION, TIME ON SITE, MATTER TO GOOGLE, AND SHOULD MATTER
What good does it do to get a potential client to your website and not create an action on their part? Most website designers are not marketers, and they will concentrate on making a beautiful brochure that will help sell their services to the next client. You need to make sure that SEO, SEM, and conversion are part of the finished product.
Use social network links, forms, large phone numbers, and calls to action. Create special offers, white papers, or free ebooks to encourage visitors to leave their emails.
GOOGLE STILL CARES MORE ABOUT CONTENT THAN ANY OTHER THING.
If you want to be the expert in your business category in your hood, then you need to prove it to Google. Create 15, 20, 30 pages of content. Link the content on internal pages to the front page within the main text. More than any other single thing, massive content will drive you to the top of your search.
IF TRUST IS AN ISSUE, SUCH AS DOCTORS, LAWYERS, AND OTHER PROFESSIONALS,
Create a YouTube video and embed in your front page. Nothing will create more trust than a YouTube video. Your prospect gets to see you in person. When creating the video, pay more attention to authenticity than to professional videography.
USE EVERY SEO TOOL IN THE BOOK.
You need backlinks. The more the better. But good backlinks must be from reputable sources that are relevant to your business. Purchased backlinks can help, but should be the back-up plan. Submit your website to search engines and directories.
Certainly, there are many more things that could be said. The goal of this article has been to zero in on elements of websites that are currently being overlooked or that are a new development in the ways that Google or Bing look at search.
Building a Website that Will Produce the
Results You Want
A place to send prospects to prove you’re the real deal and increase their trust.
A customer resource center where they can do work, find details or make decisions.
An actual store where they can make purchases.
To create visibility for your company through search
As a primary destination for sending those, you attract other online resources.
Where you send folks who see you on social media, YouTube, Vlogs
Your website is part of all online directories
Where you create landing pages for specific aspects of your business
With any marketing project you begin, you always start with the WHY. Everything from the design to the URL and the content will depend on the Why? Most likely reasons for wanting to create an outstanding website:
Your website also aids in:
PROJECTING YOUR PERSONAL and/or
1st Impression - Storefront
Personality - Serious Professional, Fun, Active, Outdoor, etc
Clear Statement of What You Sell - ABOVE THE FOLD
Zero in on Unique Selling Proposition
ACTING AS YOUR
Obvious and clear methods for contacting you
Links to All Social Media including YouTube and Blog
PROVIDING YOUR CREDIBILITY IN
Home Page should provide content that proves credentials
Google is looking for that proof to determine the ranking
AMPLIFYING YOUR BROCHURE
Of course, you want it to look great
Clear details of products and services
About Us - History and Biographies
PROVIDING YOUR Address, Map, Phone number, Email, & Contact Info
No use having a business if you can’t be found - same with Website
Send people to your site - promote the site
If it is a rich resource, people will come back
Ranking will determine how many get there by searching - SEO is critical
Your GoogleMyBusiness Ranking is partially determined by Website effectiveness
CREATING A WEBSITE FOR A NATIONAL BRAND IS DIFFERENT FROM A LOCAL COMPANY
If you are a manufacturer, wholesaler, or service provider with a national footprint, you are less interested in some aspects of the approaches listed above. Your real interest is in getting the website to rank very high on the Google search page for keywords that matter to your success.
All of the SEO recommendations above apply. Great URL, Titles, Use of <h1>, h2> and appropriate keywords in the body copy. In national effort to rank, you will need to add a few critical additional steps.
You need lots of quality copy. That copy needs to be original, useful, and well-written. Use professional writers to write the body copy and get your top experts to help. Your ranking will be heavily dependent on whether you are contributing information of value in a way that is easy to read and understand. Don’t choose between quantity and quality. You need both. You want to be better than anyone else in the competition for keywords you hope to rank for.
You need tons of backlinks. The natural way to get backlinks is to create a copy so compelling that other websites want to use portions of your work with attribution or link to your website for the benefit of their visitors. The backlinks can come from websites, vlogs, YouTube videos, and more. One way to encourage more backlinks is to offer unique elements that others might like to share. Infographics, original art or photography, charts and graphs, new studies or findings, and exclusive news are much more likely to generate links than other kinds of content.
Most companies can’t depend on natural links to move their website to the top rankings. Therefore, they must reach out to potential sites that might link them, buy backlinks, trade with others, or hire agencies to help with these efforts.
It can be time-consuming and frustrating, but it is possible to find vloggers, websites, and others who will give you a backlink. Try some of the following:
Chambers of commerce, newspapers, and other businesses need lots of copies or who want to help their members.
Your suppliers of goods and services want you to be found through their website.
National, regional, or local associations who are in your industry often have pages of members or associates. They might also need content.
Vlogs where you can offer very clear expertise to help their effort.
Sending out press releases can result in articles about you in news and other resources.
People you advertise with will often provide options for you to get a link.
You can create your own backlinks through your social media resources. Just by including your link. Best if these types of links are associated with a keyword, rather than just a stand-alone website link. Use this approach with any posts. But it works even better if you put the link in the comments associated with the post. YouTube and other video platforms, podcasts of all types, blogs on Reddit and similar, all help. You can also include your backlink in comments on other peoples’ posts, but this should be done very sparingly, as it can be offensive to use their post for your benefit. Sometimes it is perfectly okay, and you’ll likely know the difference.
Buying backlinks is potentially very useful and potentially very harmful. Finding companies that will do the work in #3 above is the best way, and the way that is least likely to result in backlinks that Google won’t like. These companies generally also have expertise in removing or restoring broken links and removing unhelpful or harmful links.
On the other hand, there are hundreds of companies and individuals who offer their services to help you get backlinks on their blog platforms, through multi-player blogs, or using purely black hat tricks. The web is filled with horribly written articles that are spun versions of what might have been a good article when it started out. These articles are then added to worthless blogs that happen to have been around for a long time, so have some traction.
These methods can work, or they can turn out to hurt your ranking. Choose carefully
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