5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Search Engine Ranking
Back in the old days, people looking for a contractor would open up the Yellow Pages and skim the listings. You could pay for an ad and catch a customer’s eye with a nice border filled with key phrases about your company’s longevity and commitment to customer service.
Fast forward a few decades and search engines have become the new phone book. Instead of flipping through thin yellow pages, customers type in key search words and click on the results. The good news is you don’t necessarily need to pay to make your company stand out, although that’s always an option.
However, this vast potential to connect with customers still comes with a price — time. Ranking high in the search results requires careful strategizing to select a few key search terms, followed by writing content around those terms.
“Very few people will dig into the second, third or deeper page of search results looking for a solution,” says Rob Melis, owner of Indiana-based Construction Marketing. “No one keeps looking for something once they’ve found an acceptable option, and that’s why being at the top of search ranking is so important.”
The process of creating content to rank high in search engines is called search engine optimization (SEO). The algorithms search engines use to rank sites change frequently, but Tim Kelsey, SEO and social media manager for Thailand-based Pronto Marketing, says not to worry about search fads.
“Don’t get caught up in tactics that try to trick search engines into ranking your site,” Kelsey says. “As long as you put your customers first, you’ll never have to worry about a Google update.”
Here are a few things you can do right now to improve your SEO and help customers find you through web searches:
1. Create profiles on popular Internet business directories.
General consumer business directories, most of which are free with options for paid advertising, include your business name, address and phone number, sometimes referred to as NAP. “Your NAP is kind of like your business’s local fingerprint. Search engines like Google match your NAP information across all your listings and your website to get a better understanding of your business’ overall web presence,” Kelsey says. With that in mind, keep the listing information consistent across all directories.
2. Select a few key search terms to target and create web pages based on those terms.
To identify search terms, think about what customers would type to find you, Melis recommends. For example, an Atlanta-based air conditioning repair company would want to include the terms “air conditioning repair” and “Atlanta.”
Kelsey recommends having more general search terms — like “heating and air conditioning repair” — on the home page and then more specific terms— like “furnace repair and replacement” — on subpages.
For each page, write a few hundred words of content that incorporates the key search phrases two or three times. Avoid repeating keywords any more than that. Saturating web copy with keywords, known as “keyword stuffing,” could lead search engines to downgrade your site.
3. Add title tags into your site’s HTML.
Title tags are those words that appear at the very top of your browser when you visit a page. Poorly optimized tags represent the biggest mistake contractors make on their websites, Kelsey says.
“The title tag for every page on your site should contain a couple of important keywords that are relevant to that page. Make sure you include your business name as well, and if you’re a local contractor, put your city in there too,” Kelsey recommends. An example would be “Johnston Air Conditioning Repair Atlanta Georgia.”
To change a title tag, access your site’s web code. This is what it looks like:
<title> Johnston Air Conditioning Repair Atlanta Georgia </title>
4. Give photos descriptive names that include your targeted keywords.
These descriptive phrases are known as “alt tags” or “alternative text.” Photos on websites that aren’t optimized may have generic tags, like the name of the work site.
To search engines, however, those words lack context. Instead, describe what’s happening in the picture. For example, if your website features a photo of a few technicians working on a rooftop air conditioning unit, label the photograph “commercial air conditioning repair,” Melis says.
To change the alt tag, you’ll need to access your HTML code. Then, find the code for the picture and edit.
Here’s an example: <img src=”image.gif” alt=”commercial air conditioning reapair”/>
5. Keep adding content.
“Sites that are continually growing, evolving and adding new and interesting and original content rank much better than static sites that never change,” Melis says.
A great way to boost your SEO is to blog. Even if you only write a 500-word post once per month, it goes a long way to helping you incorporate key search terms and improve your search engine rankings. Add photos with descriptive alt tags to your posts, and you’re well on your way to dominating the search engines.
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