Step 2: Business Website SEO
It’s impossible to understate the importance of ranking well in Google. It’s a huge source of traffic, obviously, but you also shouldn’t underestimate the credibility that comes with being able to say that you’re ranked number one on Google for a search term that’s relevant to your business.
As with much of online marketing the perceived complexity of search engine optimisation (SEO), along with the presumed high level of competition, discourages many businesses from tackling this area. This is to your advantage. Although SEO can be a deep subject, the basics are simple and, especially in the local search arena, because many businesses are doing little or no business website SEO work there is the potential for you to dominate in short order.
You might think I’m overreaching to try and teach you SEO in a couple of pages, but I promise you that it can be done. In fact I can summarise the whole thing in just two words:
The secret and mysterious Google search algorithm might involve hundreds of factors, but generally it boils down to putting the most popular websites at the top of the results. There are a few minor details to take care of, but after that the bulk of SEO is about building the popularity of your website through links. And here’s the secret that will allow you to achieve this far quicker than you imagine: a few good links will nearly always beat 100 average links.
Look at it like this. If I told you that my family and friends like Melbourne SEO Services, then why would you care? But if I told you (I’m just making this up, but it might be true) that Google software engineer, Matt Cutts, likes Melbourne SEO Services then that would make you sit up and take notice. Why? Because Matt is an expert in his field and his opinion carries weight.
Google works in much the same way. If you have a lot of links, then this is a good indication that your site is popular and worthy of a good ranking. If some of those links come from sites that Google already ranks well, then this is a good indication that your site is popular with the people that really matter and is worthy of a great ranking.
That’s really all there is to it. There’s a whole sea of minutiae that are important if you’re in a highly competitive, international market, but are mostly unnecessary if you simply want to dominate a local niche. Follow the three simple steps over the next couple of pages and I’ll be shocked if you don’t quickly see improvement in your Google rankings.
Step One – Understand your market
This is primarily about choosing the right keyword phrases that are specific to your area. For example, if you’re a dentist in Toowoomba, your primary keyword might be “dentist toowoomba”. If you’re more confident and want to spread your net a little wider, you might prefer “dentist brisbane”. Whatever you choose, this is going to be the keyword for your homepage. After that, choose one appropriate keyword for each of the other pages on your website. If you have a page about teeth whitening, your keyword could be “teeth whitening toowoomba”, a page about cosmetic dentistry would be “cosmetic dentistry toowoomba” and so on.
Step Two – Onsite Optimisation
Once you have a target keyword for each page on your site, optimise each page accordingly. This simply means using your keyword in all the appropriate places. This should include your “Title Tag”, your “Description Tag” (ask your webmaster if you’re not sure how to edit tags), the headline of your page and at least a couple of times in the main text.
Using your keyword should never make your text sound unnatural or awkward; you should still use the marketing techniques described in the previous chapter. Here’s an example of how to insert your keywords naturally:
Cosmetic Dentistry in Toowoomba.
We provide a full range of affordable cosmetic dentistry to residents in the Toowoomba area and beyond. Our services include teeth whitening, reshaping, veneers and dental bridges.
Affordable Cosmetic Dentistry Services
It isn’t usually necessary to make a point of including your chosen keywords in the text on your page because, provided you’ve chosen the appropriate phrase, it should occur naturally. If it doesn’t then you need to spend some time adjusting your page so that it’s carefully focussed on just one subject.
Step Three – Link Building
The final step is to build incoming links to your sites. If your content is good, then over time you should find that people link to you without you even needing to ask, but don’t rely on this; you need to be proactive in this part of the process. Below are a number of strategies you can use to generate links. Regardless of which techniques you focus on, there are three golden rules that you must always follow:
Golden Rule #1: Make link building a long-term process. The number of incoming links to your site should grow gradually because if too many appear, all at once, this could create the impression that you’re trying to cheat the search engines.
Golden Rule #2: Vary where the links point to. The majority are going to be aimed at your homepage, but you also want some links to go to your other pages. Aim to focus about 50% of your links on your homepage, with the other 50% to be spread across your other pages. If you get this part right then you’ll start to see lots of your pages ranking in Google, and not just your homepage.
Golden Rule #3: Use your keywords in the text that links to your page, and inject some variety. The words that are hyperlinked to your site are called the “anchor text”; you won’t always have control over this, but when you do make sure you take full advantage. Come up with several variations that include the keyword you’ve chosen for that destination page and, again to maintain a natural appearance, use some that don’t. For example:
Dentist in Toowoomba
Local Toowoomba dentist
Local dentist in Toowoomba
The fastest and easiest way to obtain a few links is to ask your friends, family and long-term clients if they’d be willing to link to your site from their website, blog, or preferred social media site. After that I recommend submitting your site to free directories. Different directories have different waiting periods, so the appearance of your links will be naturally staggered, and although they don’t carry as much weight as some of the other options I’m about to show you, they’ll lay an excellent foundation.
Submitting content to article directories, leaving comments on blog posts related to your niche and posting comments on relevant forums are also good ways to generate links and, at the same time, create some real variety to where your links originate.
The links that will carry the most weight are those that come from sites that are considered to be authorities of some sort. These websites have usually been around for a long time and receive high volumes of traffic. Charities, organisations and well-established blogs related to your field are usually good candidates. There’s no magic trick for obtaining links from these sources, so simply write a polite email, or even better, make a few phone calls and try and come to some arrangement. You can offer some kind of exchange – such as writing a unique article that they can use – but sometimes a friendly but professional request is enough to see results.
Last, but definitely not least, take a look at the links that are pointing at your competitors’ websites. This is a fast way to find lots of places from which it’s possible to get a link of your own. To gather this data, simply go to Google and search “link:” followed by a Web address. For example:
Watching your Google rankings rise and the surge of traffic that often accompanies it, is a genuine thrill. I fully appreciate that you might still be sceptical of the idea that you can improve your rankings on Google through such a simple process, to which I can only respond by recommending that you put it to the test. If you’ve absorbed everything from the last three pages then it’s likely that you know more about SEO than 90% of your local competitors. Search engine success is yours for the taking if you do what your competition won’t… take action.
Three things you can do now:
- Optimise each of your pages for just one keyword phrase.
- Email your friends, family and favourite clients to ask for a link back to your website.
- Obtain additional ideas for places to generate links by going to www.google.com/alerts and monitoring keywords related to your niche.
Three things you can outsource:
- A good quality directory submission service will submit your site to hundreds of directories (I use www.directorymaximizer.com).
- Hire an article writer to create content that you can submit to article directories.
- Hire a researcher to examine your competitors’ sites and create a list of possible sources for creating links to your site.
Additional reading and support
If you want to learn more about search engine optimisation and some of the tools that can help you to get results, visit the links below:
1. The SEO Method 2 training DVDs:
2. Free SEO training videos:
3. Reviews of SEO services and tools:
If you have any questions about the content of this chapter, please don’t hesitate to contact me at www.davesupports.com.