SEO or search engine optimization is the process that your website must go through to get web traffic from the Big 3 search engines, Google, Bing and Yahoo. While the 3 search engines do have some differences, they are more alike than different. So the same techniques will work on all 3 search engines.
What’s the result you want from SEO? Well, to be number 1 on page 1 in the search engine. Right? Maybe, but with paid ads and local maps/business pages there maybe alternative ways to rank high on the search engine page and get lots of click throughs from your search engine result.
Traditional Search Engine Optimization ( SEO )
This is getting traffic to your website from the free/natural listings on the search engine. This can be done with:
- Back Links
Sounds easy, right? It is if you think like a client. Remember who is typing into the search bar to find your business. You may even want to make up a “perfect” client give them a name, profession, education level, family and life. Then you can put on your “client persona” and search.
In this series of articles, we’ll discuss 3 ways to get traffic to your website, so you get more qualified leads and make more money.
What are keywords?
They are the words that your potential clients type into the search box to find you. They may or may not be a single word. They may contain numbers and be complex phrases.
For example, a Realtor will find much better success with the phrase 3 bedroom 2 bath house for sale in Del Mar CA than they will with house for sale. 3 bedroom 2 bath house for sale in Del Mar CA – Contains the specific item the item that the searcher is looking for (3 bedroom 2 bath) along with its geographical location (Del Mar CA). Also notice that the keyword phrase doesn’t contain any commas. Commas tell the search engine that the keyword phrase has ended, and another keyword phase is beginning.
Choose keywords that your potential clients search for AND have a low competition rate. When a keyword has low competition this means that many people search for the keyword, but there aren’t many search engine entries for it. Therefore, it’s easier to get to the top of page 1 of the search engine. How will you know this? Google has a wonderful tool, Google Keyword Planner. It will show you how much your keywords are searched around the world, across the US and in your local area. You may need to rank for the high competition keywords at the same time, just because of your service or profession.
Don’t use the proper noun for your profession or business. Use the slang or regional version of the word whenever possible. If you’re an Attorney, don’t use the word Attorney in your keywords, if you’re looking to attract of the street clients. The word they use in the search engine bar is Lawyer. And in the same manner, if you’re an Attorney looking to receive referrals from other Attorney’s then use the word Attorney in your in your keywords. Professionals like Attorneys, Financial Advisors, and Physicians have a tendency to use the proper noun for their own profession when searching for other professionals. Lay people, like you and me, will be more likely to use the colloquial version of the profession like lawyer, planner, and Dr/Doctor/MD. If you can get into the mind of your client, you’ll have a better idea of how to choose keywords for your business.
If you do business locally use your city, county and state in your keywords. I’m emphasizing the state because most web designers/developers assume you already know the state. There are 49 Greenville’s in the US. When I looked for a McDonalds in Greenville, I got McDonalds in TN, TX as well as in NC. By adding the state, you’ll clear up any confusion for your potential clients as well as the search engines.
Spy for keywords. Do you have a nearby competitor that is crushing it? Check out their website. Look at what they are using as keywords and then do a search for the keywords. If they’re coming up high in the search engine rankings for the keywords, it maybe appropriate for you to use the same keywords for your website. “Borrowing” successful keywords may cut your down the time it takes for potential clients to find you.
Now what do you do with these stunning keywords you’ve found?
Use keywords in the title and tagline of the website. For example, Title: Anita’s Mexican Food Tagline: The best Mexican Restaurant in Concord CA! The title uses the keyword phrase Mexican food, and the tagline uses the keyword phrase Mexican restaurant. The tag line also contains the geographical location and the keywords best Mexican restaurant. I know from my research that “best _______ restaurant in __________” is very commonly searched and doesn’t have much competition.
Use keywords in page content. A well written page properly keyworded and speaking directly to your potential clients pain is your #1 selling tool.
Use keywords in the SEO area at the bottom of the page on your websites page editor. Most websites will give your pages an additional area to use for keywords. Some sites call these the META keywords. The awesome part about this title, META description, and keyword area is that it will optimize your search engine entry also. So feel free to use text that explains what your page is about for the reader in the META description area. If you speak directly to your potential clients, they’ll be more likely to click on the search entry. And as always, use your keywords in the title, META description and META keywords.
Use keywords underneath images. Before you insert an image take a few seconds to rename the image file with a keyword. When you insert the image add your keyword into the ALT Attribute area. Just a word of caution, these are the words that “pop up” when one is hovering over the image, so make sure they are readable and make sense.
Use keywords underneath links. Add your keywords into the title area of a link editor. Again these words “pop up” when one is hovering over the image, so make sure they are understandable and readable.
Next month we will dive into how to use keywords on blog posts.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them here. We’re here to help.
Image courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net