Internet Marketing August 15th, 2019
So you’ve brought your business into the online world. Congratulations!
Developing an online presence is a requirement for the 21st-century business. Although it can be confusing and complicated, it’s a worthwhile and sustainable way of reaching large new audiences. But as a business owner, online development, website revisions, and technical jargon can feel like a second job alone. Now that you’ve got a website to showcase your business online, the question becomes: How do you get other people to see it?
That’s where SEO comes in. If you want your website to rank as high as possible on Google, there are several methods available to you. Reaching out to websites across the internet to solicit backlinks to your website is a big one. And technical improvements you can make to optimize your website are a discussion all by themselves. As mentioned, as a business owner, this can feel like a second job sometimes, which is why I want to avoid the technical and the time-intensive work. We’re going to focus on straightforward updates that any business owner can make to the core pages on their website.
The foundation of any strong website — the pages that visitors look at the most — are the priority here. Continue reading for improvements you can make to the core pages of your website. These tips are sure to move the needle for your visitors and Google search results.
“Gee, the homepage of my website should look good. Thanks, Ben.”
It’s crazy how often business owners understand this point but have a homepage that looks shabby, at best. The homepage of your website, like the front of your store, offers an opportunity like no other. It indicates to visitors, and Google, what your website is about, and what kind of experience you provide.
We know that Google values relevant, significant content that indicates what you do, your areas of expertise, and your credibility. Easy enough, right? Write 1,000 words about your business and what you do, and call it a day? Not so fast.
Visitors value a quick, clean and straightforward experience. So having clear and attractive images, videos, and indicators of where to go next are important here. The trick is to balance clean images and clear calls to action, with sufficient content and explanations. Have these below the fold, to accomplish both goals. Inform the user (and Google) with explanations and references to what you do, how you do it, and where they can find more information. All while keeping your homepage attractive, clean and structured.
Technical Tip: really lean on your H1s, H2s and H3s to indicate to Google what your website is all about. These headings play a big role for Google. Ensure that your H1 succinctly includes your business and what you do. Add some H2s for your core services, and a few more H3s that include relevant subtopics. This can really move the needle.
We talked about how much Google values content that details what you do, your areas of expertise, and your credibility. Well, your About Us page is a really important (and often overlooked) place to showcase your expertise and credibility. This is your chance to tell visitors what separates you from anyone else in your industry.
When visitors check out the About Us page, you should be conveying to them that you’re great at what you do and that they’ll love doing business with you. I often speak to business owners who are passionate about their business and what they do. They can talk my ear off about their unique, innovative, cost-effective approach. Then, I take a look at their website’s About Us page, and it’s almost barren.
So much of SEO involves transferring your credibility and experience onto your website so that Google knows what you know. The About Us page is the perfect place to show off what makes your business unique. It’s an opportunity to tell them what makes you better equipped to help instead of the competition.
Technical Tip: Linking to your technical qualifications is really important, but make sure your links are trustworthy and high quality. Professional governing bodies and educational institutes, along with links that end with .org or .edu are highly recommended.
One thing I should clarify right off the bat: you should have individual pages for each unique product or service you offer.
But don’t forget about a more broad Products/Services page, that introduces everything that you’re capable of doing. This will walk website visitors, and Google, through everything that you can provide for the customer. Highlight the core services you offer, keeping the products and services that move the needle for you above the fold. Include less popular, lower margin offerings further down on the page.
The products page for a shoe store could highlight their selection and styles available at their location. Including the affordable prices that you can expect there as well. From there, the product page dedicated to running shoes can highlight the athletic performance standards you can expect. The product page dedicated to winter boots can speak about the waterproof fabrics used for these shoes and so on.
The goal of the Products/Services page is to outline the breadth of offerings and benefits associated with your products and services. It’s OK if there’s some overlap between this page’s content and the About Us page content. As a whole, the About Us page should focus on your unique business. The Products/Services page should focus on your competitive offerings. The visitor is then encouraged to click through to each page that speaks to the specific product or service that they’re looking for – that makes for an engaged user – exactly what Google looks for when ranking websites highly.
Technical Tip: The Products/Services page should link to individual product and service pages, but it isn’t the only page on your website that should include internal links. Pages on your website should link to 1-2 other, related pages on your website. This encourages click-throughs to keep users engaged, and it helps Google get a better context for the structure of your website.
I’d be willing to bet that 99% of businesses want to attract visitors not just in the city that they’re located in, but many of the cities and locations close to them as well. To these business owners, I pose a question: how do you expect to attract visitors from another city, if there’s no reference on your website to those other locations?
That’s why the city/location-specific website pages are so important.
As an example, working with businesses in Toronto, Canada, I’m often asked what’s the best way to bring in customers from across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)? One of the first things I often suggest is a location page dedicated to each unique GTA location that they’re looking to target.
For example, a landscaping business in Toronto looks to expand north to cities like Vaughan, Richmond Hill, and Markham. They’d be wise to use a location page to highlight some of the unique projects they’ve completed within these locations. It wouldn’t hurt to talk about the larger lot sizes in these suburban locations, and how their business is well-equipped to deal with larger projects. They can even discuss the average price of a house in these areas, and how a well-maintained front and backyard can positively affect the value of a home.
The point is that it’s not enough for a business to say, “Now, I’d like to expand my target market.” They have to demonstrate a genuine connection to the areas they wish to serve, and a location page is one of the most direct ways possible to illustrate that connection.
Technical Tip: This one isn’t even very technical. If you haven’t created a Google My Business (GMB) page for your business, stop what you’re doing and get started on that right now! Seriously! This is absolutely crucial to rank for local search queries – before you look to rank in cities outside of your home base, you’ve got to do everything at your disposal to rank as well as possible in your backyard.
Remember how we talked about the fact that Google values experience, credibility, and industry expertise? Well, an FAQ page might be the best page possible to show off that knowledge of yours. The great news here is that you can do so in a short and sweet Q&A format, tailored exactly towards your strengths and your areas of expertise.
If your plumbing business specializes in water damage and waterproofing, leverage that experience on your FAQ page!
Include questions that customers often ask you, and use the space to illustrate your advanced expertise to visitors. You can also link to positive case studies and testimonials, so visitors understand that you know your stuff. Remember, there’s no limit to the number of common questions you can include here. If people are asking you these questions in person, I can guarantee that the same questions are being asked online, so use this page as a chance to rank for common questions and issues with customers. That way, you can establish yourself to customers in the ‘consideration phase,’ before they’re at the point where they’re searching “plumber to repair water damage.”
Now, you’ve established yourself as an experienced expert, and the potential customer on Google trusts you more than the other generic results on the screen.
Technical Tip: Have you noticed that when you Google commonly asked questions, like “What’s the hottest day of the year?”, you might see a knowledge panel with the heading “People Also Ask”, and questions that lead to additional links? The reason these links appear here is because their web pages include something called Schema Markup, a unique type of code that gives more context about the page to Google. Apply schema markup onto your web page so that you can rank in the knowledge panel!
The world of SEO can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be! If you’re struggling to get your website to rank on Google, take a hard look at the core pages on your website, and consider additions to further talk about your business, your experience, and what makes you the best choice on the market. You’ll be surprised at how far these changes can go.