Congratulations: you finally took the plunge and got a website!
Certainly, having a website is an excellent tool to help you attract new prospects, retain existing customers, and act as a repository of information for everyone interested in your business or industry.
However, there is an all-too-common trap that you need to be sure to avoid. While many people take the time to build a website, they don’t make the necessary effort to make sure that their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) elements — things like title tags, meta descriptions, and keywords — are up to par.
Think about it this way: if you own a car, you want to make sure that it has an engine. But once you’ve got an engine, it’s equally important to ensure that it’s well-tuned and running properly.
Make sure your pages are up-to-date with all those missing pieces – or you’ll be missing out on a lot of traffic!
Before you say that you don’t know what title tags are, let me say that I’d be willing to bet that you actually do! You just might not know how to identify them.
When you search on Google for anything — be it a service, product, or that day’s news — you’ll notice that Google has a line of text on the linked search result, as well as regular text below the hyperlink.
The blue hyperlink is your title tag. And you can change what it says!
Many people won’t give a second thought to this, but it’s vitally important — title tags are more important to search engine rankings than anything else on the page. It’s where you write what you do, where you do it, and the name of your business — it’s what gets people to click and visit your site. This is really important, because Google rewards your searches by pushing them to the top when they’re relevant to users’ searches — for example, people who Google “Plumber in Boston, MA” will find “Plumber in Boston, MA | Jason’s Plumbing” as a high-ranking hit, over other plumbers who don’t fill out their title tag using best practices.
Meanwhile, the meta description is the plain text below the linked title tag describing what’s on the page.
This is where you can add supplementary services, a phone number, and other pertinent information while reiterating your business name and location — it’s basically the Cliff’s Notes of your website for people to be sure your page will have what they’re looking for. By including a number of key services that clients seek (e.g. sump pumps, garbage disposal repairs, etc.), you’ll attract people searching for your exact offerings in your particular area. Google reads your site twice to determine its relevance to what people search for, and the meta descriptions are first and foremost. With that in mind, it’s important that they’re concise and clear.
When people are looking for a particular good or service, they usually include their local area in their search. So if you happen to be in close proximity to a major metropolitan area or, it really helps to write website content that makes mention of that fact. This can apply to any regional or commonly named area that’s bigger than just your town, like Metro-West, Greater Sacramento, or the Tri-State Area.
While “Sue’s Sewing Store” is in Newton, MA, which is a city in and of itself, Sue might attract customers from the entire Greater Boston area. With that in mind, her title tags, meta descriptions, and site content can make note of not only her Newton, MA location but also that she serves Greater Boston. Google picks up on this, and it helps Sue by expanding her customer reach from just Newton searches to the Greater Boston area, meaning that she’s able to connect with many more potential customers.
Additionally, if you’re looking to target a number of different markets, it pays to have separate pages with unique content that speaks to that particular location. Doing so will give your users a superior experience, which is noted by Google and in turn improves your ranking.
When someone visits your website, there’s a very good chance that they are coming from a search engine, so it’s important to have your website be as searchable as possible.
Whether that search engine is Google, Yahoo, or Bing, it is judging the relevancy between the terms that people search for and what is on your site. Make the most of it! If you want to be on the first page of Google searches, you’ve got to have content that speaks to that — through title tags, meta descriptions, and detailed page content. The good news: they’re easy to create, completely free, and will result in a superior web marketing presence.