Increasing your Google ranking and the visibility of your small business website in search engines is a crucial component to getting better ranking and more traffic.
Here are some search ranking tips to help you create website pages that will give you the best opportunity to rank on Google’s first page for phrases that matter most to your business.
Page Structure Rules
I call Google the Code Enforcement Officer of the web–Google makes the rules and if a business wants to occupy the space, it should know and comply with the code. Once you have figured out what your content and keyword focuses will be for your pages, you’ll want to reinforce that focus by complying with what I refer to as the “blocking and tackling”–or the basics–of a web page structure for search engine visibility. My blocking and tackling list contains six core elements.
To help illustrate how the core six elements should work together to help you get more search engine visibility, I’ll outline them below as if I was developing a page for the keyword phrase “lawn mowing company in Smithville, Maine” on a website called “SmithvilleLandscaping.com”.
1. Search Engine Friendly URL
The address for each of your pages is referred to as a URL. A URL that contains the keyword phrases can be an excellent ally in helping you get more visibility. So for my “lawn mowing” focused page, my URL might be “www.SmithvilleLandscaping.com/Lawn-Mowing-Company-In-Smithville-Maine.php”
2. Browser Titles
This is the title of the page that appears at the top of your internet browser. Search engines tend to put more emphasis on the first few words so you’ll want to put the emphasis early. For this page, the browser title may be: “Lawn Mowing in Smithville | Lawn Care Services in Smithville, Maine.” The recommended goal is not to exceed 70 characters with your title.
3. Page Heading
The page heading is the headline of your page. It should be written for both the human and the computer so crafting is important. It is typically the biggest and boldest sentence on the page so the first impression matters. You want it to be easy to understand, relevant, and specific to the page focus. For this page, I may use: “A Full Service Lawn Mowing & Lawn Care Company in Smithville, Maine.”
4. First Sentence of Copy
Again, just as search engines put emphasis on the first few words of the browser title, so do they put emphasis on the first sentence of your page copy. Remember that you are writing for humans so this sentence should make sense, have value, and reinforce the focus of the page. For this page, my first sentence may be: “Smithville Landscaping Company provides lawn mowing, pruning, and a full line of professional landscaping services to homes and businesses in the greater Smithville, Maine area.” With this sentence, I’ve reinforced my keyword focus for the page, I’ve included language that explains what the company does, and I’ve included a geographical reference as that is important to both the search engine and the human visitor.
5. Page Description
The page description is the short summary for each page that appears below the page title in search engine results. Though the description field is not a primary focus of search engines, it does help to support why the page being listed in the search results is the better option for folks seeking your products and services. This area should be written so as to support your expertise, value, and commitment to their needs. For this page, the description may be “Smithville Landscaping Company provides lawn mowing and a variety of professional landscaping services to homes and businesses in the greater Smithville, Maine area.” Oftentimes the first sentence of copy and the page description will look very similar.
6. Photo Alt Tags
Search engines do not see graphics or photos. They do see the code and descriptions behind the photo and graphics. When adding a photo to a webpage, an alt tag is the description assigned to the photo that helps search engines understand what the photo is. When adding a photo of a lawn mower, an Alt Tag on this page should support the keyword focus and could be “Lawn Mowing Services in Smithville, Maine.”
These basics are often available for editing through content management systems. If your website is built on a content management system, your provider or online help tools should be able to demonstrate how you would create or edit the six elements listed above. If your website is not built on a content management system, or if you do not have access to manage the system, consult with a web developer about these points.