Getting Business Through Your Website: Get it to Rank High in the SERP

Getting more clients through your website; that’s what we all want, right?

In this post today, I’m going to help you understand that, though an attractive website is great and all when it comes to “getting more business”, how why it’s not the most important factor. (This is part of the Skills 2 Money series.)

The truth is that a nice looking website might help a little bit, but it really can’t help you at all if a consistent stream of traffic (prospects to your site) aren’t landing on your products/services/hire me page. (We talked about the online marketing funnel before — driving more prospects to the top of your funnel can get you more customers.)

But anyway, a site does help generate more work if you’ve optimized it correctly and maintained it to become your traffic attractor. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play and you need to understand the basics of SEO to use them for your own good.

As a matter of fact, SEO that can really help your business between the stress of marketing your business and helping your customers out. When you’re busy helping out customers, great SEO can still be doing it’s job–attracting new prospects to your website.

Search Engines are Your Friends

Why are search engines your friends, you ask? Well, let’s put ourselves in the mind of our prospects. First, when a prospect is looking to buy something the first thing they do is do some research and compare prices. Before the yellow pages use to be where they went or maybe a friend for a recommendation. This is where you get the shot to jump in front of your prospect (not physically but you site), because this is when they’re expressing their needs for a product/service or just plain good information.

Google is the number one website in terms of traffic, that’s because today people use search engines for just about everything, and your industry is likely to be one of the few things people look for online.

When a website is optimized for keywords that are relevant to your products or services and you’ve setup your on and off-page SEO for the search engines, you’re more likely to jump in front of more prospects who did a search query for your keywords or phrases.

My goal here is to teach you how to SEO optimize your pages so that you can out-perform your competitors enough to jump to the top of page #1 of the SERPS in a category or keyword that’s most relevant to what you’re offering.

When we achieve good enough SEO to reach the first page of Google, Bing, or Yahoo, we can start seeing consistent traffic to your website instead of just showing up way back in page 2,3,4… It’s proven that the top page of Google receives the majority of click, the first link actually receives 36.4% of all the clicks.

google-serps-heat-map

A little confused with all this? Don’t worry the numbers are the prove in the pudding.

Google-keyword-tool

How to Get More Traffic from Search Engines

Before we get to deep setting the fundamentals for good search traffic, we need to understand how the search engines work first. Moving along, I’ll use Google as the main search engine since it’s all I use and it’s the one with the biggest share of all the search activity.

Google has one goal; provide you with the most relevant and fresh results for anything you search. To achieve relevance you need a good keyword strategy (meaning, keywords your prospects would search in Google to find you), by using your specific keywords in certain areas of your website.

Freshness, well this one is easy, it means updating your website frequently. ( Show Google your website has life, they like that.) Google will crawl the web, index and analyze people’s content constantly. When the spiders crawl, they judge your content and the credibility of a web page, this way in the future if someone searches something relevant to you they can serve up that page.

Just recently, Google did an update (panda update) in their algorithm, but the core principles still remain there. Understanding these principles will help you provide the right characteristics to Google and in turn, help you show up in the SERPS for your terms.

Search Engine Optimization Factors – On-Page Keyword Checklist

The majority of experts I’ve studied like to separate SEO into two parts; On-page and Off-page factors. You can go very deep in just these two areas of search engine optimization, and if you want to look here and here. But I’m going to give you a brief explanation to give you a head start with SEO.

Every expert will tell you the foundation of an SEO strategy begins with a good set of keywords. This keyword list contains 25-50 words that possible customers would use in the search engines to find your website, in this case your products or services. (E.g. “social media manager,””toledo ohio photographer,” or “online marketing consultant”.) One of the keywords I used here is not as competitive as the other two, which means it would be easier to rank higher since it’s not as competitive. If you use greater specificity in your keyword strategy the better. The number one reason is that you can reach the top page of Google easier. Number two, the content will be more relevant to the searcher.

It’s good to have a mix between not-so-competitive and competitive keywords in your list. The main reason to making a short list is to help you focus on keywords that can actually drive web traffic to your web site, instead of trying to optimize a million terms all at once. In general, your goal with search engine optimization is to show up on the first page of the SERPS for the complete core of related keywords as time goes by.

To give you an idea, “what is social media” receives 2 million searches per month. However, it’s to competitive, and if a person is looking for this phrase the potential of them converting into a client is probably slim. In addition to words that perfectly describe what you offer, you can probably be creative about search terms people use when they’re in need. For example,”Toledo social media expert” or “help with social media for small business.” It’s very common to include a geographical term in the searches since many people are still looking for locally-based products and services.

I use the Google Keyword Tool, because it’s free and it’s shows me the average search volume and competition for any keyword, plus it give you keyword ideas. When you come up with a short list on your own, use this tool as a smart way to divide your top choices.

Now the term “on-page” can mislead you into thinking that headlines and the body copy of your website are the important factors. Actually the most crucial spots where keywords influence SEO are the “Page Title” and “Page Description”.

Page Title

Page titles are the text that you see at the top of your web browser window. This is considered the most important on-page factor for SEO and the title is also the clickable text you see in the search results, so it should be easy to understand and persuade the user to click on your site.

Think of it like a book title — think about when you walk into a library and you see hundreds of books on the shelf, what makes you want to grab a certain book? The title right? So many websites make the mistake of not using the page title in their advantage. This is bad SEO. Instead, a well optimized has a good description with keywords from your short list  that describe your services, products, and even your location too.

If you want your name or your company’s name is better to append it to the end of the title. Use your keywords closer to the beginning of your title. I suggest using 70 characters or less since that’s all Google shows in the SERPS, everything else gets truncated.

page-title-browser-window

page-title-search-results

Page Description

Meta Descriptions, which are HTML attributes that provide concise explanations of the contents of web pages, are commonly used by search engines on search result pages to display preview snippets for a given page.

Code example

<meta name="description" content="Meta Description SEO best practices. Meta Descriptions are commonly used by search engines
on search result pages to display preview snippets for a given page." />

Optimal length for search engines

Roughly 155 characters

You’ll also want to use your keyword list here, but instead of just stringing words together, make it readable, compelling and relevant if you want a higher click through rate.

List of other place you can use your keyword list:

  • Body text
  • H1 “header” tags
  • URL
  • Alt tags for images
  • Meta keyword tags

Search Engine Optimization Factors – Off-Page (Building Links and Anchor Text)

Google really puts a lot of link juice on backlinks (aka inbound link traffic) and the text (anchor text) that those sites use to link back to your website. They see it as a vote for your website. If you get links from big, credible, external blogs, forums or any other source which are hard to come by, it tells Google you are relevant, credible and popular if you’re associated with this sources for your particular search term. For example, if you’re a business and you get a link from Inc.com or Entrepreneur.com chances are that you’re a credible business.

It takes time and effort to build quality links. The results won’t come to you immediately, but if you work at getting new links, it can help make your SEO stronger and better. The number of ways that you can build links bountiful:

  • 21 Off-Page SEO Strategies to Build Your Online Reputation
  • The ABCs of Off-Page SEO Tactics
  • 101 Ways to Build Link Popularity
  • If you have a profile page in any trade organization, social network or forum link back to your website.
  • You can use PR releases to encourage traditional media and/or blogs to write about your company/service.
  • Write epic content. With time you’ll learn that people like to share content that’s useful, informative, and/or entertaining.
  • Backlink your own content. While they really don’t have link juice, they still help Google find and index your content.
  • DO NOT pay for links. Google doesn’t like this and they know when people buy links and will penalize your website for doing this.
  • Guest post to other blogs, forums and recognized websites and trade media.
  • Connect with like-minded people in your field and link to one another within articles.
  • Leverage social media. Google says is saying that “they are” now using Twitter and Facebook links in ranking as a signal. (video here on this)

The text people use to link back to your website is called “anchor text” and Google considers it when checking for inbound links to your website. Descriptive anchor text (e.g. Visit Social Media Consultant Wilson Usman) can improve your SEO significantly vs. anchor text descriptions like (e.g. click here, learn more, click here to continue). They’ve really cracked it down to how old the link is and at what rate you develop new links.

OpenSiteExplorer is used to check the links pointing to your site and your competitors. Learn which links are helping, and find opportunities, if you desire to improve your ranking.

Some people will tell you that search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t that important, but the fact is that if Google doesn’t know what your site is about, it won’t be able to index your website, thus people won’t find your awesome content.

I don’t think you should stress optimizing every single part of your website over writing epic content and giving your readers what they need.

What did you think about this post? Did it help you? If you have any suggestions for future content please email me or leave a comment.

By the way it took me almost 8 hours to put together this article and if you could tweet it or like it, I would be appreciate it. Thank you for your kindness!

See you guys next time.

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  • Great post!

    Wicked image showing the clicking habits of a Google search page. That’s really cool – I have never seen one of those. Somehow, I knew the results would look very similar to that. Search engines are an amazing tool. You get to the top – and you are in the gold ;).

    • Yea they are but what I really like is how they’re incorporating social now to serve you content from people that you might be connected with instead of just some random website.

  • Excellent article Wilson, will be very helpful to the newbies. If Content is the King, then SEO is Queen. An online business can never avoid SEO. Spending some time for optimizing our site for search engines will give good results. And we have to target to reach the top 3 positions because the first three results receives more than 60% of click.

    • That true, its the queen. Although, it’s hard to get small businesses to believe this.

      It’s incredible that most people only click on the first few links. Do you think that SEO might change though now that we’re getting more results because of our social connections?

      I’ve noticed that when I’m logged in to gmail it gives me different results if I sign out. And also if I change the location the results change a little too.

    • Interesting way to look at it, Rojish! 🙂 I try to hang around both as much as I can ;).

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