You can avoid having a bad website by understanding a few simple concepts:
- Write good content – if you can’t, hire someone
- Describe each page’s content accurately
- Use a title that effectively communicates the topic of each page
- Each page of your site should have its own title tag
- Use a short title with the keyword you want to rank for in the beginning — just don’t go overboard
- Spend more than 5 minutes worrying about the design and aesthetics of your site, because no one wants to look at an ugly site
Now, understand that page titles are the most important part of your sites ability to be found organically…at least for now. That doesn’t mean it won’t change in the future, but for right now it is the king of on page SEO.
Next comes your content
It’s funny the way content works, good content always has a way of drawing visitors deeper into a site, while crappy content has a way of moving visitors to hit the back button. In other words, bad content on bad websites is like porn, People know porn when they see it, and they know a bad site when they see one too. And no amount of social media buzz is going to help you if your site is a stinker.
Next comes frequency
There is a reason why blogs are so popular. The average blog is updated at least once a week, while the average contractor website is updated once or twice a year at best. Once you understand that Google’s primary function is to return current, relevant results to their customers and then serve ads against those results, the sooner you will realize which site is going to rank better.
Now make your site easy to understand
Your website is no place for an “inside baseball” look at your industry. Keep it plain-spoken and easy to understand. And the real key is to make sure that everyone that stops by your site understands exactly what it is you do inside 30 seconds. Unfortunately, you are going to be a terrible judge in this department because you know everything about your area of expertise, and you think everyone already knows everything too…we don’t. Which means you’re going to have to enlist a civilian to review your site and have them tell you what they think it’s about, and then make any changes necessary.
Readers vs. search engines
I see a lot of contractors today making the mistake that many online marketers made a few years ago; they create content that’s geared towards attracting search engines and not necessarily engineered for human consumption. In other words, they stuff their pages with keywords in their headings, title tags, sub-headings and throughout the rest of the page. And they really get crazy packing keywords into the footer of their sites, which is a big no-no and Google WILL catch up with them eventually.
Your site should be packed with plenty of before and after pictures. This is a great way to promote your work using a medium that shows better than anything you could say contextually. You can help your on page SEO a bit more by naming your pictures using the “alt” attribute. This allows you to add alternative text for each image you use. You do this by giving each picture a specific keyword-focused naming convention which helps you rank a little bit better organically. Your images will also be easier to find when people search for pictures of your particular specialty if you give them keyword-specific names.
Links to your website are the cornerstone to a solid search engine optimization program. You should look to develop natural links over time instead of a whole bunch all at once.
You want to make sure to avoid:
- Reciprocal links and links
- Links coming from “link farms”
- Links from “bad neighborhoods” on the web
You can start developing good links by submitting your site to localized directories such as Yahoo local, yelp, Merchant Circle, Manta, Bing and your local Yellow Pages directories, all of which should be free, then fill them in with social media linking strategies. And there you have a quick and painless roadmap to turn that site of yours around so you can rank better and convert more visitors into leads…because that IS what it’s all about.