I recently participated in a webinar entitled “The Most Important Factors Impacting Your Local Search Rankings in 2014”. The webinar was conducted by Lawn and Landscape featuring Landscape Leadership’s Chris Heiler. The webinar was most helpful, and I’d like to share the points that Chris brought out in the webinar. He spoke of 7 things to do in your pages, text, and images that will signal search engines on your website.

1. Domain registration: The domain registration must be registered for 2-3 years to create credibility with Google. You can go to www.whois.com to see when your registration expires. Adding two or three years to your subscription tells Google you are in business for the long haul. This adds credibility.
2. Google My Business for local:  Go to Google My Business and then search for your business page to verify it. Selecting the right category for your business is important too. Writing in your name, address, and phone number and keeping it consistent with all other web areas will also add credibility.
3. Consistency in review sites: Review sites such as Yelp, Google My Business, Yellow Pages, Citysearch, and Angie’s List. Claim your business page and fill in information about your business, including phone numbers and addresses. Keep this consistent throughout each site so that when Google crawls these directories, they will compare and find consistency, which Google likes.
4. Local keyword usage: Use local keywords such as city, county, and state. You can do this by listing your service areas on several website pages. Work it into your copy and the footer (bottom of every page). This gives search engines a location of your business when they crawl your website.
5. Update Page title tags: Use your unique and local keywords, such as your city, county, and state, in the title tags. Keep keywords as close to the beginning of the title as possible for best practices. The title tags should be between 55 and 70 characters max. Use https://www.charactercountonline.com to measure your character count.
6. Add meta-descriptions: Descriptions are important because they hook your reader to click through to the webpage. Use keywords in your description that are unique to each page. The character count should stay around 150 characters on average, or you run the risk of it being cut off in the two-line summary. Keep it short.
7. Update URLs: Use specific terms in your business instead of generic terms like ‘services.’ If you offer stonework, then use that in the URL. In addition, add local keywords to the URL with hyphens.  (i.e.,   https://virtuallandscapeservices.com/landscape-design-asheville-hendersonville-buncombe/)

A helpful tool to use is a Google widget called Mozbar. This widget reveals page elements (i.e., meta-description and the URL for each page) and highlights links and keywords, helping you streamline your SEO while surfing the web. Google’s keyword planner tool is another tool to help you find the best keywords for your website. Also, in Google Search Central, register your website, which will provide you with information about your site and how to improve its stats with Google. After you are registered and linked, you can begin to use the tools under the site dashboard>search appearance to search your website’s appearance making improvements where necessary.

Hopefully, these tools will give you a jump-start and ownership to understand better how optimization can work on your website. If you need help with your website, give me a call today!