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 10 things to do in your pages, text and images that will signal for search engines and create optimization on your website.
- Domain registration: The domain registration needs to be registered 2-3 years out to create credibility with Google. Go to www.whois.com to see when your registration expires. Adding an extra two or three years to your subscription tells Google that you are in business for the long haul. This adds credibility.
- Google+ local: Register your business at Google + business and then search for your business page to verify it. Selecting the right category for your business. Writing in your name, address and phone number and keeping it consistent with all other areas on the web will add credibility as well.
- Consistency in review sites: Go to top citation sources to 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 shows credibility.
- Local keyword usage: Use local keywords such as your county, city and state. List your service areas on several pages of your website through website copy and footers. This gives search engines a location of where your business is when they crawl your website.
- Update Page title tags: Use unique and local keywords (i.e. city, county, state) in your title tags. Keep your keywords as close to the beginning of the title as possible to be picked up by Google and other search engines. The title tags should be between 55 and 70 characters max. Use http://www.charactercountonline.com and type in your title to measure your word count.
- Add meta-descriptions: This is the first couple sentences that describe the webpage and used to motivate your reader to click through to your webpage. Use keywords in your description that are unique to each page. The character count should be on average of 150 characters in this area or you run the risk of it being cut off in the two-line summary. Keep it short and concise.
- Update URL’s: 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 into the URL with hyphens. (i.e. https://virtuallandscapeservices.com/landscape-design-asheville-hendersonville-buncombe/ )
- Inbound Links: Another website linking back to your website tells Google your website is trustworthy. Persuade owners of reliable, respected and pertinent websites and blogs that have been recognized for at least 12 months to link their sites to yours. Include licensed associations for your industry, manufacturers of the goods you sell and industry expert sites. Provide them the keyword text you want used in the link, starting with the most important keyword, and your full website address, containing the prefix of http://www.
- Updating images: Before you upload a photograph, optimize the title of the photograph with relevant keywords that pertain to that photo. (i.e. instead of 12345.jpg use: American beautyberry-fall garden-landscape design-Asheville.jpg)
- Responsive Design: Make sure the design template of your website is responsive to whatever device it’s being seen by from mobile devices to desktops. Today thirty-five percent of users are using mobile devices. Many themes in WordPress have responsive design but always check before settling on a new website.
Take these ten steps to start optimizing your website for better performance, traffic and sales!