Small Business Search Engine Optimization
Ideally, you want your website to show up first for applicable search terms. The advantage of this is significant as 92% of clicks go to results on page 1 of google searches and 70% of those clicks go to top 3 results on that first page. The major factors that determine a website’s traffic (that we can affect) are text content, backlinks, website structure, and social media signals. On-page optimization covers website structure and text content.
The anchor text is the text that makes up the link on another website leading to one of your websites. Each backlink is essentially a “vote” in the eyes of Google. “Votes” from more prominent websites carry more credit. The backlink is the specific link to your site, where ever it is on the third party website. A referring domain is the website linking to you. So if tmz.com (or any website) had 12 links to your site in various locations, that would be 12 backlinks from one referring domain.
Many available places where we can manually build backlinks allow for direct control over anchor text. When we have that option, we will use a variety of anchor text to optimize the way Google sees the website. The basic strategy is for 50% of backlinks to have business name or website URL as the anchor text, 25% random things like “click here”, and 25% to be targeted keywords like “personal injury lawyer” (for a legal client). By focusing the anchor text on targeted keywords, this will communicate directly to search algorithms the subject of authority for the website.
Mobile friendliness of a local site is incredibly important simply because of the number of local searches made on mobile devices. More than half of all search on Google is performed from a mobile device. Pages that are not mobile friendly are automatically listed much lower on search results when a user is searching from a mobile device.
We check if websites are mobile friendly using Google’s tool and it immediately becomes the highest SEO priority if the site is not mobile friendly.
Websites coded to load quickly (under 2 seconds per page ideally) are given preferred placement on search over those that do not. This is primarily affected by photo sizes and caching settings on the site.
We use the Pingdom Site Speed tool: https://tools.pingdom.com/ to analyze what kind of improvements can be made to reduce a website’s load speed.
Title tags, headers, meta descriptions and keywords, and several other settings on the back end of the site directly speak to search engine algorithms, telling them the important parts of what your site and business are about. Title tags are the text in the internet browser tab for that window. Meta description is what shows up as a description on a search engine results page under your website link. Meta Keywords are settings on the back end of your website that let search algorithms know what you are about. Schema code that needs to be custom written and inserted into the site code speaks directly to search engines about what your business is about. Squeeze does all of this for clients, and many are settings a business owner can set themselves.
The primary factor for Google’s ranking of websites is the text content on the website. Text is what clearly communicates to google what the website is about. There are plenty of methods with code to communicate site information to Google, but nothing trumps industry specific, authoritative blog posts or service detail pages.
Google’s algorithm is smart enough to know the difference between value added text and text with grammatical errors or keyword stuffing. The best method for test on a website is to clearly describe the business on the home page and each service on a sub page, providing detail through, but not overcrowding pages with text. Then a blog on the site gives an opportunity to regularly add content to up the overall word count over time and rank for more and more relevant keywords.
The BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT any business can make on their site is to put a blog on the site and hold themselves to at least one post per month, but ideally 2-4 per month. Keep up the blogging and you’ll exceed our minimum standard for “good content” of 10,000 words for the whole website. It will have a MASSIVE effect on visibility within search results. That’s the goal.