SEO Keywords Optimization
How to Improve Web Presence for Small Business – Free (part 2)
SEO Keywords Optimization builds on Part 1 of our series on how to improve web presence for small business – free. We’ve already discussed the important foundation of identifying your business’s unique strengths. We then used those strengths to target your specific type of desired customer. From this foundation we were able to identify keywords relating to your business. As a reminder, these were not only small keywords like “medical billing service” but long-tail keywords such as “medical billing services with integrated EHR”.
Part 1 gave you a few easy and free methods of identifying which keywords rank better than others. Remember though, this ranking changes all the time. There’s also no 100% surefire method of knowing what people search without an investment into SEO services. But even the free methods give you a good start.
The keywords on which your site focuses will be the hook on the end of your line into Google and other search engines. Your site will be built around these keywords to draw in potential customers; the ones you’ve already identified as your target audience.
So where and how do we build these keywords into our site? If you are using a web design service, like Crimson Web Design, this should all be done for you. In fact, it is one of the most critical things a web design service will do to improve your web presence. Beyond flashy animations and coordinating colors, the site has to draw in business. That happens with well-written content incorporating the results of your keyword research.
For this article though, we are going to assume you are doing the work yourself. Also, we are going to assume you have a basic understanding on terms like URL and blog. (hint: you’re reading a blog now!)
So, let’s get started!
Use Keywords in your URL
When deciding on the URL for your web site, it only makes sense to incorporate your preferred keyword. After all, if you go to Crimson Web Design you expect to find information about web design. You won’t be disappointed. But you’d probably be surprised if you went there and found an entire site dedicated to the mating habits of African meerkats. There’s probably a site for it but it’s not here. More importantly, if you did happen to own a site about meerkats, you’re not going to get many visitors if your site URL only mentions web design.
Name your URL something related to what you do. Most often it is going to be your company name. Hopefully your company name indicates whether you’re in web design or the study of animal reproduction.
One thing that gets tricky is the availability of URLs. There are a lot of web sites out there and more every day. So your preferred URL may not be available. It’s easy enough to find out.
Hosting providers like GoDaddy give you a search engine for domain names right on their front page. Even if your preferred URL isn’t open, you can find something close that is. This might be as simple as using a variation of the name or using something like a “.biz” instead of a “.com”.
Build – Build – Build
Now that you have a domain name, you need a web site for someone to visit. Your keywords should be interwoven into these pages like fine gold thread in a tapestry. They will be seamless enough to not appear overused or distracting yet they make the entire experience better in all regards.
While you shouldn’t go overboard, taking the time to build several pages can be helpful. For example, if you are a medical billing service you will have a page on that, sure. But if you are also targeting customers looking for electronic medical records, set up a separate EHR page. These pages will have links from your main menu and internal links within your site. For example, your “claims billing” page may mention that you also offer EHR products, with a link to that page, and vice-versa. Your home page should include links to each of your pages in some fashion, beyond only what the main menu provides.
Titles – It’s All in the Name
The same SEO Keywords Optimization philosophy used in your URL also applies to all your page titles and headers on that page. You will notice most blogs (including the post you’re reading) has a clear title for the page. It also has headers and sub-headers in the content. This helps Google understand what is important on the page so it can build a hierarchy when users search for something your page contains. It’s also helpful to your visitors in the same way titles and headers always are, defining content. Of all the things you may read on SEO, the one area sometimes overlooked but arguably the most important, is what your page actually says and how you organize it.
Content is King
Google focuses more on good content than peppering links and keywords everywhere. They want those who use their web browser to have a good experience so they will keep using Google. So Google is going to resist being tricked into delivering pages that don’t give visitors what they really want to find.
This goes back to the warning about using keywords too often or having too many links. Instead, write content that is easy for others to both read and navigate. Your page should have a natural flow that helps visitors discover all about you and entice them to acquire your products/services.
This is all very much a balancing act but one you can do. If you’re unsure about the flow and balance of your own site, visit the sites of competitors with good SEO (ie, the ones who come up when you do a search for the same keywords you’re targeting). Look at their sites from a design/content perspective and you will see how it all comes together for SEO Keywords Optimization.
Write a Good Meta-Description
If you don’t know the term, “meta description” is a series of background keywords that web browsers use when sorting out sites. They help browsers like Google Chrome know your site is about medical billing and not animals in Africa. In this way they are not too different than keywords. They are simply used in a different way.
For example, visit our own Home page. Now right-click anywhere on the page and select “view page source” (if using Google Chrome; it might be something slightly different in other browsers). You will see the code that creates the site. This is what the web browser is seeing on the back side of things. Now find a line that mentions “meta description”, probably near the top somewhere. The current meta description for our Home page reads “Affordable website design for small businesses. Located in Louisville, KY, our graphic design website builders create professional sites for your business.”
Notice that this isn’t just keywords but instead the long-tail form. “Affordable website design for small businesses” was specifically chosen over, say, “cheap website design” because our keyword research suggested what we used is more often searched. The description also focuses on that specific audience we identified. In our case, it is “small businesses” and “Louisville, KY”.
So why limit ourselves to a geographical area? You certainly don’t have to. Because we are focusing on small businesses trying to get off the ground or get to the next level, we realize they may not be able to afford the giants of the web design industry. Notice our meta-description mentions “affordable”, because marketing budget is slimmer for small businesses. The business owner is looking for someone they can work with who understands their needs.
The browser often also targets results near the user. So, instead of fighting with companies nationwide (and losing) to rank high on search engine results, we focused instead on our own geographical area. This makes it more likely we will rank higher in the results, even though it limits our exposure to a larger audience. As your business grows you will have more money for that marketing budget and you can begin reaching out in larger circles for your clients.
This is only one approach though. If you have a very niche product or service, geographical targeting may limit you unnecessarily. Web site design is extremely competitive nationwide. But if you sell cowboy apparel with a focus on sombreros, that’s really specific. Go big! (on the targeting area, not the hat)
How to set the meta-description for your page
The answer to this depends on how you are building the site. We use WordPress for most of our sites. It’s a great website builder and it’s free. One of the easiest and best ways to build keywords and links into your site with WordPress is to use the Yoast SEO plugin. It will guide you through adding your meta description.
If you are using some other web site builder, you will probably find something similar. If the builder doesn’t have SEO customization built into it, pass it by and find something that does. It won’t do you any good to make a web site if no one finds it.
If you are coding by hand, you probably already know how to add the code for the meta description. Or, if you are using a web design service (not free but the experience is worth paying for), they can work with you to explain what meta description they are using. You can work together to find the things that achieve your goals.
Link It Together
Having both internal and external links in your site will be very helpful to your SEO. You will notice a sampling of both types of links in this blog post. Let’s look at each type a little more in depth.
Internal links are links on your site that connect to other pages, media, or other resources on your site. This is good for two reasons. One, it entices activity on your site as people navigate through it. Google likes active sites! It also keeps people on your site longer, which Google also likes. The second reason is it can help Google understand your site better. You can use links to create some hierarchy for your site, helping Google understand which pages are more or less important.
External links are links either from your site to another site outside of your domain, or the reverse. This helps make your site more integrated with the internet as a whole. If someone points to your site from their own it also suggests your site is more valuable to the internet community.
You don’t have control over other people’s sites and what they do, of course. But, where possible, encourage other domain owners to place a link to your site on their own. This should be as a part of relevant content, not just a random link.
There is a simple philosophy for success when it comes to improving your SEO: Don’t try to “trick” Google.
If you go on the premise that Google wants your site to be its best because it wants good sites to be found, then you are all part of the same team. You have a similar goal. Working with search engines is the best way to find success and sort your SEO above the competition.
In the next article we’ll look at how to take the next step in improving your SEO by using social media. Building up your site, using intelligent use of keywords and structural hierarchy, is a fundamental component of the best (but easy and free!) ways to improve your SEO.