Basic SEO Fundamentals – For New and Existing Websites
In this weeks episode of Local SEO Tactics, we cover some of the basics you need to know for building a proper SEO foundation into your website. There are many, many tricks and tactics to use for improving your SEO – but if you’re not doing the basics properly, then it’s all for not!
This episode is a bit longer than most, about 48 minutes in length. However, stick with it, take notes, and write down the action items you can accomplish. SEO is not always sexy…actually, it’s usually pretty dry, but taking action and executing the steps will ensure you keep moving forward.
- How to choose the right domain name for your business website, to rank high, and get return customers
- Why it’s so important to rank in the top 3 for Google results, not just on the first page
- How to properly name your individual web pages to get them ranked, and to attract customers
- Best approach on creating a page title that ranks high and converts customers to your website
- What is the page description, and how does it appear on the Google search results page
- How to use our SEO Audit tool to grade your website and web pages
- How to use our SEO Audit tool to spy on your competitors
Thanks for Listening!
Here is a preview of the transcription from Episode 5 – Basic SEO Fundamentals For Your Website;
Jesse: You can run this audit on anything. It doesn’t have to be just your website. You can run your competitions webpages through this too, if you want to kind of reverse engineer them.
Hey everyone, Jesse Dolan and Bob Brennan here with local SEO Tactics. This week we’re going to be talking about actual on-page SEO. Not so much the Google My Business anymore, we’ve been there for the last four weeks, roughly, with the first three being about the Google My Business page optimization set up, things like that. Last week we talked about reviews. This week we’re going to dig into the website. We’re going to kind of start from the beginning, if you have a website right now you should be able to follow along, apply some of these tactics. If you don’t yet have a website, you can still take all this in, jot some notes down, and this should help you prepare how to get your website and set it up for the first time.
Bob: I’ve got to just make a few quick announcements. Some of this may be a little bit dry, and pretty technical. Those of us that are in the ADD world, this may be difficult for us to follow along. I can tell you this, you’re going to want to follow it, you’re going to want to take the time to learn and understand this. This is a critical part of your business. Again, this is about getting your site to the top of Google. If it isn’t at the very top, I’m not talking about first page, the very top of Google, it’s really kind of pointless. A website is good for a brochure, if you will, here, go to my website for this information. That’s fine. If it’s about SEO, if it’s about new customers, unless it’s in the top three, I believe you’re wasting your time.
We’re going to give you the tools to get that site to the top three.
Jesse: Right. I think everybody knows if you do your own searches, it’s not often you go down, even halfway down the page, let alone even the second or the third page. Something that we actually find, is when people are further down on the page, you may still get some leads, but they’re just not that good.
Bob: Oh yeah, that’s a good point, Jesse. Really, unless you’re at the top, it’s again, the leads you’ll get at the bottom are lowest price, they’re looking for lowest price. They have some unusual requests that you can’t fulfill, and they will chew up your time in that process. Many of us are just happy to get a call off our sites, but you’ll begin to understand once you begin to go through this process, and you’re at the bottom of the first page, you’re going to get some calls, you’re going to get excited about it, which is fine. It’s just you’re going to find out sooner than later, there’s a reason they’re calling you, and it’s usually because they’re a bit of a problem sometimes.
Again, all customers are good, don’t get me wrong. This is kind of … You’re going to see a trend forming when you’re at the bottom of the first page.
Jesse: Would you say a lot of times, I’m kind of asking a question I already know the answer to, but just to make it a talking point. Those people that are calling you, if you’re in the 6th, 7th, 8th place, they’ve already called everybody else, right? They didn’t just scroll down to the bottom and pick you, they’ve gotten no’s, or unfavorable responses already.
Bob: Unless your competition is woefully inadequate, and dealing with customer service issues, again, there’s a reason they’re calling you. It’s not always a pleasant reason.
Bob: Again, we want to shoot for that top three, the top three is a good goal to hit, and don’t stop applying these methods. If you’re on the first page thinking you were right, you just got to keep at it and be diligent, and give it as much attention as you can, as you can afford. Again, we’re all busy, allocate that time. It’s worth it.
Jesse: We’re going to start today kind of from the ground up, talking about the domain name for your website, how that’s strategic, the actual names of the pages that you might create on your website, and some of the details that go into those. We’re probably going to have about three episodes on this particular topic. We’re going to get a little bit deeper into the second or third episode, but again today we’re going to start right from the beginning. The first part of that is the domain name of your website. If you already have a domain name, great. I wouldn’t change anything. If you already have a website, you can apply the stuff we’re going to be talking about to that. If you’re in a position where you’re going to launch a new website, your first website, second third, whatever it is, put some strategy into it. Again, something you’ve heard us say in other episodes, and you’ll hear us say it a lot more.
When it comes to digital marketing, and particularly your SEO, do everything on purpose. Don’t just willy nilly, pick a name that sounds cool. One of the key things for being found in Google is keywords and phrases, right? If you’re a plumbing company, and you want to be found for plumbing, or plumbing services, if possible make sure your domain name, and maybe even the name of your business of course too, or at least your domain name has the word plumbing services, or plumbing service within it. If it’s Bob’s plumbing service.com, Bob’s twin cities plumbing service.com. We’re up in Minneapolis, Twin Cities here. That’d be even better, because now you’re tying kind of a local, geographic phraseology into that, along with plumbing service.
Not completely necessary to do that, but for sure, when I say the geographic reference, not completely necessary, but for sure some words that are akin to what your main product and service is that you’re providing. Some people might be worried, is that going to limit me? Maybe I’m a plumber, and I also do some kind of remodeling stuff, and people aren’t just going to call me for plumbing service, or maybe I do hot water heaters. You don’t have to limit the content on your website to the exact keywords that are going to be in your domain name, but obviously like any business there’s probably some kind of 80/20 rule with the revenue streams that you do have, and the products that you sell. You wan to try and make sure that you analyze that, and pick a domain name that makes sense according to that.
There is a school of thought of maybe trying to mash keywords, and again your geographic reference into your domain name. That can hurt you if you’re going to be expanding beyond that. Let’s take Minneapolis, up here in Minnesota. If Bob’s going to do Bob’s Minneapolis plumbing.com, but he’s also going to be servicing let’s say St. Paul, which is a suburb, neighboring city. No offense to St. Paul. Somebody in St. Paul may see Bob’s Minneapolis plumbing.com, or what have you, and maybe be a little put out. He doesn’t service this area, even though he’s popping up and I’m in St. Paul, or another suburb.
Bob: That can play a role in conversion, obviously.
Jesse: Absolutely. That’s more of what I mean, thanks for clarifying that Bob. You may rank well, but people are just going to skip right past you even if you’re in the number one spot, because that doesn’t apply to me, I’m going to click on the next one.
Bob: I’ll throw out too, as far as choosing a domain name, try not to make it super complicated, so your prospects, or clients, are trying to go back to your site and like what is the domain name again? The shorter and distinct, the better in my opinion. It sticks to your mind easier. Bob’s Crazy Plumbing, that’s a bad example, but just … Bob’s Twin City Plumbing, or whatever. Now, if you say Bob’s Twin City Fighting Plumbing type thing, it’s just going to make it real difficult for people to keep that in their minds. As distinct as possible, is huge in whatever you can come up with that again, sticks in their mind.
Jesse: Yeah. The number one goal of course to get a new customer is to show up in the search engine, but after you get them on the hook, you want them to come back to you. If they can’t for the life of themselves remember your company name, or your domain name, they’re going to be going to Google and searching again. Hopefully if you’re doing it right they find you again, but why leave that to chance? Just make it short and sweet. Another aspect piggybacking on what you’re talking about Bob, sometimes people forget about your email address.
Jesse: Whatever your domain name is, that’s going to be your [email protected] That’s a mouthful, nobody’s going to remember that. You’re going to get sick and tired of spelling that, repeating that every single time.
Bob: Right. If they’re dyslexic like me, they’re going to misspell it eight different ways, they’re never going to get the email through. Hey did you get my email? Really, the problem originates at your email, because you made this [inaudible 00:08:29] email that nobody is going to be able to type in.
Jesse: That’s part’s not necessarily related to SEO, but just kind of a good thing that you’ve learned along the way and helped a lot of customers with. Once you get down that road, you really can’t undo it. You also don’t want to have an email address that’s got a different domain than your primary company’s domain name. You want to keep it consistent across the board.
Along with that, with having the crazy long domain name too, is you only have a certain amount of space when you show up on the search engine results page, or the SERP, people will call it too, for Google. If you’ve got a domain that has 30 or 40 characters, because it’s just so stinking long, you have to remember when you create an actual page on your website too, because Google doesn’t just show you websites in the search results. It’s showing you individual pages when you’re searching for something. You’ve got to remember the name of your page is going to be attached to your domain name, so you kind of want people to see that.
When we quickly glance at the search engine results page, we’re making a decision of what we’re going to click on, and then hopefully convert based off of what we’re seeing. If you can’t see your entire link, or it just doesn’t make any sense and people don’t want to read it, that’s going to be a bad thing. General rule of thumb, people will see anywhere from 50 to 70 total characters. If you’ve got a big domain name that’s starting off with 30 characters, that can include the WWW, the dots, and then the .com at the end, any slashes and dashes that are a part of it. You’re just going to be asking for trouble for … You may rank decent, but for the conversion and what it looks like, and things like that.
Some people might … You should try to mash a bunch of keywords in there, and just try to get it all to fit in. That’s a bad tactic. That might’ve worked ten years ago, but things are just more sophisticated now, and consumers and people using the search engines on the other side of the keyboard. We’re kind of wise to that, I think everybody kind of gets a little scared off if you see something that has too much pounded in there. You know it’s spam. At any rate, that’s kind of a good once over for how to choose a domain name. Again, if you’re starting from scratch, take that to heart. If you already have one, you can work with what you got. If the things that we said make you think that you made a horrible, horrible choice, you can start over too.
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