Six steps to improve a business website’s search engine optimization [SEO]
[originally published on medium.com on January 4, 2023. Article has been updated since original publication]
Business Owners Struggle with Their Websites
Many home service providers struggle with the development and maintenance of their websites. Often, business owners approach me frustrated and about ready to give up on caring about their online presence at all. They tell me they feel like they have to become SEO experts to direct their web developers on what to do.
This is an unfortunate situation that happens way too often. I feel for these business owners. It often feels like their choices are hiring someone who fits their budget and has no idea what they’re doing, or an agency that will cost an absolute fortune, and there’s no middle ground.
6 Steps to Improving SEO
Here is your guide for bumping up your SEO.
- Your site must be mobile-friendly.
Use this tool: https://pagespeed.web.dev/ This page will give you a list of ways to improve the scores. Do them, (or hire someone who can)!
- Increase the depth of your site content.
Most business owners underestimate the value of a “blog” on their website or misunderstand what it is really used for. I once had a client say, “Well, I’ll write a blog when I have something to say.” But the blog isn’t for expressing the business owner’s opinions, it’s for describing, in minute detail, all the different aspects of the services and expertise the business offers. This can be accomplished with traditional blog posts, “Tip” articles, “How-To” articles, FAQs, case studies, client spotlights and so much more. The biggest benefit of these posts is that they are not just packed with relevant keywords, but they are legitimately useful.
In the case of a professional painting contractor, we turned his picture gallery into “blog posts” by grouping project photos into categories — wallpaper, bedrooms, kitchens, etc and then adding keyword-rich content to the page describing the various projects on display.
- Write thoughtful meta descriptions & meta titles.
The meta title does not have to match the title of the website and by default, the description will be the first 1–2 sentences on the page — which is usually not relevant or “click-worthy”. Take time to write actionable, relevant details for these.
- Utilize internal links.
Utilize internal linking strategies throughout the website pages so visitors can easily navigate between different areas of the site while also increasing SEO rankings through keyword relationships among each link’s anchor texts.
- Create legit backlinks. This is one reason I suggest business owners set up social media accounts for their businesses. Even if they only update them a couple of times a year, the profiles on each of the accounts link to the business website, creating low spam-rated backlinks. These can include Facebook, Instagram, Ticktock, Snapchat, Yelp, medium, Angie’s List, BBB, along with posting on any industry-related affiliation website, and town or state business registry. Then, you can also reach out to local businesses and acquaintances for link agreements — you post their website link on your site, and they’ll post yours on theirs.
- Submit to Google Search console. Google is a fickle thing. Be sure to create a google Analytics & search console account, submit the website’s XML sitemap and then visit 1x a month to check for URL’s that are not indexed. Request indexing!
So that’s the initial setup. Once you have those items completed, you’ll be in good shape. It’s not a bad idea to run an SEO audit on your site as well — they often find pages and issues you didn’t even realize existed. I like to use Moz. It doesn’t push you too far into keyword stuffing the way Ahrefs or Aemrush can.
Website Growth Over Time
The final piece of the puzzle is to keep your website growing.
At a minimum, aim for 1x a month, to add a new ‘blog’ post — whatever that may be. Again, the client-featured angle is usually easy since you can rattle off a few words about a recent project pretty quickly. Include internal links, and images if you have them, publish the post, and then submit the URL to Google search console’s “URL inspection”. Request indexing and watch your organic traffic grow!