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Simple Search Engine Optimization!

ClydeEdit2Your website is one of the most important sales tools you have. A few changes can make a big difference in your business. Search engine optimization can get very technical, but there are some simple things you can do to improve your ranking.

If you are interested in search engine optimization, start by searching for your site. Go to Bing and Google, and type in power washing service. Both search engines will present a list of local businesses, usually accompanied by a map. Take some time to register your business with Google and Bing. Fill out your profile completely. Mention all your services in your description, and make sure your business name is descriptive. If you call yourself “Jim’s Cleaning” you may want to call yourself “Jim’s Power Wash Cleaning” online. Think about what words people will use to find you, and sprinkle them into your content. Relevance is a big factor is search engine optimization. If you can match a search term, you are more likely to rank near the top.

The second big factor in local listings is location. Duh. Be sure to put your physical address, not a PO Box. This will help search engines pinpoint your location and show your business to people searching in your area. Search engines list businesses that are closest to a searcher’s physical location higher. If they are not sure exactly where you are, you will not rank as well.

Positive customer reviews are also taken into consideration. Work to get as many positive online reviews as you can. This will not only help your search engine optimization, but may also help your click through rate. Social influence will help your potential customers build trust with you.

Now let’s look at your website. Does it look professional? Does it look modern? You don’t need to have the latest greatest fancy pants site on the web, but it should NOT look like something your teenage son made for you in 1995. Your goal should be to get your visitors to fill out your contact form. They are much less likely to contact you if you look like you went out of business 20 years ago. You don’t need to be a web designer to make a website anymore. It helps, but there are services like squarespace.com that can make the process easy for anyone.

When you design your site, consider page load times. Photos, graphics, and JavaScript’s can make your pages load slower. Addressing all of those things is too technical for this article, but you can test your site speed using a free tool from Pingdom. Put in your site address, and press “Start Test”. You will get a grade for your site speed along with a list of some suggestions for improvement.  This is a good way to see if you need to hire a web designer to help you improve your site.

If it looks good and it loads fast, let’s look at the content. Look at the little tab at the top of the page. This is where you can find your page title. If it is too long to fit on the tab, hold your mouse over it and it will probably show the full title. Every page on your site should have a unique, descriptive title. If the tab on you home page just says, “Home Page” or “Index” you should update it immediately. A better title would be “Your Company Name-Your City Name” So, “Jim’s Power Washing-Dallas, Texas” The title is what people will see in search results.

If all your titles are descriptive and unique, check your page content to make sure that it matches the title. As I mentioned above, relevance is a major part of search engine optimization. If the page title says, “Roof Cleaning” the content should be focused on roof cleaning. If the first thing on the page is about house washing, and roof cleaning is only a small blurb at the bottom, you should change the title.

Photo titles and alt tags should also be considered. Search engines use automated programs called crawlers to periodically review your site. These robots can’t see your photos. Instead, they rely on titles and alt text. Titles are visible tags like captions. Alt tags are not usually visible to visitors unless the photo doesn’t load properly or they are using screen reading technology. Place photos next to related content to help search engines identify their purpose. Alt tags and titles should include keywords that relate to the main idea of your page. Photos are a good way to keep your content fresh. Place them throughout your site and update them regularly.

Remember that your search rankings will not change immediately. It can sometimes take weeks or even months before you will see improvements.  Focus on creating a useful resource for people searching for your services. Make an attractive site that encourages them to contact you. Then provide the best service possible so that you get positive reviews and repeat visitors to your site.

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