How to Stay Ahead of the Competition
Let’s start building your unbeatable online presence with getting found in the organic section of the search engines (and, yes, you really can do your own search engine optimization!), because studies show that 94% of Internet searchers choose sites from this section to visit.
Think about it – if you can get a chunk of that 94% to your site, then you’ll probably be in better shape than if you’d gotten all 6% of the paid traffic there!
Let’s start out by getting in to edit your site. Do you have access to the back side of your website? The most popular website building tool is WordPress and the chances are very high that your site is built in WP.
Simply use your username and password to access the back end of the site for the next step. (Other site building tools like Wix, or Webweeble, have other logins and are just as easy to access.)
Even if you rely on a webmaster to handle your site, you’ll still want to read this through till the end.
Meta Tags & Titles
Once you are in the back end of the site, you will need to check several areas to see if your site is optimized. A very important ranking signal for Google are the meta titles and descriptions. How do yours look?
Titles are limited to 70 characters for Google. If you exceed 70 characters, your title will be cut off, and you will see an ellipsis at the end, so it’s best not to exceed 70 characters.
An effective SEO method for doing your meta titles is that it should consist of the exact page title and the geographic area. (The exception is on national sites; do not put a geographic area in the title if you are attempting to be found nationally, or globally.)
While we’re on the subject of geographic location, it’s best to work with no more than 3 areas to start. When we optimize a site, we always start with three cities in the same state. When the site is well-ranked for those three, we will slowly add cities and get them ranked.
As you add cities, be careful not to go too far. If you have added seven or eight, and all of a sudden you see a drop in rankings, remove the last one and see what happens. Within a week you should see your results return. If not, take off another city and monitor it.
A big mistake that non-professionals make when optimizing a site is doing too much at one time – with all their tactics – and that goes for this as well. If you are doing well with three cities, don’t add three more. Add them on one at a time and watch your rankings to make sure they’re still going up before adding more.
The meta description is the marketing message that is responsible for getting the Internet searcher to visit your site rather than the other nine that show up on page one.
Make the message compelling and use a call to action, like “visit our site for….” or, “call us for…” etc. It may seem like an elementary marketing tip, but it really works!
The description is limited to 156 characters, so use them wisely, and don’t exceed the number.
Check out this example of a successful meta description for our page on SEO for doctors:
Start dominating your online market by checking - and fixing - your meta titles and descriptions. I’m betting you’ll notice some significant jumps in your rankings pretty quickly; and if not, the next part in our series should show you what’s stopping them.
Bonus tip: If you don’t have access to the back end of your site, and are waiting to hear back from your webmaster or developer on these points, there’s another way you can check on your titles and descriptions.
Do a Google search of “site:[your URL here]” - this would look like “site:amazon.com” with no space between the “:” and the URL - and this will pull up all pages on that URL. You’ll be able to see your titles and descriptions at a glance, then you can get your webmaster to fix them ASAP!
But if you use an SEO company and your titles and descriptions are off, then you probably want to call us for a free evaluation of the rest of your site to see what else they might’ve done wrong…
In the next part of the bonus series, we’ll get into targeting the terms you want with optimized content (how much do you really need?), how to check if it’s coded properly (don’t worry, it’s easy), and a few more tools you can start using right away to start dominating your online market!
Oh, and I think it goes without saying that doing proper meta titles and descriptions is an integral part of our services here at My SEO Guys.
Happy optimizing (or optimising for you Commonwealth-ers)!