As a business owner, we understand you are busy. However, just like you wouldn’t neglect your store and let the displays get dusty, you shouldn’t let your website get dusty, either. There is a reason you have a website, you are trying to get more customers. So, with that thought in mind, lets talk about on page optimization. What’s that? It’s really quite simple and something you could do yourself (although we do have an SEO specialist who would be happy to help).
First of all, be sure you have content worth sharing, that it is informative and easy to read. If I’m searching for an answer to a question (and most people using the internet are looking for information), the search engines are going to direct the searchers to the websites they feel best answer a question. Therefore, if I am a doctor and have a page about West Nile Virus, have a page about West Nile Virus, not a paragraph. Think of all the questions people might have about West Nile: How is West Nile transmitted? What are the signs and symptoms of West Nile? What do I do if I think I have West Nile? What are treatment options for West Nile? What if I don’t get treatment? What are the long term effects of West Nile? Where is West Nile most common? What time of year should I worry most about West Nile? As a business owner, you have a definite advantage because you know what questions customers are asking. Take 10 minutes and come up with a list of 10-20 questions people regularly ask about you or your services. Be sure your website addresses those questions in enough detail. Don’t feel like you’re giving away all the answers, realize you’re establishing trust with customers.
Now that you’ve reworked your content, come up with a catchy title for your web page. Here’s a hint “About Us” is really rather boring. “Our Superior Pet Care Staff” is much more interesting. Don’t forget, you title should be what your page is about. I’ve seen websites where the content drifts off topic by the end of the page. If you notice that’s happening on your website, think through what you’re trying to communicate. Perhaps you need to split one page into two or more pages to stay on topic. Here’s another way to look at it. If I’m searching for “pond aerators” I expect the search engines to direct me to website pages about pond aerators. I don’t expect to find pages about the different chemicals which can be used to control pond weeds. While I might find that interesting, I would expect to find that information on a separate page of the website. Each content page should reflect one keyword (or keyword phrase) people are searching for.
Next up, internal links. Once you have a visitor on your website, you want them to browse around, just like they do in the store. We all know grocery stores put the staples like bread and milk at the back of the store so you have to walk past all the other displays to get there. Grocery store owners hope as you walk past the cereal on the way to the milk, you’ll remember you’re almost out of cereal, so you grab a box or two. Now, I’m definitely not recommending you hide content on your website. Do include useful links to other pages of your website encouraging people to browse around. Who knows, perhaps the person searching for a new website will also realize they want to launch an Adwords campaign and have their site professionally optimized. And while they’re at it, perhaps they want a nice professional logo for their child care center instead of the crayon drawing from a preschooler.
Finally, don’t forget about the meta descriptions. These are the short paragraphs of information (“snippets”) which search engines display in the search results so you know whether you want to click through to a page. Yoast has a free plugin which makes it super easy to write your own meta descriptions and page titles. If you don’t write your own, the search engines will write them for you, but generally, they will take the first 150 words from the first paragraph of your web page. It may be what you want, but perhaps it doesn’t precisely convey what your page is about. I always recommend against letting the search engines do your “thinking” for you.
In brief, a well optimized page will include:
- Content worth sharing, with enough detail to thoroughly answer questions
- A catchy page title
- Internal links to encourage visitors to view other parts of your website
- Well written meta descriptions.
The benefits of taking a few minutes to create a well optimized page is the potential to rank higher in search results, which hopefully leads to more customers. I think it’s worth it, don’t you?
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