In the world of online marketing and websites, everyone is always talking about SEO. Search Engine Optimization is the act of making changes to your website in order to rank higher in Google search results. While many businesses are paying thousands of dollars each month to make sure their website ranks number one, there are things you can do yourself to improve the rank of your site. Making sure your website is built with proper SEO fundamentals can have a huge impact on the performance of your website in smaller communities like Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls, and Sandpoint. Your website doesn’t have to be perfect! It only needs to be a little better than the competition. In North Idaho, that’s usually not that hard to do.
The biggest problem with most websites is that they are nowhere to be found in Google search results. If your business has a website that nobody ever sees, then it’s not doing anything for you. Obscurity is the largest challenge businesses need to overcome in order to be successful. In this article, I will show you five ways you can improve your SEO. If you can optimize your website in these five areas, you will rise to the top of the Google search results in CDA, or whatever smaller city you’re located in.
1. How Sophisticated is Your Competition?
Start by doing a google search for your product or service in your city or town. For some of my clients, this might be “general contractor in Coeur d’Alene. Grab a pen and paper and record where you are on the list of results. Are you on the first page? There are ten listings per page, so count how many places you are from the number 1 spot and write it down. Hopefully, you are on the first page. If not, you are definitely on the right track.
Next, take a look at the websites that rank above yours. Browse them for a minute and imagine you are a customer looking to buy this product or service. How does the website feel? Does it provide you the information you’re looking for? How does it compare to your website? Getting an idea of how good your competition is will help you determine what you need to do to beat them. SEO is all about doing things a little better than your competition, so if your website is comparable to the others, it won’t take too much work to get ahead.
2. What Keywords are People Using to Search For Your Product/Service?
When it comes to finding the best keywords to use, we are going to hop back into the minds of our customers. If you were a consumer looking for your product or service in your town, what would you type into the search box? How do you use Google to search? Do you include the name of your city? Most consumers that are looking for a local product or service will include the name of their town. When they do, it signals that they are ready to make a purchase.
Pull out your notepad and write down all the combinations of keywords you think searchers might type in. If you have Google Analytics installed on your website, you can check and see exactly what people are typing in before they land on your website. When you’re done building your list, scan through and decide which keywords you think are most often typed in.
Take the most important keyword and make sure it can be found in the headline of your home page. It also helps if your keyword can be found in the title tag of your web page. Including your keywords in these key parts of your website will clearly convey to Google and other search engines what your business is about and where the business is located.
3. Does Your Website Load in Under 3 Seconds?
Website speed is important these days. Not only does Google prefer websites that load quickly, most users, even in Cda, are using their mobile phones to find the products and services they’re looking for online. Statistics show that if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, most people will click the back button and never even see your website. That’s no good!
You can go to www.gtmetrix.com and enter your URL to find out how long it takes for your website to load. The cool thing about Gtmetrix is it will give you a list of what you need to fix in order to increase the speed. Follow the links deeper to get even more details on how to improve your website.
If you follow these directions and still have trouble with speed. Contact your website hosting provider and ask them if you can upgrade your hosting plan. As with everything, you get what you pay for when it comes to hosting, so it might be worth a couple extra dollars per month to get your website to load in a reasonable amount of time.
4. What Does Your Site Look Like on a Smart Phone or Tablet?
Another factor Google considers when deciding where to place your website is how mobile-friendly it is. Since the majority of searchers are using their phone, Google wants to show more websites that have made the effort to be responsive and easy to use on screens of all sizes.
You can use Google Search Console to test your site for mobile responsiveness. If you pass the test here, you have nothing to worry about. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, then you might need to check with a web developer to find out how much work it will take to fix that. This might be a good opportunity to rethink your entire website strategy if it’s determined you need to build a whole new site.
In 2018, websites are usually built for mobile first and desktops second.
5. Make Your Website the Authority in Your City
Google likes to show websites that are the authority in their niche and location. But, how does Google determine this? Backlinks. The more websites that link to your website, the more points Google will give your site and the higher in the search results it will be found.
When it comes to backlinks not all links are created equal. For a business in Coeur d’Alene, you will want to get links from other websites associated with Coeur d’Alene. This is done by getting out and becoming a valuable member of your community. Join networking groups and associations like the Cda Chamber of Commerce or Toastmasters. Another thing you can do is sponsor local events or volunteer. Get your business involved in community activities and ask other website owners to link to your website. Make lots of friends and trade them backlinks. You link to their site and they link to yours. It takes some time, but it is totally worth it!
Another way to attract backlinks is to create valuable content. Write some articles that provide value to people in the area. Create a FAQ and post it on your website. If you can create content that people are willing to share on Facebook, you will likely generate some backlinks with it. Think value first. The more value users get from your website, the more they will want to share it with their friends, families, and colleagues.
You Can Do It!
In small communities like the ones found in North Idaho, it doesn’t take a whole lot of SEO to outshine the competition. Most business owners haven’t discovered the importance of performing these simple SEO tasks, so you’ll often find the competition isn’t too tough to beat.
Take a little time each week and work on improving the SEO on your website and I guarantee you will see an ROI that will blow your mind. Having a valuable website that shows up on the first page of search results will bring in new customers for years to come. Continuing your SEO efforts on a regular basis will not only help you rank higher, but it will further cement your place in one of the top spots and make it harder for newcomers to sneak past you and steal your spotlight!
As always, if you have any questions, I am here for you. I love talking about this stuff and am happy to share anything and everything I know. Throughout the year I put on SEO workshops throughout the Coeur d’Alene and Spokane areas, so stay posted and check in every now and then to find out when and where the next one will be.
I wish you the best in your SEO adventures. It’s a fun game to play and can have a mega impact on your business and therefore, your life. Keep your customers in mind and give them as much value as you can through your website. Doing this will ensure the SEO gods (Google) will shine their light on your website.