Most business owners understand that ranking on Google is an important part of online marketing. Having your website show up at the top of a search on Google can make a huge difference in the amount of leads and new customers you accrue each month and we all know that more leads & customers equals more dollars in your pocket!
For your website to get the most out of Google, it needs to be optimized through the ongoing process that allows your site to rank high on Google and other search engines known as SEO. This process can be time consuming and involves a lot of different factors, but it’s still very important! Neglecting to make your website SEO friendly won’t negatively hurt your website, but it could severely limit its potential.
The good news is that not all aspects of SEO are complicated! In fact, there are three things that every business owner can do, that have a big and positive SEO impact, without any outside help. To make things better, all these things can be done at no additional cost! By checking these three boxes, not only can you assure that your website has some vital structural pieces in place for it to be optimized, but you can also save additional resources in getting them done. It’s truly a win-win!
Here are those three things you can do to help kickstart your website’s optimization:
Update your website’s title tag
A website or page’s title on the website is arguably the most important thing related to SEO in the eyes of Google. It gives Google a good indicator to what the page on the website is about and helps it match your page with what users are searching for. They also serve as the first impression of your page for the people searching for your product or service. You know what they say, first impressions are everything!
The title tag specifically refers to the HTML element in the websites code that details the title of a page on the website. Sounds complicated right? Don’t worry it’s not as scary as it sounds!
If you’re on Google every day, you’ve seen thousands of title tags without even realizing it. When you search for something like “pizza near me”, pages of results are delivered to you in seconds. You know those links that you click on in the results to take you to the corresponding restaurant’s website? Those are title tags!
Creating or changing a title tag is easy and something you can do yourself! HTML or any coding aspect to your website may cause some uneasiness in you for fear that you will break something without knowing how to fix it. Fortunately for those of us who don’t know anything about HTML or code, most site platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, etc have built in tools or FREE plugins like Yoast or All in One that you can add to make updating the title tag super easy without having to adjust the HTML yourself!
Now that you know where to change your title tag, here are two best practices from Google on how to set it up so you get the most SEO benefit out of it:
- Keep your title tag length to around 60 characters. This way users can see the whole title in search results!
- Structure your title tag like this: “Keyword or Service” | “Brand or company name”. It’s important not to use so many keywords in that your company or brand name gets lost!
Most website platforms and plugins adhere to these best practices to help give you even more confidence and ability to create the title tag yourself! I promise that once you do it, your website or webpage will be in a much better position to climb those SEO rankings!
Write a meta description for your page
Now that you’ve got a title tag created, the next step is writing a meta description!
Let’s use SEO as a metaphor for a job interview where your website is being interviewed by a Google user. If the title tag is the website’s first impression with the user, then the meta description is the website telling the user & Google about itself. It’s what seals the deal for users clicking on your link.
The meta description is also something you have seen every day without likely realizing it. If you are looking at those same search results for “pizza near me”, immediately below the title tags is a short paragraph describing what the page on the website is about. Those are the meta descriptions! And creating them is just as easy.
Google has some best practices for meta descriptions too, but they aren’t as rigid. Where 60 characters is the recommended limit of the title tag, the meta description can include closer to 160. The 160 gives you more freedom to enter more keywords related to what your page is about, but it’s important that you don’t just list keywords! You want to make sure your description is actionable and inviting so just listing out a bunch of keywords for search purposes won’t do you much good.
Another good consideration to keep in mind when writing the meta description is to make sure your description matches the content on your page.
Ultimately, you know your business and services better than anyone! So, with your meta description, be inviting, highlight the right keywords on the page and watch your SEO rankings rise!
Create a Google Business Listing
If you’re a frequent user of Google when searching for local businesses and services, then you’re very familiar with Google Business listings. They’re typically the first results of your search. Google Business listings are helpful snapshots of a business that include links to your website and phone number, but also include things like pictures, reviews and other content.
This is a vital tool to take advantage of as a business owner!
Any directory listing that you can have online with your business info is obviously important for prospective customers, but none help your SEO quite like Google’s listing. Google is unbiased in how their algorithm determines which sites rank for which keywords but using Google tools to help market your business certainly doesn’t hurt your chances.
The fact that Google Business listings show up first in search engine results is huge for any potential search exposure you might get, but the Google Business Listings also allow Google to match the contact and other business information on the listing directly with your website. Having that verified will help take you a long way with SEO.
The good news for business owners is that creating a Google Business listing is easy to do and completely free! All you need is a Gmail address that you can use or associate to the listing and then visit https://www.google.com/business/ to get started. Once you sign in with your account the process is straightforward.
If you sign in with your Gmail address and still run into trouble setting up the listing, Google offers tons of help guides to walk you through the process. It’s totally worth it!
An example of a step by step guide can be found here: Sign up for Google My Business
Once you set your listing up, Google will allow you to add photos, content and even reviews from customers! The more you can add to enhance your page, the more attractive it will be to users which means higher rankings and more traffic to your website. More traffic equals more business!