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Website SEO: How to Show Up in Search Engines

As a professional tradesmen, there’s a good chance that you’ve never heard of SEO before, and why should you? Well, even though SEO has no impact on the work you’re doing on a daily basis, it absolutely has an impact on whether or not people will find out about it. While maintaining a high quality of service is important, it makes no difference if you have no clients to service because they can’t find your business easily online.

 

So, let’s jump right in with what SEO is and why it’s important.

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SEO Basics

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making a website friendlier for users and search engines with the hopes that will rank you higher in organic search engine result pages (SERP).
Search engines work like a library catalog.

 

They use “spiders” to crawl (aka read) and index information on the web, and store them in their own database. When a user performs a search, they use a complex algorithm to sort through that database and rank the web pages based on which pieces of information best answer the searcher’s question.

 

These rankings are what you see on Google every time you search, with the most comprehensive source appearing at the top, and descending in order of helpfulness.

 

The most important part of SEO is managing your expectations. SEO work can take some time before you start seeing results, so don’t get discouraged if you’re not seeing the results you want right away. On average, it can take Google 4 days to 4 weeks to even find new information you add to your site. Professional SEO specialists tell clients it can take 3 months to start seeing some positive movement and 6-8 months before you start seeing significant results.

 

SEO is a long term investment but organic traffic on average makes up 60% of traffic to a site. The result is usually worth the time and effort it takes to get it right.

Google Algorithms

Keep in mind that Google’s goal is to return the most helpful search results to the users. They start by trying to decide what the user intent of the search is.

 

Was the user clear about what they wanted? Or can Google help narrow it down by taking information about the user into account— like the user’s location or search history? For example, if someone only types in ‘plumber’, Google may take their location into account and show results for the closest plumbers.

 

Google determines these results by using a set of rules called an “algorithm” to decide what gets shown to people first. To prevent SEO specialists and marketers from manipulating the algorithm to rank well, no one except Google knows exactly what these rules are. As an added precaution, Google constantly updates their algorithms.

 

Thankfully, Google has been kind enough to give us some basic guidelines about what it believes makes a website and its pages particularly good. You can use them to optimize your site.

The algorithm primarily looks at factors like:

 

  • Relevance: What does Google “think” the user is searching for and how well does your site match this search? If a user is looking for drain-cleaning services, Google is more likely to show the user a plumber who has a page about their drain-cleaning service than a plumber who only mentions it in passing.
  • Quality of Content: Google prioritizes high quality and unique content that they think will best answer the users question.
  • Usability: Usability for not only a user, but for Google’s crawlers is another huge ranking factor. Is your site as easily accessible for the user on mobile or tablet devices as it is on desktops? How long does it take for the page to load? Do all your buttons and links go to the correct page?
  • Context of Users: Information related to the individual user – location, past searches are all things Google takes into consideration when showing results for a searcher.

 

If you’d like to learn more information about Google’s algorithms, you can find it here.

SEO is a long term investment but organic traffic on average makes up 60% of traffic to a site. The result is usually worth the time and effort it takes to get it right.

Easily Optimized

H1

This is your header, or the first text that appears on a webpage. There should only be H1 per page. H1s act as the title of the page, and tell search engines what kind of content they should expect to see on this page.

If you’re focused on localized searches, this is an excellent way to naturally work in location keywords. They should be short, but detailed and ideally use a keyword you think your target audience is frequently searching.

 

Examples

  • New HVAC Installations in Dallas, TX
  • Bathroom Plumbing Repairs in Fort Worth, TX

Title Tag

Your title tag comes up on SERPs as the headline for your page, and is extremely important to searcher usability and SEO. Be sure that your title tag is the most accurate description of the content that will appear on your page.

 

Optimal Formats

Primary Keyword | Company Name | Secondary Keyword
Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Company Name (If there’s room)

 

Recommended Length

On average, you can see 50 – 60 characters on a Google search result. We recommend you use a tool like Moz to check the page title length just to be safe.

Meta Descriptions

A meta description is similar to a title tag in that it describes the content on your page so that it can be easily read by the search engine. When you do a Google search, the meta description will appear under the site’s link. While this doesn’t technically have any SEO value, they are helpful from a conversion rate point of view. An engaging meta description is more likely to be clicked on than a boring one.

 

Recommended Length

Try to keep these within 150 – 160 characters. We recommend using a tool like Spotibo to check meta description lengths.

Localized Search

Localized Search is results that are specific to a user’s location. These searches typically have less search volume, but are easier to rank for – and therefore a great place to start! Localized searches are quick and easy to implement and will provide more benefit in the long run if your market if you’re not serving a nationwide market.

Keyword Research

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they’re doing keyword research is going after only broad keywords. These keywords will have massive search volume, but also high competition.

 

Long-Term Keywords will have smaller monthly search volumes, but less competition. That means it’s going to be easier to rank for these keywords while you’re establishing yourself as an authoritative site in your niche.

Examples of broad keywords:

  • Plumbers
  • Electrician
  • HVAC Company

 

Some examples of long term keywords would be:

  • [business type/product/service] in [location] (e.g. plumber in dallas)
  • [business type/product/service] [location] (e.g. plumber dallas, drain cleaning dallas)
  • [location] [business type/product/service] (e.g. dallas drain cleaning)
  • [modifier] [business type/product/service] (e.g. cheap drain cleaning)
  • [modifier] [business type/product/service] in [location] (e.g. emergency plumber in dallas)

Start with a list of your most important services/what you want to rank for. From there add modifiers from there to create your list of long tail keywords. You can use a keyword multiplier to create this list quickly.

Now that you’ve gone through an SEO deep dive, we hope that you’re feeling more prepared to get started on optimizing your own website’s SEO. We understand that diving into work that you have no prior knowledge of can be intimidating, especially when it has such a big impact on whether or not potential customers will be able to find your business.

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