Title tags are what show up in the tabs of the website. I try to do three things in each title tag.
A local signal, a service signal, and a Google category.
A local signal would just be a city such as Lake Worth. I do the marketing for a sheet metal shop in Lake Worth, Florida.
Service signals are the service or if you’re a product, whatever the product is. So, “Lake Worth Sheet Metal.” Pretty simple.
Then, if you can match the Google category that’s huge. The Google category for sheet metal is “sheet metal fabricators.” If you can see the whole thing in the tab, it would be “Lake Worth sheet metal fabricators.” We’ve got all three very important things for the title tag. When somebody goes and searches for that, Google sees where everything matches and it’s a good fit. I’m sure that this because it matches, so that’s where we are in the title tags.
The H1 is just the header. All my clients have the H1 that includes preferably some type of local signal, although you can’t always do that without being spammy. But always whatever keyword we’re trying to rank for. The earlier in the text if you can get those key words in the first five words of the H1 that’s ideal. I tried to get “sheet metal” in pretty early in this header for this particular client.
Schema is a new computer language that tells Google what it’s looking at on a webpage. Now, I don’t know how to code Schema. I don’t know that anybody does except for people at MIT that invented it. But, there’s 100 plugins that help. I use the one called WPSEO Structured Schema or Structured Data, something along those lines. My friend and associate, Phil Singleton, created it. He’s a brilliant SEO in Kansas City. It has a very easy interface where I can put in a name, address, phone number, type of business, and contact information. I put that in the plugin and then it converts all of that information into Schema.
I say Google is getting lazy, but it’s probably that there’s just so much new information online that the computing power to adequately interpret a million new webpages a second, as well as the old ones that already exist, is tough. Now with Schema, it can tell Google “Hey Google this is the phone number, this is the name of the business, this is the address of the business.” Instead of Google Scouring the text on the webpage and trying to interpret what it means, Schema tells them exactly what it’s looking at.
You can use it for product pages as well. You can tell what the product is, what the description of the product is, provide a photo of the product, and what the reviews are. There’s a Schema for just about everything.
Aside from plugins, if you’re in Google Search Console there’s a thing now called Data Markup where you can go in and it will pull up a picture of the webpage. You can then highlight within Search Console on your webpage and tell Google what that Schema is. However, don’t do both. Don’t do the Schema plugin as well as Search Console, because then you’re sending two pieces of Schema data and that looks like spam. Pick one or the other. I try to do the plugin.
The next thing is something that very few people do but local businesses should especially pay attention to. A link to your business on Google Maps sends a very strong SEO signal to Google that your webpage and your maps profile are the same. That will help you rank higher. Put a link to the Google map on your contact page at a minimum.
How to Link Your Google Map for Improved SEO
You find the business on Google Maps, which ideally, they should be there already. Then you click on the share button, and then it will pop up a little screen and then you click on embed. You can choose the size and then you just copy the iframe information and go from there. Then you can embed it through HTML or another method on your website. But Google looks at that as a vote of confidence that your website is saying this location matches the website that Google thinks it has. It’s more validation for Google.
I get asked to explain SEO all the time. It’s difficult to explain, because of the amount of variables, the constant fluctuation in variable importance, and the disagreement among “Experts”.
Here’s a great article by the guys and girls at Moz about the basics of SEO.
If you’re still overwhelmed, feel free to call me and we can talk.
Regular content is how you prove to Google that you’re updating your website consistently.
Consistency is one of the things that Google looks for. One of the ways to do that is with blogs. If you have a blog, I recommend you post a new 350-word minimum blog at least four times a month. I don’t always do this for my website – I’m like the cobbler kid who has no shoes – but it’s one of the things I do for my clients’ websites.
Service area pages are good for local service businesses. It’s not so much relevant for those who work nationally, but I’ve got a guy who does heating and air conditioning. He’s got one page on his webpage that is something like “Murphy’s Bros Heating and Air.” Then another page on his webpage is “Smyrna Heating and Air.” These local service area pages get updated with new content regularly as well.
Then homepage updates are critical, too. Google looks at the last time your homepage was updated. If it’s been a year or more, you might not even be in business any longer. So, Google’s not comfortable serving your information to their customers.
That is actually one of the ways that I look at this – Google is in business to serve information. I ask if Google is going to want to serve my client’s information to their clients, and the way that they determine that is through an algorithm. I have to make sure that all of my client’s content, keywords, links, tags, and backlinks are right for that algorithm to be comfortable with that.
You said blogs four times a month, once a week. How often should that homepage be updated?
That’s a good question. One of the things I do is if there’s no good blog content is to update the homepage about once per month. Usually the rule of thumb is to update more than 10% of the text. So, if it’s got 1,000 words, you need to change 100 of them for it to be a legitimate update. You could even just reword what is already on the homepage.
Also, we’re not just writing for Google, we’re writing for actual people who are going to see your homepage. It has to be normal, human language in preferably short sentences. The rule of thumb is write for a third grader. Then I would update a service page, or add a service page, about once per month.