Virtually every DFW small business wants its phone to ring more. Regardless of how it gets done (so long as it is ethical!), business owners are looking for free and cost-effective means to get more inbound phone calls looking for products or services.
Ideally, a “free” (non-Pay Per Click) top search engine ranking for a desired keyword (relevant + has demand each month) could lead to a motivated prospect to consider calling, e-mailing, joining a newsletter, downloading a coupon, driving to a specific location or some other first-time action step. The way to accomplish this method is to increase the “trustworthiness” of the desired website or other web property (e.g. YouTube video, LinkedIn page, chamber of commerce directory page, etc.).
There are over 100 different “spot checks” which COULD affect rankings. They usually fall into one of four categories:
- Relevance: is your site’s content, meta/title tags, multimedia and other content relevant to the niche and geographic intent of the searcher?
- Authoritative: are your home page and inner pages getting links pointed to them from other websites which are quality and relevant? Do you have a realistic mixture of inbound links such as from local business directories, industry/niche directories, multimedia sites (e.g. YouTube), social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.), article directories, web 2.0 sites, online forums, classified ads, etc?
- Stability: is your site loading pages quickly? Is it mobile and tablet-friendly? Do you have at least a XML sitemap visible for the search engines?
This is a daunting task as most webmasters were hired for their coding, graphic design and platform stability purposes. Few webmasters also have the “marketing hat” in order to understand the ability to generate free traffic from the search engines, have proper on-page optimization to increase AdWords PPC Quality Scores (thereby lowering per-click costs), and other factors to attract quality traffic on a consistent basis.
What can you do?
There are a few things you can do before hiring a SEO professional. Remember that not all “SEO” professionals are the same, as it is part-art & part-science. Sadly, it is not yet an “apples to apples” so your previous budget spent on SEO may not be reflective of the quality you will get next time around for SEO purposes.
Here are some things which LIKELY will not go “out of style” anytime soon with the search engines:
- Having dedicated pages with a consistent link (URL), even if inventory changes on the page. Here is one such example from a DFW pre-owned luxury car dealer. The inventory changes all of the time, but the page to access the manufacturer/make section is a static (rather than dynamic) URL. This helps the search engines as the page is consistent
- Here is an example of a Services page which has internal linking to the various professional services offered. It did not exist previously, so the only way for the search engines to see the internal pages was through the Sitemap. Since a real person likely never will go through a Sitemap to find what he/she is looking for, the site noticed an increase in rankings because it became easier (hence more trustworthy) for a real person to use and navigate the site. The drop-down menu worked as well, but the internal linking page was what caused a noticeable boost
- More internal linking works, but making a city-specific page (especially if it is a neighboring city) with CITY-specific content tends to help. Links on that page pointing to authority websites (which have relevance) are always smart to add as they convey that the page is more trustworthy and helpful to the end user. Here is one such page.
- Make sure that you add an “about” page. This helps give the end user more information about who you are, and you can include links to your pages on BBB, Yelp, LinkedIn, etc. Link from here to any review pages (within your website or on 3rd party sites) as well as anything else which makes you trustworthy. In the worse case, at least list the towns you serve like this example URL
There are several other things under your control such as posting images of employees (if okay for security purposes), links to your videos at trade shows, other forms of proving your company is trustworthy, and – of course – case studies of real results.
More on this topic, but let us know what else you would like to see.