How to Make your Local Website More Findable
If you’re attempting to make your website findable on search engines, the keywords you use are critical to your success.
Let’s say you are a dentist in Los Angeles practicing general dentistry, Invisalign teeth straightening, and dental implants. For those three services, the amount of keywords that searchers use to find you are many. Because of that, you have to carefully think through what’s good to use and what is not.
Say a consumer has a cavity and he believes it may take a crown to cover the tooth. Knowing that, what would the consumer type in the search engines to find a dentist for this? Before you look at the list of possible keywords, first think of one or two keywords you would type in. Then compare to the list below and you’ll see how many possibilities there are.
Here are list of keywords you may search to find the same thing.
- “Los Angeles dentist”
- “Los Angeles dentists”
- “Dentist Los Angeles”
- “Dentists Los Angeles”
- “Dentist in Los Angeles”
- “Dentists in Los Angeles”
- “Fix a cavity”
- “Tooth pain”
- “Crown my tooth”
- “Tooth crown”
- “Tooth decay fix”
- “Dentist to fix a cavity”
- “Best dentist in LA”
- “LA dentist”
- “LA dentists”
In short, there are lots of variations to find the same service. But how do you know which keywords are the best, if you are the dentist?
A common trap business owners fall into is assuming the average Internet user thinks like they do. You must try to think like the Internet user instead. Thus, what would people be more apt to search? “Dentists Los Angeles”? “Dentist LA”?
Fortunately, there are keyword tools to help you figure this out. One is the Google Keyword Tool. However, this tool is not as reliable as you might think. It shows how many searches are done for certain keywords on average. But I’ve found it’s not 100 percent accurate. The secret is to use it as a guide and not take it for gospel. Then use other keyword tools like Keyword Spy to help you see the big picture in other ways.
If you have had your website up for some time, you can also look at your Google+ stats and see how people are finding your Google listing. Every business has a listing — this used to be “Google Places” — that Google provides free of charge. Once logged in, you can select a date range and quickly see what words are being typed in to make your site appear. I suspect if you do this, you’ll be surprised to find keywords you hadn’t thought of or one of the keywords may get searched a lot when you originally thought it wasn’t particularly useful.
Once you establish the keyword list for your website, then start optimizing your site for search engines, for those keywords. This includes things like having at least 300 words of text per page on your website with “relevant” text. Inside the text, your keywords should represent roughly 3 percent of the total. More than that tells Google you’re doing keyword spamming. Google could penalize your site so that it would not show at all or its ranking would suffer.
Once you’ve established your keywords and everything is set up for SEO, it’s time to build links to your website. Done right, over time your site will start to climb in rank. Depending on your competition you may rank high in a few months or it may take several months just to crawl up to page one ranking. Since you can’t control how Google delivers your ranking, you simply keep at it.
Importance of Relevant Traffic
When your site is findable, you should start receiving traffic. The important part here is looking at your analytics — Google Analytics is free and widely popular — and make sure your traffic is relevant. After all, just because you’re findable for a keyword doesn’t mean that keyword is going to make you money. For example, a consumer may search for “crown,” looking for the item that sits on a person’s head. Instead, he could arrive at the dentist’s site, as it could be optimized to “crowns,” as in teeth.
To review the search terms for your site in Google Analytics, go to “Traffic sources” > “Search engine optimization” > “Queries.” You’ll see the terms where your site appears in the search results, with the number of clicks to your site for each term.
One of our clients bought SEO services from a well-known company. We were asked to examine the company’s SEO efforts and shocked to find lousy keywords in the SEO plan. More than half of the keywords were for areas outside of client’s main market area. Plus, after paying tens of thousands of dollars for SEO, the client received about 57 visitors over a year’s time from those recommended keywords. Worse, most of the keywords weren’t keywords people were searching for. You’d think a big company like that could really help your rankings but it turns out their SEO department was inept. The lesson from this is to look at your keywords for SEO and make sure they make sense. Then examine them every 4 to 6 months to see if you’re getting a decent return on investment from them.
Check Keyword Traffic Periodically
Once you look at your analytics after your site has been getting traffic, you’ll likely make some startling discoveries. For instance, let’s assume we’re looking at dentists in Houston, Texas. You may find the keyword “dentist Houston” gets ten times the traffic as “Houston dentists.”
Thus, it’s important to look at your analytics every few months and see what the numbers are telling you. You don’t want to put all that time and money in a keyword that’s not producing any traffic and ultimately sales. If a keyword isn’t getting you any traffic, it’s important you abandon it and try another. Or, maybe you don’t need to replace it at all. Perhaps doing fewer keywords is the answer. If you’re careful to go over your analytics, your numbers will whisper the clues to what you should do — pay attention.
Finally, get an account at KeywordSpy.com. Watch and learn from its powerful tutorials. Once you learn how to use its system, check your competitors using the pay-per-click research. Find out which keywords have the highest bid amounts — because high bids mean businesses place a high value on being found for those. That’s a good indication you may want to be findable for those keywords. But remember, much of the time businesses don’t look at their numbers and simply assume a good keyword is a good keyword. Several competitors may think the same keyword is good when it may not be. So be sure to review your analytics and let your numbers tell you.