3 Things Your Local Website Must Have

3 Things Your Website Needs to Rank

Are you a spy, terrorist, or cult leader?

If not, then chances are, you’re involved with a website that wants to attract a lot of visitors.

You’ve spent hours of work, or often lots of money, to create a great website which is meant to funnel in your target audience. You have nothing to hide, rather, you want to tell your story and sell your services.

No matter what industry you’re in, in order to be successful online, your website needs to attract the right type of visitor. This is what we all know as targeted web traffic. If we put our engineering caps on and analyze this just a little bit more, in order to get this lucrative traffic (without buying it, therefore very lucrative), we need to rank high in the search engines like Google. Sure there are other ways to get website traffic, but traffic from the search engines can offer you the best return on your investment.

In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), there are a few key things that every website needs to have. Here, I’m going to cover the 3 most important things a website needs in order to rank on the search engines.

Please keep in mind this is a very basic list, and geared towards beginners. That being said, anyone with a local business website can double check that these things are in place. If you outsource your online marketing, then make sure your “website guy” isn’t asleep at his post, and has these things set up.

A Quick Note Before We Start

As I was creating this post, I thought there might be a bit of confusion with the title, so I want to address that now. These 3 things I want to outline relate to rankings, not conversions. This short list excludes important things such as having a contact page, or having a great website design and so on.

This list is not everything you need for a successful online business, however these things are absolutely essential for ranking a website and getting traffic. You can find more info on setting up a website for a local business here. (coming soon)

1. Title Tags

Every webpage has a Title Tag. Your homepage has one, your category pages have one, and your contact, about us, and privacy pages have one.

The program I use to create this website is called WordPress, and it has a specific spot where you enter in a title. Here is the example for this specific page:

Title tag creation in WordPress

Wordpress title creation

In order to rank well in the search engines, you need to have title tags which contain these attributes:

  • They need to be unique
  • They need to be relevant to the page
  • They need to be readable
  • Some should mention your brand

All title tags on your website should be unique. Do not have the same title tag for more than 1 page. Every page is different, and therefore needs its own specific title.

The title of each page should relate to what that page is about. It’s important to make the titles readable, and avoid spam.

It’s important to include keywords into the beginning of the titles, however avoid spamming and overdoing it. A "keyword" in this context is what the page is about.

Your homepage should be “brandable”.

So here’s a quick example.

Good homepage:

Walmart title tag

This homepage just screams authority. It’s very memorable.

Bad homepage:

Bad title tag example

This homepage is just pure spam.

Here is another spammy title I just made up, followed by some better alternatives:

(New York Plastic Surgery - Best in Tummy Tucks, Nose Jobs, Breast Implants and Body Lifts)

Now here are the sites which rank number 1 and 2 for the search term “breast implants new york”. Can you notice a difference?:

Good title tag example

You can see how they use the keyword “breast augmentation” followed by their brand-name. There’s nothing spammy here.

There are scenarios where including a secondary keyword is acceptable as well, just don’t over do it.

Here are more resources on title tags:

http://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag

http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2340747/Title-Tags-SEO-3-Golden-Rules


2. On Page SEO

These factors refer to things like headings, keywords and interlinking.

It’s easy to get information overload when it comes to on page SEO. I like to keep it simple here.

Basically, include your main keyword in your first heading (H1 tag), and then sprinkle synonyms within the content of the page. These days it's recommended that pages be structured as "topics" which can have multiple keywords.

So include the main keyword in the first heading, and then just produce content which pleases the user. In the past, you were able to influence the search engines by including excessive keywords, however these days Google can pick up on that and will label it as spam. This needs to be avoided.

The best thing to do is read your page out loud. If it does not sound natural, you’re probably repeating too many similar keywords. Don’t write the content for the search engines, write it for the user.

Speaking of content, skinny pages should be avoided. This can sometimes be hard for local websites offering services, or e-commerce sites, however it's best practice to engage users with meaty content. Your pages should be topic pages which cover multiple keywords if possible.

If all your pages only have a few hundred words of content, it's generally recommended to beef these pages up. This is why many businesses create and maintain a blog.

Produce engaging content to attract new visitors, and avoid penalties associated with low levels of content.

Interlinking refers to placing links on one of your pages to another page within your site. You don’t want all your pages to be static stand alone pages, you want to interlink them.

If it’s appropriate, this is good practice. For example, if you run a landscaping business and you have a page which describes backyard patios, it might be useful to link to your page about ponds from within the content.

Include relevant keywords. Write content for the user. Interlink your pages.

Here is more information regarding on page factors:

http://searchengineland.com/2014-seo-playbook-on-page-factors-178546


3. Links From Other Websites

The final section I wanted to highlight here regards inbound links. These are links from external websites, which are linking to your site.

Many local businesses can rank very well with citations from websites like Yelp, links from authority social sites like Facebook, and links from other websites in their same niche.

Getting citations and social links is very doable, and this creates a level of trust in the eyes of Google. All serious businesses have Facebook accounts, Twitter pages, LinkedIn profiles, and various citations.

What’s difficult, is taking it to the next step, and finding links on other relevant websites. In order to rank in the search engines, getting links from websites in your specific niche is what will get you on the top of Google.

For example, if you are a plumber, and you have links from other websites which have authority and are also about plumbing, your site gets better rankings.

This is the key to rankings and traffic, and it’s what I personally specialize in.

If you need more information or want help ranking your website, please contact me today.