By: Stan Creech, IGO President and Owner of Creech Import Repair
No matter what business you’re in, change is constant. And advertising has certainly seen change over the years. Long gone are the days of Yellowpages, billboard and radio advertising. It’s no secret that the internet has changed the way we advertise and do business. Google is King!
This month I wanted to review advertising online. Things we should know and be aware of.
First and most important, find a really good SEO team and stick with them. Commit yourself or delegate someone within your business to work with them supplying data and relevant content. You can’t expect maximum results from any SEO company without your input. Have routine meetings to review analytics, reviewing key search words to match your type of business.
For SEO, website hosting and design, and social media, I have personally used Best Edge SEO owner Chris Whitfield since 2010 with tremendous success.
Site design. Include a way for customers to text you, a way to schedule an appointment, phone number clearly listed, physical address.
Above the fold. This is the portion of your homepage that displays after the page loads and is viewable without scrolling. Pay attention to that portion of your site as it’s the most valuable real estate we own. All your most important content should be above the fold. Go look at your site right now. I’ll wait.
One important note with a scheduler. A website’s online appointment scheduler should be as easy to use as possible, but still give the shop all the needed information. The term “friction” applies to how easy or difficult a task is to perform online. The public has little to no patience for any form that is hard to use and will quickly move on to the next search result if your scheduler isn’t smooth.
I reached out to Chris Whitfield, Best Edge SEO recently for his input for the most basic checklist all shop owners to use reviewing their online marketing. Here is his thoughts:
Onpage SEO compared to a healthy lawn
If you are like me, this time a year I spend a lot of time on my yard. So, what better way to help you understand the world of on page-SEO (On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines.) than by comparing it to a yard. Let us say your goal is a beautiful and healthy lawn. Some will say you should use Bermuda grass seeds and others will say you need Fescue. Then others will say no SOD is the best way. All these choices will result in you having grass BUT there are MANY other factors that will determine if the grass stays long-term and be healthy year after year.
#1 You must first understand the health of your soil.
This would be analyzing your website for strengths and weaknesses specific to the auto industry. And not just the front end. You need to look at the back end of the site to make sure you are up to date with the latest plug-ins and versions of WordPress (Or your current CMS platform) Anyone that sends you an unsolicited report that seems to uncover “errors on your website” without doing any real deep research, you should stay clear.
#2 Take soil samples and have it tested.
To do this properly you will need to dig 4 to 5 holes in your yard in a staggered pattern and collect them in bags. Then repeat this process in multiple areas of your yard.
This would be comparable to doing a forensic analysis on 4 to 5 of your local competitors’ websites looking at a lot of different factors. For example, the content, are they blogging? age of the site, domain authority, number of backlinks, load speed, how well do they rank for similar services, etc.
#3 Once you get the lab results back you realize it was not the grass seed that was the problem but rather the PH balance of the soils is off. This makes your yard an unhealthy environment for the new seed to grow.
This would be anything from your on-page content (or lack of), to not having your NAP (name address, and phone number) correct everywhere online. Also load speed, reviews, mobile-friendliness, and other factors. There also needs to be a connection between the content on the website and the content you promote in social media. All these things need to be in balance for a healthy marketing campaign.
#4 the next step would be to use the correct fertilizer for your soil. Again, you would not know this without understanding your soil.
Fertilizer in this case could be used to describe backlinks. There are many sources you can use to generate quality backlinks. There are also many tools you can use to track your backlinks. These tools are not created equal and will provide different results.
Quality, search-optimized content can improve your site visibility and increase the volume of traffic.
Let us say you want to rank for Auto repair.
Enrich your text with the following semantically related words: customer service, auto repair shop, highly recommend, improving the user experience, ASE certified technicians, repair shop in Raleigh NC, auto service, state inspections, NC state, car care, car repair, automotive repairs, peace of mind, auto mechanic.
If the content on your website was written by a 3rd party, it’s always best practice to verify if it has been copied from another site. Google does not look kindly on duplicate content. Get the total percentage and number of copied words and identify content sources. There are many tools you can find online to check for plagiarism. Some are free and some require a subscription.
That being said, Google does not have a duplicate content penalty. However, Google does reward unique content and filters duplicate content in SERPS. Google also demotes manipulative duplicated content while penalizing low-quality verbose spun content copied from other web pages.
Here are some good practices to follow:
- Only add unique hand-written content to your web pages
- Do not add content to your pages that is found verbatim on other pages on the web.
- Do not create thin pages with little value add to users.
- Sites with separate mobile URLs should just move to a responsive design.
- Minimize similar content on your pages.
- Translated content is not duplicate content.
- Block Google from crawling thin internal search results pages.
- Use Google Search Console to fix duplicate content issues on your site.
Make sure that your website is not blocked from crawling, otherwise, you will have done all your SEO work in vain.
To do so, check to make sure you are avoiding the following instances that could damper crawlability:
- Broken links
- Not enough internal links
- Missing a clear sitemap.xml.
- A noindex tag implemented.
Of course, responsive design and mobile website development require time and effort. It is not something you can do in a day, but it is worth every second you spent on it.
Mobile-friendly websites have a strong priority in mobile SERPs ever since Google officially switched to mobile-first indexing in 2020.
In conclusion, here is your on-page optimization checklist to follow:
- Create a catchy title.
- Write a clear URL containing the target keywords. Avoid randomness or adding the year.
- Make your meta description informative.
- Use your target keywords within the first 100-150 words. Use semantically related concepts throughout the rest.
- Enrich your text with internal links to helpful related webpages on your site and around the web.
- Provide your reader with social sharing buttons.
- Make every piece of your content unique. Avoid duplications.
- Test how long it takes for your page to load.
- Make the article page mobile-friendly.
I hope this information will help in some way, boost your marketing effectiveness.