Your Inspector's Edge website has been built so search engines can find and index it. That said, there is much you can do to build on that foundation and improve your ranking. The following guidelines will help search engines find, index, and rank your home inspection website. Don't worry if you can't implement them all at once. SEO is an ongoing process; you can continue to fine-tune your optimization efforts and check your progress at your own pace.
1. Know Your Prospect
All successful marketing efforts start with knowing who's buying and why. SEO is no different. If you want to attract people to your website, then you have to provide them with the information they're looking for and present it in a way they can understand. It's all well and good to promote your outstanding inspection services and stellar expertise, but if you don't address the specific needs of your audience, they simply won't find you using a search engine.
Learn everything you can about your prospects, including how and what they search online, the terminology they use, even their language preference. Talk to your existing customers, real estate contacts, and colleagues. Visit your competitors' websites. Do your research.
2. Identify Your Keywords
Now that you know your prospect, the next step is to identify the keywords they will likely use to find what they're looking for. You will need these keywords for submission to search engines as well as to guide your copywriting efforts. Your keywords are integral to the information you present and should appear in your copy in a natural way. Excessive use of keywords may cause search engines to penalize you.
- Identify one-, two-, or three-word keywords and phrases
- Include specific keywords
- Include the geographic area you serve as a keyword phrase
- List keywords in descending order starting with the most important
- Eliminate any keywords that aren't likely to be used (to avoid diluting the importance of each keyword)
- Include your company name as a keyword phrase
- The last keyword should be your URL (ours is inspectorsedge.com)
Inspector's Edge has developed a keyword list that will help get you started. We strongly recommend that you add your company name and the geographic area you serve to this list. To make the most of your keywords, invest the time to really enhance your list.
3. Content is KING!
Good content is one of the most important factors affecting SEO. Now that you know your prospects and have identified your keywords, you can create valuable content. Not only will a content-rich website rank higher with search engines, it will also go a long way in turning your prospects into customers!
A few points to remember:
- Write with your customers' needs in mind - try to anticipate and answer their questions
- Consider using testimonials
- Keep to a single topic per page and make sure you use relevant keywords that match the content
- Put your keywords in your copy (try to put them near the beginning of each page)
- Include keywords in headings, links and as bold text
- Write brief sentences and paragraphs
- Use bulleted and numbered lists
- Check your spelling and grammar
- Create your content in basic text (search engines can't read images or graphics)
4. Link your way to SEO success
Natural incoming links will help position your website higher with search engines by increasing the 'importance' of the page being linked to. This follows the logic that linked-to pages must have valuable information worth linking to. These links are counted as 'votes' that determine a page's popularity. The more popular a page, the higher it will be ranked.
- Insert relevant links connecting different pages within your website
- Encourage complementary websites in your industry to link to you (the more respected and popular they are, the better)
- Offer reciprocal links
- Place links in the main body of your content
- Include your keywords in your link text
- Don't participate in link schemes or link farms
- Avoid linking or have websites linking to you from questionable sources
- Avoid hidden links
5. Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, Submissions, Oh MY!
Perhaps the most intimidating aspect of SEO is the plethora of programming terms that are used to describe simple techniques. To make matters worse, there are differing opinions over which techniques are actually necessary or relevant to search engines. With Inspector's Edge, you can relax. We will take you through the process and do the programming for you. All you have to do is follow our step-by-step instructions and answer some questions that will help us determine your:
Your title tag may be the most critical factor to consider when optimizing your website. Many search engines use the title tag when considering relevancy and therefore ranking. Search engines display the title tag as the title of your listing in the search results. It also appears in the top bar of the browser when someone is viewing your site.
Your title tag should be compelling and relevant enough to make a user want to click through to your site. It should be between 60 - 80 characters long and should include some of your keywords. Note: If your business is confined to a specific geographic area - as most inspection businesses are - it's important to include your area of service keywords in your title tag. Here's an example of a title tag:
XYZ Inspections - professional home inspection services in Chicago
META DESCRIPTION TAG
The meta description tag is supported by some search engines and is the description that appears under the title tag in the search results. Not all search engines support the description tag and may generate their own description of your website. Here's an example of your title and meta description tags as they may appear in a search result listing:
XYZ Inspections, professional home inspection services in Chicago
Specializing in heating, plumbing, structural and roofing inspection services in Chicago and surrounding areas since 1990.
SEARCH ENGINE SUBMISSION
Inspector's Edge will guide you to where you need to go to submit your site to three major search engines: Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Beyond that, you may submit to other search engines. Don't be discouraged if your website isn't listed right away. It sometimes takes months before your site will show up.