Why don’t search engines (and, therefore, all those wealthy prospective clients) find your website? Could it be you’re not aware of one of these SEO must haves?
We'll start with a few basics. SEO is Search Engine Optimisation – making your website attractive to web search engines (which, obviously, is mainly about appealing to Google). The next thing to remember is that Google is very, very clever. It is looking, primarily, for relevant sites to present to the eager public. But it is also looking for quality – and that means your site must be up-to-date and already popular to get anywhere near the top of its search results.
Yes, this is very much a popularity contest. So let’s see what you can do to improve your chances…
1. Be specific about what your website offers – and where.
It might seem obvious, but when someone types ‘photobooth hire in Home Town’ into Google, your site has got to make it very clear what you offer, and where you offer it.
You’d be surprised how many websites aren’t specific enough - if, for example, your business is described as offering ‘High quality photobooth services’, you could find yourself among servicing or after-market equipment suppliers.
And some sites don’t state any geographical location (we’ve pointed out to more than one company that they don’t even make it clear which country they operate in).
If you have a page entitled ‘Photobooth hire in Home Town’, you’re in the running.
Which leads us onto…
2. Target geographical areas
This is a logical development of the previous problem/solution.
Naming a page ‘Photobooth hire in Home County’ such as Derbyshire, Dorset, etc or ‘Photobooth hire in Home region’ such as North East, South West, etc is just not good enough. You’re being too vague and probably losing out to surrounding competitors.
But if you get too specific, how do you avoid missing out on searches from even directly neighbouring areas?
The solution is to be specific – but many times over. An effective website will have a series of pages, each titled ‘Photobooth hire in Local Town 1’, ‘Photobooth hire in Local Town 2’, etc, (using names of neighbouring towns and cities). Each of these pages can start with a paragraph or two of relevant geographical copy and then go into the basic information about the service you offer (although, ideally, all worded slightly differently – search engines don’t like cut-and-paste copy).
To keep the Google bloodhounds on the trail, ensure all these local pages are linked to your website home page or a top-level page such as About us or Services.
But these pages don’t need to be (and, preferably, shouldn’t be) easily found through the website’s own navigational channels because if visitors were able to access all of them they would look essentially the same and, therefore, odd and potentially counter-productive.
But anyone finding you through Goggle will go straight to the ‘local’ relevant page – and then be able to explore the rest of your site for more information, including the all-important gallery. Which takes us to…
3. Run relevant copy next to all images
Yes, photographs are obviously what your business is all about and therefore crucial to your website.
But simply chucking pics around won’t help your search engine ratings on their own because those dastardly search engine feelers aren’t (yet) able to recognise photo content. They will, however, get excited by lots of local geographical references (venues, etc), so caption all the pictures with as much local info as possible to tick all the right boxes. And get some dates in there too to keep things topical.
And that take us (you’ve got to love this continuity) to…
4. Don’t let things get out of date
This is a big deal in the land of SEO. There’s no bigger turn-off to visitors than out-of-date information, or even the slightest hint of neglect (if you can’t be bothered to keep your website in order, how’s your service and customer care going to measure up?) – and Google hates it for exactly the same reason.
So, keep adding the new content – at the same time ensuring it’s relevant.
Blogs are great because they provide plenty of opportunities to use key words and it’s relatively easy to come up with a new one. Create a blog about every new venue you work at; keep things up-beat and positive – talk about the friendly staff, the great location, what service you provided and how happy everyone was with the results.
And create a blog for every stand-out event you attend (name-dropping and linking is actively encouraged here) and focus on those with the highest budget and best quality photos. This is all about promoting you at your best.
Regularly updated galleries are good too – but remember, pictures aren’t enough on their own.
5. Have enough incoming links
We’re back to popularity contests. Incoming links are other websites that link to your own and are also known as back links, inbound links and link backs. These show Google that you’re so popular, and have so much good content to share, that other businesses want to send people to you.
But the qualitative factor goes further than that. Google will be impressed not just by the number of incoming links you have, but also (and mainly) by the quality of them. So one link from an organisation like the BBC (in a blog about the changing face of modern weddings, for example) is worth dozens from other local businesses.
But that’s not to say local links aren’t good too (just not AS good), so do invite local venues, caterers, entertainers, etc to link to your site – usually in return for a link to theirs.
And just to make it even tougher, Google again likes it all to be relevant, so a link from your uncle’s building company will not impress them one bit.
As you will have realised, SEO is something of a dark art, full of variables, so while these list of ‘do’s’ – and how you can tackle them - will make a big difference to your website’s relationship with Google, there is always more that can be done.
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