When it comes to online marketing, many different pieces of your online presence matter for showing up in different places around the web. It is important to realize that none of them are standalone. They all work in conjunction with each other. So, you don’t pick just one strategy, such as email marketing or paid advertising. Each one plays a role in growing your online presence and the more your strategies are intertwined, the better results you’ll see overall. That said, a good place to start is making sure your website is optimized to get found on Google.
Having an optimized website is very important since it is a home base for your digital presence. Also, between a quarter and a third of your online engagement will take place on your site. So, today we are covering seven key optimizations you can use to get your website found on Google more effectively.
How to Optimize Your Website to Rank Better on Google
1. Ensure Proper URL Structuring
The first piece to look at is your website name or URL. Similar to creating a filing system in a cabinet, your URL structure is basically a filing system for your website. For example, pretend you run a company called “Gabriel Contracting” and your website URL is “gabrielcontracting.com”. This is the top-level domain for the site, which will have a path to every other page on your site. Say you have a page for your roofing service. The URL structure for this subpage would be something like “gabrielcontracting.com/roofing”. What good URL structure does is provide a signpost to help clients and Google know where they are on your website. It also helps Google know where to send viewers from a search results page.
2. Make Your Contact Information Stand Out
Clearly feature your NAP — your business name, address, and phone number — on every page on your website; not just a “Contact Us” page. The reason is that Google will try to send people to the most relevant page for their search, not necessarily your homepage or contact page. Going back to our previous example, someone searching for a roofer will be sent directly to “gabrielcontracting.com/roofing”. A good place to put your NAP info is in the page header or footer. Just make sure you place it at the same spot for every page. You want to make it easy for your visitors to find as they explore your website.
It is also extremely important that your NAP information is the same across all of your digital properties — website, social media, Google My Business, and other online listings. If you start having different phone numbers, locations, or slightly different names, that can confuse Google’s algorithms. They might not show you as high in search results because they’re unsure if “Gabriel Contracting” and “Gabriel Roofing & Contracting” are the same business. Inconsistent NAP information can also be a red flag for fraudulent business listings.
3. Easy and Clear Navigation
Good navigation (i.e. menus and footers) is a key part of website optimization and user experience. Imagine trying to shop at a grocery store where none of the aisles were labeled. It would be confusing and irritating since you would not know where to find anything. The same applies to your website.
You should categorize your content by building hierarchies and clusters of closely related topics. The goal is that your site structure makes sense to your user, so they can easily find what they are looking for. Google also uses your website navigation to crawl your site. It is how they discover and index new content and understand the relationship between pages (to provide greater context for your site). Search Engine Journal has a good primer if you want to dive more into the technical details.
4. Create a Services Area Page; With Sub Pages for Each Town/City You Want to Rank In
When you are doing hyper-local marketing, you want to rank well in searches for specific cities or particular areas. You can signal this information to Google by creating a page for your service areas using the following structure: name.com/[area] — for example “gabrielcontracting.com/virginia”. Then you link to subpages for each town or city you want to rank for — “gabrielcontracting.com/tysonscorner,” “gabrielcontracting.com/vienna,” etc. On each of those subpages, you would want to include details for that specific area. This gives Google and potential customers a full scope of where you operate.
5. Get First Party Reviews on Your Website
One factor Google considers for ranking results is prominence. Namely, are people and other companies in your service area talking about and recommending your business. This is why you want to collect and publish first-party reviews and testimonials directly on your website. When Google crawls your site, it sees that people from your area are saying “This is a great company, and you should work with them.” Another way to build prominence is for other companies to include a link to your website on their own. It is basically them saying “Here is a company that we think has some good information, you should go check them out”.
6. Add Structured Data / Local Schema Markup
When a human looks at a website, they see text, pictures, links, etc (called the “front end”). When Google looks at a website, it sees all the code and website data (called the “back end”). Local schema and structured data are tags or summary descriptions added to the back end. They essentially provide a shortcut for Google to quickly understand what is on your website. Setting this up across your entire site and keeping it updated is important for SEO. It is also critical to have in place if you want your site content to be eligible for showing as a “Featured Snippet” in a Google search. It is a very technical thing, which is why it is often neglected by local business websites. You can go to schema.org if you want to learn more about what schema is and the different types you can use for your website.
7. Optimize for Speed and Mobile Devices
Over 52% of internet traffic comes from mobile at this point. Lots of people are accessing your website and calling your business directly from their smartphones. It is also how they are going to find your business while they are on the go. Mobile-readiness has been a known ranking factor for Google since 2015.
When optimizing your website for mobile (and desktop), speed is a big factor. The faster it loads the better. For example:
- 47% of people would like a site to load in two seconds or less. If it gets to become closer to three seconds to load a site, you will start losing people.
- 40% of customers will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.
- A one-second delay in page response time can result in a 7% drop in conversions.
To improve your website speed, you will want to enable file compression on images and videos to make sure they load quickly. You also want to reduce the number of redirects (i.e. when you move a page to a new URL). Something else that can help improve page speed is to leverage browser caching. This is where key components of your web pages that rarely change (such as images, logos, and banners) are temporarily stored offline in Google’s browser. This speeds up load time since Google basically “remembers” these bits instead of having to refresh everything. You can use the free tool PageSpeed Insights to check your website speed and get other tips on how to improve performance.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform Demo
There is a lot of technical stuff you can do in the back end to ensure your website is performing as well as it can. However, it essentially comes down to creating a good structure, relevant information, and a mobile-friendly experience. By implementing these seven must-have website optimizations, you will increase the likelihood of being found on Google.
However, as we said at the start of this article, your website is only one piece of the local marketing puzzle. A huge percentage of your customers will find you online through other means — social media, third-party reviews, Google Maps, pay-per-click ads, etc. So, in addition to optimizing your website, you also need to be considering other strategies for building your digital presence.
Surefire local’s mission is to help you make online marketing easier. We do so by providing your business with a next-generation platform that’s available everywhere you need it, across all your browsers and devices. Benefits of our all-in-one local marketing solution include:
- Improved search engine rankings
- Increased productivity
- More cost-efficient marketing
- Better message coordination and consistency
- Expanded local marketing expertise
You will be able to attract customers and grow profits efficiently, all from one convenient place. Contact us to schedule your free demo and join the over 3,000 small businesses using Surefire Local!