The National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT) explains how taking SEO seriously could boost the online presence of your business.
Gone are the days of the trusted telephone directory. Today, everyone from savvy surfers to self-confessed technophobes turn to the search engine when they need to find anything at all. The same goes for anyone searching for an electrician – whether it’s to fix a dodgy fuse box or illuminate our lives with fancy new lighting.
In a world where Google is king, staying searchable and bumping your business up the rankings to the all-important front page is the best way to get noticed these days.
What is SEO?
SEO is the process of increasing traffic to a website by raising its visibility on search engines. If you’ve ever wondered how Google always seems to put the most relevant search results at the top of the page, SEO is part of the answer. All search engines use automated processes called algorithms to assess the relevance of content across the web and their accuracy is improving all the time. SEO is all about understanding the sort of structure and content these algorithms rank most highly and adapting your site to include it.
Everything in order?
Search engines, and prospective customers for that matter, like content that’s arranged in a logical format. Each page on your website should have a unique title that concisely and accurately describes it. You should also ensure the URLs (the web addresses in the top bar of your browser) are well organised to improve the way automated processes used by search engines categorise your content.
Sound complicated? Don’t worry; you don’t need to get bogged down in the technical detail. Simply just use logical names for each page that describe what they contain, for example: www.abcelectrical.co.uk/contact.
Keywords are key
Making the connection between your business and customers in your local area is vital. Think about what a prospective customer might search for and how they might find you. If they’re looking for local electricians, you need to ensure the content on your site matches their search terms. The Google Adwords Keyword Planner is a great tool to test this: adwords.google.co.uk/KeywordPlanner.
Don’t try and cram your page full of key words. Google has cracked down heavily on approaches that try to cheat the system and this will hinder your rankings. Instead, think about a way of incorporating the best ones into content that helps prospective customers to understand what your business is all about. For example:
“If you’re looking for a professional, registered electrician, you’ve come to the right place. ABC Electrical have been providing electrical services across the Oldham and Greater Manchester areas for over 10 years.”
Whether a prospective customer searches for ‘electrician Manchester’, ‘registered electrician greater Manchester’ or ‘professional electrician Oldham’, content like this gives your site a better chance of being found. Don’t forget, customers might be searching for something as specific as burglar alarm installers. So your key words will need to highlight your expertise or any particular niche you may want to specialise in.
Show your links some love
Linking to reputable websites can increase the search engine ranking of your website but you also need to think about how people will find your site. Any links you can create to it from places like social media, directories where your company may be listed and other websites are all important as they send tangible traffic your way. Links you could consider include external registers like your competent person scheme operator. Even if you don’t have a website, simply having your business listed on other sites like this is a great alternative.
Let’s get analytical
Once you’ve optimised everything to drive traffic to your site, you need to turn prospects into customers by ensuring your site looks professional and displays your contact information prominently to encourage them to get in touch. From there, understanding what works and what doesn’t is vital. Setting up a Google Analytics account for your website is free and you don’t need a degree in computer science to give it a go. Get started at: www.google.co.uk/analytics.
It will allow you to monitor traffic, see how many people are finding your website and what links or search terms they’re using to get there. You can then use this feedback to identify ways to improve your site even more.
Even easier optimisation
By placing SEO at the heart of the website design, you can make a real impact online, and that’s exactly what NAPIT has done recently. Through focused improvements to its members’ online presence, it has provided a fantastic foundation to put local customers in touch with time-pressed tradespeople.
The new NAPIT membership website search facility gives each member a dedicated, fully indexed webpage, listing key words based on their trades, specialties and location alongside their contact details. By taking this approach, NAPIT has made it easy for customers to find registered businesses and get in touch directly with relevant information on a prospective job.
For more information, search for the “Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide” online. It should be the top result. That’s the value of good SEO after all.