By Guest Contributor Brett Owens, CEO of Chrometa So what exactly is search engine optimization? And more importantly – should your firm care about it? Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the art of dressing up your webpage so that Google will like it better. As a business owner, it could be a source of free leads – potentially a lot of free leads. And who would argue with that? Let’s walk through a simple search example, and along the way I’ll share a couple of tips with you that I believe will help you ingratiate your website with Google. Say you are a divorce attorney based out of Sacramento, CA. Business is steady, but you could always use more leads. Maybe you have a basic website up, but traffic is mostly limited to folks who are already searching for you personally. Wouldn’t it be cool if, when somebody searched for “Sacramento Divorce Lawyer”, your website came up on the front page of Google? There are basically two ways to do this: 1. You could bid on each click that Google sends you. This can a very effective way of acquiring clicks to your site – but it can also be quite expensive. Depending on the popularity of the search term you bid on, you could very easily end up paying several dollars, or even more per click. 2. You can get your site in Google’s good graces, so that they decide your site is very relevant to the search term. Your goal is to be on the first page – because most Google searchers never find their way to page 2!
So what’s the magic formula for getting listed high up in the organic search results? Of course Google keeps this a “highly guarded secret” – and there’s no shortage of folks capitalizing on this secrecy, parading themselves around as “SEO experts”, and charging you and arm and a leg for services.
But in reality, there are three key things that you, or your webmaster, can do this month to greatly improve your organic search chances. In fact if you forward this article to your web person, and they follow through with these simple recommendations, I’d imagine that in the coming months you’ll start to see a definite improvement in your traffic – at least in terms of the keyword that you decide to “optimize” your site for.
Here are 3 steps to get started:
Pick one search phrase that you want to be known for. Just one. And you want to be specific, but not ultra specific. For example – the term “Lawyer” is too general. But don’t go as far as “Sacramento Divorce Lawyer Who’s An All Around Good Guy.” While it may be true, the volume of searches is likely to be pretty low. Something like “Sacramento Divorce Lawyer” is probably about right.
Match up the “title tag” of your webpage to this term. What’s the title tag? That’s the text on the very top of the webpage – above the URL line. Today, your site’s title tag might be something like “Home”, or maybe the name of your firm. You should change this. Why? Because Google already knows the name of your firm – it’s smart. What it may not know – and hence what you want to drill into it – is that you are a “Sacramento Divorce Lawyer.” Is it OK to put your firm name after this term? Sure, if you think the branding is important. Just be aware that the more words you add, the more each one will be diluted – so choose wisely!
Ideally, match up your domain as well. If your title tag read “Sacramento Divorce Lawyer”, and your URL was http://www.sacramentodivorcelawyer.com/, I would really like your odds with Google for this search phrase. At that point, you’d almost force its hand into listing you high for that phrase – no matter what else is on your site! What if you don’t feel like moving your site to a new URL? Then maybe you could setup a blog on this new URL, and write to it a few times a month. Point the blog back to your regular website – then you’ll at least have a search presence for this phrase. And as an added bonus, we all know how much Google loves blogs!
We could write pages upon pages on the topic of search engine optimization – and you could also spend a lot of time on it. But I’m a fan of paying attention to the critical few factors that can drive most of your positive results – and I think these steps are a great start. If you do nothing else but these three things, you’ll be ahead of 95% of other small firms out there!
Special thanks to guest Blogger Brett Owens, the Co-Founder and CEO of Chrometa, LLC. (Editor's note: Chrometa is a great Northern California-based software company that helps professionals reclaim their undocumented billable time. Some of our readers may have read about them recently in Inc Magazine or the Sacramento Business Journal.)