If you’re like a lot of small business owners with a website, you might be frustrated with your site’s stale performance each month. Whether you put something functional together with a builder tool (like Godaddy’s or Wix) or paid an affordable developer to build you something, chances are your biggest limiter is one thing.
This post will outline why this is a limiter and what specifically you should do to systematically fix it.
Backlinks and amount of qualitative content are the biggest contributors to authority, and go somewhat hand in hand. That’s not to say that getting other sites to link to you is as simple as just writing great content, but you aren’t likely to ever attract links with a 1-3 page website that doesn’t really have much on it. And since having so few pages doesn’t really give you the chance to discuss anything in significant detail, the site won’t be authoritative.
Although there are usually design tweaks to make in these cases also to better capture traffic to the site (and create a stronger impression), when I see sites like this the first place I recommend focusing on is the content.
Ideally all of these things would be addressed, but readers will stick by on an average-looking site if the material is useful and geared toward their needs. Conversely, even an attractive site with little or no information will fall flat.
Set Out To Answer A Question
Why you? When you have a business site, pretend that everyone that comes to the site is asking this question.
Then, without being too pushy or salesy, try your best to answer this question on every page of the site.
In order to make someone feel confident that you’re the one they should call, that front page is going to need to do a few things:
- Create a welcoming visual/message with some kind of value offer, whether it’s price and availability or niche tools and services.
- Address the reader’s challenges (the things that probably brought them to your site) and explain how you solve them.
- Demonstrate expertise in that field and/or breadth of knowledge, especially with examples, case studies, or photos.
- Provide social proof. That is, evidence of the success of your work. That might be awards or it might be testimonials, but this helps a lot in establishing that you’re legit and reliable. Notice how some sites call out that the owner has been featured in Forbes, or has a #1 bestseller book? This lends gravitas to the ‘why you’.
It helps to have plotted out the other pages you’ll include when you start working on the front page so you can call them out. The general tone of your content will shift as well depending on these subpages.
Let’s say you’re a landscaper, and that you specialize in outdoor kitchens and mulching.
Obviously your front page needs to talk about landscaping as a whole because you don’t want to turn that business away. But you also know going into it that you’re going to have a subpage specifically about mulching. Now you have a clue to something to steer people’s attention at on the front page, and also have something qualitative to talk about on another page.
Also keep in mind that someone might be curious about one of your services but not know much about it or how it works. Don’t assume that because they’re searching for something they already know all about it.
When your site content is thin, a simple place to bulk it out is to keep that point in mind. In this case, your mulch page should begin by a quick intro of what professional mulch work entails and maybe share some photos. From there you could talk about the different types of mulch you offer and why someone would usually pick one of them over another. Are some of them better for certain areas of the yard? What are the price differences?
For someone already familiar with mulch, it’s easy enough for them to skip past this intro and go straight to your pricing or quote request if your social proof was compelling.
Other ways to add meaningful content:
- Are there certain types of customers you can help the most? Explain that.
- Is there a service or tool you have that you’re particularly proud of? Why, and how does that benefit the customer?
- How long have you been in business, and what got you started in it? Is the story part of the why for your brand?
- What are frequently asked questions in your line of work?
- What are unexpected challenges that arise for customers (related to why they need you) they should know about, and how do you address them?
More Pages, More SEO Opportunities
Obviously the goal isn’t to create 100 pages of blather just to have a lot of content. But especially if you’re coming from a one page design, adding at least 4-5 core pages with decent length content will widen your reach.
It’s not just that there’s more overall content and you can discuss more of your services at length. Every page has a title and meta data.
Search engines weigh the title and meta data pretty significantly when trying to figure out what a page/site is about.
A meta title is limited to basically 60 characters, so obviously there’s only so much you can include in one page. When you have a variety of services, that isn’t going to cut it. Among the many reasons more pages help, those pages are also additional opportunities to tell search engines about your site and rank for new things.
To follow our landscaper example from earlier, you might come up with a solid meta title for your front page, like:
Bob’s Landscaping Services & Mulching | City
It covers two of your major keywords and includes a geographic area. Not bad for a meta title. Except…
- It references broad terms like landscaping services that may not be what someone is specifically looking for
- It mentions mulching, and that might be your focus. But there are lots of variations of mulch-related searches like “commercial mulching,” “mulching services,” “tree mulching”, and “mulch removal” that could be useful to rank for. That one page doesn’t build much clout for those.
Additional pages you could create to build authority for Mulching:
- General mulch service page outlining the types of mulch you handle (with links to subpages)
- Subpages for each specific type of mulching you provide, with details on the pros and cons of each and calls to action if the reader is ready to get started
- A mulch FAQ page to address common questions
- A blog post on tips for choosing the right mulch for your yard, comparing each in detail and examining common yard configurations where each is best. Or ways to combine various mulch for eye-catching effect.
If you used all four of these ideas for new pages, your site’s ability to rank for local mulching would be significantly higher.
But what if I have a really long front page that actually contains all this same information?
That much information at once might be overwhelming, and can also increase page load time. Plus, as I mentioned above, you’re giving up a whole lot of ranking specificity.
Submitting Pages For Indexing
Each time you add a new page, it’s a good practice to submit the URL to search engines for indexing. Your page won’t affect your site’s rankings if it’s not indexed, and although Google and Bing will probably eventually notice your page while crawling your site, it’s fastest to point it out to them.
I highly recommend using Google Webmaster Tools (and Bing’s). Though there are a whole bunch of useful things you can do with each that I’ll cover in another post, if you do nothing else at least use them to submit your new URLs.
In Google Webmaster Tools, you’ll find this under the site options on the left hand site under [Crawl], then [Fetch As Google]. Enter your URL, wait till it crawls, then press the button for [Request Indexing].
In Bing’s Webmaster Tools you’ll again view the left hand side in your site options and find [Configure My Site], then [Submit URLs]. You can submit 10 per day.
Sometimes after you’ve submitted a URL it will be indexed in minutes. Other times hours or a day. But it’s always faster than just publishing your post and waiting. You can check to see if it’s indexed yet by going to the search engine and typing:
“your-domain.com name of your article”
…and see if it shows up.
Or if you have very few pages you can also type “site:your-domain.com” to get a list of all indexed pages on your domain.
This technique is also useful for getting search engine crawlers to re-examine pages they’ve indexed in the past if you’ve made large changes to them and you’d like the crawlers to have another look.
That’s a start. If your site has been stagnant, or if you’re transitioning from a one pager, these tips should help you build out your content for much greater impact.
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